I met her when I was volunteering, assisting displaced families in Baghdad. She had a baby in her lap, whom I thought was her brother. It would never have occurred to me that it was her third child. Her innocence, small size and paleness made me guess that her age was no more than 20. I approached her and asked about her condition. Her name was Sara, she was 18 years old and had three kids. She married when she was 13. She found no other way to survive after her father had died in an explosion in 2003, under the US occupation, and her mother also passed away some time after that. She had moved to her elder sister’s and to get rid of the financial burden that she was, her sister encouraged her to marry her cousin, who was 19.
“Never did I attend school,” Sara told me with frozen feelings and dry eyes. “I’m illiterate. My husband was a manual worker who earned daily wages. He was skillful in his work. I had two children. While I was visiting my relatives in Baghdad, I went into labour with my third child. My husband could not come to that Shiite area because he belonged to a different religious sect. I stayed with my relatives for nearly two weeks. Then, when my husband tried to come to take me back something must have happened, I lost contact with him. I looked for him for days until I found his body in the fridge of the Forensic Medicine Office. My baby wasn’t even 40 days old when I buried my husband.”
Her husband was killed by criminal militias who are still looking for preys in Baghdad to murder and mutilate. That is part of the sectarian violence currently taking place in Iraq.