Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Primary Sources: The War Diary of Faiza Jarrar

Faiza Jarrar has been steadily getting her war diary translated into English. Her War Diary offers students of the conflict a first-hand view of the chaos and uncertainty of Operation Iraqi Freedom as seen from an Iraqi civilian's perspective. In an entry for Friday, April 4, 2003, Faiza writes:

At midnight, we heard the news on the satellite channel, our relatives had a generator, but the electricity was still off, so most of the people didn’t know till now…
The news said that the American forces tried to land in the airport, and dropped cluster bombs on the Al-Furat district, the Iraqi casualties reaching up to 300 dead, civilian and military..

Al-Sahhaf said, as usual, that it was nothing; we will kick them out and destroy them.
I fully realized that he was a lying loser, that the pit they were leading us to have become very… very close.

Last night was one of the most sad, fearful, and painful nights... shall we ever go home??

I remembered Abu-Saliih, who ran away for fear of the bombardment, leaving the house to the ruins.

Instead of one disaster, we were facing two: bombs, destruction, panic, and having to leave our house. We didn’t even bring any identification papers, passports, or money ….
We left every thing and run quickly…

Faiza then writes on Saturday, April 5, 2003.

Azaam and Raed said that in the areas adjacent to the airport there was a total evacuation, only vehicles belonging to the Iraqi army, and some soldiers were on the streets … the houses were empty.

My heart froze … feeling defeat …

Al-Sahhaf said that the American troops pulled back, and we have destroyed them … then took the journalists in a tour to the airport road.

The T.V. was broadcasting songs showing men carrying machine-guns, dancing, and indorsing Saddam Hussein. I remained stunned, for I do not usually watch Iraqi T.V. at home. But here I had to, there was no satellite receiver. I was hit in the face by this wretched media, and all those mis-led people …I had the inside feeling that these songs will not be broadcasted again, that they have become a part of some past that will never be back.

We can only hope that more primary material comes out to give us a more complete picture of the events on the ground as Baghdad was falling. I, for one, would love to hear from the guy who drove Saddam out of Baghdad on April 9.

UPDATE: Raed Jarrar steps out and defends his position as a "secular Muslim." Raed writes:

This secular Muslim thing is annoying so many people,
And because annoying people is one of my bad habits, that I really enjoy
I must write more about my secular Muslim cult

Islam for me, as a secular leftist, is more than a mere religion
Islam is my cultural heritage that I will protect and maintain until the last moment of my existence.

Raed then pens an lyrical encomium on his Islamic heritage, adding at one point:

Islam is the shy smile of my woman.

Niki (the Letter N) replies:

let me just say for the record, however, that between the two of us, you are the one with the shy smile.

Romeo, oh Romeo.

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