It could be one of Baghdad's unique places where sectarianism is not dominated and where all the country's differences and problems are vanished.A place where the question about your sect is not needed.
Scores of engaged couples were crammed in this tiny clinic lab in one of Baghdad's secular neighborhoods to do their blood test, an important step before they get married.The test covers sexually transmitted diseases (HIV and syphilis) besides determine the blood group of the two.
The huge generator, which is set outside the lab, have made the AC waves going smoothly over the heads of the couples who occupied the metal chairs inside the nearly 3X5 meters reception room.Smiles lit on their faces as they were whispering to each others as their relatives were looking at them proudly.
Some of the girls were in veils and abayas, a traditional women robe which covers the body from the head to toe, while others in western-style cloths.
Me and my fiancee N. joined them two days ago when we arrived at about 10:15 a.m. and left at about 11:30 of that sunny morning when we had our test.At the beginning we couldn't find place to site and that we stood with others until a woman left her chair which was occupied by my fiancee.
Two hours later, I came back and collected the test results which found us clean from these diseases.
It was my first time to go out with my fiance since we engaged Jan. 17 despite the fact that she lives in a house just behind ours because there are no more choices for couples to go out in this war-plagued county.
Instead, we do call each other for like three hours a day, exchanging text messages and paying visits to each others houses from time to time.
As I grow up in a secular, technocrat and middle-class Shiite family, I'm not used to pay great attention to the names of Iraq's components: "Sunnis, Shiites, Turkomen, Kurds or Christians," before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Of course we were use them but not in that way which portrays a fight or dispute between these sects or who is the majority and who is the minority and that the final say in ruling the country has to be for the majority.
While my fiancée's family also a secular Sunni one, I found it very easy to ask for the hands without any problems.