Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Traumatophobia in writings of Iraqi Bloggers

Let me first start by defining the two terms, phobia and Traumatophobia:

"The word Phobia is a term that refers to a group of symptoms brought on by feared objects or situations.A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear that causes a person to feel intense anxiety."

"There are many phobias, and they are differentiated based on the specific object of the extreme fear – that is, the object that triggers the extreme and uncontrollable fear or that which makes someone unable to control his or her emotions and thus exhibit feelings of anxiety and panic."

"Traumatophobia, means the fear of war, traumatization or physical injury.There are many level in Traumatophobia ranging from mild to excessive."
More than four decades of endless war, terror, political and social repression, corruption, sanctions and a shattered economy have killed or traumatized most of the Iraqi people.Every Iraqi has a story of terror to tell. Therefore, you should n't be suprised to see solid signs of Traumatophobia in writings of the Iraqi bloggers.

You're at home but still you're not sure what'll happen to you the next minute and when you leave in the morning you don't know if you're going to be dead or alive by the end of the day. Always, you feel lucky when you spend a day without getting involved in any of the possible problematic scenarios. Then and because of all sort of problems, such as terrorist attacks, you need to check on your relations, nighbours and your friends all the time.This is a real tragedy. You're in a constant fear all the time..

On March 3, 2004, Faiza Alaraji reports that she:

spent the day calling people to ask if there were alright after the explosions yesterday. All the customers at the store today were saying to each other “thank god for your safety

By the end of the year, on November 29, 2004, she strongly expresses her fears that, in actual fact, are the fears of the whole nation:

What is the meaning of life without security? How could a person work, give and create, while living in a constant state of panic? In the Institute, I sit in class, listening to the teacher, and thinking warily: will a shell fall down now, break the windows, smash the walls, kill and wound us?
The magority of the Iraqis were pleased that Saddam was toppled and Hammorabi is one of them:

Anniversary of Free Iraq:
Today is the 20 March 2004! One year ago like this day the coalition forces led by the US dropped the first rockets on Baghdad aiming at Saddam and his thugs.

However, on April 2, 2006, he talks about his disappointment which leads to fear:

Iraq from darkness to darkness:
Three years passed for the occupation of Iraq and this country sunk in seas of blood, darkness and death.

His hope for a free Iraq replaced by insecurity and death:

Even the hope for democracy and freedom declined day after day and replaced by dreams about minimum standard of security. The phantom of death is everywhere and anywhere. No one can grantee his life even in his own bedroom.
There was a time after the year 2003 when many Iraqis were, during the different confrontations and clashes, in fear from the snipers who used to kill anybody they could see. On February 26, 2006, Nibras Kazimi talks about the killing of the so called "Baghdad Sniper" by another sniper:

Famed ‘Baghdad Sniper’ Mourned by Jihadist Websites:
A leading terrorist ‘warrior’ who have been lionized by the jihadist propaganda machine over the last two years was himself killed by a sniper shot recently, according to identical postings on several jihadists websites.

Then by the end of the year, on December 26, 2006, he remembers the destruction of the homeland of the indigenous Ma'dan people, the Marsh Arabs. The Ma'dan have a 5,000-year-old culture, descended from the Sumerians who established mankind's first civilization. No doubt the effect of the destruction of such a rich culture on humans and the envirnment is massive and will last for many years to come:

Saddam regime launched a massive campaign to dry the marshes in the 1990s because these areas were harboring anti-Ba’ath rebels for two decades. He burnt hundreds of villages, killed thousands and drove out tens of thousands of the Marsh Arabs to Iran. He then dug three major water-ways, costing tens of millions of dollars (during the sanctions years, mind you) to drain the water out of the marshland.
It doesn't matter if you're in exile, you can't overcome your fear seeking to live a life free from worry.Attawie , on November 30, 2006, posted this entry which should be regarded as an accurate account of the fear factor that is associated with the lives of Iraqis in exile:

Every now and then my family and I call friends or relatives just to check how they are doing back in Baghdad. And when there are clashes or any bad event, which became more often these days, in a certain area we hurry to send text messages to check on them.Lately, all the phone calls we made and the SMSs we sent shared the same three words. "Pray for us"
Saminkie is a psychiatrist who wants to help all his patients but the task is almost impossible to achieve, so on May 18, 2007, he:

felt fatigue and I was avoiding conversations with my colleagues preferring to sit alone in complete silence while letting my eyes getting lost into gazes that scan the surroundings without exactly knowing what they see, and my head was going as a blank blackboard, but you can find the traces of the old words that was written by white and other colorful chock by the hands of the psychiatric ward.

He is so tired and you can imagine the endless number of sad stories he heard from patients who represent the national and religious diversity of Iraqi society:

I let them write on my mind blackboard all they want, and it came as a panorama of Iraqi languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Armani, Assyrian, and others all speaking there problems so the threads of their stories get tied in my head today to a degree that I preferred to give my self a rest from talking… I went blank….
If an American soldier, seeing all the horrible things, feels sick because he stayed in Iraq few months, what about the people of Iraq who for about 40 years have witnessed nothing but disasters. The Iraqipundit, on October14, 2007, quotes a U.S. soldier who said:

"I'm sick of hearing about all the horrible things that happen in Iraq"
How would you feel if not only your house but the whole neighborhood was destroyed due to sectarian tension? What would you do when you see that the only refuge that is left for you is the insecurity of the streets and the uncertainty of the future for yourself and your family. The Iraqipundit, on February 29, 2008, talks about what happened to Al Dora district in the capital city of Baghdad:

“Lakes of mud and sewage fill the streets. Mountains of trash stagnate in the pungent liquid. Most of the windows in the sand-colored homes are broken, and the wind blows through them, whistling eerily. House after house is deserted, bullet holes pockmarking their walls, their doors open and unguarded, many emptied of furniture…. Emptied and destroyed by civil war
The BaghdadDentist , on January 27, 2008, is talking about a blast which is louder than music. I have to remind you about the fact that all the blasts are louder than music:

it was afternoon.i was writing my new post which was supposed to be about the health care provision.suddenly a huge terrifying sound of blast i heard inspite of the loud music that was out of my first i thought it as a bombed car or a road side bomb near us as usual until my boss ringed me a phone to tell me that it was a mile away!!!.

The Iraqi health system which used to be one of the best in the region, has suffered the consequences of wars, inappropriate policies, mismanagement and the absence of specialists and modern equipment. Subsequently, you don't wish that you or any member of your family get sick because you are afraid that you won't find the proper treatment.On December 21, 2008, the BaghdadDentist describes the deterioration of our health care system:

Iraq Has a Chronic Illness:
everytime 'i tried to challenge the deterioration, i was disappointed.on saturday the first patient came and her tooth was indicated for extraction,i gave her aneasthesia but the forceps and instruments were not sterilized. i stood gazing at the instuments and was very angry.there was no electricity,nor the generator,so i had to dismiss the patient and apologize for a fault that wasnt mine.
It's incredible that, for so long, we the Iraqis are following just the bad news. The Media in general is giving us only the news of killing and disasters in our beloved country. On some occassions they either fabricated or exaggerated their news items aiming profits trading in our blood. Unfortunately, our mind-sets are most often expecting sad news or looking for any updates related to our chronic problems and its roots.

Iraq The Model, on, January 29, 2008, is busy talking about a new sponser for Al-Qaeda in our country, which gives you an example of news that we have to know. However, it creates disappointment that leads to fear about our future:

Al-Qaeda in Iraq's New Sponsor, Libya:
After Iran, Syria and others it's now Libya's turn to sponsor terrorism in Iraq.
The news popped up for a second then it vanished; Gaddafi's son is accused by senior awakening officials in Anbar of funding and sending a group of foreign terrorists to Iraq. This particular group, awakening leaders believe, was responsible for the explosives cache that caused the devastating explosion in Mosul last week.
The intelligence organs of some neighbouring countries are trying everything in their disposal to kill as large a number as they can of our innocent people. Baghdadtreasure , on November 14, 2008, is listening to his mother talking about a new lethal device used to kill the innocent people of Iraq, the Sticky Bombs:

When I called my mother last week, she said everybody is worried because of the increase of ‘al-lasiqa,’ a term I have not heard of before I left Baghdad in July 2006. I asked what that is and she said it’s a sticky bomb usually put under the car.
I asked a western friend what would happen if he were prohibited from going to the centre of his city for no real reason.He told me, it would drive him crazy. So you imagine the damage that already is done having lost our freedom of movement in our Iraqi cities because of our fears of getting killed, kiddnapped or arrested. These are fears that are associated to our lives for so long. Touta ,on November 21, 2008, is telling us about her fears of enjoying her basic right, the freedom of movemnet in her own city:

The Silence of the Damned:
I would rather walk, despite the dangerous implications that comes with walking. But then again, what isn't dangerous nowadays

We the Iraqi people, our country is floating on a sea of oil and having the world's second -if not the 1st- largest proven oil reserves but Touta , on January 26, 2009, informs you what we, the poor Iraqis, got from our oil so far:

Poor Iraqis:
No clean water, no electricity, no heat, and they somehow still find the time to bring more sadness into their lives.
The Iraqi nation is the only nation on the planet that has to face more than 1200 suicidal cars!However we tried our best to deal with such barbaric, inhuman and uncontrolled atrocities. Nevertheless its the worst kind of troubles that you have to keep in your mind and think about fearing for yourself and every single Iraqi that you know or you don't know. Mohamed, on April 23,2009, and his friend were not far from a suicidal attak in central Baghdad:

i feel un-euphoric.
i'm at friends house on the pc while he's answering about a million phone calls from family members.
There's been multiple explosions and the victims were people. Real living smiling crying people. I'm speechless. I just have no idea what to say or do.
Micho is writing her memories of the wars. If you read between the lines you cann't stop yourself from feeling sad and upset. These are the kind of terrifying memoris that every single Iraq has in their memory. They are days that you won't forget for the rest of your life. Needless to say that these memories are associated with fears that it could have happened to you or is going to happen again to you or your loved ones.You have to live with this fear all your life. On April 24, 2009, Micho mentions a day which she regarded as unforgettable:

unforgettable days:
I was only afraid of being seriously injured because of a bomb by the US troops, and I live for the rest of my life paralyzed or suffering the lose of my family, I prayed to God all the time, I don't want to suffer, if this is my time to die, let me die, better for me to live and lose my family
Surley, the Iraqis are fed up with war, killings and bloodshed. We have had enough and we don't want any more. We just want to live in peace.Is that too much for such a civilzed and rich nation such as ours?
Layla Anwar in her post on April 24, 2009, talks about saturation. She 's an example of some Iraqis who fed up with all these bad news and they don't want to hear more:

These days, when there are news of explosions going on in Baghdad and its vicinity, like daily, I avoid reading the full story. I just read the headlines.
I don't want to know anymore.
The lack of a normal life is too traumatic for a child to accept, but that is what's happening to our chirlden in Iraq. No toys, no parks, no playgrounds and no entertainment whatsoever. Instead they are always forced to face a trauma of some sort such as, the loss of their parents or family members and friends, the destruction of their houses, displacement and the lack of a proper health care service that includes caring for their psychological welfare.

Abbas Hawazin, , on April 28, 2009, posted the following picture, please have a look and see for yourself the traumas that our beautiful children have to go through at a very early stage of their lives:

It was difficult to hide my emotions watching such an unusual circumstances so I left the following comments:

I love the child and I feel so sorry for him. I'm sure he probably has 1000 questions about the unfolding drama behind him. However, I turst he'll get out of all the difficulties of current time more confident and strong.Unfortunately he paid already a heavy pschological price.

Whenever you click the Iraqi Mojo blog, you face the traumatic story of this little Iraqi girl, Ibtihal Jassem. I think the picture speaks for itself.It's just one of thousands of similar stories that involved Iraqi children:

Her name is Ibtihal Jassem and she's from Basra. Ibtihal lost her entire family in an aerial bombing attack by the U.S. on March 22nd, 2003. She also lost her leg during that attack, she was 9 years old at the time. Ibtihal is both deaf and mute. She now lives with her grandparents who are very poor and old and cannot even communicate properly with her in sign language.
We, the Iraqi bloggers, are united in our common fears, sorrows and vulnerability. We are being psychologically traumatized and terrorized for too long. Does this mean we have lost all our hopes? No, not all. We are Iraqis and hope for us is necessary in every condition. Hope for our nation is the love of life and we'll say loudly all along the time of troubles: while there's life there's hope for us to build a free and prosperous Iraq . Touta the brave and clever Iraqi blogger, who left the luxury life in UK and came back to her country Iraq to complete her study says the following:

I don't believe Iraq is dying. Well, perhaps I'm just in denial, but I prefer to have hope. Life's too short to not have hope.

I can not agree more with Touta because once you choose to be hopefull, anything's possible and any problem can be tackled. Finally lets all remember that:

Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that ALLAH gives us to control our fears

No doubt at all that, the future of the Iraqi people will be marked with success, stability, happiness and a phobia free life.


Iraqi Mojo said...

Wow that's quite a post, Khalid. The photo of Ibtihal is symbolic of the price that ordinary Iraqis had to pay to be liberated from the tyranny of the former regime. It is very sad, and even sadder that hundreds and thousands of Iraqi kids have experienced such horror.

Michomeme said...

Thank you Khalid for this great post, you're showing the best of each blog. Let us all hope that the coming posts will be more bright, and the bloggers will write about their future plans and new good events of their personal life or about Iraq's situation.

Khalid from said...

Iraqi Moji,

Many thanks for your comment and thank you also for reminding me of Ibtihal's picture, I put it up.


Many thanks for your kind words and really I share with you all your hopes and in particular your wish to write about new good events taking place in our country Iraq.

Jeffrey said...


This is a really fine way to examine the Iraqi bloggers and to show how they represent and reflect the concerns of Iraqi society at large.

Nicely done.


Khalid from said...


Many thanks for your kind visit and nice words.


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