how does it feel like to be in a war torn country?

04 Jan

So I was bored and decided to get myself updated on the news around the world.. man being eaten up by lions, oil exploration opening up in alaska, so on and so forth.. the usual, until i chance upon a certain article,

Iraqi bloggers

I’ll just double quote from bbc and just let you guys noe which part i really feel strongly about regarding some of the blog post, highlighted in bold.

25 September 2007:

Me and my wife were watching movies a few days ago and I wanted to make us some tea.

Baghdad tap waterA glass of water taken from Mohammed’s kitchen tap

I went to the kitchen and was filling the kettle from the tap water … I decided to fill a glass so I could see it.

What a shock. I immediately brought the camera and took the picture and video.

Is this drinking water or is it rice water? What are those floating things? I know about the cholera, I know it might be epidemic in Baghdad but I’d be so lucky if this water only contained cholera bacteria!

How could they give us this water? Why should I respect, obey or even recognise my government if they are not providing us with electricity, water, or even security?

Each Iraqi house should be a country and have a flag and its own government. I depend on myself for electricity, water and even security. What a farce.

Mohammed is a 25 year-old dentist in Baghdad.

Normally I’d be shocked if my water contained some black particle(s), so i seriously cannot imagine what i’d do if the water turned out like that, as a matter of fact i won’t even bother to inspect the water before i boil it in the first place. scary.

19 October 2007

On the first day of Eid, I woke up early and congratulated my family members. Then we wore our new clothes, got ready to go out and opened all the windows.

Before we went out an explosion happened with no damages, thank God.

Sunshine's Eid feastThe spread for Eid celebrations

It was so loud I thought it was in the neighbourhood, but it was a few neighbourhoods away.

We reached my dad’s uncle’s house – all of his children, grandchildren, and even grandchildren’s kids attended!

At about 1330, lunch was ready. My dad’s uncle’s wife made delicious Iraqi dishes – there was dolma, biryani, bamya, kabab, chicken, pickles and salad.

The lunch was awesome.

Then after lunch the subjects we talked about turned to be about the Iraqi situation and horrifying stories.

I couldn’t sleep well at night and had many nightmares about people burning alive.

Sunshine is a 15-year-old girl in Mosul, northern Iraq. Violence dominates every moment, even recent Eid celebrations.

In case you don’t know, Eid celebration is celebrated at the end of the fasting period. somesort like celebrating Chinese New Year if Im not wrong.

what strikes me about this extract here is the fact that the 15 year old girl speak so nonchalantly about a explosion, its as though it just the norm and there’s really nothing to worry about. (which of cause is lar, since it is Iraq we’re talking about.) but well, call me a frog in a well or whatever, but the problem with me is I like to imagine and think very deeply into stuffs like this, and its kinda hard to picture myself being so ‘cool’ about an explosion if it were to happen in Singapore. call it culture shock if u want to. …culture shock? kinda inappropriate but whatever. me bad engrand.


knn, Singaporeans like us, even traffic accidents people oso will take out hp to snap snap snap post on that stoopid website, if got explosion, i think newspaper will run the report for 10weeks at least.

as for the talk about topic part, well celebrations in Singapore, We normally don’t talk about bombs, burning, destructions and explosion.. so its kinda morbid when ya tend to go around talking about people dying in festive celebrations…… the situation must be so bad over there that there’s really nothing good worth talking about. tsk tsk

26 October 2007:

Breathing slowly. In and out. That’s what I have to do to keep myself from crying, and stay alive.

I’m more depressed than I’ve ever been in the last year I think. It’s weird. I thought going to college would be all I needed.

Most of the lecturers this year are very educated, mostly professors with PhDs. I feel stupid.

Is it possible that I have forgotten so much of what I’ve studied before, or is it that my brain needs to be reactivated? I am so not used to keeping silent and having no answers.

I’m sick of talking about the bad situation. I just hate the mornings, there’s always shooting and many explosions.

I always have doubts that I’ll be able to make it to college – the roads are rarely open.

We’re really strangers in our country

I’m so very, very depressed. I almost cry every time people ask me why I look so sad. I can’t even see the full half of the glass I used to cling to.

My cousin drove me home the other day – building after building, destroyed, burnt. Black signs announcing deaths. Smoke from a new explosion. We had to stop a few times to clear the road for the police or the Americans.

I asked my cousin about a destroyed building I hadn’t seen before. He said it was months ago. I was shocked. I didn’t ask about the ones that followed.

We’re really strangers in our country… oh well, excuse me, I don’t think “our” should be used anymore. I’m not sure whose country it is, but it’s not mine for sure.

“Aunt Najma” is also in Mosul. She is a 19-year-old high-flying engineering student. Her latest posting is not typical of her normally chirpy style.

I’d be glad if I’m not late for school due to MY OWN SELF being lazy and not waking up on time. and i’d be glad too if i don’t flunk my exams due to the fact that i didn’t study for it at all.

kinda sad really, living in a place since you were born, and then after that have it taken away from you and not knowing what the fuck is going on and where the fuck you are after that.

talk about needing the street directory when ya lost in Singapore… sheesh.

22 October 2007:

The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war.

It’s funny how you learn to act in a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things – like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic.

It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again – with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.

It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere.

We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting.

For the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003

The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by [Kurdish fighters] peshmerga.

The family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.

The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a nine-year-old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake.

“We’re Abu Mohammed’s house – across from you – mama says if you need anything, just ask – this is our number.

“Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi, too… welcome to the building.”

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003. Riverbend is perhaps the best-known Iraqi blogger. She and her family left Iraq over the summer for Syria. In her latest blog, she describes coming to terms with her refugee status.

I never highlight anything here because.. well, this whole extract just sorta rings a bell in me, although not as ‘migrating’ or serious as what Riverbend experienced, I, in my childhood years have gone through such an ordeal in the form of staying somewhere else and feeling more like at home than staying at my own house with my own family. shall not elaborate more but just so you noe, its kinda miserable to have a home you cannot go back to due to fear, detachment or etc.

I was kinda interested in reading more from this bloggers so i just chose Mohammed’s blog and clicked on it, read abit about his profile, and i saw this sentence

‘i was born and raised here but unfortunately i’m thinking that the iraqis are going to extinct….’

Should i laugh? or should i be sad? i donnoe. it kinda sounded like a joke, but yet, you just cant stop but feel that perhaps one day, its gona happen….

anyways, first post i read from Mohammed was… NEW YEAR RESOLUTION!!!!!!! WEEEEEE! yay! no smoking!s sleep early! work hard! earn more money! buy a car! buy a house! get married!…

sorry, i am just quoting what i’ve heard over this past few days from my friend, his actual new year ‘wishes’ are:

“Happy new year to any one who reads the post.
Today is the last day in 2007, the last day of a year filled with surprises and sudden changes for Iraq, a year with many explosions and terror, a year with many innocents death and many miseries but yet a year with some good achievements.
as a new year begins, I wish peace will get back to the streets of Baghdad and Iraq in general, i wish that Iraqis could live like the rest of the world do, I wish that fanatics, terrorists, insurgents…..etc. call them whatever you want disappear, I just wish they disappear, I wish that anyone who wants to harm any human being disappear from the face of the earth, I wish the violence and the hatred in Iraq will go and be from the past like 2007 did, I wish everything is settled and the violence is over so the US government will have no excuse to stay in Iraq and Iraq can be as it used to be; a free, strong country.
I wish that peace will be back in Iraq and no one will feel threatened, so that the good Iraqis who left Iraq can get back to their beloved country as soon as possible, and help in rebuilding it.
I wish that no single innocent Iraqi will die anymore. I wish that Iraqis will be as they used to be; brothers and sisters, Shiites and Sunnis, Muslims and Christians, Arabs and Kurds….it doesn’t really matter, we are all Iraqis after all, I wish the Iraqis will be united again under a strong non sectarian government, a government that can handle the hard situation and looks for the benefits of its country before its own benefits, a government that really cares for Iraq and Iraqis
I wish you all good health and may all your dreams come true in 2008.”

I don’t have the habit of making stupid resolutions, but after reading the last sentence, i guess i have one already..

“I wish that all your dreams will come true too, Mr Mohammed.”


didn’t really read more after that, kinda embarrassing really, since i felt kinda emotional after reading the first post. YES! VERY EMBARRASSING!



to end off,

i would just like to say that well i practise the way of ‘putting yourself in another person’s shoes’ and ‘know where you stand in this world’ ideology, thus i feel kinda strongly regarding all this issues since it really leaves a lasting impression in you. yes i noe you get to read all this in the news and whatnot, but those.. those just don have the added ’emotions’ and ‘colors’ in it since ultimately a news report is A report; black and white with nothing in between.

so although you may understand the severity of the situation, you just cannot FEEL it emotionally, so reading blogs like this gives you a more.. lasting impression and better understanding of the life of a ordinary person. well at least it does for me.

Each individual in this world has his or her own problems, dissatisfactions and whatnot, but to be affected not by yourself but by the things happening around you that you cannot control in a negative way, now that is scary.

you should think more with your heart sometimes and not just your brain. Im glad there’s the internet.

last note: yes i do feel strongly, but not that STRONGLY until i will volunteer myself to iraq and get a 80% chance of getting kidnapped or blown up… I am Singaporean afterall.


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2008 in Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: