It's 113 degrees today as Baghdad reels from the uptick in violence that is sweeping across Iraq in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal.
Alawi sits alone in his room. The house, while large, is crowded with the families of 2 brothers and one sister. "The slightest thing sets him off," his eldest daughter says. "He just goes to his room and shuts the door. You have to talk to him, please."
The government teeters on the verge of collapse. [Washington Post] Uptick in violence? That's about as heartless a set of verbiage as 'collateral damage,' but as time passes it's getting harder for us to describe the situation in Iraq in a meaningful way.
His heart is heavy with loss. He only allowed a few of the family to go to the funeral, fearing bombs that might attack the mourners. Yesterday, in the midst of their mourning, what was left of another family appeared at their door seeking shelter after their home was destroyed in an attack.
Today at least nother 25 Iraqis were killed [Hurriyet]. Between 250 and 400 Iraqis died violent deaths in June. The numbers are hard to come by; we couldn't find any mention of the deaths of our friends, the three sisters we wrote about on June 28, in any media. There's just too much death to keep track of.
Of his extended family only one has a salary now and 2 more are able to bring in some money from sporadic menial work. The bank accounts are shrinking fast and there is a sense of impending doom that will not go away. There are sullen family meetings. There is desperate talk of how to support the family. There is talk now of selling the rugs, furniture, the house itself.
While the U.S. media focuses mostly on the 'progress' of increased crude oil exports, the opening of a shopping mall, and stuff like that, the body count rises again as al-Qaida and other hard-to-name groups take advantage of weak government security to step up their divisive attacks. Foreign media seem much less reticent about reporting the facts and publishing the pictures.
Alawi sits by the window overlooking the now neglected garden. As he remembers his father tending the trees and flowers that bordered the grass where he played with his brothers and sisters his eyes fill with tears, overflow, and drip his spirit away.
When you contemplate the use of violence as a means to an end...think first of Alawi. Take a few minutes to let your elected representatives know how you feel about their choosing violent solutions.