الخميس، يونيو 01، 2006

Day to Day in Iraq

I am posting again at the NY Times 'Day to Day in Iraq' blog. Excerpts from my most recent posts below. They're behind the Times Select firewall, and I can't repost them in full until another month has passed.

The Emirate Strikes Back:


Abu Hassan is the generator owner. I had a vague notion of what might have taken place, but I hoped I was wrong. I found myself rushing across to the spot that people were still pointing at. There was a body indeed, lying face down, in a pool of blood, and it was Abu Hassan.

I crouched next to him and tried to check his pulse, but my hands were shaking and I couldn’t feel a thing. His neck was still warm and moist with sweat. Some familiar faces from the area cautiously approached me. “Is he still alive?” they asked. “I don’t know.. I don’t know,” I nervously shot back. “But do something. Take him to the hospital. Now.”

They tried to find a car, but it seemed that no one wanted anything to do with it, or were trying to make excuses. Someone stopped a taxi but the driver said no when he saw the corpse. I was still next to Abu Hassan’s body, trying to make sense of what just happened. Even now, when I try to remember those traumatic moments, I get a hazy picture, as if the whole incident was taking place in a dream, and that I would suddenly wake up and go out to find Abu Hassan in his mechanic’s overall, smiling under his big gray moustache as he pours gas oil into the generator.

When I tried to turn him over so they could carry him into a car, my hands touched his blood soaked shirt. I could now see that he was shot four times in the chest. There was also a bag nearby with a box of peaches, medication and a Pepsi bottle; he was obviously going to take that home to his kids. I stared in his anguished face again, then at my bloody hands. And that was when I momentarily lost it.


Reading Iraqis' 'Horrorscopes':


Gemini: Your parents have been nagging you to lay low and leave the country. Yet you are worried about an imminent death squad attack against your area. Plan your escape route carefully and keep a spare grenade for emergencies.
Attack day: Thursday.
Grenade No.: 5

Leo: A tip from one of your friends wrongfully ends you up in an
occupation detention camp. Learn to distinguish friend from foe. Avoid female American jail wardens, unless you like to explore
the arts of exhibitionism and BDSM.
Arrest day: Friday.
Prison cell No.: 26

Libra: Things are slowing down in your neighborhood. Your fellow watch-team members have nothing to do but smoke and trade mobile ring tones all night. It would probably not be a bad idea to take some time off from your guard duties and pay more attention to your love life.
Lucky day: Monday.
Street No.: 27

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