After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

As a postscript to the 1970 Gil Scot Heron poem 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised',

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock news...
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
The revolution will be blogged.

And the Iraqi blogger are not letting us down. Today I have front line reports from the battle for Adhamiya, a salute to the Iraqi army, reports of Iraq in political crisis, a conversation between a 'Green' zoner and a 'Red' zoner, and, if you read to the end, an update on the missing kittens.

Kill us, but you won't enslave us

First, my deepest condolences go to Omar and Mohammed of Iraq The Model whose brother in law was assasinated last week:
Last week our little and peaceful family was struck by the tragic loss of one of its members in a savage criminal act of assassination. The member we lost was my sister's husband who lived with their two little children in our house.
He was a brilliant young doctor with a whole future awaiting him, the couple were the top graduates in their branch of specialty. They had to travel abroad to get their degrees and the war started while they were there but months after Saddam fallen they decided to come back to help rebuild the country and serve their people...

Grief and pain is killing me everyday as I hold my dear nephews, my sister is shocked beyond words while my parents are dead worried about the rest of us.
We are trying hard to close the wound, summon our patience and protect those still alive while we look forward to the future that we hope can bring peace for us.

But this is not a message of mourning but a message of defiance:
The terrorists and criminals are targeting all elements of life and they target anyone who wants to do something good for this country…They think by assassinating one of us they could deter us from going forward ... but we will never go back and abandon our dream. We have vowed to follow the steps of our true martyrs and we will raise the new generation to continue the march, these children of today are the hope and the future.

Fayrouz adds: "My condolences to fellow Iraqi bloggers The ITM brothers for the loss of their brother-in-law by another act of cowardice carried by the criminals running the show in Iraq... Where's the new Iraqi government? When would the Iraqi politicians get their sh*t together and form a new government? Enough of the useless negotiations while the country is bleeding to death."

I hope against all hopes that condolences will not become a regular feature of my weekly column.

If you read nothing else this week, read this:

Chikitita is missing her brother who is one of the many arrested and held without trial and she cannot even visit him because "a US soldier claimed that my ID is fake." She writes:
I wasn't able to see my flesh and blood, who was a few kilometers away, but I felt like God has sent me a message, "You're not alone". I came back home with one thing in mind, the Iraqi people may be bruised and battered, but they're still chivalric and good-natured through and through. Our nation won't die until this spirit is dead, and I'm sure very many politicians are looking forward to killing it.

War in the City

Bloggers are reporting what is, in effect, the breakdown of government control of Baghdad. After Riverbend reported that the Iraqi television news told residents not to trust police patrols without American backup the result was predictable. Iraq The Model explains:
Makeshift barricades that block entrances and inner streets are now a common sight all over Baghdad, and these are part of protection plans implemented by the so called 'popular teams' or 'neighborhood watch teams'... They represent yet another form in which the phenomenon of militias is being rooted but people here consider it a better alternative for the poor performance of the police and other interior ministry forces. And of course we frequently hear about clashes caused in many cases by misunderstanding between locals and government forces at night

And this led to three days of partial-warfare in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Adhamiya. Zeyad was visiting his aunt and was caught in the middle.. "The district has been sealed off and no one can leave or enter the area. Electric power has been cut off for the last 48 hours, and the fighting severely damaged our street generator this morning." Fortuately, he was safe and posted a very detailed account of the event complete with maps, photos and a list of rumours. In a nutshell:
Iraqi security forces from the Interior ministry (some believe to be accompanied by militiamen) attempted to enter Adhamiya .. around 1 am, Monday. Adhamiya residents and its dozens of watch teams responded with heavy fire and thwarted the perceived attack. The same, or another, force later attempted to enter from the other side through Omar bin Abdul Aziz Street. The attack was repelled and several vehicles were burnt. 7 to 12 residents were killed in the clash.

This was followed by several other confused battles. On Tuesday American force intervened "and returned fire at everything that moved." By that evening "We went out for supplies; bread, petrol, cigarettes and Pepsi." and by Wednesday things had calmed down. Zeyad adds: "The district is getting extremely difficult to navigate... The area is now one huge fortress, armed to the teeth and expecting an attack any moment now."

Konfused Kid was also in the middle of the battles and gives an hour-by-hour report of the events in his neighbourhood. He woke with a sense of foreboding for the gathering storm:
This was bad, the room was hot, and I woke up in a pool of sweat, it was one of the few times when I felt an unbearable force of gravity pushing me to the ground and I felt that if only I could just get out of my clothes, my body, and just be free of all this terrible mess, of this inexplicable country

He calls a friend to see what is happening in the rest of the city and heard things were normal but "His talk seemed very alien to me at the moment, as if speaking from another planet, I found normalcy irrelevant, he tried to talk me up about the graduation party but I almost wanted to slam the phone in his face... it was weird because normally I didn't give a damn." The Kid ends defiantly:
I felt a sense of wondrous, wondrous pride of the people of my area, goddamit, we are strong, word on the street that something as big as 400 Interior forces members were killed. Look at me, all sectarian and igrnoant in this post, but what can u do when hell's split asunder, u run for people who look like you...

All this while the a**holes in the g-zone play merry-go-round round the Prime Minister chair.

The Prime Minister's Chair

There is much talk about the attempts to form a new government for Iraq. Iraq the Model reports that even if the deadlock over the prime minister is broken, there are more obstacles on the horizon. In the mean time frustration...
"It has been more than 4 months since Iraqis risked their lives to elect this group of power-hungry clique and still, no government. Funny that they used to criticize Saddam for doing everything to stay in power."

has given way to cynicism...
"Tomorrow, the nice people of the Iraqi parliament that we “Suckers” elected are going to meet for the second time... we hope that tomorrows meeting will name the President of the Republic of Iraq and his two vice presidents and … YES A bloody prime minister!!… then we will live happy ever after, the Multi National Forces in Iraq will vanish back to their coaches... Mr. Zarqawi will leave to his second target Maybe go all the way to the Islands of “Waq Waq” and declare his holy war over there against the Dodo’s, the Death Squads disappearing back to the Republic of the Sith... But of course all this is Fictional, Just wait tomorrow you’ll see…What they are going to really agree on is their compensation plan, who gets how much and how many apartments in the International Zone Building complex"

It is not all bad news...

Baghdad Treasure's neighbor is kidnapped by men dressed as police. But, after a call to the emergency services the criminals are apprehended at an army checkpoint and his neighbor is freed. He writes: "I feel that there is still some hope. Iraqi soldiers proved that they are working well. By the cooperation of the people, we will defeat all the enemies that turned our country into rubble."

In other worlds

Neurotic Wife is embarrassed for living in the Green Zone. She talks to some people from the 'real' Baghdad: "One of them gave me an evil smile and said sarcastically 'why dont you come out and see how we are living, see how the real Iraqis are surviving' he said it with such contempt that really hurt me...I didnt know what to tell him...I said I want to go out of this place and see the real Baghdad, but Im not allowed to...He then replied again with that sarcastic voice 'come and stay just for one day without electricity, come and stay and feel the fear we have everyday from getting killed for no reason whatsoever...' I stared at him...and said the only thing we all say here 'Allah Kareem' (God is generous' or Inshallah (God willing) things will get better...But yet I felt so lame...."

Exam time is coming and Sunshine has set out her revision plan:
I'll wake up at 7 am , have my breakfast , start studying at 7:30 , till 11 am , I'll have a rest for 30 minutes to do my eye exercises , check my E-mail , & write a quick diary post (if I’ll have electricity), 11:30 I’ll start studying again till 1:30 then have my lunch , and have a nap until 3:30. Then I must study again till 8:15, watch Dr. Phil while having my dinner, & at 9:30 I'll go to bed. This schedule will start tomorrow, and of course I'll write to you whenever I can.

When all else fails you have to laugh. Baghdad Treasure reads the news: "This morning, an article on the Sunday Times made me almost die of laughing. I am even laughing now while I am typing these lines. The article says ‘The American military is planning a ‘second liberation of Baghdad’ to be carried out with the Iraqi army when a new government is installed. Seriously, isn’t it funny? Enjoy it and let Iraqis enjoy the successive ‘liberations’ until Iraq becomes totally ‘liberated’. I wonder whose Statue they are going to collapse now! Maybe Hakim's new ones that replaced Saddam's."

And finally

Raghda Iraq's cat-blogger tells us why she has not been able to post so many kitty pictures lately: "I am very sorry for letting you worry but I couldn't let you know that I am ok because we don't have an internet connection now and till we find a new internet provider I won't be able to post a new picture every day.
My final exams will start on 10\6 so I'll be very busy these days."

Good luck for your exams!


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