She lived here once, in a house behind this pitted dirt alleyway. But now, Maria Osman cannot bear to raise her head as she walks past.
This is, after all, the place where her already difficult life slipped the last few notches into misery, the place where pain can last a dozen years without pause. The place, she says, where an American Black Hawk helicopter fell from the sky and crushed her three-year-old daughter.
“There was not enough of her left to bury,” she says, nervously covering her mouth with the end of her hejab (a traditional Muslim head scarf).
When American forces tried to protect the fallen chopper, gunfire broke out and Maria, still nearby the crash site, was hit. It took her two and half years to recover from the wound.
She pulls back the material covering her right arm to show me a brown, leathery roadmap of scar tissue that runs from above her wrist to below her shoulder. The arm is nearly worthless, Maria says, useful now only as another reminder of that day.
That day, Oct. 3, 1993, became known as the Battle of Mogadishu, when an American mission against Somali warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid went terribly wrong.
The Somalis shot down not one but two Black Hawks that day — one of them, call sign Super Six One, would change Maria Osman’s life forever.
I especially love the comments that follow about how he’s just out there looking for America-bashing. Dude, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of people don’t like us very much. Now, you can choose not to care about that, but that’s not the same as accusing him of making it up.