I got married on the first of Dec. 2006. Few days before marriage, I went with my wife to one of the restaurants in Mansour neighborhood south west Baghdad which is considered a high level area includes very nice restaurants. It was a very calm area and people used to fill the streets with their kids and when you go there (17 months ago only), you could have that sweet feeling that things would so goo so soon but in Iraq, today is always better that tomorrow. Since we made the wedding in the fist of Dec., we didn’t have any time to go any place even to visit some friends because many reasons and above all the very bad security situation. Even our wedding was very short one for the same reason. After 10 months of our marriage, we had our first child. Of course, my wife's life was completely changed. She had to spend her whole time with him and she does until now. My wife asked me few times to go the restaurant that we had lunch in for few times during the engagement period but I refused strongly because Mansour area is completely controlled by insurgents and I didn’t want to loose her or loose my life. I told her that its like going to death by your will if you think you can have 2 minutes of peace in that out of law area.
Two days ago, I had a day off for the first time in 10 days. I decide to take my family and go to Kadhimiya neighborhood which usually takes only something like 15 minutes from my house. We spend about 30 minutes because we had to walk for about another 15 minutes until we reached the holy shrine of the Imam Kadhim, one of the grandsons of Prophet Mohammed. In the neighborhood which is the most sacred place for Shiite Muslims in Baghdad, we had to pass through 5 security check points and in every check point, my wife had to go to a tent run by women made especially for searching the female visitors of the holy shrine and every woman enters the outskirts of the shrine. I forgot to say that my son and my sister in law joined us. So, I was responsible for the security of three people who didn’t leave the house for more than a year because of the security fears. To be honest, the permanent FEAR during the outing was a suicide bomb like a man with a bombed vest or a woman with vest. My 6 months son was really happy. I could see the happiness in the eyes of my innocent baby while he was looking and smiling to everyone we met. When we reached the holy shrine, we entered and did all the ceremonies of the visit of the Imam and the cleric there did his duty and said few words while he was holding my son (something like baptism for Christians). After about 90 minutes, we decided to return back home. We had to walk back to the place where we started walking from to get a taxi. While walking back, I had to watch every body we come close to. 20 minutes later, my son went into a very deep sleep like a sweet angel in my hands. It’s a big risk in Baghdad to go in an outing because it needs only tow seconds to change any peaceful place into a hell. I always try to apologize to my wife for her long home staying but the good thing is her patience. She realize two main kinds of danger , the first one is the big danger that I always live with for being a journalist, the second most deadly job in Iraq these days (the first job is the security jobs of all kinds). She also knows that my danger work keeps me in the office until very late everyday and when I come back home at almost night, its not time to leave home for many reasons like the curfew and also being an easy target of kidnapping. The second danger is the danger of the sudden explosions that are very common in Baghdad city. It may seem so strange to anyone reads these words but this is a face of our life in Iraq, life full with danger and death and fears control every movement and every step we move. Don’t call me crazy if I say that when a day passes with no incidents or explosions, we consider it in Iraq as an abnormal day and we keep asking each other "what is going on? Why it's so quiet? And we keep telling each other "hey there is something wrong today. This is really weird". I didn’t forget to pray for my Baghdad to be peaceful once again so that I may write about a happy outing, hoping so soon (In Shaa Allah) = (by God will).