September 3, 2006

In Memory of Nadem

It has been almost two years since you're gone .
It is ironic that even when people are gone we can't mention their names and we stick to the first letter of their name. Your family will be also be kept a secret because I do care about them and I want no harm to reach them.

You told me : " Baghdad, here I come " - I said : " Please don't ".
You insisted. I knew you had not visited in years, from fear of the old regime.
And I also knew that you were worried about your sick dad, whom you had not seen in ages.
You wanted to see him before he passed away as you never got the chance to see your mom.
I could hear the anticipation in your voice and I knew you heard the fear in mine .

You arrived with your bubbly self. Jovial, kind, full of love for people regardless of who they were.
You really believed in "radical change" and you dedicated your whole lifetime to its ideals.
You hated the American presence yet you came. Maybe you saw some hope deep down, behind all the rhetoric of Imperialism. I cannot tell, we did not have enough time to speak.
You were rushed, almost ecstatic after such a long absence.
Then you dissapeared. No news. We waited for that phone call and we have been waiting ever since.
Your family got worried. With the little money they had saved, one of them took a taxi and tried every police station, every hospital in Baghdad. You were nowhere to be found .
He decided he will go beyond Baghdad and finally, he found you . He found you in a morgue, he was only able to recognize you because of some piece of paper you had in your pocket.

The Americans killed you N. We don't know why, but we know they did.
Maybe they did not like your smile, or something about your face, or the color of your hair, but you were shot dead. Your computer was stolen and you were left, disfigured, in the street. Someone carried you to the local morgue . You were found there, lying cold amongst thousands of others: nameless, tagless, faceless.

The Americans finally apologized to your family - they said it was a "friendly fire". They gave them in compensation 200 dollars. They refused with dignity. This is the best they could do in their condition.

This is how much you were worth in their eyes N. All your years of absence, of struggle, of exile, of hopes amounted to 200 dollars.

In some crooked way, and I know you will agree with me, I am happy you died the way you did. Knowing you, you would not have wanted to die some "banal" death.
I cannot but see the irony. You thought you had saved yourself from the so-called "tyrannical" regime through years of exile, only to be killed by your "liberators". In fact you were killed by the people whom you fought against for so many years with the only weapons you had - your ideas and principles. That, my dear friend, makes you a hero.

Rest in peace N. you saw the Light. And remember us, those left behind, hiding in the darkness of their "Liberation."