Mustafa’s Lament

Please…pause for a second… think about your friends – all your friends from childhood. Remember? The games you played, the laughter and fun, the ease and comfort you felt… only in their company. The discoveries… the secrets… and the dreams you shared. Remember?

Now…Imagine they are all dead.

I apologize for the shock this may have caused you.

But there is more.

Imagine too, that they all were taken… Killed… In the same day, the same hour… Violently.

This is what happened to Mustafa. A young Iraqi man who collapsed in tears until his eyes dried in Brussels, Belgium. Twenty four of his friends and two of his cousins died at once on July 3, 2016, when a truck filled with phosphorus material exploded in a shopping center in the Karrada district of Baghdad. The blast killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more. It was the biggest single attack in a Shia dominated area and the second worst suicide attack against Iraqis after the Yazidi village bombing in 2007 by al-Qaeda.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the scene of the attack on the following day, and was met by angry crowds shouting “thief” and “dog”. The PM convoy was filmed fleeing a group of people throwing stones. []The suicide truck bomb left no hole on the street while burning a large complex of buildings. This made Iraqis wonder. The unusual characteristics of the explosion suggests the possibility of a lapse in security at the very least, or worse, some degree of cooperation between security forces and the perpetrators. Perhaps someone had ample time to carefully plant more sophisticated (directional) explosives.

Anothony Shadid, a New York Times foreign correspondent and the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting, in the prologue of his book entitled “Night Draws Near.” wrote the following: “The best journalism embraces nuance and celebrates it. War, however, leaves little room for subtleties. How does a journalist convey the ferocity of violence without losing meaning in the mind-numbing array of adjectives?

I can’t find a better political event or topic to describe a nuance of war than the tearless cry of Mustafa.

A video showing him holding an Iraqi flag and sobbing has gone viral in the Iraqi social media community. Even without translation, his heartbreak is palpable and does much to capture the essence of the pain Iraqis are feeling – their deepening sorrow, their frustrations and their anger – towards the betrayal of their own government, a system that has failed them, and a world that seems to have no place – and no use – for them.

Watch on Facebook

Journalists and reporters often quote a statement or two from men on the scene, while women ululate in the background.

Here I translated the entirety of his impassioned lament to show the depth of the pain that every Iraqi is suffering.

Here is the translation from the video…

* [words between brackets are my explanations for better understanding]

“A complete mall… planned operation…No car bomb and no nothing…We all are military people…We know what happens there [in Karrada]…A car bomb came?…A bullet comes down and makes a hole.  A car bomb exploded and didn’t make a damage [on the street]?…Didn’t make a scratch…a small scratch!

They planted the mall with phosphate…The biggest crime in Iraqi history…This is a crime. We still give sacrifices in Iraq…Until when?… Terrorism did not find any other place…only Iraq?… In all countries there is terrorism.

Which country is supporting terrorism? No one thought of asking? No one thought to raise the question on the media?

What is my fault?… 26 of my friends died. We lost all our memories…We lost all our childhood together. 27 years vanished in one hour…Why?…Why? What did we do?

Our mistake is that we are Iraqis. Our mistake is we are Iraqis.

27 years vanished…Our laugh…Our huff…Our play…Our coming and going.

We still kill each other…Our nation doesn’t know who the traitor is…They kill each other.

Today, my friend died. Tomorrow you die. After tomorrow I die….Until when will we give sacrifices?

Until when will we stay quiet? Enough! [Stay quiet is referring to all Iraqis who take no action against corrupt Iraqi politicians]

Instead of al-Abadi [Prime Minister of Iraq] giving condolences to the families, he comes and detains all their sons. [“Detains” is referring to randomly rounding up young people at the scene.]

They [Iraqi politicians] made Iraqi human life without any value…They don’t have humanity…And they don’t have value for a human life.

Anyone who wears a tie and suit becomes a government representative. You are not a politician. You are a government dog.

If you were true Iraqi government men, you would not let those Iraqis be slaughtered.

A failed nation!

If they have one honorable man, and he comes from an honorable tribe…He will stand in the attack scene and offer condolences to those women…10-year-old child…and seven-year-old child…Men…Women…Youth..


Since 2003 we did not see one politician get sick…NOT die…Get sick…

London is open for Iraqi politicians….Iraqis in Iraq are there to be killed.

All countries conspired against Iraqi people.

They film in us as if we are in a live action movie. They film in us as if we are in a live action movie ….

Mustafa’s weeping gives voice to the questions all Iraqi people around the world are asking.

I ask myself, in a country where daily terrorist attacks became an expected part of life; how can a person or government bring back stability and security to a variegated Iraq?

Was Thomas Hobbes right? To rule a country, the society needs an absolute sovereign. Does Iraq need a leviathan like Saddam again with a guillotine to end the political cry and bring peace?

P.S.1: Remember share, like, and comment are karma acceptable.  Do your part!

P.S.2: If you enjoyed the story, please follow from bottom right corner  to have the next story delivered to your email.