Saturday, June 09, 2007

Murdered for being Shi'a

Yesterday I spoke with my mother, who told me a very sad story about her friend Fawziya in Baghdad. Khala (Aunt) Fawziya is a distant relative of my mother's cousin, the one whose family was jailed for 4 years in the early 80s because one of her sons deserted the army - I wrote about that story in my first post. So I guess this makes Khala Fawziya a distant relative of mine, even tough I don't remember her very well. About 6 months ago, Khala Fawziya and her family were sleeping in their large house in an upscale neighborhood of Amriya, a Sunni Arab-dominated district in western Baghdad. Khala Fawziya's son and his wife, a Sunni Arab woman he had married just 20 days earlier, were staying with his parents and were sleeping in their own room. Very early in the morning while they were still asleep, a group of armed men stormed into the house and dragged the newlywed couple out of their room, and of course this woke everybody else. Khala Fawziya's husband begged the men not to harm his son and told them that he had $20,000 in the house and that he would give it to them if they just leave the house without harming anybody. They agreed, but as soon as the money was handed over, the men shot and killed Fawziya's husband. They then turned their guns on Fawziya's son, whose wife pleaded with the men not to kill her husband. She told them that she is Sunni. They told her that they should kill her too because she married a Shi'i. Then they shot and killed the young man and left with the money. The following week, Khala Fawziya took the remainder of her family and moved to Dubai, where her eldest son lives. My mother recently spoke to Khala Fawziya and says that she is distraught over the murder of her husband and son.

So this is what has befallen the Shi'a in places like Amriya. Amriya is the same district where my grandparents owned a house, and where another distant relative of mine was murdered in January 2006, presumably for being a translator for the Americans - I wrote about that story too. The people who murder Shi'a just for being Shi'a must be the Wahhabi scum from outside Iraq - I cannot imagine that even Ba'thists would commit these kinds of crimes. But even if the murderers are non-Iraqi Wahhabis, they could not have known where the Shi'a live in Baghdad without the help of locals, so the Iraqi Ba'thists are at least accomplices in these crimes. I cannot fathom how the Iraqi Shi'a can reconcile with Iraqis who have aided Al Qaeda in their pursuit to murder Shi'a.

Whenever I had a bad fever as a child, I had trouble sleeping - I would always wake up from a recurring nightmare in which I imagined enraged human beings killing each other in horrible ways. This nightmare was accompanied by the scariest feelings, as if the world was going to end soon. At 3 am this morning I woke up from this same nightmare and had these scary feelings. I kept thinking about Khala Fawziya and this war that has torn Iraq apart. Even after the Wahhabi murderous scum are driven out of Iraq, I cannot imagine how the Iraqi Shi'a can live peacefully with the hardcore Ba'thists - I'm afraid it's impossible after all that's happened.

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