Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Apocalypse Now

The war is a nightmare, filling Iraqis with dread.
By Nuha al-Radi

I am willing and wishing biblical catastrophes. The sandstorms in Iraq are continuing and now I am adding: may a thunderbolt smite the White House. It is only nature that can come to our aid now.


Thankfully I still manage to talk to my mother in Baghdad every morning and ask her about the last 24 hours. Yesterday was bad for them. They didn't get much sleep and three of their windows broke. Amal's house had its front door blasted out, so she doesn't need her keys anymore. But my aunt Needles seems more fragile and doesn't seem to be coping so well. I worry about their houses with all this pounding. How long can they remain standing?


Wake up world!


The UN is silent. Aren't they supposed to be the promoters of peace? Instead they talk of sending food and medical supplies. Despite their opposition to Bush and Blair, they accepted the war before it started by setting up all those camps on the borders of Jordan and Syria, expecting a mass exodus. But in fact the reverse happened. An expensive miscalculation: the camps stand empty. Instead of coming out of Iraq, hundreds of Iraqis have gone back, to defend their country. Iraq is fighting for its life and its history. It is a matter of life or death now.


The scenario painted by the US seems to have backfired. There are no flag-waving Iraqis, no flower-strewing population to welcome American troops. The administration has been misinformed by none other than the Iraqi opposition it supports, none of whose leaders have set foot in Iraq for the past 30 years.


The Pentagon says 600 sites are considered most likely to be hiding prohibited weapons, but only 75 were visited by the inspectors. If the Pentagon knew the sites, why didn't they tell the inspectors where they were? To me their reticence is obvious. They wanted to occupy Iraqi themselves. Iraq will be their war booty. The first contract - the rebuilding of Umm Qasr - has already been awarded to an American company. Now they are saying that Iraq is going to use chemical weapons against them. Where is their evidence? Will they now plant it?


The carnage takes place in apocalyptic proportions. It unfolds in serial form, daily, live in front of our eyes on television and in their sitting rooms. Everyone is hooked and the streets are empty. For those living under this carnage, the operation is called "Iraqi Freedom". The friendly Tomahawk and other missiles rain down to liberate by killing them. This is the latest new world order.


I am not so certain that I will be in front of the television tonight. I just might go to bed. Sometimes I want to cry, but I resist. I am totally withered, and feel so useless. I dread what is going to happen when they get to Baghdad.


Who is next?


Wake up world!


Nuha al-Radi is an Iraqi artist and author of the best-selling Baghdad Diaries, which she began to write in Baghdad during the last Iraq war. For the last few years she has lived in Beirut.