“What have you done to us, George Bush?” Ra’id screams at the television.
He’s watching scenes of Moqtada Al-Sadr as the young cleric touts his plans for a new religious Iraq. Then Allawi comes on the screen, the unelected Prime Minister, appointed by the military occupiers. He pledges to crush with an iron fist anyone who opposes the US forces in Iraq.
“We have a new Saddam! But this time he uses the missiles, bombs and tanks of foreigners against us,” Ra’id cries in disbelief.
“And we have a religious cleric who wants to put Iraq into the dark ages.
“What have you done to us, George Bush?”
Raid, 32, like other Iraqis his age has lived through a regime, three wars, the suffering of the sanctions and now the occupation.
“This is the worst,” he says.
“Everything is worse now. The violence is everywhere, it’s unpredictable.
“At least under Saddam you were safe if you kept quiet, but now everyone is in danger. Every day we don’t know if we will die.”
I know how he feels. Living in occupied Iraq, death is ever-present. When I left my Baghdad home in the morning, my last thought was always: “Will I make it back?”
Car bombs explode in all neighbourhoods, gunshots ring out late into the night. Wherever US troops are present, the violence is present and the troops are everywhere – in their rumbling tanks, thunderous choppers and provocative foot patrols.
The military occupation lays a heavy blanket of oppression over the city of Baghdad.
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