Friday, April 24, 2009

Finding Out Two Years Later

Its been forever, and I hate coming on just to post sadness, but I guess grief is what moves us.

When I lived in Baghdad, I worked for a few months as an English language tutor for Iraqis who worked in the American embassy. (My work there and my Iraqi families reactions is a whole other post).

One of my four students was a big man named Dhahir. He was my most formal student, a man with much promise. He loved speaking English in eloquent, flairy ways, and I tried to get him to be more down to earth, more casual. But this was his way. And he was an ambitious man.

After I left my job, my husband was looking to hire Iraqis with a strong background in what Dhahir was good at. I told him about the opportunity and he went to interview at my husband's office. We exchanged emails a few times afterwards and on occasions, and he was always his friendly self.

A few years ago, I emailed him and did not hear back from him. I blamed it on being out of touch and not having his new email address.

And then Yahoo mail changed and added its in-mail chat feature. And I found Warkaa, one of my old students and chatted with her. Dhahir had been killed two years ago. I couldn't believe it. That's why my emails had gone unanswered. Ahhhh, the agony his young wife and daughter must still be going through.
Warkaa told me he had quit his job with them and gone on to form his own business, contracting with the Americans. In the year 2007, the same year Bilal was killed, and perhaps Baghdad's worst year, Dhahir was killed by similiar evil hands. Allah yirhamak ya Dhahir. Perhaps I found out two years later so that you could have a new set of people praying for you after others may have forgotten.
I still can't believe I'm writing about one of my own student's deaths. O Baghdad, may your tears and blood be stilled.