Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Shadow of the Past

From Mohammed at Iraq the Model:

'Something caught my attention while I was examining the students, some of the names do not belong to the south in any way; names that are not even Arabic and when I asked about it the students told me that they were Kurds. “What would the sons of the mountain do in the south?”I asked. Here an old man tried to make things clear for me he said that they were 500 families forced to leave their homes and brought to the south in the early 1980s “these kids were born here” he added with tears starting to form in his eyes “but it’s ok, we’re all Iraqis and here is our land too; this is what Saddam planned for us, twenty years is too much time and my son got married here. We have to accept it and I wish that Allah will avenge us”. Later I knew that most of those families returned to their lands in the north while 13 families decided to stay in Samawa.

I felt pain, deep inside, I’m supposed to work here for one single year but I’m counting days to go back to my beloved Baghdad. What would I do if I had to stay here for the rest of my life. I kicked these thoughts out of my mind; this is beyond my capabilities and it’s not going to happen again in our new Iraq.

I heard a lot of unconfirmed stories about crimes committed by Saddam’s regime in this town but I’m going to mention one of these because I met the victim himself. He’s an agricultural engineer and I met him one evening in the coffee shop. He was dedicated to his job as many of the locals said.

When the uprising started in 1991 he was taken with his family to one of Saddam’s jails “Saddam’s dogs left me handicapped” he said and showed me his arms that were full of ugly scars from torture “they used a hot iron to burn my arms” I shared his pain with him while he was telling me the details “I survived because I was not found guilty but my two brothers were not lucky as I was; I’m still looking for their bodies in the mass graves” and continued “Saddam had stolen every dream we had, look at the desert just beside the river! we couldn’t plant anything here, and even now we don’t have the money or the technology and Baghdad was and still taking the priority. I doubt they will look after us soon. The future is not for my generation, it’s for our children”.'

"Dreams and Worries"