Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Family's Tragedy

A seemingly happy family lives near my home was devastated a few days ago as a result of ignorance and alcohol. The father, A. who was the driver who used to drive me and my sister to college everyday for the last year, made a terrible mistake that lead to the end of his own family.
He was a drunkard man and we doubted if he had any education. He's got the most adorable the cutest two little daughters, his wife was very nice and lovely woman but he didn't know how to keep that treasure for good!
He was good with his two little daughters, but wasn't good with his wife all the time and he didn't treat her well. And many people in the neighborhood complained of his crazy actions and behaviors as he used to have some fights with the neighbors every now and then cuz of the generator one time and the kids the other time… One night he was drunk and the neighbor's generator disturbed him so he went out to his neighbors and started to shout and break the neighbor's windows and car! That was one famous accident which we heard right from him.
Like in every family, they had some problem. But this family's problems were worse. The parents were quarrelling most of the time that he used to beat her, threaten to divorce her and even kicked her out of the house with his two little girls one time. The fights happened when he was drunk; the next morning neighbors would try to make it up between them again. He even once decided to leave his wife and get married to a woman living in the same street, but luckily the woman refused cuz she knew his family and didn't want to be a reason of the the family's destruction. Though the father's continuous state of drunkard was the real destruction.
We used to know many things and details about what was going on with his family. He used to talk with mom and dad and tell them about his fights with his wife, and my parents were giving his advices all the time. He's got the most adorable and the cutest daughters and they were spending long times with me and my sister though we were way older than them.
Time passed and he was not our driver anymore, and we stopped seeing him in the neighborhood. A few days ago Mom and I passed by his house and we noticed that all the lights were off and the door was locked. We wondered why we no longer see him or his kids around. Then my Mom suggested that maybe things got worse between him and his wife and that maybe she couldn't take it anymore and asked for a divorce…
The news came rushing in my side of the neighborhood yesterday; it turned out that he divorced his wife several months ago and then he got married after three months. He went to his ex-wife's parents' house where she was with her two daughters in order to see them. But his ex's family never let him see the girls when he was angry or drunk. Until one day he got fed up with the situation, he took out his rifle and headed back to the parents' house. Angry and intoxicated, he shot the grandmother (ex-wife's mother) and killed her, killed his ex-wife and shot her brother!! But it didn't end this way. He went out of the house rushing back home, it's said that he fought with some of the neighbors there who were trying to stop him and some got injured. He drove his car along the highway with a crazy speed and it happened that there was a police checkpoint that started shooting at the car when he didn't stop and got him badly injured. The police, thinking that he was suicide-bomber, arrested him immediately and took him to hospital. A few hours later, some people recognized his car on the highway and called for his brother. After knowing the whole story, the police officers refused to give him back to his family. It's even suspected that he died.
Since we heard the news, Mom and I were thinking of his daughters all the time. Did they saw their father killing their Mom and Grandmother? Are they ever going to love him or forgive him one day? I feel very sad for the devastated family, and I feel even worse just to think of what is going to happen to the girl, who is going to take care of them. He could be a good man with a kind heart, but ignorance took a big deal of him that left him blinded with anger and irrationalism.
If he wasn't an ignorant man he would have realized that alcohol was destroying his family and destroying the human being within him. He could have done something to restore the peace inside his house to raise a wonderful family in a healthy environment, but he didn't know the gift he was given and he wasted it all that, and wasted his life.

I once posted a photo for one of his daughters who used to spend a lot of time in our house.



David said...

This is a very tragic story! I feel very sad for this man's children! Little Israa is so cute. She looks very happy in the picture. I just want to give her a hug. I hope that she and her sister will be cared for by people who will love them and help them to heal from the terrible pain that they must be feeling.

Melantrys said...

Men like him almost never change.

Over here the neighbours wouldn't have spent time talking him out of a divorce, but her into getting a divorce, and good riddance.
Even if families like that not always end this tragic, staying with men like that only totally destroys the women... and the children too. Even if he manages to be a good father they get damaged by seeing him treat his wife like that.

I appreciate that leaving a man will be more difficult in the Middle East, but those're my two cents as a western woman.

programmer craig said...

That's such a tragic story, Morbido :(

I've seen many families destroyed by alchololism here in the United States (and it's not always the man!) but luckily I've never known a family with such a bad ending. Maybe it's more uncommon in Iraq? I think alcohol abuse is more rare in your country than it is here. I think the only hope for that man was to stop drinking, and unfortunately, he didn't. Alcoholism isa progressive disease... things never get better with an alcoholic, they always get worse. The only solution is complete abstinance. I hope this family is able to recover from what happened, and that the father is punished for what he did. Whatever happens, the girls do not belong in his care... they are better off without him!

Mad Canuck said...

What a tragic story....

I think Craig and Melantrys both have very good points here.

Like Melantrys mentioned, In Europe, the US, Canada, or many other places, it would be the woman who'd likely have gotten frustrated and walked out.

The violent episodes were early danger signs. All married couples argue from time to time, but it is never acceptable for a man to beat his wife. The first time a woman finds her husband beating her, she needs to either get out of that relationship, or ensure her husband gets into some sort of treatment program that will help him control himself better. Otherwise, the abuse will just continue and may even escalate.

I really don't think alcohol can be fully blamed for this either. I sometimes joke that alcohol is like truth serum - it reveals your true inner nature. If a person is a belligerent thug when he is drunk, he's like that when he's sober too, he's just better at hiding that part of himself when he's sober. Likewise, a person who is a nice guy when he's drunk is naturally nice. The alcohol just makes a person reveal his or her inner self, it doesn't change what that inner self is.

attawie said...

This is a very tragic story indeed.
I kept thinking of the poor little girls.

Mad Canuck,
I think dealing with such situation is easier in the places you mentioned. In Iraq, it's difficult for a woman to leave her husband, especially if he was the only supporter of the family. Such cases happen mostly to uneducated people. Ignorance makes them act according to old fashion and false beliefs, to create a typical icon of a fake happy family.

If you notice, family members and neighbors keep telling the wife to take care of the family and advise her not to get divorced. There’s a saying, which I don’t know how to put it in English, “a shade of a man better than a shade of a wall” which means: having a man better than having nothing. This is ironical, because it’s not about having a man but having the right man.

As for
“Or ensure her husband gets into some sort of treatment program that will help him control himself better”
I have to say that alcoholism is a hush-hush issue in Arab/Islamic World. Usually, no one knows about the person who drinks alcohol except for his parents and close friends. People tend to hide if they were drinkers or not. Sometimes they hide it from their own families. That’s why, in Iraq, we don’t have treatment programs.
The abuse goes on without any serious help around, which leads, in best cases, to divorce or abandon, or just like this tragic family.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

That is so sad. Incidents like that happen here as well. But I think we have more support groups for those caught in an abusive situation.

I know that they tried to set something up in Iraq early on. Such as shelters for battered women. But I don't know if it is still in place.

Here is a link to one organization, but I don't know if it is still functioning.

I very much hope that the girls will be staying with their mothers family.

Mad Canuck said...

Hi Attawie, it's nice to hear from you (I don't think we've met properly before... ):

Such cases happen mostly to uneducated people. Ignorance makes them act according to old fashion and false beliefs, to create a typical icon of a fake happy family.

We're not as far apart as you think: you see more issues like this in poorer and less educated people here too. Neglect breeds neglect, and abuse breeds abuse in a vicious cycle.

I do think it is important in any society for women to be empowered to leave a marriage, because it makes a man realize that being with his wife is a privilege, not a right, and if he abuses that privilege it can be taken away. If a man knows a woman cannot leave, he is free to treat her as a doormat if he wishes, and that is not beneficial for himself, his wife, or their children.

There’s a saying, which I don’t know how to put it in English, “a shade of a man better than a shade of a wall” which means: having a man better than having nothing.

That can be true, so long as the man does not beat or otherwise abuse his wife. If he does, I'd suggest the wall is better company.

In terms of the Arab world, Iraq is very progressive in terms of the empowerment of women in the workplace. It doesn't take a big stretch from this for a woman to realize she can survive quite well without her husband if she needs to.

I have to say that alcoholism is a hush-hush issue in Arab/Islamic World. Usually, no one knows about the person who drinks alcohol except for his parents and close friends. People tend to hide if they were drinkers or not. Sometimes they hide it from their own families. That’s why, in Iraq, we don’t have treatment programs.

Excessive drinking is taboo here too. It is okay to drink in moderation, but someone who loses control and abuses alcohol is an embarrassment. It is for that exact reason the biggest alcoholism treatment program here is called "Alcoholics Anonymous": the members meet regularly, but do not know each others' full names, and their identities are never made public. It sounds like someone should start an AA chapter in Baghdad....

In any case, when I said, "treatment", I wasn't talking so much about the alcohol as the anger-management issues. Alcohol does not cause these psychological problems, it just brings them to the surface.

Morbid Smile said...

If I was that woman, I would have taken my two daughters and ran away from him long time ago. But things are not the same with her case. Like what Attawie said, some women here would stay in the abusive relationship if there is no other supporter to her kids, or another place to go to.

For many time and so many reasons I wished if there were one of those women organizations where women could go to before such tragedies occur. But even if they exist, I think there will still be some women who are unable to get there.

There is no news about where the two girls are now, and no-one also knows if the father still alive or not. Their house is locked and the father's family who live in the same street refuse to talk about anything. I just pray that little Israa and her sister, Narmeen, will be safe.

Truth About Iraqis said...

US military makes songs about killing Iraqi girls: 5077858.stm

I have the vid on my blog ...

programmer craig said...

Morbido, there are a lot of women here who feel trapped in abusive realtionships too. I'm not really sure why that is, with all the assistance programs we have :(

MC, I agree it's not only the alcoholism... there was a lot more going on with him than taht. But without treating the alcoholism first, any other sort of intervention would have been pointless, in my opinion.


Already had that conversation on this blog:


Original_Jeff said...


Are you going to share any news about your plans for university?

Hajar said...

How dreadful!
I hope the poor kids have loving relatives who still take care of them!

Morbid Smile said...

Hello TAI, and welcome here :) .. Yea, I've seen the news about this video and the song. There are many other songs like this one on many websites, and they are all very offensive. I came across a similar song last night that went like " Let's bomb Iraq"!! ..

Hello Jeff, of course I'm going to share my plans and news about university... But I still don't know anything about my placement there yet!! That's the important email I was talking about in the CBox :)

Hello Hajar, it's always good to see you here :) There is no update about the two little girls yet, and nobody knows anything about them! I just heard that their father might be still alive in a hospital, or maybe prison.

jarvenpa said...

How sad. But, tragically, things like this happen all over. I helped found a shelter in my area for women and children trying to get out of dangerous situations. Still too many stay--and this in the west where supposedly women are "free".
I pray that the little girls are okay.

kars said...

i'll pray for them...

eclissidisole said...

it's my first visit on your blog, but It's very very realistic anda also, for many point of view, also dramatic.
I hope that the situation became better in Iraq, for the populations anda also for the MO.
Good night,

CarloP said...

Oh, it's very sad. Expecially to know how ignorance, instinctive behaviour, and few respect for women can make so big damages.

I'm an italian boy, i like your blog, i'll come back!

Fuoridalghetto said...

How sad :(
Nice to meet you :)

Iraqi Testimonies said...

Too many sad tragedy stories in Iraq.

Which is why we have Iraqi testimonies. To never forget what happen to Iraqi people.


Morbid Smile said...

Eclissidisole, CarloP and Fuoridalghetto, welcome to the Iraqi blogsphere! I'm glad to have Italian friends :)

Adnan, welcome here :) I liked your blog. It's important to document all the events that take place now.. Blog on!

Anonymous said...

Jeez, that's sad. I really can't say anything else besides that. Jeez...

sharath vashisht said...

nice one man.its really good..carry on writting like this..nice 2 meet u :)-)

mewmewmew said...

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