After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Here for your reading and commenting pleasure is my latest Global Voices post...

I [give] up sometimes... when I wake up in the morning [to] the sound of bomb. I feel like... someone took my heart and returned it back to my body.... Just like the computer... if you are working and it's suddenly turned off, you might lose the file you work on but you still have the last file. Can you understand my view?

Iraqi blogger HNK, interviewed by fellow teenagers in America.

This post is dedicated to the voices from Iraq and in the next I will write of the blogodrome outside. While much of the world took pause last week to remember the victims following the crashing of aircraft into buildings in America five years ago the Iraqi Blogodrome has been reliving the hell of daily life in Iraq. And how do Iraqis feel about the 9th of September five years ago? HNK again..
I just want to ask you something. After Sept. 11 took place, what did you feel? Do you feel in pain? I feel this every day. It's only a building destroyed... five years [ago] and you still remember that pain and that suffering. Well, for me it was not one building, it was a country and it's still under the occupation. And every day 1,000 people die. Do you think I will forget this? I can't.... If I live [to] be 100-years-old, maybe I will forget my name and my country, but I will never forget the pain and suffering I am feeling right now.
Or maybe you can get a feeling of the progress of Iraq through this poem by ZZ:
On Fridays the sun shone,
like it never would on any other.
I would have called it 'Sun Day',
but we rested on on that day,
while the sun kissed our skins.

On Fridays, cars honked greetings
and people smiled back.
They flocked at markets,
and hugged and kissed,
and compared prices.

On Fridays we watched the evening news
and reflected.
War after war,
we expected
better days…

On Fridays today, under the sun,
they slaughter women,
and rape children.

On Fridays today, mosques turn into infernos,
and the rubber of the flip-flops burn the nostrils
of the bodies on the charred marble floors...

On Fridays now, the streets are quiet.
The silence bites at the ears of travelers,
who move in the shadows unseen,
praying to reach home whole...

On Fridays now, people drink dark coffee.
From one memorial to its neighbor,
the bitter taste becomes the custom.

On Fridays now, people fear the evening news.
War after war…,
they wonder if they have seen the worst…

The Konfused Kid posts snapshots from a week in hell. He concludes:
Life in the past week has made me confirm many deductions which I have wished to God that will not come true, From the moment I felt the harsh, cruel wind slap me like an angry mother ... I am filled with an immeasurable sense of loss and hate, HATE at everyone who took up an official seat and blurted words beyond a microphone. I am positive that my faith in my country has been shattered beyond repair once and for all...

The last time I wished I could stay in Iraq was when I went to college, I met many friends who I haven't seen in months, we laughed, we cuddled, we talked girls, movies and football like the old days, and it was this that I really wanted, the way everyone should live - but even there in my enclosed atmosphere of the college, something sinister evokes the darkness, like the half-torn death sign of my four friends who were killed three months earlier, or the fact that half of our department are leaving abroad

Despair is not the order of the day for Miraj. And to say she has been through hard times is an understatement:
I left my first company which was looted to a better job which was bombed by terrorists ... I spent weeks and months under 50 centigrade degrees where is no electricity , where you feel your soul is struggling to get out of your body to feel relieved , where I had to suffer watching my old father begging for air at nights. I cried again, I felt sick, I thought I lost my faith. ... I was attacked in my own house by a filthy animal. I screamed, I fell ,I injured myself while running away cowardly , I cursed my life and shouted why me, I couldn’t sleep for weeks,
But, as she asks, "Has she given up?" Her answer..
No! I took another job to evolve my skills... and I am proudly one of the best qualified people to build this country once it is cleaned.

No! I still have to go out in the night to operate the generator... I still take my father’s gun and search the house, room by room when ever I hear noise.

No! I am still here on line , writing and standing in your faces.

No! I am still holding on to my morals and values ... And proud of it.

And speaking of morals, Hala_s tells the stories of those who profited from the war. Like that of a friend whose husband made more than a million dollars in less than a year..
“Sub-contracting for what?” I asked. “Imaginary projects and useless ventures, this is how they make money these days in Iraq if you have the right connections inside the Green zone.”
Hala wonders what her friends father, who dies for his beliefs in an Iraqi prison in the Eighties, would have thought. But these are small fry..
The big ones don’t even enter Iraq.
One of the ex-patriots I came across recruits Iraqis from all over the world except from inside Iraq of course to join the re-building of Iraq project.
The amount of money those people are making is beyond belief.

Isn’t it a mystery that nothing absolutely nothing effective has been achieved on the ground as yet?
And their justification for such fraud? One friend tells her “... When I put the money I’m going to make and Iraq’s interest on the scale, the money weighed much more!” She wonders:
Where would my dream fit among the reality of those people I met with?

The truth is I couldn’t spell it out. I thought I would meet a group of enthusiasts dreaming like me of making Iraq a better place, not a bunch of chameleons who change their colours whenever an opportunity arises.

All I dream of is going back to Baghdad, open a small gym; that would be for the heart.
And for the pocket, I thought a small fancy flip flops factory in a village will do!

After talking about the living we must also remember those who have died. Zappy writes an obituary to Rasool "Brooh Oobook". He is no one famous or important, in fact the opposite. Zappy writes, "He’s a Young ignorant skinny Individual with many talents, he started as a shoeshine boy and was persistently dirty and ragged ... he used to beg for either a Cigarette or a 250 Iraqi Dinar Bill (approx 10 cents) telling us “Brooh Oobook” (on your Fathers soul) give me a 250." But all the shop keepers in the area knew who he was for his mischief and humor:
One day he told us that when he arrives to Paris, France and becomes the Ambassador there he would call us and laughs and spit on us.
... he gradually started cleaning Goldsmith shops and Cars and became picky which cars he cleaned “I prefer BMW’s because their owners are better than you stinky people” sitting crossed legs in front of us smoking our cigarettes and drinking my “Istikan” of tea.
Rasool died after someone "forgot a plastic bag" on his bus home.

And Finally...

The blogs are not all despair, and there are moments of extreme happiness. At last we can be treated to one of Sunshine's best stories. She heard a rumor that a famous Hollywood actor had mentioned her blog in an interview. It turns out it was Gary Sinise. But she could not find any reference to the interview on the Internet. So with the help of a friend, she finds his email address and sends him a letter. I'll let Sunshine describe what happened next...
In the next day I was checking my E-mails and I was shocked ,I received so many E-mails , telling me that I was mentioned in news channel MSNBC & that they said something about me, I kept searching but I couldn't find anything either ! Then I received a letter, my mom was watching TV, when I told her I received another letter she said "from whom? " (I didn't even imagine that the letter came from the famous actor Gary Sinise), my mom said at once " oh ,he might be him, I said "I don't know yet I will see ," I wasn't expecting that a famous actor would answer me that quickly , when I saw the subject of the letter I shouted "OH YES HE IS " I don't know what happened to me, I couldn't wait to read it (as you know the services are slow ) , I read it in a loud shaky voice , I was so happy , & excited , I kept shaking , & laughing , it was the best day ever , & of course couldn't sleep that night !!!
And Gary explains why the Iraqi blogs are so important. He wrote...
Hello Sunshine, So good to hear from you. Yes, I did mention your website on the radio because I think it is great what you are doing and I want people here in the United States to see what you have to say about life in Iraq today. We get a very uneven view of things because all we have is the media and they are sometimes very one sided. The media pretty much only shows us all the terrible things, the bombings and the death toll but not the everyday life of the Iraqi people. We do not know how the average Iraqi citizen feels about things there and you write very well about your life in Mosul. Just being a kid and going to school and trying to have a good life.


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