Missing in Baghdad: My Father (Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2007; subscription required)
About 5 o'clock on a mid-December morning, I was awakened by a call from my brother in Iraq. "Dad is missing," he said. He was upset and some of his anger spilled out at me: "You should be here," he shouted. "You don't seem to care."
My father had left home in Baghdad that morning to go to the auto-repair shop across town where he works. Fifteen minutes after he left, car bombs exploded on his route to work and he hasn't been seen since.
His disappearance set off a desperate search by my family through the netherworld of war-torn Baghdad. It also put me in the agonizing position of trying to help my family with the violent dislocations of civil war -- over the phone, from thousands of miles away. I'm the oldest son and have been studying and working in New York for more than two years. Since my father vanished, my three grown siblings and my mother have looked to me as the head of the family.
Every time I hear about a bomb going off, I brace myself for the worst possible news. Last February, my entire family went missing for two weeks, without a word. When my cellphone rings and an Iraqi number shows up on the display, I say a silent prayer before answering.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
17 February 2007
Missing in Baghdad
From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required; ping me if you want a copy of the full article), reporter Sarmad Ali shares a family tragedy: