Whirlpool of wars
Living in a whirlpool of wars surrounding my Arab nation everywhere made me dig more into the files of some previous wars, a thing which I doubt any of our war leaders and strategy makers have ever done - to explore the results of such wars and the disasters they have brought upon mankind! I chose to read about Hitler’s siege of Leningrad and focused more on the social impact of this siege rather than warfare. I did this by reading a series of articles written by Vira Abner in Pravda under the title “I Lived in Leningrad under Nazi German Siege”.
She wrote the following:
“Temperatures went below 30 degrees Centigrade and the ice on the streets was over 10 cm thick. There was hardly any house where a man, woman or child had not died of cold or starvation. The living used to walk through the city like ghosts. Women no longer cared about their beauty or makeup. They looked more like dry reeds with eyes looking more like black holes on their bony faces.
“I had a neighbor called Irina Klobovana who used to be Miss Leningrad before the blockade. Her love for her husband was a well-known story throughout Russia. I paid her a visit and found her hair shaggy, as if she was over 60. She was eating the wallpaper off her house walls. “Why not? Isn’t wallpaper made of tree leaves? The main thing is to keep my stomach working instead of leaving it to wither without food,” she told me. “How is your husband?” I asked, and she told that he had abandoned her to live with a friend and neighbor of hers. “How come? After all that love?” I asked in shock. “I do not blame him. She has hidden her dead husband and kids’ ration cards. And my husband wants to stay alive with her. He even took my ration card,” she explained.
“The ration card was a very precious pearl in those days. It was the most precious thing a man could own in Leningrad, where the army was fighting the ration card black market developing under German bombardment. I once saw a lady who used to be very rich selling her precious furs for a ration card. The ration card trade flourished with people who lost family members and buried them secretly in order to keep their cards. Death was more like an everyday event for the city’s residents. There were no more undertakers to bury the dead. Corpses were piled in trenches like trash. I once saw a man carrying his wife’s body, and as soon as he threw her into the trench, he fell dead on top of her!”
Writing this article, I could not stop my tears for our folks in Syria, Yemen, Libya and other places stricken with daily carnage. The real disaster is that Hitler was not like a brother to the Russians, while we are killing each other despite our fraternity and same religion! The baffling question, however, remains: How much longer will this go on?!
— Translated by Kuwait Times