After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Flying over the Iraqi Blogodrome...

...almost literally (I'm plane-blogging again).

I thought about this again and again and there is no other way to describe what passes for government in Iraq. Today I give you some snapshots of a failed state. And this is the subject that dominates the Iraqi blogs.

If you read only one blog this week read this

Brian has been getting emails from Qasem in Ramadi. He description of life for ordinary people caught in a battle between US troops and the people he calls 'fighters' is both compelling and shocking:
At 9:30 in the morning, the US troops tried to install more snipers by occupying more houses close to the core of the city, some fighters attacked them and tough fighting continued for 3 hours… US bullets damaged many houses because of their random shooting, this way hurt many families inside their houses and my family was harmed also when many bullets sparked fire in the kids room.. I heard their screams while 2 of my nephews run away from their burning bedroom. My brother and I ran upstairs to find out what kind of hurt we will find this time… my mind was full with images of a kid killed with sniper bullet in head or burned dead body of one of my nephews. I was scared too much and I lost control of my steps on the stairs. I found my brother broke down the door and crashed the window with his hands to get out the heavy smoke and he carried out his 5 year-old son Mustafa who was startled, to get him out of the burned room. The fire started to burn some blankets, I found my way to bring water and started extinguishing the fire. It was small fire cased by the bullets …this kind of bullets used by US troops is very harmful gun for human beings or the materials-it contains lead that will be like a hot liquid inside the bullet…if the bullet get inside the body will explode and crash the body from inside and melt bones & flesh ….and if the bullet attacked a car or furniture or wood, it will burn and melt it.

The streets were empty and the fighters succeeded to disapear as usual …but the US soldiers keep there machine guns working and pointing to our houses….

I know that US soldiers want to keep themselves alive till they see their families but we also need to be alive to take care our suffering families in our poor hard life in Iraq.
On top of this there is no electricity,no water, no phones and no security. But given all this trouble where would he rather be?
Now, IF I have the choice to live in Baghdad or Ramadi or Fallujah …I will choose the 2 last choices because the dangerous side is clear but in Baghda every thing is Dangerous even Police check points can arrest and kill the people for money or some thing else ……….
Beyond Blogodrome

A new blog was spotted by Fayrouz on an important subject: Gay Rights in Iraq. The need is urgent:
An anti gay pogrom is taking place in Iraq. Gratuitous killings of gays are permitted under Iraqi law, and it is a fact that George W. Bush approved the wording of the Iraqi constitution that makes it so... That Bush-approved language for the Iraqi constitution making the indiscriminate killing of gays a legal activity is galling beyond all measure and beneath contempt.
And they have had some success:
Following two weeks of negotiations with Iraqi LGBT – UK, Sistani’s office agreed to remove the fatwa calling for the murder of gay men, but has curiously refused to remove the fatwa urging punishment for lesbianism.
Riot Starter of the blog Thought Riot has got her marketing right - go to every blogger and leave a little comment. Its subtle and it works. So I will let Zappy do the recommending for me...
I don't seem to know where she's blogging from, but who cares anyway, as long as its a good blog, she's taking politics to seriously.

I wish her the best.
Snapshots of a Failed State

There is a common theme flowing like a whisper through the Iraqi blogs. In a phrase: "Where is the government?"

Iraq The Model reports that Iraq's largest power station was forced to shut down because gunmen forced the employees and their families to leave. "I wonder how the government failed to protect those families who live in a relatively easy-to-protect isolated area around the station!" Mohammed writes.

"Where is the government?"

Meemo is feeling the strain these days: "even I know nothing is going fine, everything goin as bad as it can, even the the weather ..., the situation over here is kinda unbairable, 'cause everything is forbidden right nowI [...] they killed three young guys becasue they were wearing the pagan short pants .."

"Where is the government?"

Even mobile phones can be a weapon used by criminals. Iraqi Screen describes how: "you might get threats of unknown persons warning you if you do not pay a ransom you will be kidnapped and cut in pieces, beside informing you to quit your job." And she asks " Who is the real government? ... I asked a high rank official in Baghdad police about legal procedures regarding such threats, he told me that police directorate had a huge pile of them but always impossible to verify and waste of time to follow up."

"Where is the government?"

Zappy gets leaflets dropped in his street from the "Honorable Resistance” AKA “Zarqawi’s (sic):
Men are not allowed to grow goatees
Men are not allowed to wear Jeans
Men are not allowed to remove their facial hair
Woman are required to wear a “Juba” some kind of black gown that looks like a sack
Woman are not allowed to drive
Women are not allowed to leave their homes without a chaperon

Any one not obeying these rules will be shot. On that same day a young boy coming back from school was shot at the “Amal al Shabi” street.

One Question to the people responsible for providing security to that neighborhood “The Iraqi National Guards”, why are you not doing your F***ing Job!
"Where is the government?"

Ishtar's phone keeps ringing from friends asking what to do. Because two women were shot for driving a car and another three for wearing trousers. She laments, "it is really unbelievable, how the reconstruction campaign falls apart whenever it starts in Iraq while violence reconstruction campaign builds up in such a rapid speed and systematic way to maintain every body everywhere."

"Where is the government?"

Mama treats a 10 year old boy for a decayed tooth but first she needs his parents approval..
He stepped from the chair in an attempt to leave, with his eyes full of tears, and said nothing.
-"Are you coming back with someone later? I asked.
-"no, I have no one".
-"With whom do you live?".
-"With my younger brother, he is Mongolian".
-I grip his shaky hands ... and asked him if he knew any one?
Few minutes later he pointed to a man, he was one of the servants" H".
I sent for" H", and told him that I need some one of Salih' relatives ... He said "I am his fathers' cousin, I can stay with him because he has no One close…his older brother who was taking care of him was murdered 3 days ago"…
- He was a policeman…
-"Are you hungry, did you have your breakfast honey?" I asked Salih trying so hard to hold my tears.
- " no I did not , the neighbors did not bring us any". he said.
Just then I could not hold my tears any more, I took his little hands and took him to buy him something to eat. "let us buy something to eat, I am hungry too" ..
-" no, I will go home" said Salih pointing to a far cottage..
- I will take him to my place, bring him something to eat, and be right back"…said" H".
But the boy ran away….
I sat in my room, wondering how could these children survive. How could they live alone, what do they do in the darkness every day? Where is our government, are they aware about that policeman's family….
"Where is the government?"

Neurotic Wife shouts the question out loud. She hears 6 or 7 big explosions outside the Green Zone and a bullet lands just under her room. Next day her colleague tells her she lost a cousin when gun men broke into his office and shot everyone inside; an uncle who rushed to the scene lost a leg in a car bomb explosion, another colleague gets a phone call from her daughter in Amiriya saying militias are shaving the heads of women found outside without a headscarf She writes:
And where is the darn government??? The government is deciding who takes the Defense ministry and who takes the Interior one....Wowwww!!!! People are getting killed left center and right all under the eyes of the government!!!
She asks you to imagine what it is like to be in a lawless country and a gang kidnaps your wife and daughter for ransom...
You get the give it to them...and then you wait...a day...2 days...3....a week....2 bodies are found shot in the head in the garbage...Its your lovely wife and beautiful daughter.....Youve lost your family....Youve lost your hope.....

More and more stories like this happen everyday....More and more killings...More and more kidnappings...This is the plight of the Iraqis...But no one hears them.. [...]

This current government is hopeless...As long as there are fanatic religeous people governing and having great popularity then forget it....As long as there are bin laden loyalists...Zarqawi called mujahideen....There will no longer be Iraq....this place has literally become a hell hole....

But remember Iraqis are not helpless victims waiting to be killed. Meemo explains:
becareful all dudes dont show your hairy legs 'casue that would send you to your death, its bullshit people I'm wearing now the shortest pants I have, its almost undrepants and I'm in the internet cafe right now, you know if I'm gonna die by a bullet its better than the how weather, i've been wearing short since I was a kid these motherf***ers wanna come now and control ma life, you are dreaming no one can control me no not even ____,
And finally

Asterism (thats me) picks up on a classic quote from Michael Rubin, a former American administration official in Iraq:
'The reconstruction obviously hasn't gone that well, but we have put together a lot of PowerPoint presentations about the problem.'
(via STLtoday)

With Powerpoint we will conquer the world!


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