CONFESSIONS OF A MORTUARY TRUCK DRIVER: The Dhi Qar local wants Iraqis to understand how dangerous the coronavirus is

Almost every day, Ali Nasser watches friends, neighbours and strangers standing a distance away from one another, distressed and sad, forced to farewell their loved ones without ever touching them.

By Murtada al-Hadoud, in Dhi Qar

That’s because Nasser is an ambulance driver and his job lately has been transporting those who have died as a result of the coronavirus, Covid-19, from the province of Dhi Qar to their final resting place, a large cemetery in Najaf.

The 30-year-old previously worked as an ambulance driver for the so-called Popular Mobilization Units, or PMU – former volunteer militias called up to fight the extremist group known as the Islamic State. During that time, he saw terrible things as he also carried those who had been shot, killed, bombed or tortured during those violent conflicts. But he says that this is much worse because Iraqis are fighting an invisible and confusing enemy, rather than an overt and obvious one.

His day usually begins very early, at the local mortuary, where he parks to collect bodies of the dead. He wears protective clothing, a mask, gloves and special shoes and he also sterilizes his ambulance.

“Usually I am accompanied by one of the deceased’s relatives as well as a representative of the hospital and then we go to collect the bodies, which have been prepared in large black body bags,” Nasser explains.

Dhi Qar has the second highest number of Covid-19 casualties after the capital, Baghdad. In just one month, the state sent 300 people to be buried in Najaf, near Wadi Al Salam, a historic site and one of the largest graveyards in the world, reserved for Shiite Muslims.

Nasser can take five people per journey and he finds it tragic that these family members didn’t undergo the normal funeral rituals and prayers because of the virus.

“I drive the bodies alone, with nobody beside me. They are behind me in a refrigerated area,” he describes the trip. “Then behind my vehicle, are cars carrying the relatives of the deceased who accompany their loved one on this leg of the final journey. Their journey must end at the Kafal area, near the entrance to Najaf city though. They are forbidden to come any further and they have to entrust me with the burial of their dead.”

Some of the poorer families don’t have enough money to rent a car to come to Kafal; they depend entirely on Nasser to convey their relative to his or her last resting place.

After passing through the Kafal checkpoint, he makes his to a new and increasingly crowded cemetery, especially for those suspected to have died of Covid-19.

“There I hand over the bodies to a team of workers. They wash and shroud the dead, while taking special precautions for hygiene. They also pray over the coffins,” Nasser recounts.

Once the rituals have been completed, the coffins are buried in graves dug by mechanical diggers. In the past, much of the digging was done by hand and Muslims are not usually buried in coffins. The pandemic has changed all that. As one of the burial team recites from the Koran, the digger piles dirt over the top of the coffins. Eventually a small headstone will be built too.

After he drops off the corpses, Nasser drives back to Dhi Qar again, alone. Up until recently he had not been returning home at all but instead to temporary accommodation nearer the morgue. “I didn’t want to endanger my family with infection at all,” he explains. “Anyway I barely sleep at the moment. I am too busy driving bodies back and forth. I have delivered 150 bodies to Najaf so far.”

Recently, several more vehicles were commissioned with doing the same job and Nasser was finally able to return home. He now lives in a room that is closed off from the rest of the household and he has become an unofficial adviser on health issues. Nasser says he regularly tells others what it has been like to bury the dead because he wants them to understand the dangers of the pandemic.  The coronavirus endangers anyone and everyone, he says.

 

Related Articles

101 Comments

  1. I like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve added you guys to my
    personal blogroll.

  2. Hi, I noticed a 3 of your interesting posted posts and needed to ask if you can be thinking about reciprocal pages? Group have weblog about alexis texas ass! Anyway, in my language, there should not much good supply like this.

  3. Hey site owner, I like blogengine.net but why did you chose it? I mean its so neat with the random avatars and draws people in, but what speficially made you want to use it?

  4. Hey I am browsing your article on my Blackberry and I was imagining how cool it will be on my soon to be purchased ipad. Fleeting thought. Anyway thanks!

  5. Thank you for spreading this particular wonderful subject matter on your web site. I discovered it on the internet. I am going to check back again if you publish extra aricles.

  6. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly dont know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks!

  7. I think, to be a good affiliate marketer is the hardest thing to do as a blogger, you must have huge traffic to get the possible buyer and also you have to build your own audience, because honestly i’ve never made a single sale with my first blog

  8. My buddy and I had been just talking about this particular issue, she is continually wanting to prove me completely wrong! I am going to present her this blog post not to mention rub it in a little!

  9. Hi, I found your article by mistake when i was searching bing for this issue, I have to say your article is really helpful I also love the theme, its amazing!. I dont have that much time to read all your post at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thank you for a huge site.

  10. actually enjoyed what that you published . it really is not that simple to find great posts to read (you know.. READ and not simply going through it like some uniterested and flesh eating zombie before moving on), so cheers man for not wasting my time on the god forsaken internet. :p

  11. Fantastic blog post. I was checking constantly to this weblog & Im really inspired! Extremely helpful information, especially the third part. I really need this kind of information. I was seeking this kind of knowledge for quite some times. Thank you and good luck.

  12. Thats excellent and very nicely written.Often I tend not to make comments on the web, however Ive to say that this site actually made me want to. Actually excellent little bit of material

  13. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do a little analysis about that. We bought a very good e-book on that matter from our local library and most books the place not as influensive as your information. I am very glad to see such information which I was searching for a long time.This made very glad! Anyway, in my language, there usually are not a lot good supply like this.

  14. Hello, I noticed a 3 of your interesting posted posts and wished to ask in case you would be keen on reciprocal pages? Team have weblog about alexis texas ass! Anyway, in my language, there usually are not much good source like this.

  15. How is it that just anyone can create a weblog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said something extremely impressive more like youve painted a quite picture more than an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, right here. But do you actually think that you can get away with adding some pretty pictures and not really say something?

  16. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggestyou few interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  17. Ive got to say, the layout alone made me come back to this weblog again. But now that Ive read what youve got to say, Ive got to share it with the world!

  18. Superb website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  19. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time
    a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Appreciate it!

  20. I thought it was going to become some boring old publish, however it seriously compensated for my time. Ill post a link to this web page on my blog. Im certain my website visitors will locate that extremely useful.

  21. My sister saved this internet site for me and I have been going through it for the past several hrs. This is really going to assist me and my classmates for our class project. By the way, I like the way you write.

  22. Hi! There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  23. Hiya, I loved reading your post. Thank you for the huge info. Hoped that we will lengthen our friendship through a mutual hyperlink trade? Let me know, and fine to see you here!

  24. Howdy, i read your weblog occasionally and that i personal an identical one and i was just wondering should you get numerous spam feedback? If so how do you forestall it, any plugin or something you possibly can advise? I get a lot currently its driving me mad so any help may be very a lot appreciated. Anyway, in my language, there arent a lot good supply like this. http://www.webmaster.M106.com

  25. Hi there, MegaCool blog mate, I really loved this page. I’ll be sure to talk about this to my cousin who would, odds are, love to check out this post too. Found this sites post through the Bing search engine by the way, incase you were curious. Many thanks for the wonderful read!

  26. Regarded as a buy the sony the search engines tv box?I am specialist buying one today pertaining to downstairs. It is the sony one considering the built in blu ray(need a new blu ray downstairs at any rate.

  27. Thank you pertaining to sharing that fantastic subject material on your web site. I discovered it on the search engines. I may check to come back if you post much more aricles.

  28. I think that is an motivating point, it made me think a bit. Thank you for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just sense like a record.

  29. I wanted to check up and allow you to know how , a great deal I cherished discovering this blog today. We would consider it a honor to work at my company and be able to make real use of the tips contributed on your blog and also participate in visitors remarks like this. Should a position regarding guest author become available at your end, remember to let me know.

  30. Im no professional, but I feel you just crafted the best point. You naturally understand what youre talking about, and I can actually get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so truthful.

  31. Undeniably believe that that you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to be
    on the net the easiest factor to remember
    of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as people think about worries that they plainly do not recognize
    about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest as
    well as outlined out the entire thing without having side effect
    , folks could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more.
    Thank you

  32. I love what you guys are continually up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys Ive added you guys to my blogroll.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button