Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome
Been a while since I last reported from the Blogodrome. It was not the holiday that stopped me - it was the mountain of work after. It seems every one is back from holiday demanding my time. Anyway I'm back, Iraq is the same-old, same-old, well maybe a darker version of the same-old but Iraqi blogs are in a bit of a spin.
Ladybird had decided to stop blogging and wrote her goodbye (post was deleted), but an outcry from her readers brought her back and she is now blogging with a vengeance. Ali, of the blog A Free Iraq deleted his blog and one of the most active bloggers Truth About Iraqis has also boldly gone. He writes:
Those few, enlightened individuals in our histories - the Ghandis, Mandelas, Martin Luther Kings, Mother Theresas and so on - are such rare occurences that our societies revere them ... But that is defeatism at its loudest. It is not these people that should be held up high but the clarity of vision they sacrifice all for. ... By revering those brave individuals we are admitting that the human collective is itself cowardly. By saying these individuals are inspiring we are admitting that the human collective is uninspired. ... We use them to remind ourselves that there is always hope but we then proceed to quash any traces of it.
Which is why the enemy is within. And it is time to boldly go ...
And where is he going?
I am a Trekker. I have made no effort to hide that. I have loved science fiction all my life, ever since I was about six. ...
Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence . . . has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.
This is the last blog entry for me. And so, I boldly go ... Live long and prosper
So what of the Iraqi blogosphere? Zeyad thinks that the 212 blogs enumerated at Iraq Blog Count is a poor showing given that Technorati tracked its 50 millionth blog. But, Omar counters with this:
The fact is, those 212 blogs listed here are only the tip on an iceberg as the mass of the Iraqi blogosphere remains unseen and grows below the surface and that's mostly because this mass is almost entirely written in Arabic and thus receives little if any global attentionand he links to an Iraqi blogging site that has 1558 individual members. Not all of these are active bloggers but neither are the 50 Mil tracked by Technorati. And I can add to that al Iraqi Community with at least 5000 members. Suddenly the blogodrome is that much larger!
If you read no other blog post this week, read this
Chikitita was inspired to write about the strength of women when she encountered a female bus driver in Baghdad for the first time:
My feelings were a mixture of hope, pride, happiness, respect you name it. I just kept looking at her with a smile drawn on my face. “Come on… that’s rude stop it!” I said to myself. Shifting my attention to the street, I noticed people, particularly men with gaping mouths, nudging each other whenever the minibus I was in passed.... I could have asked her how come she took this job, but I did not. Her face spoke volumes...
What matters is the fact that I proved to myself that women are not the weaker sex as they have been portrayed. Some of us might be stupid, but they are not weak. ... Reading through the press releases and communiqués I have worked on, I was often offended by the overuse of “women and children” to buy the sympathy of people, would-be donors and NGOs. I once asked, “why women and children”. Does this mean men are not worthy of people’s sympathy? The answer was always, “because those two are the weakest of the lot.”
That is not true. I am a woman, but never have I ever felt any weaker than men, whose strength is only physical. Even THAT is debatable. When my siblings and I were kids, my sister could smack my brother just as hard as he could smack her, whereas I could not; I used a very smart strategy that is “take him by surprise, tickle him and hail him with countless slaps and blows.” So when it comes to brains, I guess women are loads smarter.
Or this one:
After experiencing the war in Lebanon first hand Hala_s has been fighting to fall in love again with her life and friends in Britain, but no such luck:
What is frightening; is how submissive we are all becoming. We are starting to believe that there must be something seriously wrong with us. Let alone contributing to the new terms; radical Islam, moderate Islam, Islam phobia, axis of terror and today’s Islam fascists …
On the other hand, you meet others who are so angry and in constant rage; no reason no space for any kind of conversation.
The Media is turning us against each other to distract us from the real culprit, and at the same time accelerating hate and disgust from others toward us.
Can’t you see that we have been slaughtered for the last 50years ...
Can’t you see that we are the only ones who have to abide by UN resolutions or otherwise what is dictated by the US while others do what they want?
Can’t you see that even when we are bombed and maimed; it turns out to be our fault?
Above all can’t you see that the conspiracy theory we are accused of believing in is utterly the only reality?
I can confidently tell you that the 1815 corpses delivered to Baghdad morgue last month made the Israelis day, along with the daily murders in Lebanon.
Wake up, our lives and destinies revolve around the happiness and safety of Israel. And those aliens Israelis who don’t speak our language and don’t share our culture have more right to exist in our own land than us. ...
Don’t tell me we’d rather have moderate people, there isn’t such thing. Where does moderation come from? You are moderate when you live in moderate surroundings.
The Week In Politics
Baghdad Connect marks the return of Abu-Ghraib prison to Iraqi control by giving an interpretation of the American abuse of prisoners way above the head of most political editors:
The conduct of the American interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison was in fact to unwrap and ‘de-tattooing’ the cultural identity of the Iraqi people by the ‘redeployment’ of human bodies within new social landscape.
Changing the lines of a body will result in removing the ethnic identities ... to reshape the ‘personhood’ of a society in order to prevail and to eventually exercise power.
The humans pyramid shape of exposed anuses of Iraqi prisoners was an interpretation of Americans defiance through associating excrement discharge to their experience. By doing so the Americans have blatantly challenged the world community with their unpopular war...
Body mutilation, humiliation etc. had been for thousands years part of ancestral comportment to redefine, punish or introduce new social orders in peoples’ lives. ... The body in the end becomes a ‘political field’.
What's in a flag? The controversy over the Iraqi flag raised a few heckles. Zappy suggests Mr. Barzani goes hit his head on a thick wall. "If you have no pride in your nation’s flag then you can “leave Iraq”. He says that the Kurds were killed and tortured by the governments of Iraq raising this flag, I say what's that got to do with the flag?". While Omar finds the whole argument childish, needless and dangerous. He write: "The behavior of both leaders ... sends a wrong message at a time when the government is supposedly trying to persuade groups and parties to join the reconciliation plan. Now if the "reasonable, responsible and moderate" leaders are acting like this, how can we expect violent and undisciplined groups to believe in the national cause?" And Riot Starter gives the politicians a piece of her mind:
ALL Iraqis had suffered under that flag, Arabs or kurds, Muslims or Chrisitans or other. Everybody had suffered under the flag, slaughtered and murdered or sent out on war in the name of hate. ... Chan este7eto! [you should be ashamed] It's been some 3 years since you have come to power, and nothing has improved yet. You've only been stealing for the past three years, and it's been out in the open since day one.
After the shooting of a British Tourist in Amman, Zeyad blasts media bias:"Again, Al-Jazeera's first newsflash on the incident announced that Iraqis were behind the attack. It's almost as if it's a case of wishful thinking... However, it turned out the gunman was a Jordanian of Palestinian origin from the town of Al-Rusayfa, near Al-Zarqa (the hometown of slain Zarqawi)."
Neurotic Wife was so seriously annoyed that Hubby wanted to return to his old job in Iraq that she tears apart the myth of reconstruction:
what kind of rebuilding is taking place...we were there....we saw the reality of projects...A school that was in shambles, was renovated by painting the walls pink....pink walls WILL NOT enhance the education of the Iraqi kids!!! Where are the kids in the first place???Almost many of the parents have refrained from sending their children to the schools because of the security situation...Most of the teachers have fled...either in hiding or left the country for good....WOW great rebuilding!!!
Take hospitals, whats the point of putting some new medical equipment, or painting the maternity rooms orange when the doctors have become a prime target for kidnappers and terrorists...You go there and theres no one to look after you...Nurses and doctors decided to seek a better life in Jordan, Syria or the UAE....Your only salvation is maybe the newly painted orange wall staring back at you...aha great efforts...
The roads and bridges that were renovated, are prime targets for bombs and highway bandits...I mean cmon...Rebuilding...yes its there...The money has been spent...More money is gonne be spent, but for what....and for who...
Whither the Iraqi Government? Iraqi blogs have been alive with speculation that the days of the Iraqi government are numbered. Baghdad Connect reported that Condoleeza Rice allegedly told the Iraqi Prime Minister "We are Ironing Saddam’s clean shirt for November (thanksgiving day). Until then if you couldn’t pull it through then we will make Saddam wear it again or have it tailored for someone of his size!" Normally I would have discounted this as a fun rumor until I read that the New York Times quoted a US official saying that the Americans are considering "alternatives other than democracy" in Iraq. Then Mohammed at Iraq The Model found an Iraqi perspective to the story quoting other unnamed officials:
The report was published on the Iraqi website of Sot al-Iraq, a website run by Iraqi intellectual mostly in exile. The scenario or "plan" predicted by the author of the story says that the US is going to offer Iraqi military and government one last chance to control the situation and prevent the sectarian violence from turning into open civil war ... This "last chance" doesn't lack a deadline and according to the report the deadline is supposed to be somewhere between September and October, ... However upon failure of military efforts and if civil war breaks out the report says the following steps will be taken:
1-Declaring Iraq a zone of genocide and referring the Iraqi file back to the UN Security Council under resolution 1483.
2-After getting appropriate new resolution from the UNSC, the US and allies return to assume all security responsibilities in Iraq.
3-Dismising the current Iraqi government and parliament.
4- Appointing a US military leader for Iraq.
5-The constitution of Iraq remains active but with articles concerning governance suspended.
6-Appointing an Iraqi civil administration consisting exclusively of technocrats with no religious, sectarian or ethnic leanings to assist the US lead military administration in running the affairs of the country.
7-Holding general elections in the country under international supervision at least 2-4 years from the beginning of the implementation of the plan.
But Mohammed is not inspired by the plan because "the doubts among the masses that America came only to replace one dictator with another and not to spread democracy will become a fact" and "that would be exactly what authoritarian regimes in the region want and would give them a chance to declare the war ended with a victory for dictatorships."
Morbid Smile is in America! After the heart rending disappointment of being thrown out of her Fulbright Scholarship because all the prospective Universities turned her down. And then recently she received a call from Fulbright saying they had a late email from a university... and two weeks later she is in America.
I like happy endings.