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(回答先: 攻撃ヘリはこの２日間出撃できずさらにあと２日間は出撃できない見通し ［ＣＮＮニュース］ 投稿者 あっしら 日時 2003 年 3 月 27 日 03:41:01)
In an Ominous Sky, a City Divines Its Fate
By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, March 26, 2003; Page A01
BAGHDAD, March 25 -- The wind's howl buffeted Imad Mohammed's window today, suffocating the peal of bombs from Baghdad's outskirts.
Across the sky, the black haze of burning oil trenches mixed with desert sand from a savage storm to wrap the city in an otherworldly glow. Paper, bags and cardboard were blown across the street. Traffic lights and palm trees swayed. A soldier hunkered near the Tigris River, a black scarf draped over his head like a veil.
To Mohammed, the relentless sandstorm was foreboding, a portent of divine will.
"The storm is from God," he said, looking out his trembling window. "Until the aggression started, never in my life did I see a storm like this. We all believe in God, we all have faith in God. And God is setting obstacles against the Americans."
During six days of war, Baghdadis looking to the heavens for omens have had much to contemplate. A terrifying cascade of U.S. bombs has been followed by the apocalyptic smoke of oil fires lit by Iraqi forces, so dense that cars almost collided. The smoke was joined by today's storm, which abruptly ended Baghdad's struggle to reclaim ordinary life. Shops again were shuttered and streets were deserted as a sickly yellow cloaked the sun.
Weary residents spoke of divine intervention, and in the storm they saw God's determination to aid Iraq. But beneath the surface were churning impulses -- of fear and flight, of fatalism and bravado, of grief and dread. With few exceptions, Iraqis still consider political discussions taboo, especially with a foreign journalist shadowed by an official escort. But the storm seemed to draw out anxieties about a future that no one seems willing to predict.
"Whatever will be will be," said Adnan Khalid, 28, as he negotiated the $2 fare for a private taxi to the northern city of Mosul, where he sent his wife before the war began. "What can we do? If we survive, then we go on living."
Khalid was leaving Baghdad today for what he called "a change in atmosphere."
Across the parking lot, the winds coated cars, taxis and buses with a veneer of dust. Drivers cried out their destinations -- "Tikrit!" "Baiji!" "Mosul!" In one hand, Khalid carried a bag with clothes for three days; with the other, he nervously dragged on a cigarette. By night, he said, he would be far from Baghdad and its bombs, far from the sandstorms and oil fires, far from what comes next.
"I want to be safe. I want to be with my family," Khalid said. "Is there anybody who likes war? Who doesn't want to live peacefully, to live an ordinary life? I want to go to work, I want to finish my business. No one likes war."
"An ordinary life" is a phrase heard often in conversations in Baghdad these days. It resonates perhaps because there is so little that is ordinary here. Wars and sanctions have ordered life, crisis after crisis has unsettled it, and now war promises to undo it.
What residents most seem to covet is routine. On the eve of war, Baghdad's stores shuttered their windows and shielded their doors with iron grates or hastily built brick walls. When the initial assault proved less devastating than feared, a few businesses reopened -- vegetable stands, working-class restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. Among them were barber shops.
Yaacoub Ahmed, with a full head of gray hair, plopped down today in the barber's chair in the working-class neighborhood of Sadriya. The cost: about 15 cents. He pays a visit every month, and neither bombs nor storms would keep him from a haircut.
"Where's the bombing? Up until now, I don't see it," he said, with a touch of bravado. "All we do is hear it. I don't see it."
But he acknowledged sending his wife and five children to what he considered the safety of Diwaniyah, a city in southern Iraq. He stayed in Baghdad to earn a living, making anywhere from 50 cents to $5 a day selling onions, garlic, potatoes and eggplant.
Sitting with friends in the barber shop, he expressed the fatalism that is so pronounced in Iraqi life. Over the clock hung a sign that read "God."
"The future is by God," he said. "No one knows the future. We're not fortunetellers."
Ali Jassim, the barber, nodded. "There's fear," he said. "Nobody knows where the bombs are going to fall, on homes, on government offices, on innocent people. Nothing can stop the Americans. The bombing will go on."
But like Ahmed, he said he was resigned to his fate, a fate that could be decided by either the United States or his own government. "It's not in our hands," he said, speaking in a vague vernacular so common here to speech in public. "We don't have a choice."
That helplessness was echoed at Sa'ee Restaurant in the upscale neighborhood of Palestine. The sandstorm drove customers and their plates of chicken shawarma from the usually crowded patio. The wind slammed sheets of corrugated tin against the roof, and with Sisyphean determination, workers tried in vain to mop the floor of dust that kept blowing inside.
Khaled Ibrahim, sipping sweet lemon tea inside the doorway, surveyed the commotion.
With dust suspended in the air and smoke from oil fires billowing, he said his neighbors were having trouble breathing. He worried that the blasts of bombs would rupture his children's eardrums. And he worried about getting medicine for his blood pressure.
"God gave us the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, he gave us the beautiful north and the marshes in the south," said Ibrahim, a mechanic. "But I feel pity for Baghdad. I feel pity on us who live here."
By evening, the sandstorm gave way to rain. Drops of mud fell on the city, clearing the sky for the last light of dusk. But the wind soon returned with even more force than before, driving the last cars off the road and shaking houses.
Imad Mohammed, who saw in the storm divine intervention, marveled at its force.
"The only time I saw a storm like this was in the American movie 'Twister' and in the words of the holy Koran," he said.
With his two sons, Mohammed sat in his house in the wealthy quarter of Mansour. Like other Iraqis, he boasted of his stockpiled supplies -- water, kerosene for cooking, frozen meat and such staples as rice -- to get him through a war that could last weeks, perhaps months. Before his family, he declared himself fearless, his fate in God's hands. "What God wishes for us, we will see," he said.
But when his sons left the room, he turned more thoughtful.
"I can't show my fear in front of my children," he said softly, with a hint of guilt. "If I'm afraid, they'll become afraid."
"Life's not comfortable," he went on, recalling the 20 missiles that struck near his home the night before, their shockwaves rolling through his house. "You sit in your house, and there's bombing. It might hit innocent homes by mistake. How do you feel? You can't trust a missile. You can't trust a pilot. This is my country, this is my city, and I'm scared."
In a moment of reflection, he worried about the war. How long would it last? At what cost would it be waged? What future would it bring? He seemed encouraged by Iraq's sporadic successes in the conflict, but wondered whether the United States would answer with even greater force, raining destruction on Baghdad and lessening the distinction between civilian and military targets.
"It will be very bloody," he said. "It won't be easy to take Baghdad, you can imagine."
Even more pronounced was his sense of pride, a sentiment wrapped up in the deeply held traditions here of honor and dignity. Iraq, he acknowledged, could never defeat the Americans and the British. It is a Third World country, and the United States is a superpower. But a U.S. victory would have to come at a cost -- suicide perhaps, but with a sense of dignity. It was a sentiment, he said, that was wrapped up in his identity as an Iraqi and his faith as a Muslim. Not once did he mention President Saddam Hussein's name.
"You can't surrender easily; we should fight," said Ahmed, the man at the barber shop. "Our religion says we should fight for our honor. We fear God. We're more afraid of God than we're afraid of the Americans."
© 2003 The Washington Post Company