The last two days we didn’t have internet access. I thought that was it and started what a friend called a “pblog”, what you will read is what should have been the entries for the 22nd and 23rd.
Blogger and Google have created a mirror to this weblog at [dearraed.blogspot.com] for those of you who have trouble with the underscore in the URL. There are not enough words to thank the people at Blogger for their help and support.
half an hour ago the oil filled trenches were put on fire. First watching Al-jazeera they said that these were the places that got hit by bombs from an air raid a few miniutes earlier bit when I went up to the roof to take a look I saw that there were too many of them, we heard only three explosions. I took pictures of the nearest. My cousine came and told me he saw police cars standing by one and setting it on fire. Now you can see the columns of smoke all over the city.
Todat the third in the war, we had quite a number of attacks during daytime. Some without air-raid sirens. They probably just gave up on being able to be on time to sound the sirens. Last night, after waves after waves of attacks, they would sound the all-clear siren only to start another raid siren 30 minutes later.
The images we saw on TV last night (not Iraqi, jazeera-BBC-Arabiya) were terrible. The whole city looked as if it were on fire. The only thing I could think of was “why does this have to happen to Baghdad”. As one of the buildings I really love went up in a huge explosion I was close to tears.
today my father and brother went out to see what happening in the city, they say that it does look that the hits were very precise but when the missiles and bombs explode they wreck havoc in the neighborhood where they fall. Houses near al-salam palace(where the minister Sahaf took journalist) have had all their windows broke, doors blown in and in one case a roof has caved in. I guess that is what is called “collateral damage” and that makes it OK?
We worry about daytime bombing and the next round of attacks tonight with the added extra of the smoke screen in our skies.
we start counting the hours from the moment one of the news channels report that the B52s have left their airfield. It takes them around 6 hours to get to Iraq. On the first day of the bombing it worked precisely. Yesterday we were a bit surprised that after 6 hours bombs didn’t start falling. The attacks on Baghdad were much less than two days ago. We found out today in the news that the city of Tikrit got the hell bombed out of it. To day the B52s took off at 3pm, on half an hour we will know whether it is Baghdad tonight or another city. Karbala was also hit last night.
Today’s (and last night’s) shock attacks didn’t come from airplanes but rather from the airwaves. The images Al-jazeera is broadcasting are beyond any description. First was the attack on (Ansar el Islam) camp in the north of Iraq. Then the images of civilian casualties in Basra city. What was most disturbing are the images from the hospitals. They are simply not prepared to deal with these things. People were lying on the floor with bandages and blood all over. If this is what “urban warefare” is going to look like we’re in for disaster. And just now the images of US/UK prisoners and dead, we saw these on Iraqi TV earlier. This war is starting to show its ugly ugly face to the world.
The media wars have also started, Al-jazeera accusing the pentagon of not showing how horrific this war is turning out to be and Rumsfeld saying that it is regrettable that some TV stations have shown the images.
Today before noon I went out with my cousin to take a look at the city. Two things. 1) the attacks are precise. 2) they are attacking targets which are just too close to civilian areas in Baghdad. Looked at the Salam palace and the houses around it. Quite scary near it and you can see widows with broken glass till very far off.
At another neighborhood I saw a very unexpected “target” it is an officers’ club of some sorts smack in the middle of [………] district. I guess it was not severely hit because it was still standing but the houses around it, and this is next door and across the street, were damaged. One of them is rubble the rest are clearing away glass and rubble. A garbage car stands near the most damaged houses and help with the cleaning up.
Generally the streets are quite busy. Lots of cars but not many shops open. The market near our house is almost empty now. The shop owner says that all the wholesale markets in Shorjah are closed now but the prices of vegetables and fruits have gone down to normal and are available.
While buying groceries the woman who sells the vegetables was talking to another about the approach of American armies to Najaf city and about what is happening at Um Qasar and Basra. If Um Qasar is so difficult to control what will happen when they get to Baghdad? It will turn uglier and this is very worrying. People (and I bet “allied forces”) were expecting things to be mush easier. There are no waving masses of people welcoming the Americans nor are they surrendering by the thousands. People are oing what all of us are, sitting in their homes hoping that a bomb doesn’t fall on them and keeping their doors shut.
The smoke columns have now encircled Baghdad, well almost. The wids blow generally to the east which leaves the western side of Baghdad clear. But when it comes in the way of the sun it covers it totally, it is a very thick cloud. We are going to have some very dark days, literally.
We still have electricity; some areas in Baghdad don’t after last night’s attack. Running water and phones are working.
Yesterday many leaflets were dropped on Baghdad, while going around in the streets I got lucky, I have two. After being so unkind to the people at [industrialdeathrock.com] I don’t know whether I should post images or not.
And we have had another email attack, this time I was lucky again and have copies of those, the sender is something called [firstname.lastname@example.org]. I have not checked on that yet. Three of them are to army personnel and two to the general public in those they gave us the radio frequencies we are supposed to listen to. They are calling it “information Radio”.
PS from Diana: before we concluded, I said, “Salam, I just want to say one thing.” And I said, “Fuck Saddam Hussein!” as loud as I could w/o disturbing the neighbors. Now, I’ve got nothing personal against the guy, in fact, it is hard for me to hate him as he strongly resembles my late, dear uncle Artie Feinberg (I tell you, he could be one of those doubles, except he’s dead), but I just wanted to make a point. Which is: now we can say those things without fear of getting relatives or friends dragged off and killed. And Salam said, “Everybody on the street is saying this like a mantra, 'Fuck Saddam, fuck Saddam, fuck Saddam….'" (Well maybe Salam didn't use the word "mantra" but you get the point.) I think we can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be Iraqi. It must be like being in a root cellar for 35 years, and now you are stumbling around in the light, blinking your eyes, wondering if what you see is real, or a dream.