poverty been a man, I would have killed him.'' This was one of Imam Ali's
adages. However, it is not only poverty that is crushing the people today in Iraq. A friend
of mine has recently reported to me that he visited a family in Najaf
governorate that is living in very harsh conditions. This is an internally
displaced family that escaped the scourge of sectarian violence in Baghdad.
family consists of a father, two daughters and a son; the mother is dead. The
whole family is suffering from alopecia totalis
(complete head-hair falling). The son and his sister are severely malnourished
so much so the case that the sister, who is 6 years old, is only 6 kg.
malnutrition is causing her complete loss of sight and total atrophy.
is no enough food the family can find to subsist and water is full of sulphur
and is not drinkable altogether. Little are those who come and feed them and it
is until recently that people from Sadr office began to provide them with some
food and drinkable water.
is one of the many grieving stories that we witness every day in post-war Iraq.
Our loved ones, relatives, friends and colleagues are being killed and
intimidated every day by the militias and the criminal gangs. Doctors are being
abducted, mutilated and murdered every night. University professors are leaving
the country in huge numbers. Poor people are subjected to every sort of
forfeiting and grievances. No one is putting an end to their suffering and they
do not know who is doing what and why.
football players were able to bring joy to the Iraqis' hearts while armies of
soldiers and politicians failed to drive away harm. A question is always raised
''why is all this happening to us?''
am still receiving mails from my students. Their hearts are burning with pain
for losing their good teachers. The universities are morphing meeting places
where one can pass time. This academic deprivation is eating into the society
that has already been subjected to different sorts of torment.
What does it mean to leave everything in your life behind except your wife and children?
After RAKA's brother was killed he was told that if he didn't leave he would be killed also. He managed to get to Jordan with his wife and children unharmed. They chose to leave everything they knew behind them in order to keep living.
The bond between good, caring teachers and their students is strong.
The loss of contact with them is only one part of the pain of
separation, but it is as real as any other. Here is RAKA's letter to his beloved students, written soon after he arrived in Jordan.
Dear Students, brothers and sisters,
I am sorry to have left you without saying good-bye. But such being our
lives: so fickle, so shadowy. You remember Macbeth's lines:
After the death of my brother, we thought it was
everything. There was a strong urge from my family and friends that I leave the
country. However, I was thinking of the good things that I have in Iraq: my
family, my friends, my teachers, my colleagues and last but not least my
students that I have always been thinking of as friends and brothers that are
in need for help, advice, guidance and a good word that would keep them on the
right path. In this regard, and thanks to modern technology, I would like to
tell you that I am not so far from you. Yes, I am abroad, but I am keeping a
close look at you and I follow up your news. I have always been willing to stay
among you, but there are bad people who do not like you to progress and
prosper. As such, I earnestly call upon you to tend a little bit to yourselves,
to see yourselves as students, real students who are worthy of success. I am
abroad today and I am so much pained by what I see around me, not out of envy,
but out of woe. I see the students in the Arab countries progressing and edging
their way in life confidently and proudly. I look back at you and feel a strong
sense of pity for what you are. Think of yourselves as translators and
interpreters who are going to contribute to the good of your country. Do not be
involved in material gain while forget your lessons and what you are. Money is
luring and work is tempting. This is a fact of life. Though, you have to reckon
that you are students, still young, and the whole future is ahead of you, just
wait and prepare yourselves for the good chances ahead.
You can make your life meaningful and, opposite to
Macbeth, worthy of living and signifying a lot. The chances you have are better
than ours are and the resources at your hands are more copious than what we
used to have when we were students, sometimes not able to find a dictionary.
With translation, there are so many opportunities and chances that are waiting
for you; but never be tempted by those dirty people, who are killing our folk
and destroying our home.
Pay due respect to each other and to those who are
there to help you: your teachers. Help each other, pray for the good of the
whole country, and never forget that Allah, the Prophet and the good men, both
dead and alive, are all watching us.
I am sure that the foam of the sea will never last
long, and that the waves of good hope will wash out the solid rocks of despair.
I wish you all the best and safe life… Sincerely Yours,
Here's the end of Rafed's tale. Is this allegory, history, or a glimpse into the unfolding present? This well-wrought story is a crystal through which we can see a world through Iraqi eyes. Thank you, Rafed, for sharing this with us.
We hope that the near future will find you and your family fulfilling your wish finally get here to continue both your own studies as well as your wish to bring the truth out. Bruce
Rafed's short story, The Sky will not Rain Again, continues below <<click 'Continue reading' to view part 5, the end.>>.
Here is more of Rafed of Basrah's email that he sent with the short story serialized below. If you have any ideas of how to help him get to the US the please write us at 121Contact@bru-mar.com.
I don't know
if you can help me with my situation. I want to come to the US so that I follow
up my education there. It is my dream to be there to speak to the people about
the hardships we are facing and to show them a better picture of Islam and
Muslims than the one presented to them in the atrocious September 11 events. I
was admitted for a partial scholarship to study for an MA in Sustainable
International Development (SID) in Brandeis University. Unfortunately, they
offered me a maximum of 17'000 USD and I have then to care for the remaining
32'000 USD, which I can never afford viewing my situation. I don’t really know
if you could possibly help me with this.
Rafed's short story, The Sky will not Rain Again, continues below <<click 'Continue reading' to view part 4>>.
Stranded in Amman, unable to return to Basrah because of threats, Rafed said,
there is a September 11 in Iraq and the US-British presence, unfortunately
enough, is adding insult to injury. Right after the murder of my brother by one
week, our house was raided by an army of British soldiers with their armoured
vehicles and sniffing dogs. They were searching for weapons that they think we
use for attacking the Multi-national forces. They beat my wife and my eldest
brother. Upon finding nothing, they took more than 4'000 USD, my Toshiba
Satellite laptop and so many personal papers including my bereaved mother's
passport. They terrified the family and scared the kids. The situation is
unbearable there and life is so difficult here in Jordan.
Rafed's short story, The Sky will not Rain Again, continues below <<click 'Continue reading' to view part 3>>.
Rafed's story continues below <<click 'Continue reading' to view part 2>>. Here is more of his email:
What is happening to us,
believe me, is far more overwhelming and horrendous than the September 11
events. Those who attacked you and killed your beloved ones for no reason but
madness and sheer grudge at a society living in peace and liberty that go at
extreme variance with their evil minds are themselves who are attacking our
beloved today in different parts of Iraq. Rafed
This is the first part of a serialization: The Sky Will Not Rain Again, by Rafed A. Kashan. Trapped in Jordan, not able to return home because of threats after the murder of his brother, and unable to gather the funds needed to take advantage of his partial scholarship at Brandeis University, he wrote:
the short story, please be aware that you are free to post it on your project
blog and mention my full name. There is a name in the story, Jalal, who is
Karim's close friend and my brother who was murdered in his barbershop three
months ago. He was only 30 years old and very loveable and amorous person. He
was kind hearted and the money he was gaining from his exhausting profession
used to be lent to those who are in need so that when he died, we had no idea
where his money was. Thanks to the people who came and informed us that they
kept his money with them. His girl friend whom he promised to marry is still in
a very traumatic state as she is an orphan and she was heavily relying on Jalal
to care for her and her young brother."