A Baghdad Bus Ride
This account about a typical bus ride in Baghdad was written by Zeyad, an Iraqi dentist who runs the blog, Healing Iraq. Zeyad was currently accepted to New York's New Graduate School of Journalism. Be sure to read this piece in the Wall Street Journal about Zeyad's online experience and changing opinions on the war:
Our restless driver, still yelling his destination outside, didn't bother to search any of us, and it looked like we were going to move at last. It's unsettling to stay in a crowded bus garage for long. It's always a potential target. Now, it was just one more passenger to go.
Then he boarded.
He was hauling an enormous sack full of something on his back. It looked like one of those hanging punching bags that boxers use for practice. He tried to push it behind the only empty seat, which happened to be right across me. It didn't fit so he stuck it between my legs and got seated. That was when I went: "Uh oh."
I sat frozen and stared at the sack for about a minute. The bus had already started moving by now. Then I looked up at his face, searching for, I don't know, signs and gestures, anything that would reassure me that he was not what I thought he was.
He looked about 20, dressed in a fading striped shirt and plain, almost ragged trousers, puffing smoke from beneath a thick black moustache. I couldn't help but gaze into his shifty, pale brown eyes that seemed to quickly scan everything, but not settle anywhere. He didn't even return my interest, which I took as a deeply troubling sign. Every few seconds, he would glance at the sack a bit surreptitiously and away again. It was still firmly planted between my legs.