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Interview With Victims Of US Attack On Fallujah
On April 28th, Faiza Jarrar interviewed several famillies who were taking refuge in Baghdad after being forced to flee Fallujah. Faiza is an Iraqi blogger who writes for "A Family In Baghdad" and her son Raed (of dear_raed fame) has a website called "Raed In The Middle" that deals with being secular in US Occupied Iraq.
I return to those from Falluja, and their stories that I heard from them. What will change if you listen or not? I don’t know. But if only for the trust invested in me, I will relate to you the picture. Perhaps it will provide you with some useful information, for those who haven’t heard
There were many families in that house, and all of them related – cousins, and their children. Two of them left their husbands there, because they heard that men were not allowed to leave.
So they left with their children, walking from nine 9 in the morning, and reached their relatives house at three in the afternoon, in Baghdad. The dust covered their children while they cried and screamed. The women’s eyes were wide open from shock, and often the words wouldn’t leave their throats.
We don’t know if we will return home.
Will we find our husbands still alive?
We feel embarrassed because we are guests in other people’s houses and we didn’t bring with us even a dinar, because of the shock and fright.
We left with the clothes on our backs. Every day we wash the clothes of the children and make them wear it again.
We wish to return or find somebody to send to us our things from our houses.
Every day there is contradictory news about families returning. Nobody is brave enough to return to the fighting.
The fighting stops and starts.
Some of the families here don’t have relatives, so they are living in tents and people bring them donations of food and medicine.
One of them was quite a young-looking woman in the black of widows, her husband died six years ago. She has seven children, between seven and seventeen. She lived with them in a residential apartment on the outskirts of Falluja, for government employees, where her husband used to work. She lives with her children on the retirement salary paid to their father. She said:
We left after the fighting became very heavy after a few days. My husband’s brother came and took us into his car to one of the villages around Falluja, called the area of Zuba’. We remained there for a week, and then we went to Baghdad. On the first day when the coalition forces entered the city, they announced over loudspeakers, that schools and shops were closed, curfew: that it would be absolutely forbidden to leave one’s home from seven in the morning.
On the second day, the fighting began in the area. We didn’t leave the house. We didn’t know what was happening on the streets. The children gathered around me and they were shaking. And putting their hands over their hears so as not to listen to the sounds of plans and falling missiles. We didn’t dare leave the room to go to the kitchen to bring bread or food. They cut off the water and the electricity at our place. The assault was terrifying, day and night. The windows were smashed and the house was filled with smoke. We don’t’ know from where the smoke came. The children were crying and screaming and I was crying with them. We were all shaking. I told myself:
This is the end of the day of resurrection
The world has ended
We could see the American forces digging trenches close to our house. We were on a flat on the third floor. And at 12:00 pm exactly they would receive their lunch. We would watch them in the evening when they would receive their dinner at 6:00pm.
I didn’t have a fridge to hold food for the children. There was stale bread, and water. I used to buy my things from the market daily. I didn’t have anything stored. From fright I couldn’t make dough or bake bread for them from the remains of flour.
Our days were terrifying. I was reading verses from the Quran and saying that we would die – me and the children, here, and nobody would know.
And then after a few days somebody knocked on the door. One of my husbands relatives came and told us to leave quickly: We have a car.
We went down the stairs quickly without thinking. We didn’t take anything with us. No ID cards, no clothing. Just the clothes we were wearing. One of my little girls, Nada, went down running barefoot. I forgot to give her something to wear on her feet.
We saw the corpses in the streets Umm Raed. I sight I can’t forget all my life. No, they were not corpses, they were hands and legs scattered, filling the streets, scattered things. Human flesh scattered. Some of it sticking to the walls of houses. Flying flesh and sticking to the walls of houses.
The day of resurrection, I told myself all the way. There was fighting around us with missiles, hitting the streets, and people running, people inside trucks. Men and women, running away from hell. Every one of them was just thinking of their own life without thinking of anybody else. The smell of death penetrated every place. I couldn’t believe we were still alive.
Thank God. My children are ok. That’s enough.
My children went after a week to get our IDs and clothes, but the neighbors turned them away. They said that the American forces were in the building and broke the locks and entered. Don’t come close, they will shoot at you.
Did you see Mujahideen?
I asked her
And who was shooting at the American forces?
She said she didn’t know the answer because she didn’t leave the house. And she didn’t know who was shooting. Perhaps men from Falluja themselves. Defending their houses and their women. Everybody who left their house was shot at by snipers and we heard of an old man who went outside his house so a soldier killed him while he was standing outside his house. So his son killed the soldier in anger because he killed his elderly father. Then the soldier’s comrades killed that man. The neighbors say they buried them side by side in the house’s garden. I keep thinkning that if we were all inside our house, and azzam went outside to get something and a soldier killed him standing in front of the door. Who will prevent my children from carrying arms and revenging their father
It’s an impossible task
Who gives orders?
Who is implementing?
And who is debating?
Is killing the language of communication between men?
When was killing the language of communication between humans?
Even animals don’t do that to each other.
So what’s happening to humans…the master of creature …the creator of civilizations.
And who has the answer?
# posted by faiza : 7:31 PM 4/28/2004
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
All news are depressing. Nothing is promising. Falloja is still on fire.
Things at Alnajaf threatens that it might be a new front, so we could be
even more happy! I feel hopeless and defeated.
Someone wants to destroy us, and he's making a very good job at it.
The whole world stands watching us.
Hearts and minds are confused wondering what is really going on???
We too, with open mouths and popped out eyes, are wondering: for God's sake
tell us what is really going on???
Did someone plan to make Iraq the battlefield for the war between terrorists
and their enemies??
Were ignoring borders' security and the state of lawlessness a planned thing
to draw America's enemies into Iraq where they can be fought?
When did the battlefield became Iraq instead of the US?
Iraq instead of Afghanistan?
what did We- innocent civilians- do?
Who cares about us?
Who defends us?
We go to our work and schools accompanied with fear and come back with it..
We hear explosions and the choppers flying day and night,and the fighter
planes flying at night.
I don't know what for!
Maybe they bomb Falloja and then fly back to Baghdad?
We don't understand anything anymore.
We want peace and security.
We want this insanity to stop...
Who holds the power to make it stop?
Who holds the power???
Newspapers, radio stations and satellite channels keeps presing on our
nerves. Maybe in The rest of the world they're getting bored of listening to
our news.They'll start looking for less enraging and disgusting topics..
I don't blame them.
Human beings are weak creatures with low threshold when it comes to
listening to painful and irritating news.
The world will get bored and stops listening.
The ones who planned for all this devastation will go on with their plans
Will they win??
I don't know.
If we were negative and weak, then they'll win.
That's the way it is.
people keep their heads low because they are afraid and they want peace of
But what about us? What's left of our lives?
What do we bet on?
People die for trivial reasons and our eyes are filled with tears and our
hearts are torn apart by sorrow.
The same hearts which dreamt of peace, love and happiness- like any other
heart- heart which dreamt of happy moments with our loved ones, where we
laugh and talk to them and dream of a beautiful future.
We are no longer one of people with such hearts.
We don't belong to them any more.
Sadness lives with us and we don't know who is our friend and who is our
Life became a trivial matter like a cheap movie that you wouldn't want to
watch even if you got a free ticket.
That's Iraqis' everyday life.
Who cares about them or about their daily problems?
Who will volunteer to defend them and stop this daily destruction?
I don't think anybody wants to do that...
I don't think anybody can do that..
God now controls everything, and does what he wants.
and we have nothing to do except to be patient and wait.
USA Today reporter visited us few days ago.
We talked about this site, when we started to blog and why.
Then I called the women and chidren from Falloja who were staying with their
relatives next door so he would interview them.
The fighting at Falloja was very intense at that time.
Then the article was published (
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-20-bloggers_x.htm ). It was
tasteless and meaningless and he didn't write a word about the Falloja
residents he met.
What exactly happened to César the reporter? I don't know...
But I can picture him apologizing and saying this is the way our media is,
sorry I couldn't write about them.
Thank you César.I understand what happened. You always show half of the
This is what I think would happen to the CNN reporter.
He won't air the film or he'll edit it so -again- it'll be meaningless,
empty and trivial.
I look at the USA, the land of freedom and democracy from Baghdad, the land
of destruction, devastation and sadness, and I smile bitterly and wonder
about the meaning of such words: freedom and democracy.
Or what's left of them.
# posted by faiza : 6:15 PM 4/27/2004