The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Jo Wilding's diary from Baghdad March 27

March 27th

Nowhere is Safe

This morning the sky had cleared: a mixed blessing. It was good to be able
to see through the daylight again, although the view of smoke plumes across
the city wasn't the most soul-fulfilling sight. At the same time it seemed
likely to mark the end of our period of grace, such as it was, when the
weather was holding up the onslaught.

I've not read the mainstream media coverage of what's going on, so I don't
know what's been reported, but yesterday a marketplace and a convoy of
civilian buses from Syria were hit. I can't tell you much about the bus
attack, because it happened four hours' drive from Baghdad, except that a
friend saw five of the wounded come into hospital in Baghdad and they said
there were three buses travelling together from Damascus, heading into

An Apache helicopter was following them for some time and, as they
approached a bridge at an interchange, the Apache destroyed the bridge with
a missile. There was a collision between the buses. One bus was hit with a
missile while some people were still inside. I don't know how many died or
were wounded.

In Al Shaab market Mohammed Al Zubaidi told us he had a shop where he made
and sold cushions for car seats. It was the second one from the left as you
look at the remains of the building which the bomb hit. It's burnt out but
you can see the small compartment which was his. His assistant, Faris El
Bawi, was crushed in the blast and his body incinerated in the fire that
followed, along with his eleven year old son Saif who was helping him,
because his school was closed for the war.

Mohammed was out of the shop and saw two rockets dropped, about five seconds
apart at 11:30 yesterday. He couldn't see the plane because of the thick
air, but says he heard it. There was a crater in the mid strip of the road -
not deep - and the buildings either side of the road were wrecked and burnt

Husham Hussein said he was about 200 metres away, indicating a set of
traffic lights, when it happened. He saw the missile hit the front of the
building where Mohammed's shop used to be. It wasn't a huge missile, he
said, which fits with the relatively small size of the crater. He said a lot
of people were injured in the flats above the shops. The shops were all open
and the market was busy. He thought 25 people were killed. Someone else said
45-50 people had gone to hospital. No one could think of a military target

Mohammed said five people died in the restaurant near his shop. Abu Hassan,
a 45 year old father of five, 17 year old Malik Hamoud and Sabah Nouri, 28,
were all working in the restaurant. Two customers also died but no one we
met knew their names. The crowd of men told of women in cars which caught
fire, burning to death because no one could get to them. Safa Isam and his
brother Marwan, 17 and 12 respectively, were injured in a car driven by
their father, who died.

Family after family has been torn apart: mothers, fathers, children, wives
and husbands, and it's only been a week.

Within the same district a missile hit a home next door to Balqis Secondary
School for Girls on Tuesday night. The school was damaged: most of the
neighbours think that was the intended target. The bomb ploughed through the
wall of number 74 next door, bursting into square fragments about half a
centimetre each way, pocking the walls in all directions with what looked
like a rash of bulletholes: small pits about two inches in diameter at the

The television exploded and a metal bar on the window melted. The mattress
where the family were sleeping is covered with blood. Munib Abid Hamid
managed to shield his wife and child with his body. His wife Sahar Taha had
chest injuries but has been discharged from the An-Naman surgical hospital.
Their six year son Khaiser Munib has two broken legs. His parents were
downstairs with the rest of the family, all unhurt.

Munib is a solid looking bloke. The doctor said he'd only survived this far
because he's so strong. His mother told us in gestures that he was cut from
his chest to the bottom of his torso. His body was peppered with the metal
squares: the doctor said he had multiple injuries to his abdomen: they had
removed bits from his intestines and liver, both legs and feet, but some had
had to be left where they were.

The bandages which encase his legs are yellowed and foul-looking - he's
fighting gas gangrene and still in danger of losing his legs. "How can I
work in future?" he asked. "I am a car mechanic. I think I am finished."
Another livelihood destroyed. The same question as in previous days echoes
like the after-rumbles of the bombs: "Is this democracy? Is this freedom?"

We were invited in for tea and biscuits in Adamiya, where a rocket
demolished five homes on Monday lunchtime. Because people are not going to
work or school, they were mostly at home in the middle of Monday and six
died. No one saw a plane or heard anything till the explosion: they
speculate that it might have been fired from the sea. Strange how a command
from so far away can simply erase whole structures built for life and family
and shelter from the world.

The missile landed vertically on number 13, killing the grandmother, Khowla
Sherkhli, the father, Ahmed Munier, and the daughter, Maha Waleed. Three
survived with injuries. Another three died in the street whose houses back
onto that one. In number eleven 65 year old Wadha Mukhlif and her husband
Abid survived being crushed and lacerated, as did 10 year old Hamsa Ahmed
and her mother at number 15.

It all seems so casual. I know my vision is skewed because I'm not paying
any attention to military targets and have no idea how many have been hit,
but daily I see mangled homes and bodies, only a corner of the picture and
that's only the most dramatic aspect. My friend Zaid has been without
electricity for three days now and the water supply is intermittent. My
friend Majid says his house has only an occasional power supply and all
their windows upstairs have shattered.

He was worried because their house is very near the airport and one of the
theories is that forces will land there and advance into town, taking them
right past his house. His mates have all left, many of them to Dialla, which
he says is the safest place in Baghdad. Dialla is where the farmhouse was
attacked a couple of days ago. Home isn't safe, the farms are not safe, the
market isn't safe. Nowhere, nowhere is safe.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]