It was a small family consisting of a couple and their little daughter. They belonged to a city in Iraq named Mosul. Mosul had been a war zone between national forces and DAESH for the past decade and it had deserted the city. Situated on the bank of River Dajla, this city has a population of almost 7lac. The population was around 15lac before DAESH took over. During the continuous war from 2014 to 2017, more than 1lac people were killed and half the population of the city fled to save their lives.
Ahmed and his family also managed to get out of Mosul alive. Turkey is 150km away from Mosul. After traveling with different caravans, they finally reached Turkey successfully. It had taken them ten days to travel 150km and they lost everything they had in this journey. They had saved their lives but humans have many other needs as well.
He was a specialist neurosurgeon in the biggest hospital of Mosul which was a good occupation. Parents, a wife, a daughter, and a younger brother… it was a small but beautiful life in Mosul. Everything was going fine which suddenly DAESH came with so-called Jihad in the name of Islam and destroyed everything. Before his eyes, the whole city was deserted. All beauty of the city turned to ashes.
“Brother Rizwan Ali Ghuman, is it what we call Jihad in Islam? And if it is Jihad, why did it ruin my life? What kind of Jihad it is that massacres your own Muslim brothers?” He looked at me helplessly.
He had gone to Bulgaria after coming out of Turkish refugee camps and had finally reached Italy after traveling for many months. Both of us sat in a refugee camp in Milan, an Italian city. He was given a small container where he lived with his wife and daughter.
“Brother, is this kind of Jihad followed in your country as well?” He asked me again.
“No Doc, it is not Jihad. It is terrorism in the name of Islam. No religion in this world allows the seizure of innocent human lives. This is terrorism done for authority and wealth. Doctor, you are an Arab and understand Islam better than I do. It’s true that Muslims are a great nation but there are such stupid people among us who believe that any man who is standing over the rostrum of a mosque is righteous. They believe them and get ready to kill each other like animals. Doctor, our religion had started with Iqra.” I watched him while speaking.
also read: ماں کی یاد میں
“Iqra, which means to read. We could not even read and understand Jihad to date. We don’t understand the meaning of human rights and freedom. Jihad is to fight against those who harm humanity. Jihad is to fight against terrorist organizations like DAESH and Taliban. These are the people who spread terrorism in the name of Islam. Jihad is to fight against these terrorists.” His eight years old daughter came to stand near us. I held her hand and sat beside me.
“Doctor, my country is burning for the past eleven years. My house, family, country, everything has been taken away and I am suffering in these refugee camps for the past eleven years. If my country was peaceful, I would also have had a beautiful daughter like her.” My eyes watered up.
“Papa, he is crying.” That little girl became sad when she saw me cry and wiped my tears with her hands.
I took out a chocolate from my pocket and gave it to her. I told her to go and play with other kids. There was a ground where the line of containers ended. The kids of this refugee camp were playing there. She went to play with them.
“Sorry Doc, I was reminded of home.” I averted my eyes.
“It’s okay, mate. We all have our homes and we all remember them. Even a bird will fight if you break its nest and DAESH not only broke out nests, it killed our children, killed parents, siblings, everyone… and we could not do anything.” This time tears graced his eyes as he cried. I patted his shoulder in consolation.
“Brother Razi, I am a neurosurgeon. I know about every single function of the human brain. Even the world’s smartest computer cannot compete with it. We can fix this brain but we cannot fix those terrorists who kill people in the name of Islam.”
“That day my daughter was ill. I had taken her and her mother to the hospital when those dogs of DAESH attacked my area. I used to take care of all patients whether they were Muslims, Christians, or Jews and it was my crime. They pulled my parents and younger brother to the piazza and cut their throats in front of everyone.”
“Razi, those monsters raped my 60 years old mother before killing her. Is it Islam? It is not our Islam. Those terrorists of DAESH are not Muslims. In fact, they are not even humans. They are animals and it is Jihad to kill those animals. I have seen the beheaded dead bodies of my loved ones with these eyes. I have seen Mosul burn. I have seen my country Iraq burn. These monsters, who slaughter people in the name of Islam, do not deserve any sympathy. Our Islam teaches us that killing one human is equal to the murder of entire humanity. What was the fault of my parents? What was the fault of my little brother? How much must he have writhed? How much pain must he have felt when his throat was slashed? It hurts so much, mate. My heart stops beating when I remember them. I’m still afraid to sleep at night. Their beheaded dead bodies encompass my dreams and don’t let me sleep for days.” His daughter came back.
The darkness had begun to spread, so the children went back to their camps or tents. The containers were not enough for the refugees due to their increasing numbers, so the Italian government had placed temporary fabric tents there. They were used for new refugees. The Italian government transferred them whenever better places were found. The refugees would find jobs in around a year and leave the camp to shift in rented houses as the new refugees took their place.
The name of Doctor Ahmed’s daughter was Asma. Asma was a very sweet girl. In the start, she was scared of me but slowly she got used to me being around. I had nobody waiting for me in my country. Taliban had ended everything. Only I was able to save my life and run here. My family members were not slaughtered. They were simply killed by the Taliban. Maybe they were good Taliban who didn’t hurt people much while killing them. It was hard for me to swallow my tears but I didn’t want to cry in front of this father and daughter.
“Asma, come here daughter, it’s dark now. Let’s go get some food.” Ahmed’s wife came out of her container and called Asma.
“Brother Razi, give me your card. We will get your food for you today.”
The food came in packets here. The refugee having the packets would punch the cards in the machine and give as many packets as the number of cards. I took out my card and handed it to Asma who then ran to her mother. Ahmed’s wife was also a doctor. She was not a surgeon but a general physician. The whole family was educated. The terrorism by DAESH had encapsulated the whole Arab region and this poor family was suffering in the Italian refugee camps despite being so educated.
“Brother Razi, you are a writer. You write stories. Will you write my story as well? Listen, mate, write every single word. The world should know that a neurosurgeon lives in this Italian refugee camp, whose life has been destroyed by this Jihad. I cannot sleep at night without taking sleeping pills. In fact, now I cannot sleep even with the pills. Everyone has to die one day, me, you, and everyone else. My parents and brother died as well. But why don’t I feel at peace? It hurts so much when your throat is cut. In five minutes or a maximum of ten minutes, the person dies but the people left behind feel this pain for the rest of their lives. They spend their lives in agony just like me. I swear to God that if I didn’t have to provide for my wife and my daughter, I would have found that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. I would have pulled him to that piazza. I would have slashed his throat and asked his writhing body about the pain that is felt when you are slaughtered. I would have asked about the agony of when your blood leaves your body slowly. He should also have an idea of this after killing thousands of people in the name of Jihad.”
“Brother Razi, the world is busy in the search of heaven. What is heaven and what is hell? Heaven is here in Italy. Italians are the luckiest people on earth who enjoy heaven in their lives in this world and will go to heaven after they die because they serve humanity. They give houses to millions of refugees and feed them. If God is not going to give them the heaven then who else deserves it?” He looked into my eyes, stood up, and walked towards his camp. I silently watched him go.
“Uncle, come on, we will eat together.” His daughter Asma ran to me and grabbed my hand to take me inside. Perhaps our next generation will be able to breathe in air that’s free of the pollution of war and hate. Perhaps they will be able to enjoy paradise.