In most cities of the world, people may share an incident in their lives where they confronted a serious situation that could have resulted in injury or death, but to the inhabitants of Baghdad, death is the daily reality. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad recently met Ali, a painter, who is a student at the academy of art in north Baghdad. Ali described standing on a corner chatting with a friend when a bomb went off. “I saw smoke and chaos and people screaming. I saw my friend Hassan who was running and carrying a child who had lost an arm. I saw a nice-looking girl–the Karrda girls, you know how beautiful they are. She was dead. And I saw a girl who had only one eye.” Ali was shocked and stood o the corner screaming and crying.
Ali witnessed a sight that few people in the world have to confront in their daily lives. Body parts strewn on the ground, people shouting in pain, smoke, blood, faces burned and children lying dead on the ground. Ali was taken to a hospital and someone asked him why he was crying: “I told him it was not fo rmyself but for all the boys and girls around me.”
Ali was happy when Saddam Hussein was overthrown, but then people began telling stories the Americans had come to steal Iraq’s oil and did not care about his nation. Now, after five years of bloodshed and bombing and death, “I am so tired. ..We are living in a nightmare. It is like there is a camera recording us and by its light we see images of death and carnage everywhere. The Iraqi have good hearts, but we are living in a state of hysteria.”
I sometimes wonder how sucide bombers can calmly blow up innocent men, women, and children, but become furious at publication of cartoons.
Yesterday, President George Bush boasted to the world that America had brought freedom to the people of Iraq and they no longer had to fear dead bodies being cast into hidden graves by the henchmen of Saddam. No, they only have to fear dead bodies on the streets of Baghdad, in the morning, in the afternoon, and, even at night. I gues this is another Mission Accomplished by George Bush.