Sunday, 18 December 2011

US withdrawl

today the last convoy of the US troops left Iraq after nine years of their presence, nine years filled of so many horrific stories that we ,the Iraqis, and the US soldiers both witnessed , watching the pictures of US troops departure have flashed back the first days of war in 2003 which started with continuous heavy airstrikes on Baghdad, sleepless nights of fear, traveling from one place to another to escape the bombardments, to avoid being close to any possible target. Announcing the end of military operation (the airstrikes) was quite a relief. I remember watching for the first time the footage from Baghdad, Saddam statue being toppled, the looters.. was so shocking  I had mixed feeling of anger, sadness and shock, seeing the US soldiers on the ground was like a dream we were not believing if we are dreaming or this is reality... I felt I was in American movie when they talked to me. the first sign of hope was going back to school, which I was not expecting to happen after all this. I was in the second year of college. it was a tough time to study, with the summer heat and lack of electricity, we took the rooftop of our house as a shelter to escape the heat hoping for a windy night, studying and sleeping there, I still remember the roars of tanks from the military base near our house, the US helicopters were hovering all night, besides the sounds of gunshots from time to time which were forcing us to wake up in the middle of night to go inside the house. After few months, the violence started to appear, with a killing of US soldier inside our campus, bombing of the UN... and  the kidnappings.... other stories happened during the years of college but somehow we managed to graduate after 2 years in 2005. the next challenge was looking for a job amid that mess and the sectarian, no one would ever ask me at that time what I have studied or what my qualification, the first and main question was where am I from, am I sunni or shiite. during that time so many people were killed just because their names were omar ( sunni), or Ali  ( shiite), tens of unidentified bodies were found daily in the Tigris river or elsewhere in Baghdad I still remember seeing the dead bodies being transported by police car. most of people tried to carry fake IDs including me, to hide any sign of sector. no sunni was able to go to a shiite neighbourhood and vice versa . we were so depressed and hopless, there was many cars bomb attacks everywhere, anytime, sirens of police and ambulance cars would never stopped. going out from the house was just like going to a war zone, we were all just like soldiers, waking  up every day and think if it might be the last. counting and waiting, waiting for a sign of peaceful life. living in a peace, witnessing a day without a bomb or shooting was a dream. violence became part of our life if not all life and we started to get used to it , we reached to a point where seeing dead bodies, or hearing bombings became quite normal.
after long waiting people became desperate and any change even the peace that they were dreaming lost its taste with losing their loved ones and friends. the withdrawal might be the end of the story from the US side but it won't be far from the end to Iraq, it might be just the start.