FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Between El Kharada and Nice

I’ve been hibernating since I heard the news about the massacre in El Kharadah district in Baghdad. It is the district where my memories from childhood were, the district where I was raised and taught to be a good woman and be good to others. In Al Kharadah I had my first love, it’s there where my heart broke and I cherished what life gave me after. The sky was filled with tiny stars, the moon was bigger and so were our hopes and dreams.  The smell of the orange blossoms filled the street I lived in and the birds were singing in harmony during the four seasons.

I have lived in so many countries since I left Baghdad in 1978, but I don’t remember the addresses and the phone numbers in these countries. Our address in Al Kharadah was 22/4 Abou Klam Street, Baghdad and our phone number was 92408.

I visited Baghdad after the invasion in 2003. Baghdad lost its beauty after the American government launched their ugly war which was based on a lie. I refused to go back to Abu Klam Street because I wanted to keep my good memories and the nice image of that street in my mind. I was tempted to return a few times, but I resisted.

I heard the news about the explosion at al Kharadah district at midnight in Toronto. I called my relatives in Baghdad who live in the neighborhood; they all assured me they were well, but I was told that the news they were hearing were devastating. I called a dear friend a few times but didn’t hear from him and was worried. I kept emailing him and calling him but in vain. Finally he responded after a few days saying:

“I was in the area of the explosion. I pulled my best friend’s deceased body with my own hands. I pulled other bodies and buried them all the same day. I apologize for not being able to respond or talk. The smell of death is still in my nose. Life has no meaning any more. Am I living? I don’t want to live anymore.”

I found no words to respond to his note. In mourning words are mute. I wanted to be close to my friend in Baghdad, hold his hands and cry together for the loss of his friends and the other innocent Iraqis who wanted to celebrate the Eid. There were no fireworks to celebrate the Eid, only the wailings of women who had lost their loved ones. More than 250 innocent lives were lost.

I sat on a bench facing the lake in Hamilton, Ontario the day before yesterday.  The sky was full of stars and the reflection on the lake was stunning. The scenery reminded me of Dijlah, the river which was close to our house in Abou Klam. I thought of the continuous suffering of the Iraqis since the invasion.  A hundred people die in Iraq every day with thousands forced from their homes. Unrelenting violence, power cuts, water shortages make life unbearable for the Iraqis for day to day basis.

I came back from Hamilton the night after and heard the news about the attack in Nice. I couldn’t believe what I heard and watched. A dear friend was visiting Nice last week, I was horrified of the thought that she could be among the crowd. I remembered my friend in Baghdad and shivered.  I kept looking at the TV screen and cried as I have never cried before.

A week ago in Baghdad charred bodies were pulled from the debris and in Nice the bodies of kids were covered with white sheets with their toys beside them. What do the Iraqis who were celebrating the Eid and the crowd who were celebrating a national day has in common? How do murderers give themselves the liberty to take people’s lives? How?

A murderer who was raised in a country that teach hatred by the name of Islam, or a leader who invade another country causing death of innocent people have something in common and that is hatred and rage toward humanity.

Damn you who took the joy from the Iraqis, from the crowd in Nice and from all of us during these continuous years of war. Damn you who turned our lives to fear, damn you who supported the killers. Damn them all.

Let’s mourn the death of the innocent people whoever they were, wherever they lived and let our love to humanity unite us to stop this hatred now otherwise it will hit us all.

Nesreen Melek is an Iraqi exile living in Canada.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail