At least ten soldiers are beating him while dragging him down the street. The hate is palpable. His beard is being pulled and gun pressed is pressed up against his forehead. But even in the midst of his downfall, there is a trace of pride on his face. Even arrogancy. Almost as if he was looking down at his captors, grinning at the soldier who is getting in his face. I cannot seem to figure out if this elderly man with a mangy orange beard has already prepared for his imminent end that is breathing down his neck right now, is he high, or has he downed a handful of pills? Though I doubt that anything can calm a man who is staring death in the face.
photos and text / Zoran Marinovic
Like a dog. Like a dog. Says captain Hassian Ali while pulling his prisoner. See these bodies? This is where you will lie down. More and more soldiers come to see the most prized captured trophy. They are filming everything with their phones. The tall red bearded man is not afraid of them, yet. While still looking them in the eyes, there will be time for fear. The Iraki Intelligence Agency does a much more thorough job than the soldiers who are just beating him. It is Saddams school of torture. Long, methodical, slow and effective.
They captured him a few minutes ago in one of the tunnels trying to escape to the eastern side. All of west Mosul is connected through a web of tunnels. Many of them have thermal cameras and laser tripped mines. There are booby traps at every turn of these dark cavernous trail that no one dares to enter. They only wait for someone to exit. Today it seems they snared the grand prize.
I know who you are says the captain. I know, I recognized you. You killed my uncle, commander Issama Osman, and I swear to God, everything that you did to him, I will do to you. With my own hands. You are Al Bagdadijevs cousin, from his tribe, the warden of the prison. In the past two months two of zour sons have died. We know. You can,t trick us.
The man with a smile on his face says, no, I am not, I am a Sijite like you. The soldier throws him to his knees and presses a gun to his throat. Some of the soldiers trz to beat him. We are going to kill you like a dog. There is a lot of fear in the punches, pain, suffering. There is barely a soldier who has not lost someone. It has been too long for these young men to be able remember anything good. The only have revenge and hate. Its in the room with them.You can see it. Touch it. Smell it.
After a few minutes an armed Humvee. The red bearded man is thrown in among soldiers in black uniforms. Before the doors close, I see the smile has left his face. Mazbe he has made peace with his fate. His end. But for him it will not come soon enough. At least not the way he had hoped. Because even death can be … long, methodical, slow and effective.