Friday, October 08, 2010

An old dream

Translated from Arabic, an article written by Mohammed Ghazi Al-Akhras and published by the daily Iraqi newspaper Al Aalem (The World), in the last Wednesday issue, 6th October 2010

My dreams and I are companions of a long way, too long, at every turning in my life there is a dream that might summarize what happened or what will happen to me, that is the way I see it and I am free to see it the way I like:

After coming from the war front in 1985, and after I survived the Iranian attack, for example, soon I saw something very strange in a dream: I'm in the midst of a fierce battle trying to find a lifeline or a place where I can hide in, did not find any near me but a deep hole that lies far away somewhat from the details of the battle.

I go down in the hole where I find a lantern and a number of books. I try to spend time reading while hearing the screams of people dying in the vicinity. After I get bored from reading I go out of the hole to see what happened to the fighting people to see what gave me gooseflesh: cadavers hanging on the electricity pylons and other cadavers put together in carefully in some kind of an order, every five bodies lying together. And in among these cadavers there were some military officers (discipline officers*) searching for survivors to execute them.

And instead of going inside the hole I find myself going out in calm, the officer sees me, then I start to run the fastest way I can taking care not to step on a cadaver. Then I keep running out of breath till I reach a house of a friend of mine, I kick its door by my feet and enter. When I reach the corridor I got surprised by two things: the first is that I entered with one of a pair of my shoes leaving the other one of the pair outside, the other thing is that there is a butcher engaged in stripping off the skin of a sheep in the corridor.

When I told my dream to "Um Wa'ad", our neighbor, she said that I will survive the war and that I will be kept concealed from its hazards in the school (the hole) till it ends and when I asked her about the one pair of the shoe that fell from me in the street she said: I don't know… it might be your brother, God only knows!

Her interpretation was antecedent since after three years the one pair of the shoe had fallen in the death valley where my brother had been lost while I survived the war by remaining in the hole of "the classroom" failing twice to pass the final exams of the year deliberately so that I delay my stay in my refuge.
Meanwhile, the dreams or nightmares were not forgetting to visit me between a night and another and it was always that same old dream environment and its parts, the most obvious among them are the presence of the killed bodies and the going inside holes that resemble the mass graves, and also the run away from the "discipline officer*" to escape a particular impasse.

The origin of those dreams, I think, goes back to the atmosphere that I found myself surrounded by them during the terrible attack launched by the Iranians in 1985.

The attack began at two A.M. coming from the direction of (Al-Uzayr) and we were in one of (Al-Qurna) villages facing the marches of (Al – Haweeja). Would I forget that night ever?

I can assure you I will not forget. How can that be when the planes were closer to our souls than the pulse of our hearts? Or how I forget that night and the hum of Iranians' bullets came close to scratch our heads by its fire while the cannons were plowing the earth like oxen in rage?
I remember when the attack ended and I returned to the my position I was surprised by one of the Iranians who have been killed on my sponge made bed after he used it outside its position. The young man lying on the bed sheltered by a wall of dirt bags in front of him, he slept on a pool of blood with a rather long rifle.

At morning we received a command to bury dozens of bodies on the edge of the marches after taking photographs to the cadavers by the cameras of the political recommendations (a kind of press controlled for political reasons). I remember now the cheap adulation of some of the soldiers and who their claimed the championship in front of the cameras to the extent that one of them stepped on the body of an Iranian and started to shout in front of the camera, a noble Iraqi soldier shouted at him: what are you doing you fool, if he was alive would you put your feet on him!
The soldiers were taking out the peanut from the backpacks of the Iranian cadavers then they put them in mass graves. Some good soldiers were reading on the souls of those poor a sura (a chapter) from the Holy Quran.

In my subsequent dream the dead lined up in groups of five, while others cadavers were hanged on the electricity poles. The final image of the stocks may comes from the social reservoir that fill our memories like embers boiling in a head of a "narjeela (water pipe)".

In my subsequent dream there is also a hole in which there are the lantern, books, and boy hiding from "military discipline" soldiers. These elements may each need to special pause but nor the place, nor the time give me the opportunity to do this now.

I remember an anecdote about the discipline soldiers, the hero of which is a friend of mine kept escaping the joining of the army for years. And this friend used to come to me every evening and went back after an hour or two. And as usual I was taking him to his home which is not too far from ours.

In one of the evenings we went as usual but there was a group of "discipline soldiers" standing in the street so we turned back and headed to my home. After more than an hour we went again we saw that the group is still standing. Annoyed, my friend Mohammed Naheer, a fugitive from the army, and suggested sarcastically to wait half an hour and then to send my sister's son Emad who was 5 years old to the commander of the discipline soldiers group. And there this dialogue can occur between Ammoudy (nick name of Imad) and the soldier:

"uncle, when you will go?"

"why uncle?"

"we got a fugitive want to go to his home and is waiting for you to go"


Was that a dream or a nightmare…. Or was it this and that!

· Discipline soldiers are type of Iraqi soldiers whose job was to "care" for those Iraqi civilians who run away from the obligatory military service.


3eeraqimedic said...

Dear Sami
Thank you for this post
More lancing of psychic abcesses?
Reading this reminds me of the many hours I have spent listening to my father's terrible memories and ongoing nightmares of the Iran war as viewed from Basrah

saminkie said...

Dear 3eeraqimedic, thank you for the comment. Yes dear friend, more lancing of psychic abcesses, and we need more. Iraq got to talk much, got to break the repression walls, and let its birds to be freed, chirping and flying, dancing and letting it go.

tracy said...

Dear Sami,
What terrifying nightmares in a horrible time. i wish you peace, my sadeek.
Sometime i forget how easy we have it here and how can i be so sad with such a life?

Kindest regards,

Don Cox said...

Thank you for translating this.

The folly and madness of "Great Leaders" like Saddam or Khomeini ends in pain and death for real people.

I have never understood why Saddam thought it was a good idea to invade Iran.