Umm Mohammed lives amidst the terror and violence in Iraq, struggling to survive one day at a time. One look is all anybody needs to see the country’s wounds etched on her face and pierced in her heart. Yet through it all, she is forced to remain strong and bear the difficulties, as she must now protect her orphaned children from the daily and horrific acts of killing and looting that occur.
She begins to cry as she opens the door to her memories; tears flow down her cheeks as she attempts to hide her sobs. She lowers her head, as the tears drop on her sleeve.
“My husband was a giving man,” she says through sobs, “he used to help everyone; he used to deduct part of the family’s income in order to give a share to the orphans and the poor. He did not hesitate to give or help anyone.”
She spoke of the day a masked group of armed men stormed her home and attacked her husband. They beat him severely with the butt of their rifles as Umm Mohammed watched and screamed for help.
“They then tied him up. When I screamed for help, they fired bullets in the air and threatened me: ‘Scream one more time and we will kill him in front of you’.”
She remembers watching as her nine-month-old daughter, Shaymaa, crept towards her beaten father, not knowing what was happening. One of the armed men kicked her and broke her ribs. Umm Mohammed could only watch as the men left, pulling her husband away, his face bleeding; the men threatened, “We will return.” She grabbed her children and fled to a relative in a neighboring area only to discover days later that her husband had been tortured mercilessly before finally being killed.
Umm Mohammed is now without shelter, a husband, or financial support. She and her children move from place to place and live off the help, sympathy, and kindness of donors around her. They are the victims of a war they did not ask for, and they need as much help as they can get.
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