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Baghdadee بغدادي
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A flying littel bird

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A flying littel bird

An Iraqi is writing diaries on behalf of her sister

 

 

Who is Layla ?

Living and surviving the ever lasting Iraqi chaos, Layla got meningitis at a very young age which left her completely paralyzed.She is speechless except for baby talk and on a wheel chair without being able to use her hand more than to hold a piece of bread or a paper for the rest of her life. She is now a 33 years old so beutiful baby face ladey. I chose to write about and on behalf of her, hopping this might bring her some comfort out of her life time disability jail, reaching the world with her littel stories.

 

School were rare for layla-like children in Iraq, so she had to be home with my mom to put up with layla's misery the whole time. Layla is not her real name even though she made every one accepted it and took it as the only name she had. Layla was only couple of years old when she rejected her real name , and she named herself Layla after a little girl whom it seemed she admired. And with her very limited vocabulary, Layla succeeded to make everyone call her with the only thing that she owns even though we all use it more than she does. Layla named every one in our immediate and extended family and she chose carefully every name to fit people's relation to each other or according to their words or behavior. One of my cousins name for example is some sort of Iraqi dancing tone she makes with her tongue and that came when he was joking around with her and told her that he was going to take her to the disco next time he goes to Europe. And accordingly she named his brothers and sisters by mixing that tone sound with a different syllable. Except for one of his brothers whom she would touch her leg to ask about him, and that's because he used to tell my mom that she should message her legs after he demonstrated that for her. And when we ask Layla what she would name a new born or a new friend, she would point to her mind to indicate that she needs to think to find the right name. Layla managed to teach us all, especially my mom her unique language as with every gesture and every sound she meant something. We laugh, smile and listen carefully to her as an independent person as far as opinion, yet dependent when it comes to to her basic needs.

With Layla's very sharp memory, my mom would never forget to turn off the stove or call a friend or even shop for certain things that she needs. Layla would remind my mom and drive her crazy if she planned to pay a visit to the supper market and she failed to full fill that on time. Layla would keep on waving good bye to make her go and if she sensed that my mom is playing lazy on her she would start screaming till we all make her go. And if we needed to nap and make sure that we are up by certain time to catch up on our study it was always layla 's responsibility to take care of that. All we needed if we're too lazy to set the alarm is pass her a note stating which time somebody wants to wake up and she'll make sure to hold it up to two or three hours and then give it to one of my parents when they are around to take care of it. Layla caught my mom once throwing the paper after passing it her in the garbage without reading it . It seems that my mom thought that she was giving her a piece of garbage when Layla started begging madly to make her get the paper again and read it to make Layla relax and feel proud that she passed the message to the person in charge.

On my tenth birthday, Layla was only four. It was a family party as usual for these occasions and we had gathered around the party cake that I had gone to pick with my dad. After singing and blowing the candles my father put his right hand in his pocket to give me the ten Iraqi dinnars gift. He had to put his hand in his pocket again when Layla pointed to my father that she wanted money too. However, this time he couldn't find money bills so he had to give her some change. To end the day with a surprise laughter, Layla looked at the change, got really mad, spit on the coin and threw it away to make us all ,especially my dad, realize that Layla was, still and will be like any other member of the family .Something, she succeeded to do all the time.....

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