by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad
Thursday March 20 2008
In most cities of the world a person might expect to be feted for surviving a single bomb attack. In Baghdad, survival stories can be found on every street corner.
Ali is a painter and a student at the academy of art in north Baghdad. A few years ago he moved to the Baghdad suburb of Karrada, where many artists live because of its art market.
When I meet him, Ali is limping slightly. A white bandage protrudes from the sleeve of his striped jumper, and he frequently drops his left shoulder so that his arm rests on his thigh. These are the only outward signs of the injuries he sustained in the previous week.
In a shy, soft voice Ali tells me how he had been standing with a friend in Karrada when a bomb went off at the side of the road. “I heard an explosion very close by,” he says. “I saw smoke and chaos and people screaming. I saw my friend Hassan, who was running and carrying a child who had lost an arm. I saw a nice-looking girl – the Karrada girls, you know how beautiful they are. She was dead. And I saw a girl who had only one eye.
“I couldn’t bear it,” he tells me. “I started to scream and cry.”
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