Nesreen is here in the U.S. She is speaking the truth to as many people as she can - church, mosque, synagogue, civic group, friends and family. We were on Democracy Now yesterday. Many more events are planned. And what she feels is very complicated. Sometimes it is great to be here relaxing, working for peace, seeing and tasting new things.
Sometimes it is hard.
I miss Baghdad. Everything in Baghdad. Though it is hard and painful to remember Baghdad today and not the Baghdad of before.
The empty streets used to be filled with people; used to be clean and filled with satisfaction in the Baghdad of old.
So I picked up the phone to see how life is today in Baghdad. I called my brother; my dearest brother. His voice came to me with a little bit of sadness. I asked the reason behind that and he said, "It is unbearable. Everything in Iraq is unbearable. No one can bear the 'heat' of Baghdad. No electricity and no water. The American troops are patrolling in the neighborhood at each hour now. Not only the Americans. The Iraqi forces also. From time to time we hear shooting or sounds of the exploding landmines. We are imprisoned in our house."
I didn't know what to say to him. I asked him to stay at home and never leave the house whatever it takes. He replied, "I am. I have no other choice. There is nobody in the streets. Shops are closed. Everybody is in their houses because they are afraid of the bombing, or to be arrested."
It is dangerous to be in the streets. When they see a landmine or a body they will suspect anyone in the area and take you as a prisoner. Even when they don't find anybody then sometimes they go into the nearest houses and arrest the people.
I called my friend to see how life is in her neighborhood. I found her sad. She is bored of her life; the same routine, the same details, the same heat. I told her, "What's the news?"
She said, "I stopped listening to the news."
I asked her about the rest of our friends and she said, "Ilham, our colleague, lost her two sons." Strangers assassinated her two young men in front of their house. The boys were about 20 and 17. About 6 months ago one of the boys was kidnapped and then released two weeks later after they paid a ransom. Now they have killed him and his young brother.
And another colleague, Wart, had her house damaged when she was shopping with her children. It was hit by a rocket last week. The house was completely demolished by the missile and the fire that came after.
Four years of war. People expected more stability, more safety, security, freedom, yah! But there is nothing like this.
I wanted to hear something good about Baghdad but it seems I was dreaming. There is no more good news about Baghdad.