After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

My new post for Global Voices Online is up. And here for your reading and commenting pleasure is the post in full...

These days in Iraq, death is never far away. In this weeks posts several bloggers deal with the different aspects of death. The death of someone close, death of a stranger, the direct threat of death, the danger of dying in random violence and the fearlessness of risking your life to save another. And finally the complete avoidance of the subject by blogging about something completely different.

I must first welcome a new blogger. Nadia, who had been active in the comments section of several blogs has secretly started her own. Her interests include Scuba Diving, Travel and Yoga and she blogs about politics. She is Talking About Iraq.

How do you cope with the sudden death of someone close because of the violence that is gripping Iraq? I guess one way is to blog about it. Sunshine's close friend, R, lost her father, cousin and uncle in the space of four days. Sunshine was the brave one among her classmates and went to console R:
"But when she said "what I will do with those high marks, my dad is gone , I wish I got low marks & return him back instead….. I pray to god to protect your dad & mom", at that time I couldn't control my tears at all , it is hard to do that when you see someone you love is really hurt because of losing someone close …..
That made me think to improve my relationship with my dad , as you know we have bad relationship ,at that night I kissed him ,gave him a hug & wished him a good night, for the first time since a long time , I think he wondered why ???!!!!"

What do you do when gunmen kill three people in your neighborhood and put a note on the body of one threatening to kill 20 more? This was the dilema facing Caeser of Pentra. He writes, "For God’s sake, we’ve been terrified for the sight of any new unfamiliar fishy vehicle…. Today’s noon, we were standing infront of a centre for young men ... chatting about yesterday’s catastrophes when a white Daweoo ... marched slowly across us then the car’s window went down slowly too...". Read his blog to find out what happened.

How do you try to understand life when battles in Baghdad come too close to home to feel secure? Mohammed turns to his father for an explanation. And his father does not disappoint. He explains: "we are a state still run by sentiments rather than reason which means it's a brittle state and any sentimental overreaction can turn the tide it in either direction. ... we do not possess the institutions that can abolish the effects of severe sentimental reactions.?" He goes on to say "And this stability is not going to happen soon…Why do you always want things to be the way you like them? Failure exists just like success does." In one conversation it all falls into place.

In Iraq the horrific becomes the ordinary. Shaggy blogs about a fairly ordinary visit to Baghdad Medical Centre. He mentions in passing:
"As we were driving out of the car park, Od pointed out an Iraqi Police Technical (a pick up truck with a machine gun on the back) carrying a dead bloated body blindfolded with a head cloth and hands tied behind his back. Od pointed out that the man had been tortured and thrown in the water (Od's been studying his forensics)."

The situation also brings the best out in people. Caeser risks his life moving a burning neighbor's car away from the house. Because, in his words, "I prefer to die and people helping others better than living this shitty life." And bravery has its rewards: "it was impressing moment when that man thanked us (me and ma brother and of course that extinguisher guy). I think I will never forget that."

But the situation also brings depression. HNK writes a sad poem:
"Twinkle Twinkle my darkness life
Let me see the headlines
I am hurting because I am blind

I can swear that this war changes my life 80 -degree. I am 16 years old. I should live the happiest part of my life; I must be a crazy girl doing foolish and stupid things while I am not. I am talking like some one in 35. I feel I am nothing, I do nothing in my life and I going to do nothing."

International Women's Day:

Faiza of A Family in Baghdad is in America with a delegation of Iraqi women participating in activities for Women's Day with the Global Exchange organization. She is shocked at how police treated the demonstrators: "yesterday we were in NewYork city in the rally moving from UN building towards American mission office when the police stopped us, and arrested Medea Binjamin and Cindy Shehan and other mothers.. we were surprised, we have been told this is the land of freedom and democracy, what is going on here?"

Baghdad Dweller tells us that the Iraqi women rights organization reported on Womens Day that not less than 2000 Iraqi women kidnapped and sold inside Iraq and abroad in the three years of occupation.

Morbid Smile advises all Women to Be a Queen for the day. She quotes Oprah Winfrey because Oprah is "Chicken Soup for The Woman's Soul."

In other Worlds:

Mama felt like stopping blogging but was encouraged by several supporting letters. She writes an emotional post about the Samarra crisis. From the bombing of the Shrine: "I am describing it's dearness to make you imagine how devil is the faction that dared to blew it" to the violent reaction: "those MURDERERS did not come after midnight or came swiftly , they came in the midday ,and stayed ... for hours and burned every mosque more than once ,... and No police or national guards stopped them "

24 Steps to Liberty teaches us a new Iraqi saying: "Teeti Teeti, Mithil Ma Rihti Jeeti!" It means 'after all, nothing has changed'. And he is writing about how Iraqi politicians are no closer to forming a government now than three years ago. This is a theme taken up in other blogs. Iraq the Model says the UIA is "Selling the Same Bird Twice" and cheating other politicians about their true intentions. Hammorabi feels the political situation has become unbearable and calls Iraqi democracy a farce. Both Asterism and A Free Iraqi give detailed analysis of the current political situation. They both agree that the current politicians in power are the enemies of democracy but suggest different solutions. Free Iraqi wants the Americans to give a full commitment and work with Iraqis to achieve a stable democracy while Salam Adil says Iraqis must define their own unity independently.

Does anyone think the Iraqi politicians are doing a good job? Well IraqPundit does. He says: "For the first time in a very long time, Iraq's leadership might change through negotiation, rather than at gunpoint."

Emily Messner of the Washington Post's The Debate Blog is my honorary Iraqi for the day. She reviewed the Iraqi blogger for her own blog and realized the US and Iraq is not that different:
"It seems that in both countries, politicians would rather play a lucrative winner-take-all game, risking everything, than be assured of losing out on just some of their priorities. There is, however, a dramatic difference in degree: in the United States, the game is played with big bucks and ethical chicanery; in Iraq, the game is played with mortar fire, kidnappings and assassinations, with the only sure outcome being trauma for those caught in the middle."

And the Oscar goes to...

RIverbend has been watching too much television and is suffering from Oscar mania. She has made up her own Oscars - or as she calls them 'Sayids' for the best actors in Iraqi politics. Read her blog to see the nominations. No word, however, on who the winner is - maybe we are all the losers?

And Finally...

Fayrouz posts predictions for Iraq after 2055. Fortunately for us Truth About Iraqis translates his favourite ones:
In the year 2055, Japan celebrates the largest purchase of computers from Iraq after three months of heated debate in the Iraqi Parliament.

In the year 2057, Iraq threatens to deport Canadians studying in Iraqi universities because of one of them - a PhD candidate - plagiarized a thesis written by an Iraq Bachelors student.

In the year 2064, the terrorist known as Abu Musab Zarqawi is arrested at the age of 98 and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.


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