After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

For your reading and commenting pleasure, my latest Global Voices Online post...

When it comes to food, I know where I would rather live. And, those of you who have never eaten 'Masgoof' before or tried Iraqi fruit and vegetables, will not understand me when I say that as far as food is concerned Iraq is the most civilized countries in the world. I still, for the life of me, cannot understand how British people accept to pay for hugely overpriced vegetables that taste of nothing more than water. But I digress...

Today I will highlight bloggers talking about food and that is not all, there is also the rich variety of posts that the Iraqi bloggers always serve up. As it is topical I also must cover the Haditha Massacre.

If you read no other posts this week, read these.

You will hear much about the those that died but less about the survivors of a bomb blast. Two bloggers this week survived and write about the aftermath.

Morbid Smile's is feeling "hopeless, Helpless, Angry, ... Simply, I feel like a hell burning inside of me." A motorcycle exploded in her local market and 22 of her neighbors died. I will let her describe the rest in her own words.
Thankfully, we were all at home that night. I begged Mom to go out and buy some stuff from the market but she kept telling me to postpon it to the next day. If we were there at that time, I would be writing this from Heaven by now. Or from Hell maybe!

We knew most of the people who died. One of them was a girl preparing for her wedding day which happened to be the next day! Three little brothers were inside a car waiting for the parent. One of them had his brain popped out of his head and died immedeatly, the two others lived but with a traumatic disease now. And many more...

The streets were closed, funerals were held in ever corner of the neighborhood, and people were all in black attending the funerals. Candles were lit in the explosion's place on the third day. I went there to see it; it was so sad. Seeing the place where I grew up in this state and knowing that people died their is heart breaking. The faces I've seen almost everyday since I was a little kid... They're no more.
I wrote last week that Baghdad Treasure's neighbors had been killed in an explosion. This week he writes a moving post about the mourning after:
my eyes caught a chain of black banners announcing the death of the martyrs that fell in the explosion. ... Lines from the holy Quran and a big Cross were next each other as if they were hand in hand declaring the victims were Muslims and Christians and all died together in one crime. ...

In Iraq, funerals take three days. Today was the third and the last. People of different sects and religions attended the funeral which was held in a tent in front of the house. Thirteen other funerals were held in the neighborhood, including the one that killed Um Omar, a Christian woman who was shopping with her 25-year-old daughter. Susan, the daughter, was a bride who got married few weeks ago. She did not die but she lost her two legs in the blast and has become crippled. ...

As I walked from my house to the funeral everyday, I noticed how this explosion was successful enough to turn it so gloomy, dusty, and sad. ... We considered all the dead were our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and we all shared the unforgettable pain and grief…

May she and all the Iraqi martyrs rest in peace.

Currently the big international story on Iraq is about the investigation into the killing of 24 unarmed civilians by US Marines in Haditha. Yet bloggers inside Iraq have not commented. I scan through my past posts may show why. The issue of violence from US soldiers has been reported again and again and again, this is no longer news for them. From the Iraqi pundits outside there is an interesting split into two camps. Bloggers who had supported the war are commenting on everything but Haditha, bloggers who were against talked about Haditha and other possibly similar events.

For my own comment, in Asterism, I wrote: "It is a sad reflection on a modern civilsation when a general must fly in to Iraq to tell his troops how not to kill civilians indiscriminately. The point here is that the American soldiers in Iraq have become part of the problem for the Iraqi people and not the solution."

Food Glorious Food

Neurotic Wife is, sadly, leaving Iraq. But, for once, she has the opportunity to go outside the Green Zone and she get to try one of Baghdad's delicacies:

Photo by Neurotic Wife

"We stopped at a place thats known for its ice cream, placed called (Faqma)...had the yummiest icecream ever(ofcourse I wasnt allowed to get out of the car)...
Could not believe that I can have such icecream here, here in Baghdad...Similiar to a banana split but instead with sliced bananas and a cocktail of icecream flavours...."

and HNK devotes a post to her favourite foods. She says: "Maybe we don't have an electricity, peace ,freedom but we certenly have food.
Maybe we can't drive, walk and doing the simple normal things but we can eat.
Food always make you feel bettter, especially if it's taste good.
here are some food pictures." The following pictures were certainly to delicious to safely post here.

But food also has its politics. Baghdad Connect reports on the threat to Iraqi wheat production:
in mid 2004 Mr. Bremer has introduced [in line with UPOV policies] clause # 81 concerning the intellectual property for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants but not the biodiversity of plants, which automatically phase out the Iraqi local seeds. ...

Once the Iraqi farmers commence in planting those patent seeds then there will be no U-turn. Those patent seeds will eventually hybridize [pollute] the surrounding local seeds, which will make those local seeds protected intellectual property of the giant patent seeds companies, and that will force the Iraqi farmer to buy foreign seeds every year with the ‘appropriate’ fertilizers, and in a few years the expenses will surpass the returns, which means the end of the Wheat farming in the Mesopotamia.
Well, if food is good for the Iraqis how is it for the American soldiers? The Baghdad Alcohol Sponge reviews the US Army 'Meals Ready to Eat'... "Someone should investigate just who all was involved in the awarding of the contract and how they tie with the idiots that made up the current menues. ...

It has a ton of salt and tomato stuff in it--read: heartburn. Most of them seem to have a mixture of tomato stuff and heartburn mixtures. Black bean burrito? If you can eat that thing un-heated and maintain a smile on your face, I'll give you a dollar.

"Wheat Snack Bread" whoever came up with this idea should be publicly blugeoned in the face with a bag of seeping scrotums. And again the week after, just for having 2 of them in some meals."

Mmmm, mmm?

In Other Worlds

Neurotic Wife posts her last blog from Baghdad and shares some thoughts and emails from her friends.
"It is words like these that make my heart full of joy...It is words like these that make me love every moment that I had spent here... As I write this, my tears are already flowing...I cant help it...Im sorry, for words cant describe what Im feeling right now...This is the end of the Chapter...The end of Chapter Baghdad...The end of Chapter Green Zone...The end of an Amazing Chapter...

Ive waved goodbye to the beautiful date trees...This is my last post...My last post from Baghdad...And Im feeling like a Stranger...A Stranger in the Night...."
24 Steps takes a day off and realizes that in the new Baghdad there is nowhere to go. So he organized a family get-together. The conversation was the typical Iraq one... "Have you heard about the women who were killed in Amiriya?” ... “Have you heard about the 7 young men who were killed" ... And then he is cornered by his aunt:
“Now what do you say?” my aunt asked me, referring to that I might be the last Iraqi who is still in favor of the war. “Do you still like what happened in Iraq?”

I wanted to answer her, but I was really hungry. I didn’t want to be deprived of food at 3pm! Also, I didn’t have evidences to back my answer up!
Fatima is so happy that her generator is working she posts a recording of its sound. "Thankfully, we repaired our generator a while ago, and are sleeping well at night. It cost about $400 for a new piece, and another $400 for one month's supply of diesal to run the generator. Very pricey for the diesal, which normally should have cost one sixth of that price, but we're happy all the same." And she reports an improvement in the electricity supply: "For the first time in a loooong time, the electricity came on yesterday for two hours, off for four hours."

And Finally...

Zeyad is blogging for the New York Times again and offers us a taster of his posts. Reading the Iraqi Horoscope:
Gemini: Your parents have been nagging you to lay low and leave the country. Yet you are worried about an imminent death squad attack against your area. Plan your escape route carefully and keep a spare grenade for emergencies.
Attack day: Thursday.
Grenade No.: 5

Leo: A tip from one of your friends wrongfully ends you up in an
occupation detention camp. Learn to distinguish friend from foe. Avoid female American jail wardens, unless you like to explore
the arts of exhibitionism and BDSM.
Arrest day: Friday.
Prison cell No.: 26

Libra: Things are slowing down in your neighborhood. Your fellow watch-team members have nothing to do but smoke and trade mobile ring tones all night. It would probably not be a bad idea to take some time off from your guard duties and pay more attention to your love life.
Lucky day: Monday.
Street No.: 27


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