Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Here are some pictures:
Here is the pharmacy beside the carpenter on the right, in this picture on the right below the car, there is a cat toren apart with its inner parts outside, the good thing it appears far in this picture because the scene is very disturbing.
Another picture from another angle, appearantly, the fron car was parked near the other, but due to the bombing, it flew and landed upside down in front of our pharmacy, and they were burning. Both of the cars belongs to the owner of the building. Both are civilian cars belong to a civilian.
This is a close shot, the closest I got to a bombed car.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Till today, it is Saturday, which suppose to be weekend for me but they called me at work and needed me there so I went, I came back early about 2:30 p.m. The first thing I did is turned on my computer and some music while changing; I was humming with some song playing when suddenly, very load bombing shook the apartment. I stopped for a while but it wasn't something I haven't heard before.
As time passed, my parents and I were talking at my brother's room, while dad was hanging his curtains and mum was fixing one, a friend of my brother showed up on his motorcycle calling my dad, which was kind of strange because my brother is out of town. My dad went to see him and suddenly came back inside, saying that the bombing was directly in front of our pharmacy. Dad changed and hurried there to see the damage and save what is left.
More than an hour ago, after my mother and I were worried sick and tired his cell phone which since he was so nervous, he left at home, he came back very tired, he said that the bomb or the explosive device was under one of the two cars of the building owner, right in front of the pharmacy, all the glasses of the pharmacy are broken, and one of the cars are turned upside down that it blocked the door of the pharmacy. For sure a lot of damage has been done. The TV there is broken, the medications the front window.
The good thing is my parents were home and not there, they come back home afternoon for lunch and to get some rest. So none of them got hurt.
My father just told me that news agencies covered the events and took pictures.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Ingred..The Colombian- French politician held by the FARC for six years has been released, as well as other 14, with no single gun shut according to news agencies.
The world is celebrating, noise all over; I heard the news on BBC one morning when I was getting ready to go to work. It was really stunning and good news! News here, analyzing there, and a lot of attention.
Couple of days ago, I was discussing the news with a friend from Colombia, he told me that living in jungle as a prisoner of the FARC are very hard, they chain people and force them to walk for many miles. This phrase got me thinking; and comparing those prisoners to us, I mean Iraqi women:
Metaphorically, does that look like us? Or our situation? Prisoners by a large organization called traditions, ignorance and rigidity, chained by invisible chains called "people talk" and being forced to walk a hard, long road to go where that organization wants us to go.. Without mentioning the injustice and the torture.
Well, it is not metaphorically, it's technically!
Ingred complains that they held her for six years! Well, Ingred, I have something to tell you, millions of us is being held, chained and tortured all of our lives, since thousands of years ...
Yes, life in the jungle is hard, and life in the dark, wide, endless desert of ignorance, is way beyond hard...
Congratulations, and best wishes!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Without mentioning the shortage in the drinkable water.
Last Friday, while the family and I crossing the former Saddam highway bridge, in Al-Dora side, I have noticed that, the depth Tigress (Dijla) river so decreased that small Islands started to appear, and a cattle of Iraqi buffalo crossed from the banks to the new island without being drowned. Sad, isn't?
Extreme heat with lack of basic services, the mark of summer in Iraq.
As for the news of the war, things are getting really better and statistics are very promising. The safety in Baghdad and other cities considered very dangerous is now much better and more settled. The rates of violence hit the lowest since the beginning of the US led war in 2003.
Serious interventions of both American and Iraqi forces almost terminated terror and insurgency groups, with organized operations known with different names, with the aid of the citizens and support groups. Hundreds of wanted, killed, caught and thrown in jail.
Al-Qaida! Barely exists. Great insurgency and crime leaders have been arrested. Some prominent leaders of so called (Islamic State of Iraq) have been arrested. Many areas are secured and thousands of families return to their homes after being thrown out from them by insurgents and gangs.
Still, some violence here and there, for example, last week there was bombing in the facility of Municipal Assembly in Sadr city left tens dead including American officials and soldiers, as well another in the same facility in Musol, which I saw on TV, left tens dead as well as another executed by a woman hid the explosive device under her close.
New phenomena in Baghdad streets, first the increasing number of people seen there with the opening of hundreds of parks and restaurants, and the other is, street lights using solar energy to light. One can see the solar plates installed at the top of the pole.
Promising improvements, but they do not reduce the suffering from the heat and lack of services. I remember last summer was so tough that I have suffered bad health, until I visited Kurdistan on vacation where suddenly all the complications are gone.
As for women, one can notice the increase of their appearance as the dangers of them being kidnapped or being hurt is close to non-existing. The social pressures still exist, rarely a women seen by herself in the street and not accompanied by a parent or relative. Oppression still exists with no signs of change. There are also some talks and controversy about the quota of women representation in the parliament.
A sad surprise was waiting for us in the road, as we were still collecting other co-workers from there houses, we had to take a branch road because the main road between the houses are blocked for fixations. The bus stopped; there was plenty of people and cars coming in the opposite side, which completely blocked the road. One of the co-workers who lived near by said that a police officer lived here was killed last night, so this is his funeral.
The bus is still, we could not go forward because all of the cars coming in the opposite side, we could go back, there a lot of cars behind. Minutes later, the casket approached, borne on a pick up car, also had no way to pass, so Iraqi soldiers spread on the street and started controlling the traffic to open the road. They were running holding their rifles, I closed my ears with my palms in order not to hear the annoying voice of shooting, and luckily they didn’t shoot.
Women co-workers began sobbing, one of them her son got killed last year. Then we heard the women of the family of the killed hysterically screaming in shock of his death, which is a common thing in Iraqi funerals, a thing which I never got used to and always gave me a horrible feeling. The sobbing inside the bus increased, then we had to go back and cross through the broken street…
I couple of tears fell from my eyes; I had a feeling mixed of anger and frustration. It was unbearable! WHY??? A young man! The most annoying feeling was my sympathy with his family, those who have to carry the burden of his death, his mother! What does she feel? His relatives, loved ones?
Those who left behind?
I always wondered! The attention is mostly on the dead! And what about those who left behind? What if he was the provider of the family?? What would those behind him do? What about the feelings of grief, anger and other feelings those he left behind suffer? No voice, no one cares, they are left in the corners dragging their anguish with them the rest of their lives. What about them? Unanswered question…..
June 4, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
In the last few days we also had our share of violence. For example two days ago, a truck stopped on the bridge of the highway near my house and offloaded it's load of rockets with no aim, launched randomly to hit the streets, residence buildings and one landed in front of the pharmacy my mother owns. The past few days the voices of clashes never ceased. Last night we had a mortar shower on of them landed few yards from my house. The voices is very very load. Mixed up with the voices of thunders, the rage of nature, And the dust is spreading a desert colored cover on our lives.
News about the international Zone (IZ) had a big share of mortar shower.
Today is cloudy; some rain fell while I was on my way to work. Now im looking at Baghdad from the window of my office, and here it is, dust again plus voices of bombings. Still unknown, when will that end, and how.
April 30, 2009
Monday, April 14, 2008
We tried so many roads until the bus had to stop some point becasue most of them were closed and we had to continue to home walking. Well, that was kind of dangerous but we had no other choice.
When I entered our street I saw my father approaching me. When I asked him what happened, he told me that there was mortar attack on our neighborhood, he said that one of them hit the market and the shops, the two others hit residential buildings, the third floor, both of them hit bedrooms and landed there, luckily there was no one in the rooms so no one got hurt. My father said that the voice was so loud, the houses were shaking. Mother said that she was out in the garden, and the mortar flew over her, both the voices of the flying and the landing were very scary, but she decided to stay calm.
Later in the day, I knew that one of the mortars hit a friend's and neighbor's house. It hit her bedroom while she and her baby girl were at the exact next room. Luckily she managed to get out of the apartment before she and her baby got hurt. Her building is three buildings away from us.
The question is, why here? our neighborhood is a residential only, houses, buildings and apartments? I dont understand! What is the point of all that?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
You can see the garage door on the right
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I still remember that day. News about the falling of the regime was dazzling, we where at the big family houe when we heard the news. I remember being very surprised when I heard in the radio what the presenter says: " Saddam Hussain, the former Iraqi president" !
" What?!!!" I remeber crying. My uncle was there saying : " Yeah, that is the end! he is no longer the president!"
Later in the afternoon, we say American choppers fly over the neighborhood where the house is. then at the sunset, we saw American soldiers walking there.
That was a really dazzling day, most of us were in denial.
Well, a lot had happened during the past five years. Changes, lots of changes, mostly violent.
Since the war, public services is less; electricity is non-stable, keeps cutting untill we had to utilize many alternatives. Water, we had a tragedy with it until we installed our own water storage.
Violance, killing everwhere. Bloodshed is a common daily event..
Changes of leaders and governments. Sect conflicts and disputes, political crises. Boming with all methods possible and impossible, roadside bombs, car bombs, belt bombing, women bombing, animal bombing and even they tie bombs to mentally ill people!!!
Lack of security and safety made our movement semi-impossible.
Made life of women harder than it already is, started with the kidnapping after the war, till the killing and violance now, killing and violence against women or a member of family, such as husbands, fathers or brothers.
Lack of freedom and increasing of radicalism and strict social traditions, limited movement.
One of us cannot move outside the house alone without the company of family member or a friend .
Families being moved from their houses by force and plenty of people left the country to neighboring countries or others..
Since few months ago, the situation calmed down. We finaly thought that we can breath again. but not for long. Now the clashes of Shiit militias ans US and Iraqi forces is still on going.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Streets are not safe at all, most stores, shops and vital facilities are closed. Baghdad is paralized..
The man in charge of Baghdad Security Plan is kidnapped.
the Militia of Jaish al_mahdi ( Al-mahdi army ) still fighting the government. Both armed and media. Over 150 people got killed according to news agencies.
We still hear bomings here, gun shuts there, mortar shells there.. I have just heared something, I'm not what is it, now im hearing a hellicopter flying around.
Yestrday the voices was so close to my place.
Some bomings alongside the (Army Water Canal) near my home..
The situation is blazing in many Iraqie cities.. A curfew imposed in some Iraqi cities for three for more than three days.
According to he news, American Army intervened.And Baghdad! :
Since we had to leave work early last thursday and we are in a complete paralize. I have never left the house since. the Curfew imposed in baghdad on Thursday evening and supposed to end Sunday at 5:00 am. But the situation still out of control which forced the government to extend it ( Till Further Notice )
Till Further Notice!!!!
That is the way it is! That's the way it always has been. Your life is paralized...Until further notice! As if they say put your life on hold, till further notice. Any chance to live, any chance to progress or do something isn't allowed. Any chance you may have to build yourself has to be halted for the moment. Anything necessary in your life too! Every dream....
But why the surprise? It has always been like that. It doesn't need a curfew to stop the life, it is already stopped! All you have to do is follow the rules! Each group has its rules trying to impose them and all one has to do is follow them regardless of what he thinks. Live life according to what everyone is saying and ignore your own will. Walk like a zombiee while everyone else tells you what to do and which direction you have to go. Who they are, what they want? No one knows.
In Iraq, there are people eat by day. It means they provide for each day they work, I wonder what they are doing now? We here suffer shortage in many stuff, as well as water.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So many clashes in southern parts and Baghdad
Clashes between militias, bloody clashes, very bloody... Most of them in Basra, south Iraq
Militias, mostly shi'it, clashed.. They have unkown disputes but mostly for the elections of municiple Assymbley.. Mostly for power...
Bombings everywhere, mortars and random shooting. This has been going on for few days. Curfew in some cities and semi-paralize in Baghdad..I wasn't able to go to work yesterday. We had no electricity for two days due to the damage in the power station, some say it is done on purpuse.
And now, power but no water at all...
Bombing everytime and place. I can hear the whistle of the mortar before it hits, launches form unknown place and lands to unknown place..
Today I decided to go to work , in spite of everything. And so I did. The voices of mortars and bomings did not stop! They were so load and near!! windows shake...
Then we had to leave work early. And while we were waiting outside in the garage for other co-workers, we heard many bombings, we saw smoke from some directions.
Then, on our way, passing a street near by, we heard mortar bombings, close ones. Suddenly, two of them were very load that women started screaming! I tried to calm them down, But as The driver turend the car, I saw the smoke, few yards away from the car! I enhaled very deeply and was scared to death!!! women freaked out! Well, me too! But I tried to stay as calm as I could. I kept conforting them, but I was so shoked!!
We had to turn back and pass were the mortars hit because the other road is even more dangerous.
Even after I returned home, I was so blank! It took me a while to recover from the shoke...
Still, I can hear the bombings and te voices of mortars.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
That day I have just arrived to work when another co-worker came to me saying that our co-worker ( Zeena) that's her name, survived a blast..
So I rushed to her office to check on her...
I saw her in a shoke and crying!!
So she told me the whole story and agreed to publish it on my blog and here it is:
Zeena: Like every work day, we wait for our ride to work near Al-Sakhra restaurant, then the bus came and we got in it. As usual, we were chatting, joking, laughing as usual. Suddenly! there was an enormous explusion. I cannot describe the feeling! As if thet you have died, went to the sky, not in this world anymore!
SHOCK!! enormous shock!
I wanted to take a look at the others to see if they are hurt or not, then what made me more scared, began a gun shots, random ones.
I look at the others, I see wondering frightened faces! what made me more terrified, cellphones started ringing and ringing...
I wanted to see the car! looked at my body to see if I'm injured or not, one peace or not. After I was sure I'm ok I looked at the window, i saw cracks, and then! I saw a whole right above my head! I have realised that there was a bullet passed right above my head!! Then I lost control, broke down and started crying, friends stood by me comforting me. I saw a friend of mine with her hair full of broken glasses and she was trying to get them off.
Then I asked Zeena to describe her feelings at the exact moment, she said:
When someone feels he is about to die, his life flashes in front of him, at the same moment, the feeling that I'm going to die and maybe there are people angry at me or I have caused them some inconvenience at anyway. I felt that I was poor but I have no problem with that, and I forgive! I also felt that I need people, even people the last expected to need. I felt so week.
I felt I need my parents' love, I would not see them anymore, nor my relatives.
All in this tiny split second moment.
The place where the explusion took place is very crowded, people gather there to have a transportation taking them to work.. And people already work there...
So i bet there were a lot of victims.
That was the story of Zeena she experienced that day, she is one of thousands Iraqies been through this...
This story told to me by Zeena immidiately after she got to work after the explusion
and published upon her request, it took place in the morning of March 12, 2008
I left her with a great shock and crying...
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
But yestrday evening was not quite!
I was doing what I do always while talking to a close friend. I hear a hellicopter flying nearby, but since five years ago that voice is quite familiar, nothing unusual about a hellicopter or an aircraft flying nearby or close. Until, that hellicopter started firing!!!
The voice was so scary, as if a rifle but way louder. Took few pauses and resumed.
Dad was screaming at us calling us from the rooms to hide at the corridor where there are no windows..
So I did, I stayed there reluctantly, I had tons of things to do!
But the fire resumed, it was so scary..
Though I must be used to it by now, as I have been exposed to such thing huge part of my life, but I don't know why I was in shock after the fire ceazed.
It took my memory to the days of the war....
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Note: the picture above is the painting of Hisham with black colors, I will be posting another one soon...
Monday, March 10, 2008
Today we celebrated in my work place. The least I can describe the celebration is saying it was awsome!
We celebrated Iraqi women and women of oil industry, those, according to the minister, showed an extraordenary courage to carry out their duties specially in places filled with violence and terror, such as oil fields and other oil locations...
The minister gave a speech, which inspired me to write a poem greeting all Iraqi women, you will see it at the end of this post
Then awards is given by the minister to women of martyrs' families, the women with extraordenary achievement, including two of my close and role model friends.
Then two of famous Iraqi poets recited an awsome poems for Iraqi women. Then from the Iraqi heritage, a siger and a lute player gave a very traditional and beautiful Iraqi singing, they singer put a ( cedara) on his head, which is an old traditional Iraq head cover shaped as a triangle.
The best part is, an Iraqi play. Written and directed by one of the Iraqi theater pioneers which is a woman, her name is Dr. Awatif Na'eem. That woman is a genious! The story of the play was so moving and inspiring. About a judge facing the political changes. The moral lesson of that play was the ualuables does not belong to the owner, they belong to the one who realizes their value and protects them..
I was so impressed by the efforts of the writer and director, and all the workers. They did their best and more!
Due to the social, safety and other reasons, I rarely attend those intellectual events as plays or movies. Last time I went to a movie was ten years ago with my family in a tribunal honoring the French actor Alain Delon. So today I was so happy I got the chance to see how creative, talented and bright my people are. I regard you warmly Dr. Awatif, and all bright and talented Iraqi women who proved that no soward can scare you or hold you back, in spite of all what you have gone through...
You are stronger than mountains!!!!
here is the poem, to all Iraqi women:
Unlimited giving stream..
To you I rise, and beem..
For you have gone through a lot..
A lot you have endured..
For your wounds, never found a redeem..
Stood still, never cracked..
never let go a scream..
Loss after loss..
Disaster after another..
Year after year..
Here you are, standing still..
Your head up high...
Competed and defeated, mountains' will..
Your soul, forces of darkness, tried to kill..
Never could, never will..
But you shone and shone..
For know and forever..
Standing with your head up high..
A giving stream...
Written by me today during the celebration on the honor of women in oil industry...
For all Iraqi women, I am proud of you!!!!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Before the invention of electricity, people used for lightening a certain lamp works on oil or kerosene, in Iraq we call it ( Lala) ( picture above), step by step, after the invention of electricity this lamp vanished. Sometimes its used as a decoration. But not in my country :)
Though I was a little girl, I remeber in the late 80's power cuts from time to time for short periods during the Iraqi-Iran war, but barely noticable.
But since Gulf War started in 1991, at the exact day, Dawn January 17, 1991, the power went off, power stasions hit by airstrikes. We stayed the whole war days and few weeks after using the (lala) to lighten the house..
Power kept cutting till it settled down partially the years after. the ( Lala) is a common device in every Iraqi house.
Then, the war of 2003 came, we had power the whole war till the last days. This times Power stations had not been hit, but news collided, people said American aircrafts threw some magnatic field on them, others said Saddam turned them off to revenge from people who gave up on him , or for him to escape in the dark...... God knows what is the truth....
The thing is, since that day, power hasn't settled down at all.. It kept cutting and cutting, even for long hours, sometimes 20 hours a day!
We came up with solutions, one of them at a part of every bloke, people installed a fair size generators, supply specified amount of power for the whole block for countable hours (with a price). which is an experience succeded in many Iraqi governorates before and after the war.
But at the time the generator is off, poeple either start their own home generators or lit a ............. Lala :)
In the past, some families named their daughters ( Lala) which metaphors : " the light of the house" or " the one that lightens the house" or " brightens the house or the place" or " that lightens the life"
And Here is some ( Lalas) (picture above above )
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
So I was finishing my morning (rituals!) by facing my mirror of the dresser and doing the final touches, I heard a very loud and close bang, shook the windows of my room and the curtains shook for seconds. Luckily I wasn't near this time. In few minutes, I heard sirens of scuad cars, army and ambulances.
In the bus taking us to work, everyone was talking about it. One of them was severly in shook, her eyes were full open and the tension was pretty obvious, the others were comforting her. She said that the door of her apartment violently and widely opened due to the strength of the bombing...It turned out that it happened in a crossroad not far away from my place..
At work, after greeting her saying " good morning" she answered saying " the number of bombs in this morning is unbelieveable" .. Few minutes later I have heard people talking about several bombings happened in different areas of Baghdad, also some main roads are closed......Only this morning.......
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
As for every weekend, I woke up at 9 am, then started preparing my breakfast. while i was in the kitchen, I have noticed from the window which lets so much sunlight in, today is very sunny and beautiful day, so I got close to the window to take a look.
Suddenly, there was big bombing shook the window very hard! for a nano second i felt that the glass was going to shatter and kill me, that was so close!!! and so shoking!
For if it shattered, that is it! Wow, that was so scary. I've been close to death many times, this morning was one of them.
We also heard some glass shatters but it wasn't our house.
My brother yelled " Here it is!!"
I ran to the living room and he was right! i could see the smoke from the front door of the house, which faces north.
Our house located near a highway of two sides separated by a water channal called ( Army Channal) which is an artificial water channal built by one of the former Iraqi presidents, Abdul Kareen Qasim.
The explusion was on the other side of the highway. I saw poeple of my street including my brother, cousin and father running twards the explusion, others went out of their houses to see what was going on and stayed near their garages, and there was a guy walking a small white dog and the dog was so scared that it didn't know where to walk.
Luckily, no one got hurt. It turned out that it was an explusive device put on the side of the road, found and distroyed by US forces.
It took me some moments to realize what happened :) wow that was so strong and shoking! The window shook very hard!!! and i was like two centemeters away!!! without mentioning the voice!
Friday, February 8, 2008
The streets are dangerous, you don't know when or where chaos and attacks could happen, you don't know what could happen. Things are so crazy. That's a breif discription of what was going on in my country, with the exception of few safe areas. Without mentioning the semi-absence of main and basic services like energy, fuel, clean water and everything.
But the past few monthes brought some new hope, things got quieter a bit. Iraq and Iraqies thought finally there's a breath of fresh air after all what they have gone thru.
Shops reopened, deserted areas started witnessing life again, highly dangerous spots became much safer. Bomings and attacks were much less. the streets are loaded with cars even after dark! Thanks to all efforts.
For me personally, though nothing of those firstly mentioned scared me or lessened or affected my determination to work hard and achieve my goals, but things were out of control back then, then it settled down a bit for the past few months. I used to hear some bomings here and there, mortar attacks now and then ( most of them happen in the dawn between 6 and 6 30 a.m) but things were heading towards promising future.
But the beginning of the new year came with a bloody incident happen not far from my house. A suicidal attack on a funeral killed nearly 30 poeple, mostly from my neighborhood. Which shoked us severly. After that, other bloody attacks took place. It seems that things started getting chaotic again. Mortar attacks increased in my neighborhood. And last friday was so bloody that took the lives of 98 poeple. Two women bombed cars in local markets, one of them is popular in iraq opens every friday to buy and sell animals and birds called SUQ AL GHAZL, SUQ means market in Arabic and it is a milestone in Bgahdad..
Things started getting worse again. in the past few days voices of bombings repeatedly heard in my neighborhood only! God knows what was going on elsewhere.
Now it is 3:00 am and so far i have heared two bombings.
and i have noticed increasing in military presence, both the Iraqi and the American.