It was burning hot. The AC in one of the most important places in Iraq was broken down and seems impossible to be fixed. We were gathering to cover the parliament session and the afterwards press conferences. As I was leaning on the black leather coach in the hall talking to another journalist and friend, some journalists ran towards a small TV set which al-Iraqiya correspondents and cameramen use to check the live broadcasting with. I immediately ran after them to see what was the thing that made them run hysterically like this.
“Prime Minister Maliki announced that the Jordanian terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed north of Baghdad,” a breaking news bar read. We were all surprised despite the fact that the rumor was already spread among us before we read it. However, this rumor wasn’t accurate until it was confirmed. Some thought he was caught or wounded and others thought he was killed which was later verified.
We held our breath for a second and then a loud “Mabrook” [Congratulations] was said by one of the radio stations reporters. Few minutes later, journalists started congratulating each other. Some danced in the hall, female journalists halulated, and others rushed to call their offices of the braking news. The news of his death made up our day.
I called the office immediately to confirm to them the rumor that was spread. After I hang up, a flashback of images of people died in the terrorists attacks came to my mind. Um Bashar, whom we all miss, was among the pictures. She was all dressed in white smiling as if she was telling me. “I can rest now, B. tell Bashar that I am comfortable now.” Then she disappeared but the other images did not.
I remembered my mother’s cries and voice when I called her after a car bomb exploded in front of the school where she used to teach. I recalled the TV images of the burnt children and their parents in the middle of a huge flame.
The image of the collapsed apartment building and the pile of bodies I saw in a restaurant bombed by Zarqawi’s car bombs came among the other images that will never leave me rest even if I die.
I have to say that I haven’t been happy like this for a long time. When I met my other colleagues back in the office, I waved the victory sign, which I also haven’t done since a long time ago.
I know that attacks will increase. I know more people are going to die. I know mistakes are going to be continued. I know everything will not be fixed soon like in the fairy tales. But I am happy that this man is killed. I believe his death is the real first step: the thousand-miles road starts with one step.
“Are you happy?” an American colleague of mine asked me. “I am very happy,” I replied. “Are you as happy as you were when Saddam was captured?” he continued. “No,” I replied. “Saddam was a criminal but not as brutal as Zarqawi,” I said. In all cases Saddam also should be killed, not tried. I wish I could see him hanged along with his henchmen and the other terrorists in “al-Tahreer Square” where he hanged innocents. It would make many Iraqis happy. These criminals need to be executed to make others know what being a terrorist means. Trials are not enough.
Although everybody knows that I am against the U.S. occupation to Iraq, I believe what they did in helping the Iraqis kill Zarqawi was a good real step for a better Iraq after three years of destruction and struggle. It’s only now that I feel the US forces are really serious and want to get rid of the terrorists who came as a reaction to their occupation to the country in a way or another. It’s only now I felt that they really want to accomplish their mission and go back home soon. I really hope that what I am feeling is right.
When I saw Maliki in the conference, I wished I could shake his hands to thank him and tell him how I want his government to be strong. I have a feeling that this man is really serious in taking Iraq to the safe side. I really feel that he is doing his best to do a better job than the ones preceded him. Killing Zarqawi is a good omen that Maliki’s government is no longer silent.
It occurred to me that this time, Maliki and the U.S. officials did not let us down when the criminal Zarqawi appeared on TV in his latest video that provoked all Iraqis. They all said his days are numbered and they will get him dead or alive and they did. Thank you all. Afiya [good job]…
Finally, congratulations to all Iraqi people. “Eid and love, all the people are partying,” as Kadhum al-Sahir sings. Let’s dance choby, guys.