'Baghdad life is boredom and fear'

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Friday, March 28, 2003 at 10:40PM :

Viewpoint: 'Baghdad life is boredom and fear'
Friday, 28 March, 2003
BBC World News Online

Nariman al-Masri, a Baghdad resident, wife and mother of two girls, tells BBC News Online about life in the Iraqi capital on the ninth day of the war.

Up to now, we have not been touched physically by the war. To look at, the inside of my home is pretty much normal.

Of course we can't go out at all now, for any reason. We're now locked up in our homes after the heavy bombing of the last day-and-a-half.

Until Thursday night I spent a lot of time on the phone to friends and family, but now the phones are dead so we're starting to feel cut off and closed in - to really feel the war.

People in the city stay at home and listen to the air raids.

We still send out a man from our building to go to the markets to shop sometimes, but that may end soon.

Air strikes have just started again, by the way. Can you hear it?

Life in general is now full of boredom or fear of what is to come.

Adults cope, children suffer

Adults are used to it and can cope, but the kids are suffering.

I have a four-year-old daughter, Mariam. When the bombing starts I put headphones on her and play her children's songs to drown the explosions out.

She feels the raids coming in the night, wakes up and gets into our bed and cannot sleep. She is terrorised by what is going on.

Niveen, my oldest girl, is 11-years-old. On Friday, after a night of heavy bombing, she was suddenly very scared. Before that she'd been relatively unaffected. She's suddenly become very teary and anxious.

I've been giving Mariam children's sleeping pills or tiny bits of valium to help her relax and sleep.

Sticking together

It may seem funny to you, but we don't think ahead much - it's a condition of life in Baghdad.

If you think ahead too much, you'll be overcome by fear.

We're hoping the bombing will end soon, but God only knows what will follow that.

We're in our homes and that's very important, we've no plans to leave. We live day by day. We make our prayers and trust in God.

In my situation, I can't leave Baghdad. I have family commitments and responsibilities to my sisters and their children.

I can't really think of leaving and the family being split up. My view is, either we live together or we die together."

-- Sadie
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