An iconic scene! Two towers burning, the Pentagon, 4 airplanes, more than 3,000 people killed in the Sep 11th, 2001 coordinated attacks. The world suffers cries, condemns a continent and a religion… Another country, a contra-war, a fake alibi, 120.000 civilians killed (including children), churches and houses destroyed. This time nobody weeps, just a few know and none cares. I interviewed a terrorist or someone who escaped of becoming a real terrorist, even though he had valid reasons for that.

My name is Abdul-Salam, 24 years old, born in Iraq. My physical attributes are typically found in my community: brown-golden skin, 1.75m, full beard accompanied by a resolute and pacific stance, even though yet serious. I bring to you my life as an offer, not to produce polemics, but to bring enlightenment based in the burden I carry.

After a decade of war in Iraq and its aftermath, it became impossible to stay in peace with myself in my own country. – Why? I found good reasons to become a terrorist. After the iconic day in September 2001, I saw the power of international forces, supported until today by illegitimate reasons, destroying my continent’s development, blurring the dignity of my religion and taking away my family and identity.

In 2003, my father died along with my two uncles when defending my family and State against the occupation of English and American troops. In late 2004, a bus carrying my three sisters, seven cousins and my aunt, who worked as a cook in an elementary school, was “mistakenly” hit by American bombs close to a mesquite. None of the 53 children and 6 adults survived. Minutes later the mosque where my family and I adored our God was destroyed. My grandpa and best friend died. Two brothers of my seven siblings were taken as prisoners. I never heard anything about them except in a video uploaded by an unknown source on Youtube where American soldiers insulted and abused Iraqi prisoners; one of them was my brother. The video was of course deleted, but part can still be seen in a documentary entitled “Dispatches – Iraq’s Secret War Files”.

Two months after this massacre, my mother committed suicide – one of the greatest sins in our religion. Mohammed, my brother, was then three when he found our mother hanging on the front door by a rope and came to wake me up without understanding the scene. I don’t feel ashamed when I tell myself that she died of a broken heart.

I don’t seek to be believed, just not to be forgotten. All of my tears are still filled with anger and I can’t remember these scenes without losing my breath and closing my wrists to control my pain. I feel like Jesus caring my scars, but my story will never be read in history books. My heart will never be free to land somewhere or to love, even recognize or accept it. My dignity was trampled. The joy of living in a world where I and my dead loved ones are the enemies will probably never be found. My sole reason for keeping control is to provide a bearable future to my brothers, Ali of 9 and Mohammed, 11. They will know the facts, but I will never teach them the reasons.

When I was 17, I had to decide to search for vengeance or giving a better life for them. I’m ashamed for not seeking justice, paying back pain with pain, but I forget it when I can take them to school every day. I took my family’s heritage objects and sold it, travelling to the North with my brothers. I swallowed my pride and appealed for aid to the same troops that had killed my family. I learned English and, after six years working, decided to move to Germany requesting asylum. Escaping the truth was the only way to save myself and free my brothers.

Who do you think are the real terrorists? Imagined thousands of other orphans in my country, more than 120.000 civilians killed by American troops until 2011 in Iraq (apart from the 40.000 thousand dead Iraqi “soldiers”, considered “guilty”). Now official documents revealed by Wikileaks shows to whoever wants to see, that the White House was aware of mass destruction and missiles’ absence in Iraq. We had since 1991 disabled all of our production programs and most of us know of it when this lie was spread out.

How many times have you read in the international press stories like mine? Why was the United Nations (Organization for Peace) politically incapable of refraining U.S. from invading Iraq alleging lack of proofs? Do you think that your Islam acquaintances from Jordanian, Iran, Palestine, etc are always together and not integrated in your community as equals just because of “cultural issues”?

We are manipulated by a media system that teaches us what to think and even how to think. Our society is overflowing with bad habits, customs and traditions blurring our discernment to differ light from darkness. We accept things as they are and can’t see how they could be. If we do, we don’t care enough to sacrifice our comfortable reality to defend our internal utopias. The truth is replaced by pseudo-knowledge, a superficial contemplation and carefree acceptance of that we are powerless to change in the media and political system.

A few days ago, I read on Facebook a post by one French friend sharing a text of a famous American newspaper, known by its nationalism. The news was about Arabs, who were kidnapping American and French embassies’ members and asking for ransoms. My friend, deceived by his good intentions, wrote in his timeline: “I agree with the United States on this one. We pay no ransoms to terrorists, we don’t finance them. When necessary, with no negotiation available, we eliminate them all. Sad, but necessary…We must deal with extremes when we face extreme situations. There is no time to negotiate, and no reason to, when they’ve captured, and are torturing the sons of our nation. His death (referring to Mr. Leal dead diplomat theme of the article) is just a reflection of many other Americans who have lost their lives while they were fighting for a better world, a world safer for me and for you. His dreams and as well the dreams of his family were interrupted.”

No, dear readers, he was not referring to me or my friends, neither to my brother, nor to thousand of similar stories. His grief was towards some lives seen as more precious than others for international organizations. If we follow my friend’s logic the Mosaic law “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” should empire again. These countries subjugated by economic and political power should indeed attack Western nations as a symbol of their grief. These are millions of honest, fair and billionaires Muslins, with plenty of GREAT and WORTHY reasons to become better terrorists. If we still can live in a “balanced” world, it is because we proved Newton’s principle was mistaken – not every action needs to evoke a reaction. We chose to be better undermining our personal pride.

Are we the only or the real terrorists? Or are you, ignorant and pseudo-intellectual human beings, who support or consent these acts of barbarity just because they show to you as it was the right thing to do? There is a huge audience out there who would never get the chance to see the truth.

There are many like my friend whose access to a corrupted media produce hollow believes and a blind thirst for justice. They can’t see and care about what is true anymore. At times, I wished I had joined some of my friend and became a terrorist, but how can I blame people for being manipulated. People aren’t bad, my friends, they’re just lost!

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  • Joako

    This is the reality. Thanks for this article.

  • Philip

    Very good article, interesting topic. Cool to get a hold of a real life terrorist

  • tia

    Once again bad title, but a good article! I really feel for that guy and my hearth breaks when I hear about the thousands of children and women being killed on a daily basis by the “anti-terrorist” western countries. It is our fucked up 21century world for you…..

  • Mattias

    What a great piece, guys! This is something that a few of us think , but we never investigate or can write with such an impact. Congrats to the illustrator as well! I would like to have contact with the writer if you don’t mind?

  • Otto Skadelig

    Amazing article, very deep and respectful except for the “you ignorant and pseudo-intellectual human beings, who support or consent these acts of barbarity just because they show to you as it was the right thing to do?”.

    Maybe I took it too personal but I think that could be turned to the other side into “you ignorant extremists (either for Al quaeda, ETA, IRA etc…) who feel like killing innocent people is the best way to solve a conflict” starting another endless and pointless dialectic war…

    I think our common enemy is and always will be the lack of common sense, knowledge and respect that is turning humankind to shit day by day…

    • Edjackson

      Thanks for the comments.

      @tia Title was an editor’s choice.

      @Otto, thanks for the feedback. This was a question for reflection to create a sense of definition of where we are and what we consume, not a presumption or direct accusations. Nevertheless,, I think I didn’t get your point.

      @Mattias, my contact is edjacksonmarques(at)gmail(dot)com. It would be great to chat with you and exchange ideas.

  • Anastasiya

    What an inspiring article! Thank you.

  • Chris


    I totally feel for this young man. What’s amazing to me is the patriotic support in America when seeing movies like Red Dawn, but a complete lack of understanding for “terrorists” in the Middle East. The two are synonymous. There is guilt on both sides, and only slowing down to try and understand each other will yield any real results and consolation.

    Great article.