Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Baby in the Gym Bag


Warning: this is a sad and disturbing story.

Two years ago, Yves Eudes, a reporter for Le Monde, came to my house and interviewed me about freewayblogging. He was a younger man, in his thirties, good looking and somewhat reserved, almost shy, which for a reporter surprised me. As a political and war correspondent he'd been in Iraq three times since the invasion and I asked him what it was like. Specifically I wanted to know what he'd seen that he knew he would never forget. He told me this story, and I think about it whenever I feel like giving up.

"I was in Nasariyah and a couple came up to me on the street asking for help. They were carrying a large gym bag, an 'Adidas' bag, with their daughter inside. The city was in chaos, and they came up to me, I suppose, because I was a westerner and they thought I could help them. When I looked inside the bag there was a little girl, maybe two years old, with bandages around her head. There was a terrible smell and I thought to myself 'Okay, they have a dead girl...' The bandages were loose and soaked in fluid - it was a terrible wound, covering half her head. I guessed they'd gotten her to a hospital and they'd done what they could quickly and gave her back. It was the early days of the war and the hospitals were full. I couldn't believe it when I saw she was still alive."

"I took them to the Americans, and there was a woman soldier there, a big woman, who said there was nothing they could do... that it had to be a military casualty or something like that. I forget exactly. I want to say she was mean, but I don't know... more like she was just following her orders. She stood like this..." he said, and folded his arms across his chest.

"We went to a couple more soldiers, but it was the same. There was one young soldier who went for help, but then came back saying he couldn't do anything. I went with them for awhile longer, but it was obvious I was useless. Eventually they just went away."

We were sitting in my garage, surrounded by the tools of my trade: cardboard, paint, overhead projector. Outside it was a beautiful day: a warm, late afternoon in sunny southern California.

"It's hard to describe what they were like, the parents... they were beyond sad, beyond scared... they were doing the only thing they could do - looking for help - and I couldn't help feeling that I'd wasted their time. I don't know if I will ever forget their faces, or what it was like to see their little girl... but the thing I know I will never forget is the way they looked as they walked away, wandering the streets with their baby in that bag... just looking for someone who could help them."


Annie said...

Oh man, that's so sad.

Scott said...

My son is two years old... putting myself in their shoes for only moment and I am overcome with emotion. If the war-mongers had hearts of their own, perhaps they wouldn't turn a blind eye towards the evils of war.

Love, Rita said...

How incredibly horrific! This war is wrong. And this story is just ONE reason why.

Everyday I ask myself: How many of our American citizens must die before the government realizes that the Iraqi people DON'T WANT A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY! They've been fighting for CENTURIES--and they aren't going to stop just because tell them to. Their newly elected democratic government is a JOKE! It consists of puppets selected by the United States and will NEVER hold any authority over the Iraqui fools that thrive on conflict and death.

Bring our people HOME, NOW!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Scarlet.

Confessions of a Malamute said...

Freeway blogger your site is really good. I like the fact youre one of the few americans not sitting on their butts in front of their tv's uncaring and unaware of whats going on.

A very sad story. Now add in some 200,000 other innocent Iraqi's to that and you have the real cost of war.

Rita this war was never about democracy. It was about stealing Iraqi oil and stopping Saddam from dumping the u.s. $ in favour of the Euro. Doing that would make your dollar worthless. Iran is going to do the same thing in March. "Coincidentally", March is when the u.s. bombing campaign starts in Iran.

Its time for you americans to rise up and put an end to your governments war crimes. Too many innocents have died.