November 25, 2006
So many dead today in my Beloved Baghdad. I decided to light a candle for all those who went to the other side . I placed the candle on my window panel. The flame looked ever so peaceful , surrounded by plants and my bright white curtains . For moments , everything looked perfect as it is . For seconds , I accepted it all .
I snugged complacently into that corner of nano seconds of Peace.
I moved to another room, hoping that I had paid my dues to today's dead.
I smelt a funny odor . Something is burning hard . I quickly rushed back only to see the candle burning at both ends consuming the wooden panels in fury.
For splits of seconds , I watched the fire rising up the window, burning bright , burning hot.
Purifying the dust around me , purifying the place like some incense on an altar.
In those splits of seconds , I saw the immolated bodies with kerosene in Baghdad, burnt alive.
Everything was moving so fast and the fire was reaching new heights.
I woke myself up from this transe . I tried gathering whatever wits I had left and got hold of a bottle of water and threw it on the burning wood , only to see the flames rising even higher.
I had to save my altar . Another bucket of water frantically thrown ,fumes are choking me now.
And whilst I was trying to extinguish the fire , I was screaming: "Oh God where are you now ?"
Then I noticed in an instant that the distance separating the ever growing flames from the bright white curtains was only One millimeter . That was the distance that saved me tonight. One millimeter.
So if any of you ask where God is - look for Him , Her , It- in that One millimeter of your life that has been spared.
I extinguished the fire .My white curtains have turned dark grey, I am choking with the smoke of burnt wood ...
My beloved Baghdad , how many more candles do you need ?
Painting : By Iraqi Female Artist Sua'ad Al Attar.