Iraq's streets are littered with the memories of our dead | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Iraq's streets are littered with the memories of our dead

To no avail, the water pump wheezes tonight. Iraq, the land between two rivers, is thirsty. Barely a few drops drip from the kitchen faucet in my family’s residence in Baghdad.

The power is off, too, and private diesel generators roar deep into the night. The tranquility that used to lullaby Baghdad’s alleys, allowing its residents to sleep during the hot summer nights on rooftops, has long gone. So has the safety that enabled them to do so in a now-distant lifetime, hardly visible beyond the thick plumes of smoke rising from a violent past that - in the collective memory of Iraqis - continues to burn.

It is painful to be Iraqi. Even the streets of memory are littered with the bodies of our dead

“Iraq’s night is long,” the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote in a poem for his Iraqi peer, Saadi Youssef. In his own prophetic poem, “A Vision”, Youssef wrote: “This Iraq will reach the ends of the graveyard / It will bury its sons in open country / Generation after generation / And it will forgive its despot.” *