illruminating via the always illruminating, illruminations, this story from israel, an excerpt,
What was it that drew me back
there? It was something undefined and awful; an evil, whose ripples forced me to return and take a second, more focused look at what was happening: The old man, a tall Arab of about 70, wearing a traditional white keffiyeh and with an expression of disorientation and meek acceptance on his face, was standing on the narrow part of the sidewalk, his back to the stone wall of the old German cemetery, whose iron gates are always locked, and the three Border Police soldiers
were leaning on the banister separating the sidewalk from the road. One of them was holding the documents the Palestinian had handed them - he came from Hebron and had no permit to be within the Green Line (1967 border) - and was talking on her mobile phone about personal matters, while the two others chatted and laughed, going on with their personal affairs.
Yes, we know all about the ‘raids’. I wish I had statistics on the raids. The ‘loyalists and terrorists’ must include Mohammed Al-Kubeisi of Jihad Quarter in Baghdad who was 11. He went outside on the second floor balcony of his house to see what the commotion was all about in their garden. The commotion was an American raid. Mohammed was shot on the spot. I remember another little terrorist who was killed four days ago in Baquba, a province north-east of Baghdad. This terrorist was 10… no one knows why or how he was shot by one of the troops while they were raiding his family’s house. They found no weapons, they found no Ba’athists, they found no WMD. I hope America feels safer now.
I gripped at the gate as my knees weakened, crying… trying to make sense of the mess. I could see many of the neighbors, standing around, looking on in dismay. Abu A.'s neighbor, Abu Ali, was trying to communicate with one of the troops. He was waving his arm at Umm A. and Reem, and pointing to his own house, obviously trying to allow them to take the women inside his home. The troop waved over another soldier who, apparently, was a translator. During raids, a translator hovers in the background inconspicuously- they don't bring him forward right away to communicate with terrified people because they are hoping someone will accidentally say something vital, in Arabic, thinking the troops won't understand, like, "Honey, did you bury the nuclear bomb in the garden like I told you?!"
Finally, Umm A. and Reem were allowed inside of Abu Ali's house, escorted by troops. Reem walked automatically, as if dazed, while Umm A. was hectic. She stood her ground, begging to know what was going to happen… wondering where they were taking her husband and boys… Abu Ali urged her inside.
The house was ransacked… searched thoroughly for no one knows what- vases were broken, tables overturned, clothes emptied from closets…
By 6 am the last cars had pulled out. The area was once more calm and quiet. I didn't sleep that night, that day or the night after. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Abu A. and his grandson L. and Reem… I saw Umm A., crying with terror, begging for an explanation.
Abu A. hasn't come back yet. The Red Cross facilitates communication between him and his family… L. no longer walks down our street on Fridays, covered in chocolate, and I'm wondering how old he will be before he ever sees his grandfather again…
the riverbendblog is an excellent perspective on the american occupation and life in baghdad these days, perhaps not as famous as salam, but incisive nevertheless, pay it a visit. posted by ubaid - Saturday, September 20, 2003 at 2:35 AM -
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