It is the middle of the night in Baghdad and from my window I can see the city lying in darkness. The night is quiet.
But I think about all the homes where a bed is lying empty, that terrible empty space where someone used to lay before they disappeared — another person kidnapped, another person who disappeared on the way somewhere and has not been seen or heard of since. Another family waiting in pain.
This is how it works. Iraqis say: "if they haven't found the body, then they are probably still alive. Then you can still hope." That's the only way most people have any idea about the fate of their disappeared.
Sometimes they know immediately. When the lock is broken in the middle of the night and they walk into your home, through the rooms where your children sleep and drag your sons from their beds and tear your husband out of your arms – then, even before the bodies are found you know the men you love are most likely never coming back. Many say the men wear uniforms, police uniforms. The police say these uniforms are stolen or bought and have nothing to do with them.
It doesn't matter anymore.
The damage is done...
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