Family Weathers Attacks, Prepares for U.S. Siege
BAGHDAD, March 23 — The melancholy wail sailed across the city and pierced the walls of the middle-class Baghdad home. The sleepless family listened in silence until the mother, her face lined with fear and pain, shook her head.
“Siren,” she whispered.
At that, her daughter jumped up and threw open the door. She ran to open the windows next, fearful the blast would shatter them. The son sprinted outside, hoping to spot a low-flying cruise missile that would send the family huddling, yet again, in a hallway.
And they waited for the bombs.
“It’s terrible,” the mother said, as the minutes passed. “We really suffer, and I don’t know why we should live like this.”
Her daughter nodded. “I get so scared, I shake,” she said. “I’m afraid the house is going to collapse on my head.”
While the outside world has grown accustomed to detached images of fire and fury over Baghdad, and the government here boasts of victory over the invaders, this rattled family of five in the middle-class neighborhood of Jihad has watched war turn life upside down. Their world now is isolation, dread and a bitter sense that they do not deserve their fate.
“We’re in a dark, dark tunnel, and we don’t see the light at the end of it,” the daughter-in-law said.