Today I had to write this post. I've been away for so long, feeling myself a bit distanced from the events happening in Baghdad. But these past few weeks, ever since my husband went back to Baghdad, event after event have touched too close for comfort, bringing me back, by no choice of mine, to Baghdad and its misery.
Today I shed my first real tears for Baghdad. Every day my heart cries for what's happening there, but today my eyes joined my heart in sadness.
Today I found out that Bilal was kidnapped from university. Yes, his name is Bilal, not B, because the world has to know this good boy's name. My husband called me earlier today and told me the bad news. His cousin, Bilal, went to his university, Baghdad University (Bab Mua'dham campus), for an exam. A while later, his mom got a call, the call that every mother dreads, from Bilal himself. He was screaming into the phone, "they got me, they got me," and yelling at his kidnappers at the same time. I can only guess what my dear aunt in law is living through right now, recalling that call over and over in her head.
Bilal is not only a cousin to my husband and me. He's our neighbor in Baghdad, living two doors away. He's the kid who came over all the time, and the one who we visited all the time, at his parents' house. He played with my then one year old, carried her around with him when he went out, took videos of her entertaining the family. He came over to our house when we were out and needed someone to sit with the workers fixing the house. He's the one we sent on odd errands.
The other day, I heard my father speaking on the phone to a guy named Bilal, another Bilal. I don't know why my heart grew nostalgic for this kid, for my cousin in law, as if I knew no other Bilal in the world. As if the name only belongs to him. Maybe my heart felt something.
Please make duaa' for him. Please pray for him and his family.
UPDATE: The kidnappers called his family and asked for $200,000. A few hours later, they downgraded it to $25,000. Bilal's brother is hoping to bring it down even more, the next time they call. It's reassuring that they are asking for a ransom, and that they seem pretty desperate for quick cash. May Allah protect him.
When I spoke to his mom today, all she could tell me was, 'He always told me his friends loved him, and would never hurt him. He never gave me their names or numbers; I don't know who to talk to." Apparently at school, the Sunni students have stopped attending university, b/c its been taken over by Sadrists. And likely that's who kidnapped Bilal. A friend sold him out to the Mahdi 'army', as a Sunni student on campus, for a small share of the profits. Sad world.