Sunday, June 20, 2010

50 meters

Fifty meters was the distance between me and inevitable death.
I was trying to get a bus to go back home after a short day of work. I was walking in Mamoon street (Yarmouk neighborhood in western Baghdad) heading to Al Nissour Sq. in order to get a bus from there and go back home. It takes me 10 minutes by foot to get to that square. I pass by a state-run bank which is called The Trade Bank of Iraq, and also beside it, there is an office of Iraq's interior ministry where Iraqis apply for their national ID cards. It was about 11:00 am local time and usually this area at that hour as it was today is so crowded with people visiting both the bank and the office to get their stuff done. I kept walking and trying to lessen the terrible heat of our burning sun with a bottle of water and a wet handkerchief. Then, I felt like my ears were about explode and my lungs were jumping out of my chest. I then realized it was a heavy blast. I looked behind and I saw nothing but fire smoke and dust. Immediately, a rain of shattered stones and metal pieces were falling over. I stood amazed there for a minute but I was awakened by some bullets were fired by the Iraqi police and quickly I started to escape the bloody scene to a safer place. Another loud explosion occurred, leaving a huge giant of fire and a rain of flying pieces of iron falling from the sky. I raised my head above and I saw a large piece of a car's wheel flying in the air on the other side of the street. Then I sped up again and went to take shelter behind a few trees just to catch a breath. I couldn't believe what just happened. If I was 50 meters back or 2 minutes late, I could be dead. People were running in all directions. And ambulances and fire trucks invaded the scene. I looked back to check on the bloody scene but the smoke was killing my visibility. Anyway, I guessed that the explosions were targeting the Trade bank and the office of Iraq's interior ministry. Later, I heard on tv that each car was loaded with 80 kilogrammes (180 pounds ) of ammonium nitrate. A recent update mentioned that 33 people were killed and 52 others were injured. Five guards of the bank were among the dead and six others were wounded. While many of the victims from that blast targeting the interior ministry office were women, according to the Iraqi army. That truly is painful. Till this moment I do not forget how a man burst into tears as he was running towards the explosions. I'm sure many families have lost their beloved ones today and my family could have been one of those. I ask what is the guilt perpetrated by the poor families to face a horrible fate like that? What those innocent women and children did? Won't the violence and bloodshed stop in Iraq? Should ordinary Iraqis pay the political struggle in Baghdad? Can't those poor Iraqi families live in peace? Is there any light at the end of this long dark bloody tunnel?


21 comments:

sarautopia said...

Salaam homie... Sorry to hear about that dreadful experience. Al7amduliah you OK. Hope work is treating you well and the ladies ;) Btw, I'm in NZ now, living it up there... will take some pics for you. Miss our chats. Peace Out xo. Sarah.

Don Cox said...

Very sorry to hear of your horrible experience.

Iraqis have lived through decades of wars, brutal dictatorships, invasions, tortures, bereavements. There are bound to be some who are permanently damaged by this, and can understand nothing but violence.

There are men whose only skills are in fighting and bomb-making, who are unemployable in any normal work.

Eventually, if things get no worse, these people will age and most will settle down to poverty and grumbling. I think this will take several years yet.

Hopefully the attacks will slowly become rarer.

Things can improve. Think what was happening in Europe in, say, 1944. Compare that to now.

陳淳 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynnette In Minnesota said...

I'm glad that you are all right, Caesar. You were very lucky. What a horrible thing to have happen.

I was starting to wonder if you had given up on the blog and hadn't checked back for awhile. I happened to be looking through Iraq Blog Count Experimental and noticed you had posted again.

I hope things calm down again in Iraq. Building a country is tough enough without having to dodge bombs and bullets.

Take care.

JasonBirk佳琪 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Caesar of Pentra said...

@ Sarah,
Thanks, girl. Good luck to you in New Zealand. Study well and focus on your present and future.

@ Don,
Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost
theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely
to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence
in places with active insurgencies. We test that prediction on insurgencies in Iraq and the Philippines,
using survey data on unemployment and two newly- available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks
against government and allied forces; and (2) violence that kills civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost
theory, we find a robust negative correlation between unemployment and attacks against government
and allied forces and no significant relationship between unemployment and the rate of insurgent attacks
that kill civilians.

@ Lynnette,
Long time no here, dear. I am sorry for being outta sight all that long. I don't think I would give up blogging one day. But also I can't blog regularly because of work and other stuff that make me busy.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

But also I can't blog regularly because of work and other stuff that make me busy.

It's all right, Caesar, I understand. Especially if that "other stuff" is a girl. ;) But I'm thrilled to hear you are working. Last time I think you were still looking.

Contrary to the opportunity-cost
theory, we find a robust negative correlation between unemployment and attacks against government
and allied forces and no significant relationship between unemployment and the rate of insurgent attacks
that kill civilians.


I think the assumption that low income level alone is the deciding factor in whether or not someone will pick up a weapon and kill is short-sighted. It completely ignores any ideology that may drive someone. And, of course, there are just the plain crazies out there that will jump on the bandwagon.

When developing any counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism strategy it would seem to be logical to look beyond what may seem the obvious and develop a multi-faceted approach to dealing with the problem. Or, put another way, what works in one place may not work in another because of local circumstances.

吳淑惠 said...

耐心是一株很苦的植物,但果實卻很甜美。..................................................

劉隆季劉隆季 said...

人並不是生來要吃敗仗的。人可被毀滅,但不可被擊倒。.................................................................

鄭美玉 said...

相見亦無事,不來常思君.................................................................

伊任柳珈南昕 said...

It is easier to get than to keep it.......................................................................

文王廷 said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today......................................................................

吳沛黃以富民 said...

Offence is the best defence.............................................................

陳雅吳水以竹 said...

很喜歡你的部落格,來給你加油,幫你推一下喔~期待你的下一個更新,謝謝..................................................................

麗王王珠 said...

讓好心情回味發酵;壞心情留在文字裡隨時間消逝吧!............................................................

佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

與人相處不妨多用眼睛說話,多用嘴巴思考,............................................................

玉韓韓韓婷韓韓韓韓 said...

耐心是一株很苦的植物,但果實卻很甜美。..................................................

璇陳陳陳竹 said...

生命的意義,是在於活的充實;而不是在於活得長久。............................. ...................................

司冯欣 said...

您的blog蠻不錯的耶,祝你快樂哦!期待您的更新!............................................................

Sandybelle said...

OMG!! I am so sorry for what happened!!!

all i can add is that i am so happy you are ok and i hope these bad things will stop soon. Stop forever..

David said...

Hi Caesar,

I am sad to read your post! I am very sorry for the loved ones of those killed and injured.

I hope everything is well for you and your family!

At this point, I really don't understand what is motivating continued bombings in Iraq. I read your comment to Don. If unemployment has no correlation to attacks, it seems to me that Iraqis are not doing them. It takes a really twisted mind to think there is anything to gain from murdering innocent civilians, especially woman and children. I hope the Iraqi Army and Police can step up and put an end to these terrorists!

I don't get around to my old blog friends much these days. I should try to do that more.

Take care.