After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Everything is here this week... from going to schools in a war zone, review of the latest political scene in Iraq, must-see video blogs, stories of extreme bravery and extreme pathos, a $1000 KFC meal, and if you read to the end, how gays cruise in Amman.

If you read no other blog post this week read these two:

My deepest condolences goes out to Sunshine whose uncle, "M", was murdered on Wednesday for nothing more than a few papers. She writes:
uncle M's dream was to see his daughter graduation , she is determined to accomplish her dream and her father's dream , after the funeral , she stayed in my grandparents' house to study , she couldn't concentrate in her house , her exams will start soon . I also heard about another relative , who was kidnapped but freed versus money.. Try to concentrate in such circumstances?! In addition to a hot weather with out electricity (46 C. ), Can you ?? the Iraqis are the bravest human being , we absolutely deserve Guinness World Records for tolerance and patience
But that is not all... Sunshine also had to endure walking through a virtual war zone to get to an exam at school:
"we walked , me and dad alone among the damaged stores and buildings, with police cars everywhere , on burned ground full of windows' glass , shrapnels, what a good way to start your morning?!"
And tells of her friends experience after American soldiers raided her house and arrested all the men. She asks:
Can any teen in this world bear our life? Just going to school is a challenge, living each day is hard , specially when you lose the people you love. And feel afraid about the others .

Inspired by the story of Samantha Larson, the youngest person ever to climb to the top of Mt. Everest Marshmallow26 tells us the story of a brave Iraqi woman who dared to meet one of the kidnappers that bedevil the lives of ordinary families in Iraq and out wit him. Here is her story:
She is not armored with climbing mountains hobby, not with scuba dive or jumping professionally on the trampoline ... She is a simple and more than simple house wife living by herself after losing her husband...

Her daughter's brother-in-law was threatened to leave his governorate job, his house, and leave the city for good, he was getting phone calls all day long on his cellphone, unknown people who kept calling him kept teasing him, threatening to kill him and his family, ... they asked him to pay $100,000 as a ransom, he doesn't and will never be able to have that amount as long as he works as a governmental employee..

The brave woman "B" that is how I'm gonna call her, knew about this story and asked her daughter to get the guy's cellphone and leave it with her mom (the brave woman),

"MOM??? Are you serious? why do you wanna answer this phone while there is so much going on with its owner?" daughter said.

"It is none of your business, I know those guys are playing games only, so I will be the one who will take it..." the mother replied.
Read on here to find out what she does.

The Week in Politics

With America's surge of troops in Baghdad in full swing, historic talks with Iran underway and major laws being considered by parliament, politics is again coming to the foreground in Iraq.

Security? What Security?

While much is made in the media of America's security plan for Baghdad little time is given to how this affects ordinary people in Baghdad. These stories come out in the blogs. Last week I had the lament of Baghdad Connect of a city being torn apart by military operations. Today I have two more stories. Neurotic Wife gives her view from inside the Green Zone.
Things are pretty bad here. No wait, bad is an understatement. Things are pretty darn bloody. The so called security crack down has not worked its magic. Its way past that. I doubt there is any solution to whats happening at the moment here. I think its beyond repairable. And please dont tell me that thats impossible...

Electricity, a source of energy that we all take for granted has been scarce for millions of Baghdadi residents for over a month now. Scarce in this intolerable heat. ... Water, a vital source of keeping us alive has now become a major target for infections. Security, oh whats that again? A word that almost everyone here forgot how it felt or what it really means. The dead bodies you read about being found on a daily basis scattered around the Baghdad neighbourhoods, have now become a normalcy. If people dont see them, they think there must be something wrong. ... Money doesnt mean anything to them anymore because the truth of the matter is, inflation has hit them hard. All the prices soared to a degree where the $1800-$3000 they make here per month disappears. They save nothing. Not a single cent. So imagine those who dont work in the GZ, or those who dont even work. How are they surviving??
And she is impressed by the survival powers of the Iraqi people:
Every Iraqi, every single one, that is living under these stark conditions have struggled to keep their sanity. If it was me living these dire conditions, there is no doubt I would be roaming the streets aimlessly pulling my hair out, literally going nuts. But no, these people, the Iraqi people should enter the Guiness book of records. Oh yes, most definitely. They are truly my heroes. No matter how much I say this statement, I can never do justice to them. Never.

Omar gives his colleague Hussain space to tell his story of what happened when the security crackdown visited his neighbourhood :
Tuesday morning was a disaster for me , my family , relatives and friends.

At nine o'clock of Tuesday 22nd of May , the American forces had a raid on Amel neighborhood ( west Baghdad) ,the place where I live with my family which is few miles from Baghdad airport. ... Three armoured vehicles came to our alley ( street)carrying dozens of soldiers to search the houses looking for terrorists leaving at least 50 other vehicles in the area to do the same thing with other blocks . Father .. was the first to receive the unwanted guests. There were at least twenty soldiers who entered the house and forced my father to sit on his knees with his head towards the wall with no consideration to his age ( 65 years old) and sickness ( he has blood pressure with his left eye on recovery from a new operation ). They refused giving any kind of mercy or time to let the interpreter explain what my mother want to say to them about my father's condition ...
At the end his father was taken away without any word to his family about his whereabouts.

Iran and America

Some bloggers had their own view on the first ever talks between the Iranian and American ambassadors in Baghdad on Monday. Omar of Iraq the Model is not impressed with Iran's performance. He writes, "Iran's attitude didn't only make the meeting unproductive, it made it insulting... Ignore the meaningless diplomatic pleasantries ... Iran mocked Iraq and America today, their ambassador was here just to laugh at us and buy time for his regime. ... All in All, I see that the regime in Iran doesn't want to limit its interference in Iraq, it's simply hoping to give this interference a cover of legitimacy."

While Hammorabi views these talks as the opening shots of an imminent war:
The US and Iranian meeting today ... is nothing other than throwing dust in the eyes. Both Iran and USA has interests and the Iraqis are paying the heavy price since the revolution of Khomeini in 1979 until now.

We know that if America is going to attack Iran this will not happen from Iraq but from other parts of the Gulf and from its own aircraft carriers however Iran is alarmed from the USA existence in Iraq. From today meeting we feel that the conflict between Iran and the USA is of no doubt coming and may be imminent.

But Baghdad Connect sees this meeting as no more than a huge garage sale. He writes, "Congress nods to Bush, Bush nods to ‘anyone’! You break it you own it, and then you dump it in a garage sale!"

In other Comment

Al-Ghad tracks the rise of oil workers’ movement and sees this as a welcome sign:
The voice of the most advanced, and best organized, sector of the Iraqi working class, has started to join forces with other mass non-violent popular resistance against the occupation, marking a new welcome shift in dire situation in the country, away from the docile and corrupt administration, and the blood thirsty sectarian gangs that occupation had set-up.

And Wissam congratulates Iraq's brave leaders:
We mustn't forget the freedom and the respect that we've gained as individuals from the Iraqi leaders and the leaders of other countries. The President of Iraq has left to the United States of America for medical treatment while my wife has cancer and I can't take her even to Syria for treatment like many other Iraqis do.

The Chairman of the United Iraqi Alliance made a trip to the United States of America to undergo medical treatment for his cancer; but he didn't like their hospitality so he made his decision to go to his mother's country (Iran) at least they will treat him better; but still, the choice is his to go anywhere because he's "the man" in Iraq, but my wife like so many other women do not have the choice, because they are not the "madams".

The Deputy Prime Minister is the bravest. When he was injured during an assassination attempt, the government took him immediately to the green zone hospital (which is under the American doctors' supervision). Then, he flew to Jordan for medical treatment. So, as he is a leader in the Iraqi government, they took care of him but it doesn't matter if other Iraqis are injured by an IED or VBIED (car bomb) , understandably ….there are a lot of Iraqi's but there is only one PM deputy.

Word from the street

Electricity is scarce and the temperatures are soaring, forcing many Iraqis to sleep on their roofs at night. But rumours of US soldiers shooting from their helicopters on sleeping people at night gave Chikitita an interesting mind game to lull herself to slumber:
Not sure on which side I should lie, back seems to be a lesser evil, one shot to the head or stomach I’d be painlessly dead in no time, front means I could get a bullet in my spinal cord and end up like mum’s friend - vegetable because of one tiny metal chunk fired in the late ‘80s to celebrate Iraq’s so-called victory. But what if my legs or arms get shot, do people shot in the extremities live with disabilities?
And, oddly, it works.

hala_s calls her brother on his birthday and asked him to make a wish:
“I wish I never grew up” he said “It is against nature that I lived a better life than my kids. They don’t know how to cycle, swim or even swing. When I manage to take them out, I tell them about imaginary places and events that took place on this spot or that. I could see their jaws drop in disbelief, and my youngest insists that I repeat those fairy tales at bedtime!”

And Zappy describes a $1000 KFC meal that cured his friends back problem. Click here for the explanation.

From the Video blogs:

My honorary Iraqis and bloggers for the week are VBS who give us the story Iraq's only Heavy Metal Band.

Hometown Baghdad videos the story of Saif leaving Baghdad for the last time.

And Alive in Baghdad covers the challenges facing a Girl's school in Adhamiya, Baghdad.

And Finally:

Konfused Kid gets propositioned as the object of what I can only describe as "Gay Cruising" in Jordan:
I was waiting at the bus stop the other day for a bus at 7:30 PM in a cloudy cold evening with another man. After 10 minutes the dude, who was dressed neatly and had shaved his head, started pacing to and fro around me, in the end he offered me a cigarette and then said politely in an Iraqi accent: 'Want a job?'

I paused. 'What kind of job, friend?'

He paused. 'Come up to my appartment with me and I will tell you everything in an hour's time.'

Huh? What the hell? 'Why don't u you just tell me here friend.'

at this point some white car drove up to him, and he was prepared to get inside it, polite and slender as only non-heterosexual Iraqis can be, he continued 'but you won't understand what I am talking about and why I can't tell you right here until you meet my supervisor.'
It dawned fairly quickly on the Kid just what was planned at the apartment and he came up with the ultimate put-down: "Hey, I got a CCNA [computing qualification], maybe I can be your orgy's IT manager." The answer was a polite, 'No thank you'.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

This week blogs have covered a steadily deteriorating situation in Iraq. Things are not so much going from bad to worse, but from worse to appalingly worse. Also read about a visit to the Iraqi ID office and one blogger gets to answer readers' questions.

But first, my condolences go out to Aunt Najma and her family whose grandfather died after a long illness. Unfortunately, outside events turned funeral plans on their head. While the male mourners were at a mosque at one side of the city the female mourners were at Najma's house...
It was 7:30 when we started hearing very loud explosions. All the women moved to safer rooms in the house, and everyone started calling to see if their relatives are okay. Several explosions followed... a curfew [started] at 7:30.. Everybody got stuck.

We had 25 women sleeping at our house with no previous notice.. Almost everybody started laughing hysterically, grandma forgot all about her loss and got busy trying to figure out what to do...

The men hid their cars in houses in the neighbourhood, they divided themselves into three groups and slept at three or four houses, people in the neighbourhood were really hospitable...

Mosul is a mess now.. Many buildings are badly damaged as I saw on TV. Thank God everyone is safe.

If you read no other blog post this week read this one

Al Tarrar chronicles a city being torn apart by the troop surge that George Bush is promoting. And gives us another side to the story behind the headlines:
El Biya’a vicious confrontation between the government/invader forces and the Mujahdeen have marked a new turn in the battle for dominating Baghdad. The streets have never been as unreal as they are today. The minute the government forces pull away from an area and immediately heavy shooting commences. ...

Haifa Street is relatively calmer due to the presence of unbelievable amount of military hardware. Yesterday BC counted more than 18 Hummers and two tanks swarming in an area of roughly 2 kilometers! And between them you could see children, grownups and cars...

As the curfew starts not a single sole is seen or else will be shot at by either the government/invaders or the Mujahdeen!

And as for life in Baghdad...
Prices are gone beyond believe. A taxi ride to certain areas could cost up 80 US Dollars per trip and you will be dropped off on a main road far from your destination. It is shear madness. Also, in our area we have been continuously without electricity for the past two weeks.

The other painful sight is the large number of stray animals. People say that dogs are eating dead bodies and consequently turning vicious!

How could anyone manage the war like that? The government/invaders running full capacity and yet they fail to deliver. Who was that freaking idiot behind increasing the hardware to that extent as a solution?

In other worlds:

Nabil neighbourhood was taken over by Al Qaeda and Nabil describes some of their activities against his neighbours. How one shop was burned because the owner wanted to take away his generator and another building was destroyed because the owner would not pay money to the local Al-Qaeda group.

He also reports how sectarian divisions are becoming more entrenched among the people around him.
Even in college, its funny but I have to mention it, we had couples from different cults who loved each other for two or three years, now
they broke up because one of them is shiite and the other is sunni. And when a guy loves a girl, he first ask whether she is shiite or sunni before he talks to her, and if she was from the other cult he would neglect his feelings.Those are really funny and sick minds at the same time

The Shaqawa breaks down the whole concept of sectarianism into simple terms that anyone can understand. He writes:
Think about this. What makes you more upset, if a random person in a far away place gets killed, or someone in your city gets killed, or if your cousin gets killed? ... Sometimes you chose sectarianism to stay alive, but I guess you should be criticized for it...

I think only in Iraq it is automatically a bad word because people hate to see the Shi’a having power after the Shi’ite majority was oppressed for so long. Still, I think that sectarianism, if it means that you support your group against all others, and support your group in a way to harm others, then it is a crime and such people should be shown as criminals and condemned. It is a fine line, isn’t it? Never black and white and never good and bad!

Baghdad Treasure gives his respect to Americans for their effort to rescue their captured soldiers and wanders about the 9 Iraqi soldiers that were captured and executed by al-Qaeda militants. "I was thinking why didn’t the Iraqi government offered to help or drain a canal to find the missing Iraqi soldiers? Are their souls that cheap?" he asks.

Going to renew your ID card is something that most people dread. And Marshmallow26 dreads it more than most. It was seven years since she last had to go to renew her ID.
The only thing that stayed the same is "dealings" and to be exact "citizens mistreatment"...

to me, it has been 7 years I haven't stopped by that street, it was a shock…what is going on? Lots of T-walls, garbage, miserable faces and torn mentality…they divided the narrow hallway to two tighter hallways one for men and the other for women, now we have to get in rows waiting on our turn to get in…not to mention standing in the middle of different types of people with strong stink, damn it.
Thank goodness I was having my sunglasses with me

And finally...

Sunshine is on holiday from school and has time to answer some readers' questions...
- How do you feel about the US presence ?

people ask me that question a lot ..
well , scared , worried, confused, I don’t trust them , because they killed our eldest uncle as I mentioned before , as well as many innocents. But there are absolutely good soldiers like those I met in the airport ,but in the first year of the invasion , I used to feel safe when they were around , but now , I try to be as far as possible . my feelings changed , because they are not the same soldiers who freed us. ... We see each other in the markets , they used to salute us , but now , we drive as hurry as we can if we see them coming , we try to avoid them , because if a mine exploded they shoot randomly .. we don’t feel safe, neither them because of the terrorists who ruin our lives ..

- I am curious to know more about your faith - the holidays you observe and what they mean. and the traditions you have around marriage. My biggest question for you is about heaven. What is heaven to you? How does a person get there? Do you believe these good deeds earn your way into heaven? Is there a book that you would recommend to give us a true understanding of the basics of your faith?

Well , we celebrate 4 feasts , one last for 3 days it comes after the fasting month "Ramadan" , the other feast when people go to Mecca and it last for 4 days , our prophet's birthday ,as well as the Islamic new year (the memory when our prophet left Mecca to Al -madeena ). About heaven, people go there if they do the right things , like if they don't lie , don't cheat , don't kill , don't humbug, love each other , etc .
And yes, I believe these good deeds earn the way into heaven, I would recommend the holy Quran , if you want to know more about Islam , it is like the bible , because they are from the same god. About marriages I wrote a post about that .

- Many people ask me if we have arranged marriages , NOOOOOOOOOO we don’t have arranged marriages ,it breaks my hear what people in the west think like that about us.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Cliques of bastards and villains are controlling the living stream in a country that was once upon a time the prophets and messengers foothold. Slim after slim sits cross-legged on the f*** seat in Baghdad in what is so called now the Green Zone (Godzilla zone) ... teaching their firing and blood squads and bogeymen some bloodcurdling lessons on how to torture and behead their compatriots
This week I have a heart rending story of a kidnapping, reactions to the Wall of Adhamiya, a comparison of New Orleans and Baghdad, opposition to the new oil law, and, if you read to the end, plastic palm trees.

The previous quote is from Marshmallow26 who has had enough. She sees her country being torn apart and vents her anger at all the groups in power in Iraq today. And she does not stop there...
Why are you making the Iraqi situation as a stinky play? Some onlookers are dying from the unpleasant odor, others are using masks, sniggering inside and point at us!! ... YOU who slyly ornamented your harangues with secure, brave and restful words to protect Iraq and Iraqis, but those outlaid commercials were nothing but chicken shit and easier said than done!!

Most of you were barefoot and vulgar but this war served you a lot, now you became a bunch of Global pioneers, and war-horses…you bunch of highbinders…Each one of you have a diplomatic immunity... Go back to where you came from!

Ugh!!!!! I've had enough

If you read no other blog this week read this:

What did you do last week? For a week last month Fatima continually cried for a relative who was kidnapped, held for ransom then brutally murdered. Follow her trials through her tortuous posts every day of that week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 Crying for Bilal
Today I shed my first real tears for Baghdad. Every day my heart cries for what's happening there, but today my eyes joined my heart in sadness.
Today I found out that Bilal was kidnapped from university...

his mom got a call, the call that every mother dreads, from Bilal himself. He was screaming into the phone, "they got me, they got me," and yelling at his kidnappers at the same time. I can only guess what my dear aunt in law is living through right now, recalling that call over and over in her head.

Bilal is not only a cousin to my husband and me. He's our neighbor in Baghdad, living two doors away. He's the kid who came over all the time, and the one who we visited all the time, at his parents' house. He played with my then one year old, carried her around with him when he went out, took videos of her entertaining the family. He came over to our house when we were out and needed someone to sit with the workers fixing the house. He's the one we sent on odd errands.

The kidnappers called his family and asked for $200,000. A few hours later, they downgraded it to $25,000.
Thursday, April 19, 2007 Crying for Bilal: Day Two
It turns out that Aunt N wasn't the one who answered her son's frantic call, but his ten year old brother, Ch. Ch picked up his mom's cell phone and heard Bilal screaming, "Wal, Ch tell mama they are taking me, they kidnapped me, leave me alone, leave me alone. Let me go!" Ten years old and having to live through this!

My hubby was telling me how tense it is in the house (he's staying at his aunt's, at Bilal's house). Everyone is screaming at each other. When my husband insisted that they stick to paying $12,000, before they had come to an agreement, his aunt yelled at him, "They'll kill Bilal." It's scary for everyone, because they're basically bartering for their son/brother's life. Maybe their insistence on a lower sum will save them thousands of dollars, and maybe it will kill their loved one. It's kind of funny, but Iraqi families have started talking about what they would do in the case of a kidnapping. My husband told me long ago, should anything happen to him, not to ever pay more than $10,000. I always tell him, whatever, but when it comes down to it, everyone loses their minds. Bilal's brother, A, was always the smooth, smart negotiator. But when it touched him directly in his home, in his heart, he melted.

Friday, April 20, 2007 Waiting for Bilal: Day Three
They paid the ransom today, at a designated place, unspecified till they arrived in a general location. Our neighbor, (father of two sons and a son in law kidnapped more than six months ago, and still missing) insisted on taking the ransom to the evil people. I'll give you more details later. .. The family is frantic, depressed now.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 Hoping for Bilal: Day Four
My heart is heavy and I don't want to write this. I thought almost for sure that by today I would be writing good news. Bilal is still not home. The family has basically accepted his fate.

Sunday, April 22, 2007 Day Five: Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oon: To God We Belong and To Him We Will Return
I don't feel like writing this post, but at the same time, I want to record this history down for my daughters and myself to remember.

They killed Bilal on Thursday, April 19, 2007. His body was found today, Saturday, April 21, 2007. He was shot in his arms, chest and head. He is our martyr. May God accept him.

We're worn out by our tears and sadness. But what I'm feeling is nothing compared to what his poor mother is living through now and what she will face the rest of her days.

Monday, April 23, 2007 Day Six: Bilal's Burial
'A's friend brought Bilal's body to his family today, because its dangerous for Sunni men to pick their dead up from the city morgue. ...

He has a smile on his face. Looks very serene and comfortable. Like he has rested from this world's burdens. I saw his picture. He is beautiful and shining.
His mother is holding up well. She's tough. She told us that she's patient on the outside, but her heart is burnt up on the inside, torn asunder. She told us that when she saw him, she kissed him and told him how much she missed him. She told him, "You don't have to study anymore, your finished with your college studies." And it seemed like he smiled.

It's been six days, and the ordeal is finally over. Six hellish days. A week ago we never imagined that a week later we'd be left with broken hearts.

The Wall

News of a wall being built around the Baghdad district of Adhamiya has brough strong reactions from Iraqi bloggers.

The news brought back childhood memories in Adhamiya to Wafaa'. She writes:
This piece of news brought outrage to my feelings and caused prolonged weeping. As if my memory have been swollen for too long and at this piece of news, it exploded and began leaking. Yes, leaking childhood and teenage memories!"...

I am so worried about those who live in Al-Athamiyya. What will become of them if this UGLY WALL became a reality? Does this mean that I can not visit Athamiyya when I am in Baghdad next time? Will I need a permission or an ID to enter the area? When will this nightmare of occupation end?

Great Baghdad posts picture and maps of the wall and writes,
The Americans, and the Shiat dominated Iraqi government are claiming that this wall is a "protective security wall and Not a separation wall"... all of this is a big Piece of Crap... It is simply that the Government is not able to get there to root out the terrorism there, and at the same time they do not want terrorism to spread out to the rest of the city. The government has simply tagged the entire city of A'adhmayia with Terrorism, which is outrageous and it also shows how incompetent this government is in cracking down terrorism.

So the solution they came up with is that they just imprison the whole city there and let every one eat the other. And they stay out of it. So much for law enforcement security plan!

Riverbend is driven to write after a long absence:
The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.

The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas".

LORD gives us a historical perspective: "America already tried the wall idea in Vietnam, they called it strategic hamlets. They forced the peasants to leave their original villages, confine them all in these strategic hamlets, which is protected by barb weirs, mine fields, bamboo fields, watchtowers, and walls. ... This plan backfired, because these peasants became more sympathetic with the Vietcong, because they felt no threat from them. ... This is nonsense; they reached a new record of stupidity. Nobody can be that stupid, nobody. Even George bush is not that stupid. I’m beginning to think that they want it that way, that they want civil war and turmoil in Iraq, that they never want to see Iraq stable. ... Algeria, Belfast, Vietnam, the west bank, and finally Adhmiyah, they haven’t learned anything from history. They haven’t learned that these walls don’t just separate people, they separate hearts, anger, grudges, suffering will grow behind these walls no matter how noble the purpose was, if noble at all."

24 Steps to Liberty asks:
What is this wall going to do other than provoke the Iraqis against each other more and more?

Who is going to prevent the Shiite militias from killing the Sunnis then? The victims of terrorism in Iraq are only Shiites?

You still don’t believe there is civil war in Iraq?
Is that what the Iraqi government promising Iraq now? Sectarian divisions?
and answers:
The U.S. administration and the Iraqi government have to know that this will be interpreted, like many other issues before, as a way to oppress the Sunnis and satisfy the Shiites. And this is in my opinion is not true, because the Shiites are getting nothing out of anything the government and the Americans are doing in Iraq. The average Sunnis and Shiites are the only losers in Iraq now. But, everything the Americans and Iraqi government are doing in Iraq now is provoking more and more sectarian divisions and civil war. It is like they insist on destroying my country.

Omar cannot see what all the fuss is about:
There are definitely downsides that come from surrounding communities with walls, mostly psychological and social. It’s sad to watch the capital of your country become the only city in the world that resembles a compartmentalized fortress where you need tall concrete walls to slightly improve the margin of safety.

But this is war and we can’t afford living in denial of the seriousness of threats. Emotions must not be allowed to disrupt taking practical steps that can save lives.

And aNarki-13 could only respond with five letters: WTF??

Not very different from Baghdad

24 Steps to Liberty visits New Orleans and discovers similarities to his home town: "New Orleans looked like Baghdad after the war in 1991; I swear I kid you not. The devastation, empty houses, the people returning to their life in the city, the “rituals” people practice before they completely come back, the bumps in the streets and the smell of destruction [it has a distinctive smell people. Yes it does.]"

But with a difference:
In 1991, Iraq was destroyed, mainly Baghdad and other big cities like Mosul, Basra. The Americans made sure that the average Iraqis didn’t get water, electricity, or food. And they made sure to also bomb the communication buildings so the average Iraqis didn’t have a way to know about each other and what was going on. Within three months after the end of the war, most of the government building and services, including potable water, sewer system, paving bombed streets, phones and electricity. That was under the rule of Saddam Hussein, whom Bush’s administration accused of depriving his people from their share of oil revenues!

What about people in New Orleans. They don’t have a dictator to rebuild their city. They have a democracy that is fighting its way to spend 100 billion more dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who will help the people of New Orleans?
And he makes a discovery: "I got it now. I know why the invasion of Iraq was messed up and there was no planning for post-war Iraq. The same people that are messing up New Orleans were involved in Iraq. The same officials, contractors and unqualified “experts.” "

Oil, Oil Everywhere

Raed gives us the essential summary of the progress of the Iraqi Draft Oil Law. He writes:
Passing a new Iraqi oil law is not an urgent item on Iraq’s agenda. This is what Iraqi experts have been saying for the last year... More than 60 Iraqi experts and officials signed a petition against the new oil law. One of the MPs participating in the Amman-Jordan conference said that “this law must be rejected as whole, there is no way it can be enhanced or fixed”. Many Iraqi and Iraqi MPs think this is true. Another conference held in Dubai-UAE during this month, April 2007, by the Iraqi parliament included many Iraqi experts (including the three Iraqis who helped write the original version of the law) and Iraqi MPs. The majority of the participants thought the law should not be passed.

Al-Ghad posts a back-room agreement to divide up Iraqi oil and concludes "What is clear is there is frenzy to grab Iraqi oil riches depriving the Iraqi people of the sources of there lives."

And Finally...

Great Baghdad bemoans the appearance of plastic palm trees in Iraq. " It really aches the Heart of every Iraqi who looks to this great Generous if Not sacred tree, to see Plastic palm trees Made in Iran, filing the streets of Baghdad and Najaf ( the Heart of Palm tree Land) and replacing the Ever green, Beautiful, tall and glorious trees ." He writes.

"This is the Blessed tree In Judaism, Christianity and Islam " Shake the trunk of the palm tree towards thee: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon thee. Eat, then, and drink, and let thine eye be gladdened!" (Qur'an 19:25-26). And that is why you see Dates on the Christmas Banquets in some Christian societies. And the Palm tree leafs is what is carried as part of a ceremony in Jerusalem. Fronds used on Palm Sunday, commemorating the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem (Lion's Gate or east entrance to Jerusalem, through which Jesus is supposed to have entered the city)."

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