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Horrors in a Mushroom Cloud

Posted March. 22, 2003 22:37,   


At 9 p.m.(local time), Mar. 21st, the night sky of Bagdad Iraq suddenly became a daylight. After a traumatic explosive sound, a flame smoke high as several meters burned up. Suddenly outside windows turned red everywhere.

My nieces, Mustapa(9) and Sarah(5) who were sleeping on the second floor, cried out loud. My brother-in-law and my sister each held a child and got on the car. Their house was too dangerous because it was only 5km far from the president’s palace in the city.

“We have to at least save the children…” My brother-in-law drove toward his parents’ house when he could see the sea of flames in front of him.

This is the urgent moment that KOTRA Bagdad Trade`s local worker Ahmed Al Obeidi(30, picture) reported to the central office on international call.

He lives with his parents and his sister`s family, and he hasn`t slept for days. He is used to the emergent attack siren from the Gulf war of 1991, but he didn’t’ think there was going to be such a tremendous attack so fast.

After the all night attack, the early morning street was dreary. There wasn`t any attack on the houses, but it was covered with dusts from the attack. No one was able to come outside.

He called his brother-in-law and his fiancé who he engaged to a month ago, and other relatives hastily. Everyone seemed safe during the night. Thank god, thank god, thank Ala…

The children didn’t do anything wrong. After the American attack on the 20th, the seven family members hugged each other everyday to calm their fear. The children didn`t let go of their uncle`s pants even in the day.

The family members kept changing the subject to rid out bad memories of the war. But the children kept asking, “Why are the Americans attacking?”, “What did we do wrong?”. The young ones began to be more afraid of the dark, so parents let them take sleeping pills for several days.

Ahmed`s house was two floors, and there was a bomb shelter nearby, but people didn`t go there because they thought there`s no place to trust but home. During the Gulf war, a bomb shelter where children and elderly saved themselves, was attacked because it was mistaken for a military base. So people think it`s better to die at home.

Ahmed called many times from 21st night till 7a.m. 2 days after. We can hear many attack sounds on the phone. The phone hung up every time of the attack, so we had to call again.

“Missiles are still running over my head. Maybe the bomb might fall over our house tonight. America may take over Bagdad by military force, but conquering Iraq is another problem.” It`s what he said during the early morning attack.

Young-Ee Lee yes202@donga.com