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Today I'm the only one in class...

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    Today I m the only one in class... By Samir Ibraheem IRIN 29 January 2007 http://electroniciraq.net/news/2868.shtml BAGHDAD - I m 11 years old and an only son.
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      Today I'm the only one in class...
      By Samir Ibraheem
      IRIN
      29 January 2007
      http://electroniciraq.net/news/2868.shtml


      BAGHDAD - I'm 11 years old and an only son. I'm a pupil at
      Mansour Primary School in Baghdad. Lately, I have been
      feeling very lonely in my class. This week, I was the only
      student in class because all my classmates didn't come to
      school for various reasons.

      Since last September, three of my classmates have been
      kidnapped and two have been killed. One was murdered with
      his family at home and the other was a victim of a bomb
      explosion a month ago. I remember one day when I was
      leaving school, four men pulled up in a car and kidnapped
      Khadija, one of my friends. She was only 10.

      The others have either fled to Jordan and Syria with their
      families or their relatives have prohibited them from
      coming to school for fear that something might happen to
      them.

      I live very close to my school. I can walk there in two
      minutes. My mother takes me there and picks me up every
      day. She prays all the way to school and all the way back
      and tells me not to be scared. She says that at least I'm
      studying and one day I can be an important man and leave
      Iraq forever.

      Every time something happens to a child from my school,
      the next day all classes are empty and they stay empty for
      at least a week. Families and teachers get scared and
      desperate.

      I remember one day when I was leaving school, four men
      pulled up in a car and kidnapped Khadija, one of my
      friends. She was only 10. I cried for days on end fearing
      she was going to be killed. Her parents sold their house
      and car to pay the ransom money and then she was released.
      But she was so weak that she had to be hospitalized for
      two weeks.

      Now she and her family are in Jordan. I miss her, but I
      know it is better for all of them.

      The only thing that makes me afraid is that if they kidnap
      me, I know I'll be killed. My family has no money to pay a
      ransom. We don't have a house, a car or any other goods to
      sell. So for sure I could be another victim of the terror
      that we live with but I have faith that God will protect
      me.

      Most of our teachers have left the school. I heard that
      some of them have traveled abroad and others stopped
      working for security reasons on the insistence of their
      families. I miss them all. I miss the days when we used to
      run in our school and go home on our own, not worried by
      the violence.

      This week, I asked my mum to keep me at home too because I
      was the only child in class but she insisted that I go to
      school. I'm scared but I have to obey my mother.

      We were 21 students and today I'm the only one in class.

      When people ask me if I have hopes that everything will be
      fixed and we will have security again, I answer that I
      don't because the violence is increasing every day and I
      continue to lose friends.

      I cannot study any more. I don't have the concentration
      and the teachers don't give us lessons as before. What I
      study these days is material that I learned two years ago.
      I'm not sure that if I study like that I'll turn out to be
      that important man who my mother believes I'm going to be.

      *********************************************************************

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