Ok, I have to admit it. This is the 3rd time I’m writing this article and I've decided to send it to Adok in order not to rewrite it again. The problem with this article was that I had to choose the tone for it. In the previous versions I tried to be someone else and I tried to isolate myself from what I was writing but I've promised Adok my life story and I can't separate myself from my life. The problem was that I couldn't summarize the events that I've been through for my 23 years on earth inside Iraq in a single human digestible article but I had to; otherwise I'll have to write a book not an article.

So here it is; my short version of the story.

Has ever the thought crossed your mind that there must be a meaning of life? That your life is so precious and thus must be preserved? Can you imagine yourself living somewhere else? Can you hope? Can you enjoy your daily activities? Do you think that tomorrow is better than today? Can you dream? Can you control your future or at least visualize it?

If you can, then consider yourself a very, very lucky person because simply I couldn't!

I'm a graduate student from the University of Baghdad, college of dentistry. I will tell you a story that may or may not be of interest to you but I will tell it to you anyway because I believe that someone has to speak, that somebody must tell the world about what happened here in Iraq and why Iraq, the richest country in the world, turned into one of the poorest countries where most of its citizens lived and are still living below the poverty line. I will speak because I want you to judge, because I believe that you can think impartially, unbiased and without prejudice.

This story isn't about the conditions in Iraq, read the NY Times instead. However, this story is about events that happened in Iraq and how these events affected a humble citizen who lived to see it all from A to Z and you can extract whatever you want to extract out of it.


In that year Saddam came to power and the curse started. I wasn't there but I did my history homework. Iraq was prosperous, relatively developed in relation to its neighbors, and possessed a strong economy - "One Iraqi Dinar = 3.1 US Dollars" -, the best Universities in the region with a highly efficient British and Iraqi faculty.

People were normal, happy citizens as they should be in any place around the globe. It all started when Iraq fought with Iran. That was the first mistake and unfortunately you will see it wouldn't be the last one.

Iraq fought with Iran for 8 years and during that long period the deterioration started slowly but continuously. During that war many men and women lost their lives and many others were captured and others just simply escaped. That war was the beginning of the dark period in the history of Iraq that managed to transform the country to what you see it is today.

My story begins after Iraq won the Iranian war back in 1988 and officially defeated the 5th strongest army in the world. In that year the Iraqis' vanity reached its climax. People were filled with pride and greed and the war had just created a slice of overly rich people and a corresponding overly poor slice. Rich people used to smash champagne and wine bottles in the streets of Baghdad and practice prostitution, which prospered in that period, while concurrently poor people were suffering from shortage in basic life requirements.

Two years later Saddam was a god, something that is unbeatable, and so he and his clique didn't have enough with the Iranians and thought that they ought to do something else as well.

"Why don't we invade Kuwait?" they used to say.

I was in primary school back then taking my first few tutorials on how to worship Saddam and Al-Baath party and then delve into the minorities and details of that brainwashing to graduate as a slave with A+.

We weren't English literals (we didn't know how to speak or read in English) but we were fully capable of pronouncing the following statements in English:

Our Aims Are: Unity, Freedom And Socialism.
Our beloved president: Saddam Hussein.
Our loyalty to: Allah ("god") Iraq and The leader ("Saddam").

And in addition to these immortal facts you got a relatively thin and humble education; Science was a joke, so was the English department, mathematics was good and Arabic was hell. I was living back then in Baghdad in a quiet and relatively peaceful neighborhood. I was smart, active and petulant. I tried to impress everyone with everything that I did or said and like most kids there I enjoyed football and basketball and other normal activities and didn't give much thought about what would be next. However, fate had something else in its mind.

We were still connected in 1989 and I was zealous about computers in that period.

My interest in computers started when my brother bought the NEC6001 WARKAA PC especially modified and optimized for Middle East users. He was enrolled in a computer science course and he was studying "BASIC!!!" and I used to sit beside him for hours watching his keystrokes and listening to some melodies from the loud speaker.

Back then, I was a happy child. I could afford to skip the Iranian war and all its associated consequences because I was too young to realize what was going on. Life was simple; I went to school, I came back home and then studied a little bit and then went out and played. Words like yesterday or tomorrow were meaningless to me back then and all that mattered was "Today".

Unfortunately, that happiness didn't last long and I will tell you why.

It's now 1990 and Saddam was persistent on invading Kuwait. All the warnings and the threats didn't stop him. He was controlling the army and the government and the Iraqi army was strong, well armed and well trained and by all means an invastion of Kuwait would be a "piece of cake" as American people say.

And so in one night he invaded Kuwait and next day in the morning Saddam's cliques were engaging large scale stealing operations all around the beleaguered country.

After that many events occurred and finally the USA gave a warning to Saddam to withdraw his forces and avoid unnecessary war. He rejected that offer and insisted on his opinions. He was strong and proud with himself. Soon enough, USA engaged a large scale war to liberate Kuwait. It was then when I first came in contact with war.

16 January 1991 (A day that I will never forget).

On that gloomy day, I was tired because I had played too much in my cousin's birthday party and so I was anxious to go to sleep. I slept like a baby and I don't remember what I dreamt that night but certainly I remember what happened later on.

It had passed midnight when I felt myself flying out of the bed. I was sleepy, tired and could barely open my eyes but I was flying no doubt about it. I was rapidly covered by a towel and held in to my mother's arms. I can still remember her voice screaming "TIARAT" meaning airplanes and terrified, she ran into our bathroom, which had been modified by my father earlier to function as a shelter in case chemical gases were to be used in the war. I was terrified; it was the first time that I heared the sound of a missile breaching through the atmosphere hitting the ground and making a great explosion; as you will see, that wouldn't be my last. I collapsed, quickly buried my face in to my mother's lap and started trembling; I was afraid of dying. I thought that this was the end, my life was over and the next missile would be right in my face. I silently listened to my mother's hymns mixed with my father's loud yells and the repeated explosions. I always thought that my dying day was far from now and I first had to grow old like my grandfather and then get sick and die. In that night I felt like that day was too close that I started quickly to do the math to figure out whether I would make it to heaven or to hell and I remembered all the bad things that I had done in my life (of course they were all nothing more than a child's play) and then I quickly came to the conclusion that I would go to hell without doubt.

Next day in the morning, my father decided that Baghdad was no longer safe for anyone of us and so we had to head north where it was supposed to be a safer place.

My mother ordered me to get into the car and I silently obeyed. I was exhausted as I hadn't been able to sleep during that night and so I was craving for getting some sleep.

As I was in the car I started to examine the streets, it was a chaos and a mess. Long columns of smoke, destructed buildings, traffic accidents, electrical block out and terrified inhabitants. It was quite obvious that the US air forces wasted no time and they started to strike all the vital regions in the city and my neighborhood was among them.

As we moved north, I lived an extremely primitive and ugly life. No potable water, no electricity and most important "no shelter". We moved from place to place and from region to region all around the country in an attempt to survive. We tried to dig our way out of the country but we couldn't afford the required financial resources to do so.

Few months later after no school and lots of shifts the bloodshed ceased and we were finally able to return to our neighborhood. I was anxious about getting back probably because I missed all my friends whom I had had to leave behind when we traveled. I went to check my school just to find it partially destroyed during the war. I went to look for my friends just to discover that some of them were missing and some had left the country with their parents. I missed them so much and I hated wars as they were the fundamental reason for many disasters in the country.

People changed. Rich families took their children and emigrated to western countries. Less fortunate families were stuck inside. I was belonging to the latter group. I continued my primary education in spite of all the difficulties and the block outs and successfully managed to graduate as one of the best in the country in my 6th grade. Meanwhile, my big brother decided that he had enough from Iraq and it was now the time for him to travel to a new land. My father acted respectively and succeeded in gathering some money that would help my brother start his way out. My brother wasted no time and he traveled to Belarus, the only place where it's difficult to find an Iraqi.

Let's get back to me. I was living as any other kid in that country with a "Soldier Mentality". You can see military all the time and you can find guns everywhere.

Mind that I have mentioned two wars and many Iraqis were recruited for the wars and so many people were having a wide experience with weapons and full contact combat.

My peaceful, quiet neighborhood turned into a violent, aggressive and dangerous one.

However, my father kept me indoors in order to protect me and so I missed to be a gang member too; however, not all of my friends were fortunate enough to stay indoors, and when they started to mix with the outside environment they were quickly assimilated into the countless gangs that were generated and well established after the war.

Saddam was no joker either. He started the largest genocide the humanity ever witnessed in that period resulting in more and more blood shed and more and more orphans and so the level of the misery dramatically increased. Simultaneously, the United Nations - that's to say the USA - quickly and firmly imposed sanctions on that country for reasons I can't understand till today. It was then when we began our painful journey straight in to the heart of hell. Iraq sank into debts and Saddam was on the habit of spending a huge amount of money on the army and his own palaces and personal pleasure.

And although he was a ruthless murderer, he was so naive that many people in Arabic and western countries managed to extract billions of dollars from the Iraqi blood and that may explain to you all the hatred nature that many Iraqis gained. Try to imagine that you are starving and your leader donates millions to Russia, Spain, France and USA and donates petroleum to Jordan and Syria.

This is an example, not to be taken offensively. When they see the light shining somewhere and visualize themselves living in the dark, many Iraqis just can't get rid of the feeling that their money has contributed to that light in some way, whether directly or indirectly.

It was the time to choose a high school for study and after passing strict IQ tests I was quickly admitted to a gifted boys' school, one of the finest in the country. Well, not necessarily. In that school I started my PhD degree in worshiping Saddam and Al-Baath party and there is where I got my first military training. It was tedious; I had to go in the early morning just to attend the training. We were given a working knowledge with rifles and grenades and how to strike and paralyze an attacker.

The best of us would become candidates for a higher military training. Well, because I lived indoors I chose science; I hated wars and so I wasn't the best in the clique. I knew all the dirt and the filth in advance and so I saved myself the trouble.

At high school you get a relatively good education. Iraqi study courses were heavy ones and you study everything that is available on earth. They won't teach you how to program in C++ or give you high tech seminars but you will get a respectful basic science and literature education and as a proof I remember that one of the students in my school in a higher class traveled with his parents to New Zealand and he scored the first on the country in the final exams of the secondary education.

One year later, I was attending a mathematic class and I was staring in the blackboard while the teacher was explaining to us the principles of algebra. It was then when the vice principal (if that is the right term) entered the classroom and announced that the principal called for a gathering of all the students in the playground of the school. We were delighted; "anything is better than algebra" I said to myself.

If I knew what I was going to see then I would probably have stayed in the classroom studying algebra for the rest of my life. Anyway, the principal was a lousy Baath party member. He was belligerent and warlike. He declared that we had to go outside the school to see something important. "What it could be?" I asked myself.

We went outside and no one will ever believe what we saw. There were about seven Iraqi Special Forces soldiers (I can identify them from their unique uniform and red hats) and four men handcuffed and tied to trees in the terrain intimately close to the school. Their heads were covered with black covers and they were all dressed in white. Their bodies were shaking and they could barely stand. It was then when I heard that ugly voice of the principal once again yelling: "You are now going to witness the execution of four traitors, accused and found guilty with treason and murder, justice will be served".

None of us knew what to do or say, we just stood there and I remember that I barely was able to take a breath. The soldiers quickly and calmly read the execution order from the court of law and announced that justice had to be served. They took their positions, aligned in to one line and then they shot the first shot, followed by a second one. All of the four men's bodies wiggled immediately with a scream and then there was silence. I remember that I went breathless and I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest, my heart was beating so fast that I feared that it might burst. Again I heard that voice, the same very voice of death. I couldn't sleep for so many days and I suffered from insomnia and depression, I couldn't eat or drink or study or do anything for a long time. I didn't tell my parents about it, some boys who witnessed the execution did but I didn't. Whenever I close my eyes I see their white coats contaminated with blood, I remember the second shot... what do they call it?? Oh, the "Mercy Bullet". It took a lot of time for me to put that day behind me and go on with my life.

After that accident the students changed. They began to act capriciously. They turned to be more violent and aggressive than before. I took my share in the beating and fights.

Nevertheless, my passion to science was beyond my current situation. I continued to study and then I was faced with another obstacle.

It's now 1996 and the economical deterioration was an absolute reality. Many people and employees lost their jobs - including my father. Now we faced financial problems. My brother, who had gone to study dentistry in Belarus, needed money for his tuition. My father was bankrupt and so my brother had to quit college to seek a job there in Belarus. I had to assist my father to support my family. So I started to work with him. We opened a small shop for selling spare parts and we could barely make our living to survive the next month. That was the condition of so many "HONEST" people in the country.

Simultaneously, Saddam was busy building palaces and mosques. He attempted to assassinate his son Udai in order to prevent him from reaching the throne. The accident turned the latter into a maniac. He had been crazy, and now he was a complete insane. He enjoyed torturing people, not killing them. One of his favorite hobbies was to cover the victim's body with honey and throw him in a black room filled with worms and guess what - bees.

Another method is to force him to take a blood bath and then throw him to his tigers.

I can write a book about his torturing techniques as I was listening to each hear saying and rumor.

I started to study and work, it was a tough period. I experienced hunger on some days and believe me it's a horrible feeling. Hunger is the only motive that can make you kill, steal or violate any law. Take my word for it. It's not like when you are fasting or meditating or practicing Tie Chi or something like that. It's just like your stomach is crying for something that you can't afford and so your brain crosses the delicate line between good and evil. Many of my comrades were undergoing the same odd circumstances.

We were starving, exhausted and depressed but we kept on studying. I don't remember many students had left the school, only few of them did.

After one year economy raised a little bit and finally we had some relief.

Second gulf war

Again the USA, "the humanity saviors", interfered as they thought that Iraq was endangering their national security. This time they were playing a video game in which we were unwilling participants.

This war ended rapidly and again the economy went down to the bottom. The sanctions and the successive wars turned the country into a pure hell. All graduate students had to serve in the army, which is a way to humiliate the human being. No job opportunities. Engineers and medical staff were prohibited from traveling outside the country so that Iraq wouldn't loose "TALENTS" and in response many bright people were discouraged from applying to these vital fields, which led to depletion in the medical and technical staff. Salaries were too low, the average salary of a physician didn't exceed under any circumstance 3-4$/month on max (and that is four to five dollars not thousands if you may think that I forgot the zeros). Corruption spread everywhere; people started to leave. Education was neglected and in response all bright teachers left the country. Anyone could be accused for any and no reason. Anyone whom the Fidaaieeen Saddam (Saddam martyrs) would suspects of being against Saddam would be decapitated or beheaded immediately. Many people couldn't live with it and started to leave the country.

No one can breathe, no one can say why. You take what is given to you or you're dead.

I would like to take the space and tell you about Fidaaieen Saddam. First of all, they are not human in the ordinary sense but they are more like animals. One of their daily training is to chase a wolf barehanded and then capture it and rip his heart out and eat it.

This is no "Secret" that I tell you about, this was all video taped and broadcasted in the Iraqi local channels. There was a time when Saddam started large scale operations against prostitution. Fidaaieen were given the full authority to cut the head of any women or man who was practicing prostitution. Immediately, the Fidaaieen took it as an excuse to kill anyone they hated. They started to kill everyone and anyone and so no one was safe.

One day I met one of them accidentally. He was a friend fo a relative's and so forth. I started a conversation with him and we right a way hit it off. He didn't care about telling me because he knew that if I told anyone then he could kill me with ease. He told me that once they brought about 150 persons in a large truck and the administration called him into the execution room. Iraqi Fidaaieen were trained much like Samurai, they gave him a sword and told him to start beheading these 150 persons. He rejected that no investigation was conducted and he couldn't tolerate killing innocent people.

You know what they did?

They raised the same sword and told him it's your life or theirs, you kill them now or you will be killed right now right here. He told me: "In that moment I took the sword and cut the head of a beautiful teenager girl, followed by a man and so on and on. I didn't realize what I was doing; all of them looked just like heads that need to be cut, no more and no less. All of my uniform was covered with blood and when I finished I looked a round to see that I had just killed more than 46 persons. PERIOD."

I didn't blame him at the beginning; I thought with myself what would I do if I was in his shoes? Would I choose my life or someone else's life?

But soon I decided that I would prefer dying to murdering innocent people.

I wished him good luck and never saw him again.

Today after the war the same people are still practicing the same old habits.


I was seventeen then and then I was faced with another obstacle.

Saddam used to grant (well, you won't believe it) degrees if that is the term for the sons of his regime's members. In other words if I got 70% as an average and one of the son's of his regime got 55% but his father possessed a privilege card from Saddam then his son would get a bonus 25% and this way he wouldget 80% as an average and get the grant.

It's hard to believe, isn't it? Well, try to beat this.

I thought to myself that I wouldn't let those assholes pull my neck. I had to fight back and so I decided to apply for a special program that would allow me to skip one year and at the same time guarantee a seat for me in any college I preferred in the country.

That program wasn't easy at all; first you had to pass the former year with A+ in all subjects and then you had to undergo strict IQ tests and Special Equating programs and once you passed these exams you would have to study the subjects for the year you skipped in 70 days and score no less than 80%. Well, with twelve hours daily electrical block out and an extremely hot summer and a lot of financial difficulties I started to study slowly but with persistence. Not to talk too much, I made it. I was one of 37 students in Iraq to pass that exam and somehow I could beat those assholes for once and for good.

I was proud of what I had done. I felt free. I felt that I didn't belong to the system and somehow I was above it. For a moment I was free. I felt that I forced myself on the system to accept me and to grant me what belonged to me.

I had no time to think much about choosing the college; I had to decide fast and apply faster. I wanted to apply for a medical school but I quickly remembered all the suffering that I would endure and so I resisted the temptation. I decided to study dentistry just because it has less service commitment in the army than medicine.

I went to college; it was my high school version 2. Same corruptions, eyes of intelligence were everywhere. You wouldn't dare to whisper to yourself. Ill equipped teachers who managed to suffocate us, the "bright" students, or even worse: when they discover that you were talented they got jealous and started to fight you and lower your marks.

All bright teachers, researchers and scientists had left the country to teach at western Universities. It was just like Iraq was acting as a filter to evacuate the country from any clever person. Any person who possessed a minimum of dignity wouldn't tolerate staying there for a minute and the system would simply force him to leave - and so you will see, in Iraq the teachers are now more like the gangs I told you about, with the difference that they wear ties and eye glasses.

It was a tough going to me. I tried to suceed but I couldn't. I was just hopeless and I used to visualize Saddam and Al-Baath as objects like the sun and the moon, "something which lasts forever", and was I absolutely unable to believe anything else.

I had a lot of rage, violence and anger inside me and I had to spell it out. All the raw feelings that I had, had to go out, and so I decided to expand my knowledge in martial arts, I decided to study Kung Fu. I studied Tie Chi in an attempt to find inner peace. It's relatively easy to study martial arts here in Iraq as it's a public sport for all age groups. I hated my college; the education system went straight to hell in that country and so I decided it was not worthy. I started to miss classes but I kept in touch with it just not to go to the army.

By that time I had matured technically, I was programming in C++ and OOP, I started to study DirectX programming and I was among few in Iraq who knew how to program in Direct3D. I wanted to create 3D medical simulation systems and just happened to meet my soul mate; a talented designer, who worked on 3D MAYA software. Imagine how tough it is to work as a designer in Iraq. We worked together to create a 3D simulation system, we were both visionary and we were both persistent and I told him that if we could do this then we could do anything. After 2 years of back and forth we managed to get out something: a 3D dental anatomy simulation system. We worked hard but without electricity it's extremely difficult to establish anything.

And just when I finished the program I went to show it to my teachers. The assholes didn't even give a damn about it. They said that it was worthless and the 2D illustrations were much better than this software. It's unique, one of its class not only in Iraq but in the whole Middle East. I used cutting edge technologies and the best photo realistic rendering I could produce with my null resources. I couldn't find anything similar, not even at American Universities.

But what could I do?

I dropped the subject, I still have the program and I showed it only to relatively few people whom I found later to be the wrong persons.

It was the time that I needed to use the internet. There was no internet for the public, of course. It's safer that way. No internet, no satellite means no arguments, no CNN, no BBC and so - nothing. The local media was reserved exclusively for Saddam and they wouldn't find it annoying to cut the movie to broadcast his meeting with someone, and so we were isolated.

Internet entered Iraq in 1997 and it was exclusively reserved for the secret service and the intelligence. Believe it or not but there were rumors that Mr. Norton himself was supervising the intelligence security systems. After I mastered many of the hacking techniques available in cheap CDs that come from Syria, I was able to stitch a Trojan horse "Barok" for those who know it into the main server and I got passwords for internet access. It was my neck, if I got caught, then I would no doubt be executed, and so I was very cautious and suspicious even with my closest friends. Both I and my friend did the same thing but we didn't tell each other about it. We were too scared to tell each other. Imagine that you live in a place where the sentence of the crime of getting online is execution. If you were to carry Thuria mobile phone without authorization then you would be executed too.

Just don't let anyone tell you anything else because believe me, I lived to see people vanishing for reasons simpler than the above.

In 2002, they released the internet to the public after it turned out to be a must in all Universities and governmental institutions and so I felt some relief.

I was starving technically, so I read whatever came even close to me. It was a teacher from Germany who was visiting Iraq for a dental conference at 2001 who opened my mind. He was talking about intra oral cameras, digital radiography and CAT and MRI and I sat there gazing at him as if he was some kind of an alien. I went to meet him after the lecture and he recognized my talents and promised to help me but after his departure I found that his email address was wrong and so I lost contact with him.

I continued reading; I believed that some day something would happen. I studied OpenGL and SGI OpenInventor just for the thrill. I even managed to develop my program on Linux workstation but the same problem persisted: when I would finish college then I would go to the army and hence it wouldn't make any difference.

My friend turned hopeless. He escaped. I remained behind, kept fighting. Corruption rose to ascendance, salaries to the ground. I hated myself, I hated everyone and everything, but I kept on hoping.

Iraqis had died mentally but they were still clinically alive. They became careless. They lost the sense of joy or grief. Too afraid to turn over the pages of the past, too hesitant to step in to the future and I was in the middle. They lost the taste of things; all things looked the same to many people. A European Union formed, an earth quake hit Japan or a volcano erupted in Tahiti; they all looked the same to Iraqis. All they knew was that they had a fixed electrical block out schedule, they had life expenses to worry about and for the young generations, which constituted more than 50% of the population, the main concern was: "How do I escape from the army? Whom do I know who can help me to bribe somebody to escape from the army?"

You won't find any three young Iraqis aged (18-30) gathered without the exclusive three hot topics being discussed:

1) How do I escape from the army?
2) How do I collect money for my departure?
3) Which route is the best for my escape?

And so this subject brainwashed everybody and everyone.

Because I was studying in a medical field and because I was succeeding year after year I was given a postponed date for joining the army and so I was saved temporarily although I knew in advance that I would serve more than the others once I would graduate but I hoped that maybe - and I say maybe - something would happen.

I had one wish through out these years, which was to live long enough to see him fall, Saddam. I prayed to god that I would live to the day that he would be dead so I would be able to spit on his grave.

March 21 2004 (The last war)

Three days earlier, I was listening to Linkin Park's new album "Meteora", single "Some Where I belong".

It's three days and the deadline is over. Both Saddam and his clique have to leave the country, which all of us knew is impossible, or the alternative will happen, which is the war.

The war; this time it's just a déjà vu. I've already been there. We all did the standard war preparations and just waited for the strike. Waiting is an art that we have mastered over the years. Everything turned out as expected. The US forces quickly smashed the diseased and destructed army. No one was thinking that the god might step down from his throne.

But he did. I felt free; I was finally able to take a deep breath. Iraq had finally broken the chain; I neither regarded the US troops as liberators nor asoccupiers. I regarded what happened as a change, a change that must have been done. Thanks to the USA, the same people who had brought him in the first place had now come to take him down. I didn't care about the political agendas, all I knew was that I was free, I didn't want anything else. I didn't care about bombing or violence. Many stupid people called the Americans occupiers but I didn't. I loved the US army and I made friends with soldiers, sergeants, generals, national guards and civil organizations inside the US army.

After the war the country was in a state of reboot and when I say reboot I really mean the word because everything was stolen by everyone (Iraqis, American, Arab and British).

However, that was inevitable because Iraq had just passed through a radical surgery and in radical surgeries you always expect post operative complications.

This time I can insult the president and no one can touch me. I can speak, I can show my opinions and I would pay heaven and earth to do so. I was a slave and I'm now freed and guess what: No one is going to enslave me anymore. I won't redo the same mistakes.

Time passed by and things turned much worse and now I have graduated from that damn University. It's now a time for me to choose a career, to choose a path. It's not easy as the country is still wounded. But now there is a hope for a better chance, a hope for a better generation, a hope for a better country.

I still face difficulties.

A professor at an American University met me after the war and I told him my story; I showed him my program and he was touched, he offered to help me. He offered me to major in his graduate program in biomedical technology, which is the only thing that I adore. I will finally be able to study scientific visualization systems, 3D reconstruction from MRI and CAT and achieve my dreams.

But difficulties are always there; "Why it should be always like this".

One fundamental difficulty is that I can't get my certificate from the university for one reason: in the past regime all the medical staff was prohibited from obtaining its official transcript so that they were forced to stay and for some reason that stupid, awful law is still present today.

In response, I left the country; it was my time to leave. I couldn't take it any more. I said to myself "Fuck the gun I'm done". I'm now in Jordan preparing for the GRE and the Toefl test. I'm taking these exams next month and I will do my best to pass. I will then go back to fight for my certificate.

I'm now calmer, less violent and less hostile. I can't say that I'm happy because I lost the taste of that word long time ago.

Will I ever make it to the other side? I don't know; all I know is that I'm not going to give up and I will continue fighting.

There was a part of the lyrics that made cry that day and for some reason I felt that I'm not alone.

"I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real, I want let go out the pain I felt so long."

I wanna heal, I wanna feel, like I'm close to something real, I wanna find something that I wanted all along:

"Somewhere I belong."

Now you know. I feel a lot better now. That's what happened and what is still happening. Will that country ever reach to the point that enough is enough? Will Iraqis will be able to rebuild what was destroyed? Talk is cheap but action is not.

All I know that I was living inside a war zone for my entire life but I managed to survive and stay clean somehow; probably because my family protected me all these years. However, I think that was an absolute necessary if I was ever able to develop the mentality to reach to Hugi and speak to you or otherwise you wouldnever hear this story, not from me at least, and so it was an absolute necessary.

I got the position of an observer but in contrast to those who observe from outside I was inside but I didn't have to eat an entire "Turkey" to know how the taste of meat was.

In an Chinese ancient book of war it was written:

"When people are not afraid of your power, then that means that a greater power has arrived and your power is no more exclusive".

A last word before I go. After all what I've been through I finally realized the simplest fundamental truth in life "Don't fight fire by fire" because when you do then you won't be any better.

Comment from Adok: The name of the author as well as some personal details have been removed from the story for security reasons.