Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome
For your reading and commenting pleasure is my weekly Global Voices Online column...
Today I will concentrate on politics. And before you switch off, let me point out that when it comes to politics, Iraqi bloggers will both surprise and entertain and certainly not bore. So on with the show.
If you read no other post this week read these
Morbid Smile posts the heartrending story of how ignorance and alcohol brought tragedy to a nearby family.
The father, A. who was the driver who used to drive me and my sister to college everyday for the last year, made a terrible mistake ... He was a drunkard man and we doubted if he had any education. He's got the most adorable the cutest two little daughters, his wife was very nice and lovely woman but he didn't know how to keep that treasure for good! ...And with the drink came violence against his wife and despite the best efforts of his neighbors the family split up. The story does not end there. One day, drunk and angry that he could not see his daughters, he went to his wife's parent's house with a rifle and killed his wife and her mother. And when he escaped, driving at high speed, he was shot and badly wounded at a police checkpoint that mistook him for a suicide bomber. Morbido writes:
Since we heard the news, Mom and I were thinking of his daughters all the time. Did they saw their father killing their Mom and Grandmother? Are they ever going to love him or forgive him one day? I feel very sad for the devastated family, and I feel even worse just to think of what is going to happen to the girl, who is going to take care of them. He could be a good man with a kind heart, but ignorance took a big deal of him that left him blinded with anger and irrationalism. If he wasn't an ignorant man he would have realized that alcohol was destroying his family and destroying the human being within him. He could have done something to restore the peace inside his house to raise a wonderful family in a healthy environment, but he didn't know the gift he was given and he wasted it all that, and wasted his life.When I was still at school I would always avoid the adults when my family went out visiting friends and play with their younger children instead. Riot Starter reminds me why. She writes, "When a teenager like myself pays a visit to the Adult world, the result is a very similar to that of having visited Wonderland." And she posts several stories of the blatant hypocrisy of the adult world around her:
A Saudi who by no means was allowed by his government to buy alcohol, and is well known to give his credit card to anybody going to a winery...In fact the sanest person she met was an Egyptian who lived most of his life outside of the Arab World. "He's actually more aware than all the people I've mentioned above, myself included of course, combined!!!"
An Iranian ... when it's women who he knew forehand were already married, he would greet them refusing to shake hands. However, he shook hands with every other woman/girl who wasn't wearing a ring or whose ring he couldn't notice while staring "elsewhere". So much for being religious. ...
A Moroccan whose wife was Japanese, and who's apparently way too desperate to dump being Moroccan to being a Jap...
A Palestinian who came "cheering" us about Zarqawi's death, talking about how Americans, Israelis and all of these people are pigs ... She then ran to the nearest American she could find in the crowd, and after a warm greeting she was busy...
Beating around the Bush in Baghdad
While there has been much comment on George Bush visiting Baghdad recently, Iraqi bloggers have given us a unique perspective.
Fayrouz wondered: "The media said Iraqi prime minister Al-Maliki was given five-minutes notice before meeting the president. The first thought in my mind when I saw him shake hands with President Bush was, 'What if he was at the toilet at the time? Did he have the time to wash his hands before he ran to meet the President?'." But Joking aside she has a serious point to make:
I realized he had to meet the President at the American embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone. Does this mean the Americans think the Iraqi government can't provide security for the American President at Al-Maliki's office? I thought this is somewhat of an insult. No wait, THIS IS AN INSULT when Iraq is considered an independent country.Mohammed of Iraq the Model has an opposite opinion. From the people around him and the newspapers he reads: "the visit definitely left a positive impression that America is dead serious this time about finding solutions for Iraq especially when it comes to security and critical parts of reconstruction like electricity."
Finally Baghdad Connect mimics stereotypical American red-necks and announces:
Yo Jose, we don’t want illegal aliens sneaking through our borders and take our jobs away! Haven’t you heard of visas?More Views on Zarqawi
The news of the death of Zarqawi continues to reverberate around the world and Iraqi blogger are an important part of the analysis. I have already written much about Iraqi blogger reactions. However, these cannot pass without mention.
Baghdad Connect takes issue with the triumphalist tone of the Iraqi Prime Minster's announcement of the death of Zarqawi and for timing this with the completion of the cabinet thus "morphing the celebration of civilities as a symbolic alternative to criminality and not as a transcendence to our great civilization." Which brings bad memories of the behavior of Saddam's regime. Further, he writes to the PM:
Perhaps Al-Zarqawi’s effigy could pass as a joke in other countries, but in ours it's a daily fear because our nation, just in case you forgot, lives out side the Green Zone!Bloggers are also reporting about the chasm that has now appeared between Iraqi opinion and the opinion of Arabs in the neighboring countries. Zeyad is in Jordan now, on his way to America. He writes:
Two days ago streets fliers were thrown in Al-yarmok district ... to warn the residents that 250 children will be abducted and slaughtered to avenge Al-Zarqawi death. This is what happens when you immortalize vile deeds by brining them under a memorable spotlight.
Amman is ... an ever expanding bustling city that gives the false impression of ... a progressive, enlightened society. Yet, every Jordanian I spoke to thinks that Zarqawi is a martyr. One taxi driver frankly told me that one should not rejoice over Zarqawi's death, for one simple reason: Americans and Iraqis are happy about it. That about sums it up.Iraq the Model is more blunt:
It is totally unimaginable why someone would describe the head chopping, children murdering terrorist as a hero. It's disgusting and infuriating beyond words.In other news
This wrongful description of evil is a major reason for misery in this region and it only contributes to justifying more unjustifiable death and violence. This makes one sometimes wishes that Iraq is somehow lifted away from these perverted sociopaths who surround us.
Iraq the Model discusses the reaction to "the launch of the new massive security operation 'Forward Together'." in Baghdad. He says that there is a mix of anxiety and hope but there are few people escaping the dangerous districts to safer parts of Baghdad because "in Baghdad you can't find the same feeling you would find in Ramadi, that is the fear that the operation will include collective punishment and this is because Baghdadis are used to living standards of a big city ... they have suffered enough from militants of all types and want their city life back."
But the Iraqi government is not getting such an easy time from other bloggers. Sami who was stirred from a looong blogging slumber by the death of Zarqawi writes: "The parties fought over the silly ministries where as the education and higher education both went to extremely relgious men. u see why i am not that optimistic for now?????" and Faiza is pessimistic after the Iraqi government failed to secure the city of Basra despite the pronouncements of the Prime Minister when he "went to Basra, and issued fiery statements; he said– we shall hit with an iron fist all the powers that are tampering with the security of Basra." She wonders:
The cities of Baghdad, Diyala, Basra, Karkook, and other cities are witnessing acts of violence, sectarian or ethnic dislodgment ... and the occupation forces do not interfere to stop any of this daily bloodshed, but they do beat the drums that they are going to bring in extra forces from Kuwait, to besiege Ramadi and cleanse it from the resistance, or the insurgents, as they call them. Why? Which is the priority? Stopping the daily Iraqi bleeding, or eliminating the resistance against the occupation? ... As for the Iraqi bleeding, who cares about it?And Finally....
Neurotic Wife has left Baghdad but is finding it very hard to let go: "Letting go...Letting go aint easy, not for me that is...Letting go of people, letting go of emotions, letting go of stuff...Never was easy, and I dont think it ever will be...There are certain memories that I cant seem to forget". And she calls her memories of Baghdad Pandora's Box because when friends ask her about Iraq:
Memories that I buried deep inside and was surprised they surfaced back ... I remembered H...H was a guy who worked closely with HUBBY...He was kidnapped a month after I got to Baghdad, and till now he wasnt found, nothing...not a corpse...and not alive...He has 5 kids...And i also remembered the last conversation I had with him, a day before he disappeared... He said "you know, life is too short, you should enjoy it while you can...Forget negativity, forget pessimism" He continued "I believe in God, and I believe that if he chooses to take my life now, then Im comfortable..." ...Just telling the story to my friend brought tears to my eyes...I remembered something I have buried deep down, I remembered a memory that at the time caused me to have a nervous breakdown...It was July of last year...Wow, and he's gone ...Who says I always have to end on a positive note?
...After H's story I went to another and another and another...It was like Pandora's box...All sad, depressing stuff, that probably made my friend feel uncomfortable.