Friday, June 06, 2003

First Encounter with a Iraqi Prisoner

6 June 2003 2321

It was dark today when they brought him in, and the sight of a man being brought in with a bag on his head already had me feeling uneasy. I just happened to be there when they unloaded him. He was caught while trying to jump a fence. That was why he was here. The captors thought I was the interrogator, so I went along and our intelligence officer allowed me to manage the situation. We took the man to a room and they removed the bag from his head. He must have been terrified, especially in these times of violence. He was crying, confused, and speaking in Arabic. The soldiers standing around him looked upset, like they felt sorry for him.
He was so skinny, brown, dirty black curly hair, grinning and crying in mental agony. One could imagine what he would have thought a year before under Saddam’s rule. Not being able to understand what was being said, not knowing where he was being taken, not being able to see any coming blows.
He cried, looked as if he was going mad, and curled up like a little animal in the corner, tiny, in a protective position. I felt sick to my stomach, especially knowing he was harmless. All the soldiers were standing around him. I went to get some water for him, my rationed bottle of the day with my name on it, and brought it to him. I approached him with my water, and noticed his hands were bound. So I patted him softly and brought the bottle to his lips. He drank a bit and started speaking Arabic again. The intelligence officer asked questions in English. He was like a wild, captured animal. The officer said “Fedayeen?” but got no response. I gave him some more water and felt sick to my stomach to have some poor man so helplessly bound at my feet, crying for mercy. It felt so wrong, and I believe everyone else felt that too, and all of a sudden, it was decided that he should be released right away. The guards got the bottle of water, and took him to the Hummer so they could take him back and release him. After that, I had to sit down. It disturbed me to think that people are taken into custody all over the world, in similar situations, but brutalized and beaten. This man was lucky, even though it may not have appeared so. Also today, some Iraqi was killed at a used car lot when he pointed a pistol at a soldier. We also had women and children pulling soldiers’ dead bodies from shallow war graves and putting them in plastic bags. This so they could bury them properly in a cemetery, and not by a highway lot. An Islamic political cell was raided too, and all the weapons and cash and medical supplies were brought here. There were paintings of Islamic clerics and banners, radios and detonators. All old detonators though. Right now our room is full of RPGs. AK-47, rockets, ammunition and large amounts of cash – $11,000 dollars worth today.
I miss you so much Spatzi! I think they have a phone set up now, but we’ll have to see! I am so nervous about calling you – like the first time when we were in the States! So many butterflies in my stomach Nora, I am going to keep trying until I get through to you, I won’t give up!


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