The latest Riverbend post gives a good picture of what the average Iraqi is going through these days... Bad Day... It’s been a horrible day. We woke up to unbearable heat. Our area averages about 4 hours electricity daily and the rest is generator electricity, which means we can use our ceiling fans, but there’s no way we can use air conditioners. We woke up to an ominous silence- an indicator that the generator isn’t working. E. went next door to check and got a confirmation. It might not work all day. The neighbor responsible for it was going to bring by the ‘generator doctor’ as soon as he was free. The electricity came at 6 pm for only twenty minutes- as if to taunt us. The moment the lights flickered on, we were gathered in the kitchen and we could hear the neighborhood children began to hoot and holler with joy. Before that, we heard the news about the dozens abducted from the Salhiya area in Baghdad. Salhiya is a busy area where many travel agencies have offices. It has been particularly busy since the war because people who want to leave to Jordan and Syria all make their reservations from one office or another in that area. According to people working and living in the area, around 15 police cars pulled up to the area and uniformed men began pulling civilians off the streets and from cars, throwing bags over their heads and herding them into the cars. Anyone who tried to object was either beaten or pulled into a car. The total number of people taken away is estimated to be around 50. This has been happening all over Iraq- mysterious men from the Ministry of Interior rounding up civilians and taking them away. It just hasn’t happened with this many people at once. The disturbing thing is that the Iraqi Ministry of Interior has denied that it had anything to do with this latest mass detention (which is the new trend with them- why get tangled up with human rights organizations about mass detentions, torture and assassinations- just deny it happened!). That isn’t a good sign- it means these people will probably be discovered dead in a matter of days. We pray they’ll be returned alive… Another piece of particularly bad news came later during the day. Several students riding a bus to school were assassinated in Dora area. No one knows why- it isn’t clear. Were they Sunni? Were they Shia? Most likely they were a mix… Heading off for their end-of-year examination- having stayed up the night before to study in the heat. When they left their houses, they were probably only worried about whether they’d pass or fail- their parents sending them off with words of encouragement and prayer. Now they’ll never come home. There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card. Extremists on both sides are making life impossible. Some of them work for ‘Zarqawi’, and the others work for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia. We still don’t have ministers in the key ministries- defense and interior. Iraq is falling apart and Maliki and his team are still bickering over who should get more power- who is more qualified to oppress Iraqis with the help of foreign occupiers? On top of all of this, rumor has it that the Iraqi parliament have a ‘vacation’ coming up during July and August. They’re so exhausted with the arguing, and struggling for power, they need to take a couple of months off to rest. They’ll leave their well-guarded homes behind for a couple of months, and spend some time abroad with their families (who can’t live in Iraq anymore- they’re too precious for that). Where does one go to avoid the death and destruction? Are the Americans happy with this progress? Does Bush still insist we’re progressing? Emily Dickinson wrote, “hope is a thing with feathers”. If what she wrote is true, then hope has flown far- very far- from Iraq…