Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Zipped out to Fallujah today ... well, just as far as the check point into the city. The Americans are letting in about 200 families a day ... at this rate, since about two thirds of the city fled during the bombing, it will take some time for everyone to return. The soldiers we talked to were somewhat new to the area and didn't have any opinion that they wanted to share on what the felt about the settlement that had been reached in Fallujah.

We also talked to some people leaving the city (in fact the line going out was longer than the line coming in). Some where people who had come to visit relatives in Fallujah. One was a man who had volunteered the use of his van to bring families back in (he had no idea there was a limitation set on the number of families per day. It had taken him about four or five hours to bring two families in and he was heading out for more). We also talked to a man named Nizar who was leaving to go to the hospital in Baghdad to visit family members injured during the fighting. His mother and nephew had been killed and five family members had been injured by the Americans when they were trying to leave Fallujah.

"Is he sure they were American soldiers that fired upon the family?" my friend Jo asked through our interpreter.

He told us that is was a missile attack from the air. "Tiiara," he was the word he used, which I've heard used for both planes and helicopters.

Soon after we had to leave the checkpoint for an appointment back in Baghdad. In the distance we heard four deep booms in a row.

"Don't worry," said a U.S. soldier, "Those are controlled detonations. You only have to worry if you hear a high pitched whistle first."


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