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A day in the life of an Iraqi
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My husband and his brother had gone out to the mosque when they came.
I was sitting by my window drinking my morning tea when they came. I heard them outside talking and then, with a crash, they had knocked my back door in and were coming in my house with machine guns at the ready.
Even though I was frightened I pointed to the window saying, "selah, selah (weapons, weapons)."
The one in charge radioed his commander and turned back to me as I heard gunfire and screams from a couple of houses over. Even though I understood what they were saying, I wouldn't let them know.
The young soldier motioned for me to move to the corner of the room and get on the floor. There was a burst of gunfire outside my window. I sank lower and became as small as I could.
There were five of them with their guns filling up my small house. The interpreter came, asking me what I had said. I turned and pointed out the window saying, "selah, selah."
The interpreter said she's saying that there are weapons out there. The young soldier radioed his sergeant:
"Sir, I think we've found that cache of weapons. She is pointing out the window and saying 'weapons, weapons.' Yes sir, I'll send someone to check it out."
He turned to the other soldiers.
"What should we do with her?"
One of them spoke up, "We could put her in that house down the street with the others."
I couldn't let them know I understood them. I sank into a smaller space. I did not want to leave my house. The interpreter turned to me, saying "go with them" as he motioned for me to come. I shook my head and patted the floor beside me.
He kept saying, "come, go with them." I was becoming more afraid, I didn't want to leave my house.
Then my husband came home. He saw me crouched in the corner and I got up and ran to him. By this time I was shaking.
He put his arm around me and began cursing the soldiers saying, "We are your friends. Why did you break in my door and frighten my wife? She has done nothing to you."
The interpreter translated leaving the curses out. The soldiers apologized and finally left.
Later that day I had gone to the market. Since the war there hasn't been much available there. As I was nearing the mosque there was an outburst of gunfire. I hit the ground and stayed down until it seemed clear.
There was a group of people outside the mosque. As the crowd thinned I noticed my brother down. I rushed to him and then I realized he was dead. My sisters and I dropped to his side, our sobs echoing around the village.
The soldiers where yelling at us, trying to get us to leave. I couldn't leave him there alone, dead on the street. My husband came out of the Mosque with some of our relatives. My husband came over to me, taking my arm to help me up. I was still sobbing as we entered the mosque, the men carrying the body of our brother.
The fighting continued into the night. The sound of gun and mortar fire such a constant that unless it happened right beside you, you ignored it. When the airstrikes came the villagers packed our belongings and boarded a bus.
A young American soldier came on the bus just before we left. He said, "I'm not important. I'm just an enlisted man, but the guys and I want to thank you for the training. I know it will make a difference when we get over there."
The bus finally arrived at its destination and we unloaded and went inside. As we stood in line to sign out for the night, my friend asked, "Are you working tomorrow?"
I answered, "Yes. I hope the guys tomorrow are as good as this bunch was. I'm glad we can be there for them to give them an idea of what it will be like over there."
She agreed, and added, "Well, see you tomorrow when we get to play Iraqi again."
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