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Another side of Iraq

Dear All,
This was posted to another list and I thought it might be interesting for some
here. I've not included the name of the author.


Dear friends,

 Please find below fragments from a message coming from a PhD student and
reporter from Iraq. I thought such a more personal letter would usefully
complement your reading of the official discourses on Iraq we read in our
newspapers. It just gives the impression of someone actually living there. I
proposed to publish her letter anonymously, but she insisted on using her own




I really don?t know what can I tell you. American soldiers and marines, Iraqis
are paying the lack of troops in Iraq. The general situation in Baghdad these
days is sinisterly reminiscent of the war. We keep hearing distant and
sometimes not so distant thuds and explosions that make windows rattle.
Helicopters hovering 24 hours a day almost at palm tree levels and jet fighters
screeching high above with an increasing urgency that makes one cringe from
apprehension. Electric power is almost non-existent and there has been a
serious shortage in petrol since Tuesday, most gas stations have been closed
for days and it's hard to find even on the black market, which means less
electrical generator time for Iraqi households.

 Fighting seems to have spread to several areas in Baghdad, including my
neighbourhood as it is close to Adhmya. Haifa street, Dora, Amiriya, Khadhraa',
Bayaa', Adhamiya and Zayuna districts have all witnessed clashes, mostly
between hit-and-run armed groups and Iraqi Police or National Guards. Car
bombings are all over the capital and several key roads and bridges have been
blocked, we are used toJ

 A cryptic threat was circulated a few days ago in both Baghdad and Ba'quba by
insurgents warning people to stay away from "governmental departments and
schools" causing widespread panic. A couple of primary schools in Baghdad were
reportedly stormed by armed men wearing scary gorilla masks, so schools and
colleges have been almost empty for several days. The air is rife with
outlandish rumours and conspiracy theories, aggravated by the lack of news
about what is exactly going on since most Arab media outlets are more
interested in broadcasting about those what they call themselves resistance or
opposition! I wonder who they resist and oppose? Anyhow life goes on in spite
of curfew and fighting in Baghdad. My sisters go to their colleges everyday.
You could tell Iraqis are accommodate themselves with the new life style in
Baghdad. They pretend to be brave in fact they are scared to death?

 I returned from Kerbal last month and was greeted by hooded men in a minibus
firing their AK-47's in the air close to the entrance of our street. The
troubled taxi driver dropped me off with my suitcase and drove away to safety.
The minibus went by and then into a side street where they seemed to have found
a target since frantic shooting followed. Not a living soul was on the street
except yours truly and I froze for a few seconds uncertain on which way to
head. A loud metallic clang behind me got me moving, so I scurried to my
destination keeping as close as possible to the walls while I was reflecting on
a friend's description of what it felt like to have a bullet tear through his
loin. It was definitely not a fun experience but I luckily made it home. I have
been scared stiff to put my nose out of the door since. This is the fourth
occasion in which I get myself caught in the middle of a shootout and something
tells me I won't be as lucky next time if we follow probability laws.
 That?s why I couldn?t continue working as a reporter. It was very dangerous and
put my family in trouble as I got 2 emails threatening me if I continue writing
against those terrorists. I?ve been helping women in the rural area to know
their rights in Islam. It hurts me to see that those women don?t know what is
the difference between Sharia law and tradition! Let me say they even don?t
know what does Islam mean!

 My movement is very restricted because of car bombing and mortar attacks
everywhere and anytime. I don?t go to anyplace alone anymore. My brother, Ali
is always with me.


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