neurotic Iraqi wife
May 25, 2007
An empty shell walking in the desert with no where to go. I look around and all I see are the rays of the sun thats hitting directly at me. I squint my eyes, and I start to stumble. Im thirsty, my throat is dry, my lips are cracked. I feel something trickling down my chin. With the back of my hand I try to rub it away. But its sticky, I look, and its blood. Blood trickling down. Down my chin, making its way through to my shirt. The heat is getting to me, and for one second, one second only I lose my balance. I lose my balance and fall. I fall face down into the scorching sand. I start to cry, but theres no one around to soothe my pain away. I cry with all the frustration I have inside of me. I let out a scream, that of a mother losing its child. My shoulders shudder profusely and I cant stop. Maybe I dont wanna stop. I wanna let it all out. I begin to choke on my tears. I begin to choke on my blood. I begin to choke on the sand. Then out of nowhere I hear a beautiful sound. A sound of a chirping bird. I couldnt believe it. So I continue to sob. The chirping became closer, more beautiful. I shake my head, this is just a fragment of my imagination. There are no living things here. There cant be. But my instinct told me to look up. And I did.
There it was the most beautiful creature hovering over me. For a moment I thought it was an angel. Or a mirage of an angel. Then the clouds appeared, and I just stayed there kneeling, staring at the clouds. Although I dont really enjoy the rain that much, at that moment, when it started pouring on me, I smiled. I smiled and laughed, laughed hysterically. For I knew, I knew that theres someone out there watching over me. It gave me that power. It gave me that power of belief once again. The power of belief that I thought I lost, lost forever.
So yes, Im back, maybe not to my full potential, but I will try to be normal, if normal does really exist in my so called complicated life. Things are pretty bad here. No wait, bad is an understatement. Things are pretty darn bloody. The so called security crack down has not worked its magic. Its way past that. I doubt there is any solution to whats happening at the moment here. I think its beyond repairable. And please dont tell me that thats impossible. I can tell you, the only good news you hear here, the only good news that will make you jump with joy, real joy, is when someone you know, gets the chance of getting out of this hell. Yes, getting out of this hell. A few people I work with succeeded in getting visas to Europe. Others got the Special Immigrant Visa to the States. While others got intouch with family members and were able to go to some neighbouring countries. Thats the only piece of good news around here. Apart from that, I stopped asking. For even if I dont ask, they tell me exactly whats happening with them.
Electricity, a source of energy that we all take for granted has been scarce for millions of Baghdadi residents for over a month now. Scarce in this intolerable heat. Not even generators can suffice anymore. Water, a vital source of keeping us alive has now become a major target for infections. Security, oh whats that again? A word that almost everyone here forgot how it felt or what it really means. The dead bodies you read about being found on a daily basis scattered around the Baghdad neighbourhoods, have now become a normalcy. If people dont see them, they think there must be something wrong. Every Iraqi, every single one, that is living under these stark conditions have struggled to keep their sanity. If it was me living these dire conditions, there is no doubt I would be roaming the streets aimlessly pulling my hair out, literally going nuts. But no, these people, the Iraqi people should enter the Guiness book of records. Oh yes, most definitely. They are truly my heroes. No matter how much I say this statement, I can never do justice to them. Never.
E told me that all Iraqis are going to heaven. She said "Look what we have to endure everyday. There is no nation, no nation what so ever that I believe is suffering like us. No, I dont think there is anyone, anyone apart from the Iraqis that deserve to go to heaven." She shakes her head, and lights up a cigarette, lost in her own thoughts. W, took over the conversation. He said "You know Neurotica, I dont even know where our strength comes from, I know God exists, but if God really does exist, how can he allow this to happen. How can he allow all this suffering. How Neurotica?" I just sighed a big sigh, and answered "I dunno W, I wish I knew". Then I said, well look at it this way W, E is right, you all are going to heaven, so dont worry. He smiled sarcastically and said, what good will that do, I wanna enjoy life too. I want my unborn child to come to a safe world, to enjoy life, to have fun, to be free. I dont wanna wait for heaven.
And with these words, I became scared. For faith is getting scarce. Almost everyone stopped believing. Almost everyone have become athiests in their own way. For the right and the wrong reasons. But do you blame them? No one can blame them. They are after all breathing, walking, working, sleeping in a living hell. I dont care what youre gonna say, I dont even care what harsh words youre gonna throw at me, but Im just telling you the truth. The sad, harsh truth. And it has nothing to do with Islam, it has nothing to do with my religeon of peace, for it is a religeon of peace, no matter what you presume, or what you believe in. But people here are fed up. They really are. All they are asking for is to live in peace.
The Americans I work with keep asking me "Why are Iraqis killing each other. Why is it they dont wanna live in peace?" I sigh cuz I dont know where to start then K interjected and said, I have the perfect solution. K has only been here for 2 or 3 months. She has interacted with enough Iraqi people to know what it is they want, and need. She has been to a few ministries, she has mingled with ministers and DG's. She even enjoyed the hospitality of the Iraqis a few times sipping that yummy sweet Iraqi tea which we take pride in. We all looked at her waiting impatiently for that solution of hers. She cleared her throat and said well, I think we should crush a few sedatives into all the water around here in Iraq. This will calm people down. Then we may grow some marijuana plants, and start burning them in the air, that will definitely send the bad guys into a nice daze. Everyone will be just calm, chilled out and relaxed. All that hatred will dissipate. All the violence will be gone. All the destruction will come to a halt, and everyone, everyone living here will love each other. We stared at her, and for a moment, I kinda liked that idea, but then I let out a sarcastic laugh and said K, if only it was that easy.
I dunno anymore. Remember how I said everyone who is working with me is here just to save so they can get out of here? Well that priority has changed now. Money doesnt mean anything to them anymore because the truth of the matter is, inflation has hit them hard. All the prices soared to a degree where the $1800-$3000 they make here per month disappears. They save nothing. Not a single cent. So imagine those who dont work in the GZ, or those who dont even work. How are they surviving??? The priorities of my coworkers have turned towards the special immigrant visa. Thats why they risk their lives everyday to get here. They get here in hope of receiving the most awaited package. The package that turns their lives around. The package that turned S's life around and a few others. Their gateway to freedom. The package that tells them, on such and such date you have an interview, an interview in the American embassy. Thats the only reason they come here. The only valid reason.
Every single person I work with, every single one of them is awaiting that package. There are a few that actually did get it and are now enjoying their freedom. M, a guy who used to limp because of a stray bullet, got it. He got it a few months back and is now in Miami. Only reason he chose Miami because one of his previous American coworkers is living there and told him that he will assist him in every way. He sends pictures to one of his colleagues, who inturn emails it to all the Iraqis working here. One picture M is wearing a black tshirt and tight jeans, showing off his muscles (something that will definitely be a cause of death here in Iraq), with two blonde ladies in mini skirts in the background. Another picture is M posing in south beach with the biggest smile I have ever seen. Dr A, who shows me these pictures on his pc screen, asks me, Neurotica, do you think I too one day will send pictures like these? I smile and pat him on the shoulder and say, No Dr A, yours will be even nicer. You will send us a picture of you, your wife and your new born baby swimming in that beautiful ocean, enjoying the clean air, and your smile will be even bigger, because there you are holding your baby up, without any fear, without any care in the world. One day, you will Dr A. You will know what freedom and safety tastes like, feels like. You will Dr A eventually hear that beautiful chirping bird that gave ME my strength back. One Day, Dr A, One day....