Saturday, January 13, 2007
'Baghdad is dying'
"Baghdad is dying, we are all just waiting in line." Khaled -- not his real name to protect his life -- one of our Iraqi employees, said the words softy, his eyes glossing over.
It was during a conversation with our Bureau Chief Cal Perry, talking about work in the bureau, and I was helping out translating. But the conversation had quickly shifted from business to life.
"It's so hard for me Arwa. This skull won¹t absorb English," he said, smacking both palms against his head. "I just have too much on my mind. I'm supporting three families, most of them women, each time my phone rings my heart sinks thinking that one of them was killed."
Khaled is a well-built man, proud and softly spoken. But like too many others, utterly broken by the hardship of life in the capital. Helpless in the face of the violence. Moving mechanically through each day, just hoping to reach tomorrow.
There absolutely nothing to say. Reassuring words ring hollow. And so I just said "I know." And his eyes glazed over even more.
Iraqis are strong and proud. You won't often see their suffering in their actions or in their voices. You see it in their eyes. Baghdad is dying.
-- From CNN Correspondent Arwa Damon, Baghdad
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