After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

A little later than my usual Thursday spot but here is my latest, weekly Global Voices Online post on Iraq blogs...

Today's report is dedicated to the women of Iraq. Women have suffered greatly in the new Iraq and on top of everything have to cope with the prejudice of some western journalists too. Again a mixed selection of blogs but you must read to the end for more cute animals!

First, my heartfelt condolences go to our blogging family that lost an uncle to the violence in Iraq. They relate in their own blogs how they came to terms with the tragedy.

Mama of the Emotions blog describes her feelings:
I can't bear more anxiety, fear, and sadness. Counting our losses every day. Yesterday we lost our dear family senior; he is my father's uncle. He was shot to death by the American soldiers in his parent's in-law neighborhood ...

I couldn't sleep last night, neither my parent's, my husband nor my father in law. I wonder if the soldier who shot him and left him in his car ,asked himself about that old man , did he wondered if he was alive or died immediately?.. Did he sleep as a lamb?! Probably he forgot all about it, and had nice dreams….….The soldiers left him dead in his car after they shot him BY MISTAKE

And she wants answers: "We need help to stop the violence, and the disrespect of the humanity. I am giving some of the details about my relative's accident to seek for help, and investigation." because "Such accidents... had been repeated to [such] a large extent that turned the appreciation of the Iraqis toward the American liberation from Saddams' regime to hate or violence or at least suspicious about the intentions of the American. I doubt, there is any Iraqi still trust the Americans ... , even the most peaceful optimistic.."

Truth teller reminds us that what happened to his uncle nearly happened to him. And he related the stories of others who died in a similar way. He writes that at the postmortem: "the American officer there told him 'we are sorry.' It is as simple as this, they are sorry and every thing is settled, no problems, as far as the victim is an Iraqi."

Rose Baghdad speaks for all her family when she writes: " Sorry will not be enough. I have nothing to say... I'm so angry now and in need for an explination."

Sunshine posts more information on her weblog with details of the ongoing investigation.

Lets here it for Women:

A great big congratulations goes to Iraq's own Riverbend for winning the Bloggie for the best Middle Eastern weblog!

Truth About Iraqis and Fayrouz bite back at a book by Washington Post reporter Jackie Spinner who among other things said that Iraqis consider a woman who looks into a man's eyes to be a whore. Fayrouz writes: "I lived in Iraq the first 28 years of my life. Never during these years I heard someone telling me NOT to look directly into a man's eyes." Truth About Iraqis is equally outraged:
Iraqi women are mothers who have sacrificed their sons to endless wars. They are sisters who have seen their brothers killed. They are daughters who missed their fathers buried by years of war, oppression and occupation.

But they are also students, teachers, scientists, politicians, artists, dancers, singers, novelists, athletes, philosophers, doctors, nurses, soldiers and a valuable fabric of Iraqi society. ... And ... they are also winning bloggers.

Take that, Jackie.

Sooni posts "my brother was in a press conference held by the Organization of Woman Freedom in Iraq where they showed some drawings condemning the terrorism and the woman abuse in jail in the name of the law and I thought you would like to see some of those pictures. The drawings were made by the prisoners themselves inside the women prison in Iraq." Visit his blog to see the pictures.

And Hala s speaks up for women:
Does it really require men to pull Iraq out of this mess? Whatever they said so far is gibberish; all they wrote was only waffle. Look how stubborn and single-minded they have been. Is it that hard to compromise? Is it that complicated to reach an understanding? Their false pride and greed for power weighs more than the Iraqi blood on the scale. ...

It is time for Iraqi men politicians to retire and have a long rest. I am all for women.

Can't agree more!

Sleepless in Baghdad:

Insomnia has been gripping two bloggers. Attawi has been been spending her nights awake thinking about her application for a masters degree, and muses about sleeplessness: "Sleepless nights are the best for writing poems. I sometime neglect the thoughts and try to sleep and say tomorrow I'll write them down. Tomorrow comes and I have no idea about what I wanted to write." And Shaggy is staying up waiting for the power to go off: "And the power should go out just about now... uhh any second now... Still not gone. It's 4 AM." Worse, he has an exam in 5 hours time...

What is happening to Iraqi Education:

HNK's, Sunshine's and Aunt Najma's School is hit by a mortar (yes, all three blogger go to the same school!). Sunshine puts a brave face on it: "I don't like to exaggerate and don't admire those who wrote about what happened to my school with faking facts!!! , but I assure you that everything is ok now , no big losses at all , except some broken windows."

Morbid Smile is posting her diaries from January and gives a shocking fact: "Education is about to vanish!!!... Thousands of students apply for the higher studies every year, but only few students can be accepted. The reason behind this is the lack of supervising staff.. Many university professors were either killed or they fled the country after the war for the sake of their own security." and out of these students: "only five... would be accepted to study for their Master or Doctoral degrees! Only five among over 200 students!! The reason, again, is the lack of professors".

Faiza gets a letter asking for outside help for the cultural institutions in Iraq. Because there is no restoration of anything except a Childrens Centre. Why? "the minister of culture now is a policeman not from the culture carriers . most of the cultures establishments general directors ar not specialised in any culture fields."

Free Iraqi reports that sectarian violence is even entering into children's games: "Both sides are definitely responsible for feeding hatred and distrust to their kids. The only difference is that Shiite now control most of the media.. Sunnis certainly did a similarly bad job when Saddam was in power but it shouldn't be pay back time or else we'll never make it to a real democracy."

The week in Politics:

Hammorabi is incensed at the political situation. He makes several posts on the same theme. "The weak and hypocritical politicians .. are not less than warlords or gang leaders seeking power even if it is on the mass skulls of the people.", terrorists are harassing the Shia population to provoke a civil war and "The situation is very dangerous especially with the biased interference of Zalmi Khalel Zada the US ambassador towards those who support the terrorism." Iraq Rising, in response, suggests to Hammorabi two 'simple' steps to resolve the crisis: "1- find someone other than Mr. Jafari... 2- That the ministries of interior and defence be run by individuals who have no connection with militia groups."

Iraq the Model continues its reports on the minutae of the political wheelings and dealings this week. But he has little hope for elected politicians to get anywhere because "most of them are not qualified to handle the responsibilities they're entitled to". Although he blames the Iraqi people more for voting for them. Iraqi Pundit comments on a story about the improving state of the Shia in the Gulf. Which he takes with bittersweet emotions as an Iraqi because of the foreign Jihadis fomenting sectarian strife in his country. While Asterism oddly agrees with George Bush. Salam says that the refusal of the American government to allow Dubai to control its ports is proof that the US never intended Iraq to be a partner in the region.

Raed has been busy traveling from Iraq to America to South Africa and back. He helped with the reconstruction of Iraq and now helps with the reconstruction of New Orleans. It seems he is applying his theory of "reconstructing both the built environment and the civil society" wherever he goes.

My honarary Iraqi for this week (and I know he will be horrified to hear this) is David T of Harry's Place. He copies from a report on an important issue. The intolerance of the religious parties and militias to Gays and anyone else who partakes in alleged 'immoral behaviour'. "In particular, the Badr Corps, which is the armed wing of SCIRI, has instituted a witch-hunt including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations... Males who are unmarried by the age of 30 or 35 are placed under surveillance on suspicion of being gay, as are effeminate men. They will be investigated and warned to get married." While much has been made of the violence in the streets of Iraq. Little is being said of the changes that affect people even in the privacy of their own homes.

And finally:

Cat blogging has reached its highest point. After being reported on NPR, Baghdad Girl's cat blog has been voted the 'The Best Blog in the World' by the Committee to Protect Bloggers.
"All blogs, deep within, are trying to become Bagdad Girl. You will know paradise has arrived when all blogs have become Bagdad Girl."

Quite. And Baghdad Girl has inspired one young Iraqi to start a similar blog: "My name is Ayman Murrani I'm 15 Years old ... i live with my family i love dogs alot .. i have 3 dogs and 2 cats ...". Ayman's blog is called Safe Iraq and it is filled with ... cute puppies! And judging from the pictures - Raghda's kitty's have something to be worried about.


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