I have been searching for blogs written by Iraqi women over the past few days as part of following the news about the rape of ‘Abir Hamzah and the murders of her and her family by U.S. Army troops. I am going to post some of what I have found, because it is so important, and it confirms what I have posted in my posts about this rape and these murders, but I want to begin by saying that reading these blogs is devastating. I have been sitting here in front of my computer in tears, sobbing off and on all morning. I have finally found the women whose voices I have been listening for– ordinary women, women like you and me, teenage girls, their daughters. In the media coverage of the war in Iraq, these are the voices we never hear, these are the faces we never see. We see all the men strutting around in their idiotic pomp and circumstance like clowns and fools, we see the battle scenes and the guns and the, to me, horrifying Hum-Vs, we see the smoke, explosions, destroyed buildings and vehicles, we see all the dignitaries kickin’ it, but we do not see the women. We do not see their daughters. I do not see my people. I have found them, and following is what I have found, but again, what they write is devastating on too many levels to describe, and you need to know that ahead of time.
Then, I would urge everyone reading this to go to these blogs and where possible, offer intelligent support to these women. I was aghast and horrified — and this was part of my devastation –seeing what pro-war American men are posting to these women’s blogs. In some instances, they take over the entire comments sections of amazing blog posts with racist, pro-war, hateful tirades. To me, this is vile– American and Western men, violating ordinary Iraqi women’s blogs, blogs in which they are sharing their daily lives, fears, worries and heartaches, which are many, to post absolutely vitriolic garbage.
The voice of Miraj of the Baghdad Chronicles:
How come I am rejected everywhere in the world with my Iraqi passport?
How come I am being judged for someone else’s mistakes?
How come any American can enter any country in the world, including the countries they destroyed?
Didn’t they invade our country?
Didn’t they encourage terrorism with their famous excuse of Destroying Terrorism in the world?
Didn’t they kill our children , our women, our men?
Didn’t they humiliate us in Abu Ghraib with their sexual sickness?
Didn’t they lie to the world about the war in Iraq?
Didn’t they make us, all Iraqis, homeless everywhere in the world including our own country which we used to know it once as our home?
Didn’t they destroy our country with their bombs?
Didn’t they steal our oil?
How come Americans are living peacefully in America?
How come their own military airplanes are not bothering them?
How come American soldiers do not shoot innocent people in the US?
How come the two words of Freedom and Democracy have two different meanings in America and Iraq? Could it be the hot temperature has deformed the meaning? Deformed like everything else in this country while others are developing and evolving….
How come dogs in America are treated better than Iraqis in their own country?
How come every single door is widely open to any American in my own country?
How come Bush and the members of all the governments that Iraq had for the last three years are not sitting with Saddam in court?
(Entire post here.)
A westerner, “David”, responds:
Bush does have the support of the majority of Americans and so do you. Iraq has been given a great gift. Far greater than you seem to realize in your focus on short-term “facts” which are really distortions. Someday, you or your children will have the opportunity of a far better life than you had under Sadaam. Even if you don’t deserve it.
Although “David” deserved nothing (maybe a swift kick to the curb), this is Miraj’s response:
Believe me when I tell you that more than three years back I had the same belief in the Americans who used to sit and walk among us in Baghdad streets, I had full belief that there would be hope.
Now after three years I’m spending my nights tossing and turning in my own bed in a pool of my own sweat because of electricity, fearing on my life when I go out, covering myself from head to toe so I won’t be killed by any radical groups, and I can not take the blame off the American government nor any other party who helped throughout these years. I’m not in this alone, all people have lost family members and friends along with the hope that things will ever get better and if they will then neither us nor our children will see it.
A lot of Iraqis are immigrating and when I say a lot I mean universities will be soon empty of the professors and hospitals are already semi empty of the geniuses, doctors who spent their lives learning to serve this country. It would take at least another 50 years to build a new solid base for this country for all we left now are some educated people who might lose their lives anytime along with murderers, rapists,radicals and a bunch of lousy politicans whom their biggest interest is the material gains.
There is an exchange about what might happen if American soldiers were killing civilians in the United States, and Miraj writes:
I have no idea what would be the reason behind American soldiers killing American citizens in the states but here it happens often when people unintentionally drive near them.
Dad once entered between two American hummers in one of our streets while coming home after shopping but it was a miracle that they didn’t do anything to him, maybe because he looks like a foreigner or maybe he was an old man, truly i have no idea.
I know two families who were shot by American soldiers, and lost members and both were driving in Baghdad streets when they got shot when American hummers bumped into them. Some of the American soldiers feel bad and guilty after killing women and children but some of them do not care to stop.
This is the voice of hnk from HNK’s Blog. hnk lives in Mosul, Iraq. Her profile reads:
I am an Iraqi teen age girl. I live in Mosul where I born and grew up. I live in the middle of an educated family. My father is a doctor, and my mother is an engineer.You can say that studying play the role part of our life. My dreams are huge and they grow up every day. and that’s scare me, Because no dreams come true in Iraq and this is my problem. I love my country and I can’t leave it. I want to play my part in this life but I can’t do that in my country. However, this mean that my country is my problem and that’s something I can’t admit it. being an ignorant girl is not my choice. I want to be someone …
In a post entitled Fightin to Keep Alive and dated July 7, she writes:
…I wish the reason of not writing a new post that I was busy with my lessons, or I was busy with Aya and Ayman. But it’s not. Right now I concider myself half human.
All days are the same, it just like the other days.. repeating itself, Woke up early, took my breakfast and study and study and study till my course’s time came,after that I’ll go to have it and then get back and study AGAIN.
the Same program is running in my life and I accept it if that doesn’t mean the killing, bombing and stealing will go on too.
I spent a very bad and hard days since I wrote my last post.The situations is deteriorating rapidly, I don’t know from where I should start, many things happened I can’t number them. but here are some examples:
My dad went to his work with my sister, Aya was with them in the car, and my dad was driving when they heard the sound of few bullets towards the soldiers’ tank.
the tanks was in front of my father’s car in the other direction of the road. My father’s car was not the only car there. Anyway after the shooting stop. The soldiers got crazy as they always did. They ordered the people who sit inside the cars to get out and put their hand on their head as the soldiers’ order. The soldiers throw out everything from my father’s pocket. My father asked the soldiers to send Aya and her mother to the car because it was too hot. They didn’t even try to listen to him,they shouted loudly and didn’t accept to hear a word. In the moment the Iraqi police told my sister that she can go to the car and she have to keep the doors open.
My sister sat on the car with my little niece Aya who was shouting for getting my father back, crying probobly because she was thirsty. My sister fear to move her hand and open her bag and get the water from it, you don’t guess the soldiers reaction about that. She stayed in her place thinking of my father, what is he thinking on that moment, what is he feeling, is he thirsty, she was worried about his state because my father had a hard attack and it’s not good for normal people to be in that situation so what about a 60-year-old man. She was cursing them silently. What a humiliation to a respectful man .
The situation continued for an hour and a half but for some people like my sister it seems like a year. When he returned back to the home, Dad said nothing at all, my sister said “you didn’t know what happened to us today!” my father said “nothing”. She told the story and my father didn’t comment, trying not to make us worried, picking the glass and drinking the water as he always do.
It just needs a strong man like my father to forget it, I am not a man and I am not strong. When the danger is around me, my family or around my friend I can’t sit watching. It’s not war against Sadam or against the terror only; it’s a war against us, it’s a psychological war.
To live or not to live this is the question.
(“David” also shows up, insanely, incredibly, in the comments thread. Another guy that shows up a lot is “Programmer Craig”.)
This is the voice of Young Mama of the Emotions blog. She is a dentist, and lives in Mosul. Her profile reads:
I am a 34 years old mom ,I am a mother of 3 children. I am a Dentist. I try to make every thing perfect. The life I have, the difficulties I face make me anxious.. I like to have a social life; I cannot resist my feeling of being lonely, but I don’t have good social life, & I am lonely.
In a post entitled Human With No Rights, dated June 19, she writes:
“Human rights” that are nowadays being familial to us, are NOT for free, righteous citizens. It’s only for criminals, killers, thieves, terrorists and of course for Saddam and his partners… How?
– As they are under the [supervision] of human rights organizations, they get good meals, where Pepsi, sweets, fruits are included in every day’s food menu, where as the children everywhere live in deprivation.
– Our children are also jailed in their own houses but without any excuse, we can’t take them out for fun, it’s too dangerous.
– They [Saddam and other war criminals] don’t worry about their safety, while we face danger everywhere in Iraq. I did not hear about a bombs or suicide cars in the Iraqi jails. In the second exam my daughter and her class mates, continued their exam although there was heavy shooting in the street, and so much blasts, they had to put their fears aside and continue their test.
Last Monday I counted the exploded mines in the road that lead to my work, they were 7 large craters.
-They [Saddam, war criminals] have electricity, and sleep under comfortable room temperature, that are well cooled at summer and very well heated in winter. While now we live in 45 c [113 F] with no electricity, and no fuel to operate our generator.
Our kids are suffering and they did nothing wrong and did not hurt any body. My daughter Sunshine has her exams in a very hot classroom; they don’t even have a fan, with no curtains on the windows to protect the students from the burning sun, with the many examiners in one class in such high temperature, it is very hard to concentrate.
-They [Saddam, war criminals] get good medical care, while we can hardly find doctors now days..As the doctors are being threatened, murdered or left the country because of all those reasons. The medications in the markets are from very bad resources, they are not effective.
-They [Saddam, war criminals] can call their families every two weeks, I have no phone connection with my parents who live in Baghdad, I can’t visit them the roads are not safe, and the weather is soooo hot.
-They [Saddam, war criminals] know their rights, while we don’t believe we have any.
Entire post here.
In a post entitled Salih, the Brave Boy, dated May 17, Young Mama writes of a day when an orphaned young boy comes to her in pain.
Last day I arrived my work an hour and a half late because of the very crowded road near the gate’s check point … An old woman and 10 years old boy with school bag on his back were waiting for me.
I treated the old lady first, and then asked the boy to get in. He was pale & shaking. He sat on the dental chair and pointed inside his mouth, and said “this is very painful”. I looked and saw nothing, I knew he was confused and pointed to the wrong side; I looked to the opposite side and saw a badly carious tooth.
I told him that we need to extract this tooth, he shake his head for approval.
“But we need to have the approval from some one older than you my dear” I said. “Any one from your family as your parents, older brother or sister, aunt, uncle, or even a neighbor “.I added.
He stepped from the chair in an attempt to leave, with his eyes full of tears, and said nothing.
-“Are you coming back with someone later? I asked.
-“no, I have no one”.
-“With whom do you live?”.
-“With my younger brother, he is Mongoloid”.
-I grip his shaky hands and took him to the patio, and asked him to look around, to the other functionaries; (they live in the same village), and asked him if he knew any one?.
Few minutes later he pointed to a man, he was one of the servants” H”. I sent for” H”, and told him that I need some one of Salih’ relatives because his tooth need to be extracted. He said “I am his fathers’ cousin, I can stay with him because he has no One close…his older brother who was taking care of him was murdered 3 days ago”…
-“Are you hungry, did you have your breakfast honey?” I asked Salih trying so hard to hold my tears.( I had to ask because he was pale and he could show symptoms of hypoglycemia if he was hungry, he could faint too after dental treatment).
– ” no I did not , the neighbors did not bring us any”. he said.
Just then I could not hold my tears any more, I took his little hands and took him to buy him something to eat.
…I sat in my room, wondering how could these children survive. How could they live alone, what do they do in the darkness every day?
After about an hour the boy came back with “H”, he ate in his house and came seeking for treatment, I was so happy to see him again, I wanted to give him a big hug, but he was behaving like a man.. He sat silently, I gave him his shot, he was shivering, but was very quiet. I told him he will not feel any thing he will be anesthetized, he nod his head, I extracted his tooth, and then he went without any word…..
These are the words of 14-year-old Sunshine, who is Mama’s daughter. In her profile, she writes:
I was born in 29/1/1992 , I grow up among well educated family. My school is far away from my home & the way to it is dangerous, so every day considered as a challenge. I have many dreams & ambitions, I wish that one day they become true. I want to be an engineer in the future, my mom always support me to accomplish my ambitions … optimism is my strategy always… Computer & internet are my life & what I do in my spare time , But if we don’t have electricity, I spend my spare time reading , writing, listening to music ,& doing some handmade work … I found that Blogging is a great way to express my thoughts , opinions, & feelings to the world ,to get friends & to share them my happy & sad moments
In a recent post, she writes:
At 09:00 The ring rang, we went to the classrooms , my desk was near the window, without curtains, my face became like a tomato during the exam , and I could see the sweat fell on the paper, we are not allowed to bring water inside the classrooms, but in Baghdad, they are allowed to bring water, and mobiles, WHY ?!!.
After few minutes the exam started, I finished after 40 minutes!! With the best answers, and waited the driver who came at 11:00!.
The body- guard in my school is very rude man, he made us wait our drivers in the street, under the burning sun, my friend fainted, and most of us felt nausea. I arrived the house exhausted , I took a shower , had my lunch , and took a nap , then studied the literature ( one of the Arabic books we study in school) , and studied the grammar the days after it …
On Tuesday, I had an asthma attack. And stayed-up till 1 am, on the respiratory-machine, I woke up in the next day a little bit dizzy, and tired but even though I went to school and answered well.
Wednesday at noon, I was not capable of breathing, the doctor gave me many many medicaments, that made my hands shaken and my heart beat so fast. I woke up on Thursday feeling much worst, I used the respiratory-machine all day long, my heart was like the drums, I couldn’t study , I couldn’t see through the respirator mask, I put some pillows under my arms but it didn’t work, my mom had to give me hydrocortisone shot..
…my face was bluish, mama called her uncle, he ‘s a doctor, he suggested to take me to the emergency room but my parents were worried about the stroll bans.
Anyway, we went to the hospital, we parked the car away from the hospital ( security reasons !!!) And we went to the emergency room walking!!, we waited for a doctor, but no one came!! … I saw the most horrible things, a woman who had a heart attack, her two daughters were running here and there trying to find a doctor for her, the old woman was in pain , and no doctor came !! …No word can describe what I am feeling now.
There was only one nurse running her and there helping people in the emergency room, he put the canula for me, from the first attempt.
…The good nurse (god bless him ) ran, and said “we need blood ” there were two guys from the national guards who were badly injured, my parents were worried , terrorists may attack the hospital with the existence of the national guards , it happened many times.
Among the most horrible cases I saw, and I will never forget it. A couple of worried parents caring their daughter she was in my age, they put her in a bed beside mine, the dad was shouting ” her heart stopped , she stopped breathing too “.
No , the doctors didn’t come running, the nurse did , ” we need oxygen here , bring one ” he said. There were only two oxygen bottles…
I was looking at her crying mom, I just can’t imagine her fears and feelings, I randomly took-off my mask, and gave it to her, after a sec , the nurse said “no , we should put her on the DC. ” it was very scary, mama and dad, kept saying ” do not look, look at the other side ” but I couldn’t, the girl returned to life , then a doctor came , “toooooooooooooooooo late mister!”
I kept saying to my mom ” please mama , go and help that man,” “look there some one need help”, “can you please help that patient too” I was worried about everyone.
I felt a little bit better, my parents and I left the hospital, but my thoughts were still there .
I came to the house at 10:00 pm, but I needed a doctor at 11:00, and the stroll bans started at 10:00!! A doctor live nearby, checked me out. My grandpa sent me from Baghdad medication for asthma (it was prescribed previously by my doctor), but it is a rare and expensive one in Iraq.
Thank god, I became better and I didn’t need it,a relative doctor,who is a great person care about patients which is something we don’t find usually in our hospitals, felt so happy when we told him that we will donate that life saving medicine to the hospital..
Oh… America, if you want to kill me, you too, just come and do it now. It is the last night for death. Tomorrow, will born forever if it born.
America, it is your last chance to make me shut up. Or you have to listen to all that I want to say or what I don’t want to. To all that I have to say and what I don’t have. What worse than that? What worse than someone tells you things her head can’t put together, things that may mean nothing to nobody, even to her. What can mean anything in a world of beggars and killers; they beg for anything… they kill everything. A world in which the dreams and lives of millions can be decided to buy some others worthy people (voters, tax payers) or worst, it can be decided to earn a line in history books…
12 days after this post was written, a relative of “still alive” was kidnapped:
I couldn’t sleep at night. Am I the only one who still believe that there is no civil war? … I don’t know why I didn’t stop thinking of all the people who were killed …. The way they were killed… I felt myself in their place … the four Russians .. the two Americans .. Berg .. Saif…the Japanese man.. just like all other Iraqis were left without heads.
In the morning a tear was still on my face. Hours later we heard the news.
This morning HE disappeared, HE is gone. He is the one who have nothing to do with politics or sectarians. He is the one who is planning too much for the future with his wife to make their children the best life they can. He just went out of the house and reached nowhere. A knife is touching my neck every time I stopped thinking of him.
Where is he now?
His mother has lost her mind.
I pray !! I feel all Iraq is missing. All Iraq was kidnapped.
Here are links to Iraqi women bloggers:
still alive (My Letters to America), Miraj (Baghdad Chronicles), Young Mammy (Emotions), Sunshine (Days of My Life), Aunt Najma (A Star from Mosul), River(Baghdad Burning), Pearls of Iraq (Miriam), An Iraqi Tear, hnk (HNK’s Blog)