Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another first person report from Iraq

Who needs TV when you can read first-hand accounts like this.
Iraq the Model, by a very articulate dentist, provides a chilling but hopeful picture of everyday life as the ING (Iraqi National Guard) takes charge of national security, little by little.

We went through this checkpoint and after several kilometers we reached an ING checkpoint. The soldiers were all wearing black masks to avoid exposing their identities. Anyway, we found that the road was blocked by this checkpoint and we had to go for several kilometers off-road in the farms to by pass this block and to get to the main road again.

Here, our fears reached a peak because we all knew that similar paths are the ones used by the terrorists as they're hidden by dense orchards.
I became even more anxious when the guy sitting next to me took out his Id (which says that he works for one of the ministries) and passed it to the driver without saying a word and in what looked like an undeclared agreement, all the other passengers did the same adding their cell phones in some cases (the terrorists think that anyone carrying a cell phone in this area is a spy collecting intelligence for the government or the MNF).

The driver calmly took the Id's and phones and started hiding them in a small secret drawer underneath his seat. The guy next to me looked at me with a question in his eyes 'and you?'
I took out my Id and handed it over to the driver because I didn't want to violate this silent security agreement and I felt hurt because I had to hide what should be an honor of being a dentist serving the people, because the 'resistance' consider serving the people a crime.

One of the passengers said whispering 'where are the Americans? Where are the ING?'
One replied saying 'and who dares to enter these territories?!'
We were overwhelmed with fear and anxiety until the guy sitting next to me said 'look there' and pointed with his finger to the right.

We all turned to see what he was pointing to, and we regained some of our confidence as we saw a convoy of several Hummer vehicles patrolling the area.
"They're not as cautious and afraid as we thought they would be. Here are they moving confidently" the driver said. "I don't think they'll stay here after sunset. The terrorists will take over the area at night" another passenger added.
I smiled and thought "we fear our countrymen while we feel safe when the foreigners are moving around! Who's the occupier? Who are the bad guys here?

The account is longish for a blog entry, but worth the time to read. I cannot get "comments" to load, but according to the blog there are nearly seven hundred at this time.

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