Saleha drags herself one haunted step after another. Her black abaya brushes the ground, raising dust. She looks to the sky and cries, “Why did you leave me alone? Why did you go away, Fatima?” She touches the simple wooden coffin as it passes and says, “Why?”
The grieving woman screams with the desolation of a person who has just lost her younger sister. Fatima, 56, who leaves behind two sisters and five brothers, lived with her husband Tahseen in a brick house in Ba’quba, the capital of the Diyala province, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Baghdad. A late-stage cancer took her life in just three months.