Monday, January 29, 2007

The Human Face of Iraq

I came across this heart-breaking letter on IRINnews.og from 11 year old Sameer Ibrahim who lives and schools in Baghdad. It is a moving indictment of the American adventure in Iraq and of the inhumanity at the heart of the so-called insurgency.

BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - "I’m 11 years old and an only son. I’m a pupil at Mansour Primary School in Baghdad. Lately, I have been feeling very lonely in my class. This week, I was the only student in class because all my classmates didn’t come to school for various reasons.

“Since last September, three of my classmates have been kidnapped and two have been killed. One was murdered with his family at home and the other was a victim of a bomb explosion a month ago.

“The others have either fled to Jordan and Syria with their families or their relatives have prohibited them from coming to school for fear that something might happen to them.

“I live very close to my school. I can walk there in two minutes. My mother takes me there and picks me up every day. She prays all the way to school and all the way back and tells me not to be scared. She says that at least I’m studying and one day I can be an important man and leave Iraq forever.

“Every time something happens to a child from my school, the next day all classes are empty and they stay empty for at least a week. Families and teachers get scared and desperate.

“I remember one day when I was leaving school, four men pulled up in a car and kidnapped Khadija, one of my friends. She was only 10. I cried for days on end fearing she was going to be killed. Her parents sold their house and car to pay the ransom money and then she was released. But she was so weak that she had to be hospitalised for two weeks.

“Now she and her family are in Jordan. I miss her, but I know it is better for all of them.

“The only thing that makes me afraid is that if they kidnap me, I know I’ll be killed. My family has no money to pay a ransom. We don’t have a house, a car or any other goods to sell. So for sure I could be another victim of the terror that we live with but I have faith that God will protect me.

“Most of our teachers have left the school. I heard that some of them have travelled abroad and others stopped working for security reasons on the insistence of their families. I miss them all. I miss the days when we used to run in our school and go home on our own, not worried by the violence.

“This week, I asked my mum to keep me at home too because I was the only child in class but she insisted that I go to school. I’m scared but I have to obey my mother.

“We were 21 students and today I’m the only one in class.

“When people ask me if I have hopes that everything will be fixed and we will have security again, I answer that I don’t because the violence is increasing every day and I continue to lose friends.

“I cannot study any more. I don’t have the concentration and the teachers don’t give us lessons as before. What I study these days is material that I learnt two years ago. I’m not sure that if I study like that I’ll turn out to be that important man who my mother believes I’m going to be.”
You can read more IRIN reports on Iraq here.


Aizoh said...

Heart rending story.Who gave Americans the authority to invade foreign countries at will? To think that they bring a lot of suffering to these countries' poor citizens just to further their own selfish interests! And this at great cost even to themselves. They get whipped. From Vietnam to Somalia to Afganistan and now Iraq, they get whipped. When will they ever learn?

Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for posting that -- but of course the Americans will tell us to think how much better off he is than he was under Saddam Hussein!