images of the horrific annihilation of civilians maybe have
prompted our anger as we stared in disbelief at the faceless
dead lined up in hospitals or scattered amid the slums that
used to be their homes. The mind registers those as "effects"
of war and power rather than individuals with names, histories
The image that made me cry since the beginning of
the war was one broadcast on Al-Jazeera TV today. An Iraqi
man, probably early fifties, wearing a white Abbaia, a small
white hat under the red and white Kuffia without Iqal. An
His rotund figure was on its knees as a group
of British soldiers surrounded him in the middle of a busy
market. His hands kept reaching out to replace the Kuffia
on his head while the huge hand of a British solider kept
forcing his head down. He did not speak English, thus he
was not able to understand the exaggerated yells of the
British solider for him to get down on all four.
raising his head, trying to adjust the Kuffia and the white
small hat which eventually found its way to the ground.
The look on his face was one of apprehension, bewilderment,
helplessness, weakness and humiliation.
The British soldier
kept yelling "Shut up, Keep quiet". A bystander
cried out in Arabic "He is telling you to keep your
head down". The British soldiers emptied his pockets
while he kept adjusting his head cover. On the ground lay
some money, a pack of antibiotics, a pack of cigarettes,
some papers and what looked like a pack of aspirin. He finally
put his little hat back on again, the Kuffia kept sliding
under the heavy -handedness of the British solider. Every
time the Kuffia slipped down, a bold patch was revealed.
It was astonishing to notice his heated efforts to replace
it on his naked head as if the surreal situation could be
made less painful by holding on to his head dress. The fifty-year
old Iraqi from Al-Zubair in the South of Iraq was finally
taken with another man in a British military car. The newsbar
on the screen read "British Soldiers arresting Iraqis
suspected of attempting to carry out terrorist acts."
We finally catch glimpse of the Iraqi in the car, his hands
tied behind his back and his head cover falling over his
face because he could no longer reach out to put it back
four-minute scene documents the humiliation of a "liberated"
man but he is not dead. His old shabby Kuffia will slide
down again and he would eventually lose it along with the
little hat. With the loss of that Kuffia, history will register
our loss of dignity and the beginning of our degradation
and dishonour as a nation"