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“Let me get my right by my own hands.”

Treasure of Baghdad

Friday, August 18, 2006

The last time I saw Abu Bakir was at the funeral of Um Bashar after a deadly bombing that killed about 14 people in my neighborhood. Since that time, I haven’t seen him.

As I was talking to A., one of my closest friends in Baghdad on the internet, I could tell how the situation is getting worse day after day. "It’s getting really unendurable," he told me. I asked him if any new attacks happened in the neighborhood. Sectarian killings reached our neighborhood, he said.

I asked him, who was the first victim? "Abu Bakir," he said. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. I felt so angry and horrified despite the fact that I am not even in Baghdad anymore. However, my parents are still there. What if they are attacked? What if they are threatened? My friends are still there too. What if they face the same fate as Abu Bakir’s? Apparently the man wasn’t killed first, he was kidnapped.

Abu Bakir is an old man in his late 50s who works in the ministry of Agriculture in Baghdad. As he was heading to work, he was accompanied by one of his sons. As they were leaving the ministry, a group of armed men blocked off their way and kidnapped Abu Bakir leaving his son shouting and screaming in the street trying to help his father but in vain. No one intervened.

By this time, bad news was coming like rain from the new democratic country. People were dying in dozens, fuel crisis increased, electricity almost vanished in a place where temperature reached 120 F, and death squads and militias move freely in a lawless country where no official force is really in control.

S., my other close friend, emailed me and told me that the neighborhood opposite to mine is controlled by the Mahdi army militiamen who threatened every single Sunni family to leave despite the fact that the neighborhood is mixed and never had problems. A relative of one of his friends had to leave and move temporarily in my neighborhood.

Few days later, I learned that the militiamen set up checkpoints in my neighborhood to "protect the people from any attack," they claimed. Iraqi army troops who are responsible of controling the area had no other choice but to accept the situation and tell the cleric leading the militiamen that if any problem happens, they’ll be the ones to blame. As if their presence is not a problem by itself.

Abu Bakir’s family searched for every spot they expected to see him in. They thought he was kidnapped not because he is a government employee but because of his sect being a Sunni. One day, they received a phone call from the kidnappers. "We killed your father," they told his 24 year-old daughter. "His body in Ur neighborhood now," they continued and immediately hang up. The daughter fainted immediately and his two sons and wife went out in the street like crazy people weeping, screaming and beating over there heads for the loss of their father.

Neighbors took them to Ur neighborhood to search for his dead body. Finally, they found it in a black trash bag in a trash area. It was really hard to identify him, A. said. It appeared he was brutally tortured. Apparently, the kidnappers drove a car over his legs which were notably smashed, A. added.

The three-day funeral was carefully protected by relatives of the victim. People in the neighborhood visited the family to condole. O., the victim’s eldest son hysterically took one of the Ak47s and run to the street. He was followed by dozens of his relatives to stop him. "Leave me," he shouted. "Let me get my right by my own hands."

:: Article nr. 25902 sent on 19-aug-2006 17:03 ECT


Link: Abu Bakir is an old man in his late 50s who works in the ministry of Agriculture
    in Baghdad. As he was heading to work, he was accompanied by one
    of his sons. As they were leaving the ministry, a group of armed
    men blocked off their way and kidnapped Abu Bakir leaving his son shouting and ...

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