This is Hatra

This is Hatra, as seen from the road in July 2005, as it was. It is largely no more.

In one of my previous posts I wrote about taking convoys all over creation, but mainly through the harsh badlands of the open desert in Ninawa and Al Anbar provinces. One of the main turn-off points was a road that took us off the hardball of Route 1 and directly past this UNESCO world cultural heritage site. I am pretty sure it was also in opening scenes of the movie The Exorcist. We got to have a good look at these monumental ruins every time we drove by; despite my wanting to (trust me) we never entered – we only just drove by. Even the bricks on the exterior walls of this place that were within arms grasp as we rode by had engravings on them. This place is about as old as fuck.

It’s no longer there. Well, it’s there – it has just largely been destroyed by those shit-heels known as ISIS, or ISIL, or fuckbags, or Daesh. And I think that is truly a shame. Well and truly a shame. These fuckstains have been on a purge of not only Iraqi government officials, military, policemen, cultural and religious minorities – they’ve been purging Iraq of its most historic sites; this is a loss to the world. It was bad enough that these sites were mostly off-limits because of the Saddam regime, but now they are being lost to the sands of time prematurely at the hands of maniacal megalomaniac zealots.

But anchient and other holy sites aren’t all that are being purged. Iraq’s minority Christian population has largly fled or been systematically rounded up for execution for being, well – Christian.
IMG_0752 - Copy
These are the people of Quara Qosh (some of them). Quara Qosh is a moderately-sized town to the way-East of Mosul and not to far from Irbil. ISIS/Daesh now occupies it. It was Iraq’s largest concentration of ethnic Christians, and when I visited it once on a reconnaissance patrol it was odd to see crosses atop churches versus the crescent moon accompanying minarets. These were good, honest folks. They got out of our way when we drove on their roads. They waved and smiled but it wasn’t the fake-shit you could easily see right through in other towns. They sat and talked with you more about life, coping, and solutions instead of problems and needs. They were real nice, decent plain-old folks I’d expect to find somewhere in the American breadbasket.

And they’ve fled their homes, and some have picked up arms to join up with the Peshmerga to fight the radical idiots in ISIS. What do I think about when I hear all of these things on the news that I try not to even watch in the first place?

I think about anger, and frustration, and the absolute waste of it all. The thought that these ISIS motherfuckers are so jaded and delusional to think that they can erase history and erase people – and that their legacy is going to replace that and live on in a magical caliphate with rainbow-shitting unicorns and Sharia law for everyone? What, those mud huts and shitty buildings are going to be a testament to your awesomeness? Get fucking real!

I personally have a burning hatred to see them, their families and their very ideas erased from existence, like they have been doing to Kurds, Christians, monuments, history – and any other fellow Muslim that gets in their way.

Sorry – rant over

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
This entry was posted in War Stories & Vignettes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to This is Hatra

  1. I appreciate reading about this from you because you have been there, and you have seen it all behind the curtain so to speak. The news does not always accurately describe how things are, so for me it has been hard to understand some of this. Thank you for putting it out there, because this was more real and makes more sense than the quick 2 minute blip on the nightly news.


  2. Wow. I knew Iraq had a — well, used to have — a sizable Christian population, but I foolishly assumed those numbers were hunkered down and distributed throughout majority-Muslim cities. It never occurred to me there were enclaves/cities that they proudly inhabitated.

    I’m glad you’ve honored them (and their kindness) with this post. And regarding ISIS, I see the palpable anger and disgust among veterans everywhere. On facebook, other blogs, etc.

    It seems to me that America should offer to create an all-volunteer battalion/brigade of prior enlisted and officers who would like to go back to Iraq. I know it’s a crazy thought, but I also know it’s an idea that would find its share of volunteers. Especially if it was for a short timespan, say three months. Follow up battalions/brigades could follow…


    • I often think about if I would volunteer for one of these brigades you speak of. I’ve given it thought plenty of times this past year. And I’m torn; part of me wants to help take care of unfinished business – and part of me thinks it would be a waste of time and effort.

      On one hand, there is the part of me that wants to actually make what I and so many others suffered and sacrificed for work. To reclaim it. To step in and say “aw, hell no!” Part of me wants to do it the way I thought we should’ve done it the first time. Part of me is a weapons pervert and wants to experience the rush and the thrill of bombing the ever living hell out of shitheads. Fuck – maybe the anger and resentment inside of me wants to exercise some therapy on these Daesh assholes and going there would be an easy way to do that. Maybe I’m torn up inside and this seems like a reasonable means that justifies an end.

      And on the other hand I think back and I look at all of the other reasons why it didn’t work (not just ones we caused, or our own policies that prohibited certain successes). I think about the culture. I think about the apathy. I think about the reins of oppression that just are flushed away only to be replaced with others. And I think that the entire place is a waste – practically a failed state – and that I need to write off ten years and all the lost lives and move on – and in some karmatic way this is what it is for a reason, and I should not be pissed or grumble about it because I signed the dotted line specifically for this. To be used as my nation needed me regardless of the outcome. And this time just didn’t turn out the way we figured it would. And I need to accept that and fuck it – the place isn’t worth fighting for anymore. Let whoever wants to roll in and take it do so (I’m talking Iran or the Saudis here people – not Daesh fuckwits).

      This is the back and forth battle in my head Stan. The one that goes on whenever I think about the current state of Iraq. And the reason why most of the time I try not to.

      I dunno. If things had turned out differently in Liberia – gone absolutely pear-shaped and it now was a terror hotspot. Hard to lay Iraq over Liberia in terms of this scenario – but would you be conflicted? I’m legitimately curious.


  3. Andrew Davis says:

    The people of Quara Qosh really meant something to you. Your anger is validated and I’m glad you have a space to let out the feelings.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s