January 3, 2002

# 006

"WE WILL KILL EVERY AMERICAN!" After last night's "Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, these were the first and harsh words waking me up in that not yet sunny morning in Islamabad. I was sure it was not Louis Armstrong's voice, nor they were part of the original song. The shout came through the open window of my hotel room, only one store above the street level. I took a careful look there, only to see what could become a bloody battlefield gathering a few feet below.

Many foreign journalists were in that hotel and the crowd knew that was a perfect place for a manifestation. The man who probably woke me up with his shout, did it again, now with renewed strength and addressed to me and the other journalists and photographers, who were already positioning their cameras. "Write! Write! Because of America, we are killing our own people!", shouted him again.

You could feel the tension in the air. Hundreds of people, some carrying guns, shouting slogans and following a group that seemed to be carrying a dead body. Mourners of somebody killed by the police the day before, in another manifestation. Now they were venting their rage against Pakistan authorities for sheltering American soldiers in their war against Afghanistan. Fortunately the police managed to contain the crowd and they turned left in their way to a Mosque nearby.

It took me some time to put my thoughts together and get back to my original plans for that morning. The first thing I did was to connect my notebook to the Internet and upload the files with the pictures I had taken in the cave to a safe backup service in the Web. When you travel like I do to different places, you never know where someone will decide to 'borrow' your notebook, camera, or anything you have. Later on I would learn that had been a wise decision. By them I did not know what was in the manuscripts, where they came from, and where they would take me. Perhaps the dead soldier could tell in that letter. So, lets read it.