After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


(3adma announcing the victory of the Iraqi football team in the Asian Cup) With Iraq, very much the underdog, winning the Asian Cup I have another football special today.

Iraq Football Flag by Baghdad Connect
(Baghdad Connect suggests a new Iraqi Flag)

You know, a few years back an Israeli, seeing that I was reading a book about Palestine, pointed out to me that the Palestinians never once created a national basketball team, how could they claim to be a nation? Well, by his benchmark, Iraq is the greatest country in the world this week. And here are the bloggers words to prove it...

The feeling we had today will never be forgotten, Iraqis here were all united, there weren't sunni or shiite or kurdish people, they were all iraqis just iraqis.
We all had great moments today, where laughter was mixed with the clean tears of joy of the true iraqs who love their country and do not care about being sunni or shiite or whatever. ...


Ole' Ole' Ole' Iraq.
Elyoum yomak ya iraqi.

Neurotic Wife:
The GREAT LIONS OF BABYLON WON!!! You should have been there. YOu should have seen the happiness on everyones faces. You should have seen the tears on everyones cheeks. This surely is one of the greatest days and times for Iraq. For the Great Iraq. ... THE GREAT LIONS OF BABYLON WON!!!

Today is definitely the happiest day for Iraqis in years. Tears of joy mixed with prayers for hope on the faces of millions of Iraqis…Words truly fail me and I can't describe the feeling so please pardon me if the post doesn't sound coherent; I hear the cheering and music outside although the bullets of celebration keep falling on the ground and roofs here and there. But no one seems to worry about that, the moment is so great that fear has no place in the hearts of the millions of fans, neither from bullets nor from crazy suicide bombers who tried to kill our joy last week.

Caesar of Pentra:
In my wildest dreams, I didn't imagine that Iraq could win the Asian cup.

.... As soon as the refree ended the match. hundreds of thousands of Iraqi all over the globe were out in the street partying the joy of the victory. As for me, I couldn't control myself and I went on crying like a baby. It was a great moment not for my own life only, but for millions of Iraqis I'm sure.

Baghdad Treasure :
Congratulations to the Lions of Mesopotamia for winning the Asian Cup. You did not let us down. You brought a smile and joy to our hearts, and took the pain out of our chests even if it was for one day.

A Tale of Hero's and Zeros...

According to Nabil, blogging from Jordan, sporting hero's award goes to the Saudi fans in, the capital, Amman:
Saudi people are the best people, they proved that they care about iraqis and that they are brothers to the iraqis... I really respected them today, they went out in their cars carrying iraqi flags an said "Iraqi....Iraqi... you deserve it".

And zero's of the day goes to the Jordanian Police. Neurotic Wife reports:
Yet even with this joy and happiness, some countries didn’t allow the Iraqis to share their rare celebrations. In Amman and Dimashq, police started beating up the Iraqi fans, and tearing up Iraqi flags. Funny how one anonymous reader asked me to be grateful to Jordan. Oh really??? Look at what theyre doing!!! Even in those rare and short moments of laughter, they kill it. Their hatred is so overwhelming. And when I talk about countries, I don’t mean the people, I mean the governments and their policies, so don’t take me wrong.
and Nabil, again:
it was really a very happy day but the bad thing was the response of the Jordanian authorities, they started to stop the cars and take the iraqi flags from the people and they arrested several people and beated several guys.

Shame on you, Jordan.

A new unity...

Last of Iraqis goes for a walk through the streets of Baghdad:
I was so amazed and happy for what I have seen , I've seen the streets busy as before the war , people every where walking and in cars celebrating and cheering , I was so delighted for this , I've seen the unity at last , for whatever reason it's still a unity , people coming from Adhamiya and from Al-Sa`ab and Al-Kahira and meeting in Al-Nidaa mosque intersection , they met to celebrate at the same spot where everyday confrontations happen , they met to celebrate there country victory in the same spot where conflicts and terrorists attacks takes place , I was very happy to see this , and I laughed my guts out when I saw a National Guards convoy , with the soldiers on the Humvees dancing and cheering in a very funny way , I saw the happiness everywhere , I felt it in the air , I felt safe for the first time since I got back to Baghdad.

Great Baghdad:
Every Body said that the Iraqi Team united the Iraqi people behind them and did what the politicians failed to do which is bringing the Iraqis together. I think the Correct statement is that the Iraqi National team fixed what the politicians are trying to do which is dividing the already United Iraqi people.

Let the victims of the terrorists and wars celebrate tonight!

The football team will unite the Iraqis irrespective of their differences.

Millions of Congratulations for all the Iraqis.

24 Steps to Liberty gets emails from around the world:
I actually got emails from friends overseas congratulating me. For once, I felt like a normal citizen of this globe. People emailed me not to talk about the last casualty number or the last development in the idle political process in Iraq, but to say congratulations. Oh people how much I miss this word.

“Hi Champion - Congratulations from Jerusalem!” said one of my friends and professors.

“IRAQ WINS IRAQ WINS IRAQ WINS!!” said the subject of another email from my American friend in Cairo. “Mabruk alayhom!!” the message said, congratulations to them, "it's the best news ever. I hope they are celebrating in the streets again!”

... old divisions ...

Neurotic Wife on the Saudi's:
One guy, N, said with great excitement, this was far more than a game, we beat the Wahhabis, he said. We beat them and showed them what Iraq is. We broke their noses (An Iraqi expression). I smiled, for it seems everyone took the football as a war. Just like I did. Everyone wanted to prove a point, everyone wanted to throw the Saudi noses to the floor, and oh yes we did. The Lions of Babylon did this so gracefully. What a team

But Great Baghdad sees a negative side to this attitude:
as the the Saudi people started to congratulate the Iraqi people for their win and achievement, the sectarian minded people in Iraq started to chant that " against the Wahabists ( the sonni sect in Saudi) this cup is a shiat". And they say that the others are sectarian!.

... the dead remembered ...

On the day of that most Iraqi's celebrated Baghdad Treasure's cousin was collecting her dead son from the morgue. He died while saving injured neighbours from the aftermath of a car bomb, caught in the crossfire between Iraqi troops and angry residents. He writes:
A 17-year-old teenager, Sameer died doing a noble thing, helping his wounded neighbors and friends to ambulances after a massive car bomb ...

I thought about Sameer a lot. He was a huge fan of soccer. I thought of him when our team won, and never forgot how his body was still at the morgue when the referee announced the end of the game. While many Iraqis rejoiced the triumph, there were many mothers crying for their dead children. My cousin was one of them.

Goodbye Sameer. We’ll miss you a lot. We’ll miss your smiling face when always won backgammon. We’ll always remember your earlier struggle and your heroism that will pave the road of martyrdom and the greatness of all Iraqis who sacrificed themselves to help our country.

Great Baghdad remembers the celebrating fans that were killed by a car bomb after the match against South Korea:
But the fiends of death were not pleased to see the Iraqis gathering in big crowds with no difference or discrimination between Sunni, Shiite or Kurds, so, they tried to kill the joy and turn off the flame of unity and the result was a bombed car and 50 innocent people killed. To be quite honest, I couldn't sleep that night!

One of the poor women has lost her son in that brutal blast decided not to set up the funeral because she believed that the Iraqi team would win the cup. So, the Iraqi players made a promise to do the impossible to grab the victory in the final. And they didn't disappoint that poor mother and other 25 millions of Iraqi ppl.

... and the politicians warned

No Pain No Gain:
If Iraqis cannot unite on a simple soccer match, then how could they agree on a unified government? There will be no way out of it, if this is so.
It is not worth to wait for lives being lost or for a weak government to reach a decision. We now know that Iraqis can no longer trust their next door neighbors. However, this can change if Iraqis want to attain their peace without the necessity of the government. People from all nations should realize that what goes on within the government can only create more chaos among the local society and to save the people is to encourage an understanding that at certain ocassions like the Asian Cup, Iraqis must do their best to protect their people from any danger against any certain faction of Iraq.

And Laith asks the politicians if they have learned a lesson:
The most important thing our national team did is giving you an important lesson about the most important subject in the school of life. The lesson was (how to be A Real Iraqi). They worked together. We didn’t have 11 players in the field, we had only one player but with 11 bodies. .... This is the lesson I talk about and I hope that you (our politicians) who watched the match and rewarded the knight, I hope you understand the lesson very well and try to pass the exams you have. The political crisis is not more than an exam and you are failures until this moment. I hope you study the lesson of the Iraqi national team again and try hard to pass this final exam.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Goooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaal !!!!!

... or Kicking off at the Iraqi Blogodrome.


DISCLAIMER,,, This post was written before Sunday. Congratulations Iraq. A roundup of post-victory blogs coming soon.


A lonely street

a hungry song

battered words

don't get me wrong

a silent plea

a plate of sand

orange winds

and a human brand

a happy sink

a dirty heart

a playful leaf

the soul of art

: ) ( :

poem by April Girl
It's a football special today. With Iraq through to the finals of the Asian Cup bloggers are alight with comment on the national team. And there's more, read about how one Iraqi blogger has had enough of blogging; how to survive a trip through Baghdad International Airport; what it is like to have the Iraqi army move in next door; Why Iraqi oil is so critical to the world and much,much more. And, if you read to the end, why one blogger got banned from YouTube. Today's side quotes are from Iraqi poet and blogger April Girl.

a pack of arms

a spot of rust

a doubtful truth

this world: distrust

all sparks happy

all sparks sad

nothing makes sense

and nothing is bad

i write for nothing

and nothing i write

to please my soul

or satisfy my mind

to tear my heart

or tear do my eyes

sigh-filled lungs

and restless beats

of a pump of tongues

poem by April Girl

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

Marshmallow26 has had enough of blogging and signs off with spite and vitriol:
I know the fact that “Bloggin” is something to vent and express your ways and thoughts and come up with something new every time you write, but since my thoughts keep reoccurring in my posts like an echo and tells no story about life and experience except for: death, killing, boring, bombs, terror, surviving as if the terrorism becomes something we should bow for when it comes to talk about it…as if we will lose our taste of writing and visitors to the site if we don’t mention that we are the most Dog on poor nation on earth! And yet, we are!!

What will I gain if I still talk and blab about the Iraqi prime vampire and his entourage? Nothing but a pointless drivel!!

What difference will my articles make? Nothing!! Who cares if I say that I spent 30 consecutive hours at home begging God with my prayers to get the power back on?? Not much!

What is my goal in this shitty life after I lost so many opportunities of studying abroad? Bewail my bad luck and try the same shit again! What am I doing trying to encourage those who lost hope and faith while I’m acting worse?? Mocking them!! ...

The chaos and violence escalation affect my daily basis life big time, I can’t digest all that and keep going in this life…what have I done to live in the war and experience the difference between the sound of explosions whether its and IED or VBIED??? What? HUH?? What is my fault to have such a heart, a heart that melts and aches for its beloved folks, or for any bloody scene in reality or on TV?? Why should I care that much?

I need a break from my blog, ... until there will be something new, fun, real and exciting to write about I will get back with Iraqi Roses…

Until then…peace be with you all.
And its for rants like this that I really want her to come back :(

a moment with the self

a dance with the bugs

the truth of trees

the addiction potential of hugs

will render me free

of my responsibility

to breathe and be

to be and breathe

to waste my time

and yours along mine

we might discover

or we might not

the truth of time

and that of the dot

be with me

or be not

be to be

and for nothing else

it might matter

when we rot

an easy ending

a bright red rock

a hardened smile

on an old maidens frock

show me the way

to disengage

and free this thought

poem by April Girl
Football crazy

This is the first time that Iraq has made it this far in the Asian Cup. For Neurotic Iraqi Wife the significance of this means more to her than (to quote Muqtada Al-Sadr) watching grown men running after a ball:
The game on Sunday is crucial. Especially because its against the Saudis. God, I hope and pray we will win, I really do. I wanna bring their noses down for once. I know I shouldnt be judgemental and I know I shouldnt generalize for many of my friends are Lebanese, Jordanians and Palestinians but in general the Arabs did nothing but hurt us. They hate us, they hate us because they dont want to see a beautiful unified flourishing Iraq....

Iraqis were always respected in the Arab world, before and during Saddam's time. People from Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Jordan begged to come here to get the Iraqi nationality. Ofcourse with their benevolent leader, they were always treated better than the Iraqis themselves. I remember when I used to travel with my parents and say we are Iraqis, its like we've just said we are royalty. But now, now being an Iraqi means nothing but a destitute poor country. ... This is the reality that we live in. We have become like some disease that everyone runs away from.

No Pain No Gain adds:
Seeing Iraq win in soccer is one of the most cherished sensations for an Iraqi. To see the team play soccer has become reality and it is a reality many yearn for... It is the success not to win the cup but to reminiscence the identity of Iraq and what it stood and will continue to stand for as long as there will be something valuable to remember Iraq by

The Iraqi team has won a new supporter from Sunshine who admits that she never watched a football match in her life but now is a devoted fan. She writes:
Today was a different day , really nice day , we achieved a great success , won the football game and reached the [finals] ... Our football players won today .. and that made Iraqis extremely happy , our streets are full of young men celebrating , it was a day that all Iraqis united , I am so glad not only because we won ,but , because all the Iraqis today were feeling the same way , when we achieve a goal or miss one , we all jumped when we won , and prayed while the players were playing to win the game ..
The Iraqi football team and the match bring together all the Iraqis , regardless on our religions or castes , whether they are , Arabs , Turkmen , Kurds , Muslims ( Sunnis , Shiites ) , Christians , etc ...

I know our country news are in every where ... BUT this time (for the first time) It will be good news.. I want Iraq’s name to be high and it’s flag fluttering so high .

Laith thanks the team...
Our forward star Younis Mahmoud ... took us to a new world where no politicians could ever take us too because Younis Mahmoud is a real Iraqi man while our politicians ... having two citizenships, they are never pure Iraqis and they will never be ones. I just wanted to say thank you very much our young men, thank you for pleasing all the Iraqis, thank you for unifying all the Iraqis, thank you for being so loyal Iraqis. Thank you Younis for your great efforts, Thank you Karrar, Thank you Nash'at, thank you Abbas and thank you all. GOD Bless Iraq, GOD Bless you young men, GO Forward men and get the golden cup to return smile back to the drooping lips of your people.

Nibras Kazimi sees the Western media failing Iraq:
The celebrations of Iraqis ... have been truly remarkable. But it seems that most foreign news agencies, which cover every nitty gritty about Iraq, are not interested in the jubilant spectacle.

The images are amazing, Al-Iraqiya TV has been doing a good job reporting on the happy, spontaneous carnival, and from around Iraq, including Mosul.

Everyone who grabs the microphone is shouting out a positive message, and the recurring theme is that all Iraqis are united on this day.

Civil war? Despair? "Iraq is lost" ?
I think not but spoilsports-of-the-match go to two political blogger from the left and right wings of the field. Iraqi Pundit saw politics inside sports during the last match between Iraq and Iran at the WAFF championship:
I couldn't help but notice striking similarites between their football and politics (with regards to Iraq). After they scored the first two goals, which I admit were excellent, they seemed to have only one thing on their minds. It was almost as if they were subconsciously telling each other 'when ever an Iraqi has the ball, break his legs'...

Iraq started to gain momentum and were playing brilliant attacking football, nice moves, nice passes, but just as they go near the goal they slow down and lose the ball. That is also how Iraqi politics is, all the hype, all the hard work, all the effort...but just no results.
and Truth About Iraqis goes looking for disunity among the Iraqi football team and finds it. He writes:
hoopla over how united the Iraqi team is and how the country is united in celebration.

B***s***. The team itself is highly divided.

In the first half of the Iraq-Thailand game, two Iraqi players headbutted each other. The referee had to restrain both. In the Iraq-Vietnam game, the players were simply not communicating with one another. But when they did, it was usually with strife. ... Sharqiya commentators even noticed this and said the Iraqi players were performing with anger and selfishness. And this is for a team that was leading at half-time 1:0.

But, the last word goes to Dulaimy who writes:
Today, we danced for like 30 minutes or maybe an hour. i don't know i lost sense of time while we where dancing. it felt so good. We did not have such a good time for a long time. i have to say the place look different; shiny.

I am so happy for what happened today.

I miss normal life... I miss it so much.

moments are rare

and they're all i am

this one, and this one,

: )

too swift to let in the self

too miserly to provide truth

too afraid to hold hands

too long a few lines

too easy an ending

to reiterate

that rain finds no place

that thoughts leave no trace

my brother, agree with me

coals are chemicalized

to their religion

ay ay i hear you say




or period?

no, a speck, a molecule, an iota, and an atom, all at random








: ) ( :

poem by April Girl
Word from the streets

An Iraqi Army Battalion moving in next door brought back painful childhood memories to Chikitita of the dreaded "Pink House", which she describes as "a perfect set for scary movies." A house her family rented for a time which over looked a building run by the notorious Iraq Intelligence Agency and where they were warned not to be seen looking out of the windows for fear of getting into "big trouble ". A house where she used to have "nightmares ... of men in uniform breaking into our residence and huge rats nibbling at my toes." But her fears turned out be completely unfounded. She writes:
As the days went by I noticed that we were making their job more difficult than they did our lives, mum noticed that in the mornings, they never faced our house until we’re all downstairs. ... They seemed to do whatever it takes to gain our trust.

What I like the most about their presence is the fact that our neighbourhood is getting cleaner. It takes an army uniform and a rifle to stop people from throwing trash in front of our house. Of course they’re only doing it to avert any IED emplacing attempts, but it was for our own good.

Their presence might entail more mortar attacks and shootouts but our house has not been searched in months, now that’s something!

Sheko Mako recalls his life as an Iraqi doctor, from graduating with top marks at school to practising medicine in Iraq during the sanctions making a monthly salary of $2, to years of exile as an "illegal immigrant" in the UK and finally gaining the right to live and work as a doctor in Britain just one day after another Iraqi doctor decided to attempt blowing himself up at Glasgow airport. He wonders:
But most importantly shall I be able to cope with the restrictions, policies and demands of the medical authorities here. In the “good doctor guide” sent along with my GMC registration license, the words “you must” were mentioned nearly 75 times. And if eighteen years ago I did not know whether I would like to be a doctor or not, now the question that buzzes in my head “do I still have the energy, physically and mentally, to carry on with the profession? The answer is simply again: I don’t know.

Staying on the medical theme A&Eiraqi compares the way infirm elderly people are treated in the UK compared to Iraq:
I remember an elderly man was admitted to the hospital when I was working in Northern England; he was depressed as his wife had died and he had no one but a son who visits him 10 minutes a year, the poor man kept saying he doesn’t want to live anymore.

For a while I thought this is the worst thing could happen to a person who lives here, yet, while working in the casualty unit, I received a 69 year old lady who presented unconscious and no one knew what happened to her, as no one had phoned her since a week before she presented to us. No one of her sons had bothered himself to ask about his mother, their mother was dying silently; probably they were busy with things more important than her!

I was always impressed that there is a great system in [the UK] for looking after elderly and disabled people ... Yet, being in touch with those old people made me get an entirely different view. Everyday I see many old people who are dirty, smelly, depressed and in a bad health condition, they’re being left in their houses visited once a day by their carers ... who are receiving money from the government to look after their parents, however, they don’t really do their duties in a complete way. ...

I know that there are many people who are neglected back home but end of the day there is someone who care about them, I’ve never seen someone who was left for a week without asking about him ... I also noticed that the ones of Eastern origin (Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis) are in much better condition than the English ones, as they’re always surrounded by their relatives.

I know it is variable but I think elderly people back home live shorter, with poorer health but they feel better. ... Despite all the horror we lived, we still care about the family relationships and we insist on tightening them.

And Neurotic Iraqi Wife gives the essential guide for flying to Baghdad International Airport. How to pass through passport control quickly when you're desperate for the toilet; why you should never use the toilets at the airport; and the essential difference between luxury hotels in Dubai and accommodation in the Green Zone. Read more about her journey back to Iraq here.

eye lie

the vow of silence is not yet in place

it has not been uttered

these moments have no choice but to be

and in my moments here

i leave you

i don't leave you

i leave you a part of the disenfranchised self

the one, not in search, but in still mode

to extend moments in which it exists

to find some truth and then some peace

in that moment, or in this one

so be here, in this moment, and this one too

to see and hear and touch and taste and then maybe smell

and beyond this limitation if you can go, take me along

i try and try and i laugh at boundaries and shells

at misunderstandings and misconceptions

at hateful glances and fake smiles

at soulless hugs and bored shrugs

i side with illusions and smile

it takes my mind and hops away

to the ultimate non-place un-place placeless place

: )

: )

: )

( :

( :

( :

poem by April Girl
The Political World

Great Baghdad gets a letter from a friend talking about unity and Iraqi oil:
...there are No problems among Iraqis ( as people) whither they are Sunnis, Shia, Kurds or Turkmmen. the problem is that the Iraqi politics after 9/4/2003 was built on sectarian and ethnic bases. When you bring Kurdish parties and Shia parties and Sunni Parties you are building politics on sectarian and ethnic bases. They are not social parties or liberal democrat parties. So it became a matter of Rivalry between sects and when there are elections there would be winners and losers.
The Bases on which the whole political process is wrong. Iraqis were not at each other's throat before the war, but they became like that when sectarian polarizations started and each sect felt threatened by the other.

The American administration is the one who laid those bases and after the structure came up they discovered the grave mistake they made and now they have to put down that Ugly structure that they have been building and supporting for 4 years and start from the scratch.

The Importance of the Iraqi oil lies in 3 crucial facts.1st, ... Iraq is the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world ...( which means it could easily be number one, once we really figure out how much oil we actually got)... 2nd the Iraqi oil is cheap and easy to get out from the ground. 3rd, and most importantly, is that the Iraqi oil does not have to be exported through the Gulf. It could be exported to Europe and the rest of the western world through the Mediterranean...

Why all that is important?? because if any gulf country fell in the hand of Extremists or for example Iran wanted to stop all the oil Tankers from getting out of the region by closing the Gulf ... there would be a global fuel crisis, and then Iraq would be the Safety valve with its abundant, easy to get out and deliverable oil that dose not have to go through the Gulf.

This is the strategic importance of Iraq's oil and that is why the whole world would not mind, not only thousands but even hundred of thousands die to keep that safety valve under control. but the question is HOW??!! and on what expense??

And talking about oil, Al-Ghad gets yet another draft of the Iraqi Oil Law. It picks through some of the changes and concludes:
It is not clear whether this was a jumbled proposal, or to trick Iraqi MPs into passing the latest Draft Oil Law. What is becoming obvious, however, is that this continuous stream of amended drafts is more like the twisting story of a con-man trying to swindle an unsuspecting person out of his income than the sober proceedings of a constitutional government.

Baghdad Connect deconstructs the War on Terror:
The world citizens are once again fighting a proxy war and paying the price dearly for the vile and terrorizing works [of] Reagan’s Takfiri Freedom Fighters and Suicide Bombers... {editor's note: this a reference to the fact that Al-Qaida grew from Islamic forces that were trained and equipped by America to defeat the USSR in Afghanistan].

Iraqis may have to get a grip to their reality and comprehend that War on Terror is a war against all the vice and havoc done by both the invaders and ex-Soviet Union to control global resources...

It is a choice that we need to make; do we carry on with this war on terror and keep on cleaning up the feces behind the superpowers or to heed to reasoning and become a self-determined, Mesopotamian-constitutionalized nation?

And, 24 Steps to Liberty looks at the actions of the Iraqi government and sees a new dictatorship:
When did the dictatorship return to Iraq? Why no one is writing about it? ... Listen to this: The Iraqi Parliament, after long discussions and several days of debates, decided to issue diplomatic passports to its members and their families! Is this what the rest of the 20 million Iraqis inside Iraq and the three to four million displaced citizens are waiting for? ...

because of the constitution, even if there are Sunnis or Kurds or Christians or any other minorities, who are more qualified for the position, we cannot vote for them to lead our government because the constitution states clearly that the poisonous Mullahs ... get to choose...

The politicians in Iraq think that they inherited their positions from the years “of struggle” against Hussein’s government. ... They do believe that the president should be Talbani and the president of Kurdistan should be Masoud Barzani, because they fought against Saddam Hussein, even if Barzani did call Hussein’s republican guards to murder Talbani’s people, fellow Kurds, in the 1990s...

Are there no other Iraqis who struggled under Hussein’s regime that are qualified to lead Iraq? When did it become a family issue to appoint ministers and leaders in the government?

Is not this what Saddam Hussein did for 25 years or am I mistaken?

And Finally...

Veteran blogger Zeyad had his YouTube account permanently suspended and all his videos deleted. He writes:
The reason they gave me was "repeated attempts to upload inappropriate videos." I have been receiving several angry messages from Iraqis who did not like the videos I had published of Mahdi Army militiamen blowing up Sunni mosques in Baghdad and Basrah, and from some Kurds who objected to [a video of Kurdish soldiers assassinating a man in Mousul], which I had uploaded two days ago before my account was blocked.
Is YouTube right for censoring like this? What do you think?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Politics is the order of the day this week. Events in Iraq can be confusing at the best of times - so why not let Iraqi bloggers put things straight. But it is not all dry subjects, I also have snipers in Baghdad, two weddings and a funeral. And, if read to the end, the kittens are back!

A poem by ZZ

Dead House

In the hallows of my soul
the brown birds sing
One tried to build a nest of stone
and broke a wing
The windows of my eyes are shattered
a dead house I stand
and all of God’s sun will not bring in

Too long the ghosts of tomorrow have wandered
through these aging walls
too long
they have made this arid structure
their home

They walk this soul in silence
for them the brown birds sing
hating transition
unlike me
they already know
there will never be spring…

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

Mohammed recounts the harrowing story of being targeted by a sniper:
At 9:00 we were at Antar Square and as soon as we got down from the taxi and walked a few steps near the Olympic club , I heard a gun shot !! It was loud with echo!! ... Then there was another shot …..It was so scary , so close and so loud , my wife was in panic , she was so scared I pushed her from the side-walk to the building wall (so that we would be a harder target) there was no one in the street but us .We stood there for a few seconds , then there was silence , we decided to continue , we walked and just before the concrete ex-checkpoint there was a gunshot and I saw the impact of the bullet beside me , another one in front of me , I pushed my wife to the nearest building and we hided there
He concludes:
The sniper thing isn't new , but it's the first time that I've been in the situation. It's a very difficult situation; I don't know when will death get me!!! I have cheated him many times now.

The Week in Politics

Zappy gives his definition of progress in Iraq. Bottom arrow reads "Target to be reached scheduled as of 09 April 03 04 05 06 07 2105"

There is another war rumbling - this time over water. Baghdad Connect explains:
Baghdad has become the first modern capital in the world to actually experience the Water War which is widely thought to be the future world war III

There wasn't any fresh drinking water in large parts of Baghdad and for 4 days. We had a mere of 5 liters of water a day in our house of 4 bedrooms.

In some areas the water trickled down to zero since last week. The invaders had cut off the water in Al-Khadimiya area since morning as a retribution for Al-Khadimiya’s residents’ support for the Sadrists.

The Water War commenced since the confrontation between the Sadrists and the invaders backed armed forces escalated in El-Shula, Al-Biya, Al-Thawra and Al-Ammel – all have been isolated separately.

The Shaqawa looks to an Iraq after America leaves:
I do not think Baghdad would be better. Right now the Sunni terrorists will attack the Americans and the Shi'a, so only the Shi'a will be attacked. Also the Americans try to stop some of the Shi'a from attacking Sunnis (sometimes innocent ones and sometimes terrorists) so without the Americans the Shi'ite fighters will be more powerful. What does that mean?

In Baghdad it means more fighting but also some areas can be safer if the Shi'ite militias can act like they want. In other areas like last year in February probably some groups like the Mahdi Army will commit crimes against innocent Sunnis and more violence will be there. In the south of Iraq I think that the Shi'ite groups should take over security and be very tough. ...

When the USA leaves also I think other countries will try to be stronger in Iraq. This means especially Iran and Saudi Arabia and Arabs. ... Iraq is a site of battle for everyone unfortunately... None of them care about Iraq or Iraqis, and usually they hate Iraqis or at least hate the Shi'a....

Iraq is a country with rivers and holy places and deserts and mountains and history and many kinds of different people. But it is surrounded by bastards and criminals.

Omar sees signs of a shift in policy of the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki against the Sadrist Movement. He writes, "You probably heard about the message Maliki sent yesterday to the Sadr movement demanding they clarify their position from the violent elements among their followers. It wasn't as tough a message as we were hoping but it's still an interesting step that broke the fear barrier that Maliki put between himself and Sadr." but Baghdad Connect puts the rift more blatantly:
Al-Maliki has, for the first time and unintentionally, uncovered the big game behind the myth of the Shia crescent, when he coined some Sadrtists elements as Baathists in disguise!! Which triggered the ancient struggle within the Shia sect between one faction that supports the Ayatollah state (in favor: Maliki, Hakim, Iran, the invaders, and the Baathists) and the counter faction that supports Ahl El-Bayt state - which stipulates a future emergent Imam that will rule the nation (in favor: Sardrists and Ahl El-Sahan)

When the invaders wage propaganda warfare by insinuating Muqtada’s escape to Iran, they are in fact playing the internecine deep-rooted faith differences between the Iranians and the Shia culture of Iraq. If Sadr is in Iran it means his large number of his followers are left without a divine providence and will be under the merci of Ayatollahs. Bear in mind, more than 70% of Iraqi soldiers that fought the Iran-Iraq war were Shiites!

The draft Oil Law is being given a rocky ride by Hammorabi:
[George Bush] and his Generals inside Iraq are trying to glue the rips but not to cure the whole situation. On the other hand they want the oil new system to be agreed and signed by the government and the parliament so quickly to control the oil of Iraq. Almost all Iraqis are opposing the new system about the oil. It is going to create more chaos and resistance. Indeed some of the resistance groups threatened to kill any one who is going to sign the new law about Iraq oil. George W Bush and Dick Cheney are trying to get their own companies to control and steal the Iraqi oil.
And he hints at frustrations within the Iraqi Shia community against Iran:
Indeed we do not know how and Iranian origin person like Dr. Shahrastani who is the present Oil minister became and oil minister in spite of many other Iraqis who are more experienced in this field?

A new anti terrorism advertisement in Iraq gets reviewed. Iraqi Mojo links to a YouTube clip and adds, "I find it strange that Al Arabiya is funded by the Saudi government, and yet they continue to broadcast these ads, while Al Jazeera no longer airs them" while Truth About Iraqis is somewhat taken aback by the obviously non-Iraqi accents of the actors:
a man is being beaten and asked whether he is Shia or Sunni. After being beaten to a pulp he manages to say "I am Iragi". The letter G (pronounced ghee) is used.

No Iraqi would EVER EVER EVER say Iragi. They would say I R A Q Q Q Q I.


Meanwhile, the American army are efficiently losing hearts and minds bombing a busy shopping street in Mosul. Aunt Najma posts photos and writes:1183910874407.jpg
What the reason was, I do not know.. but the American forces did a horrible thing when they threw missiles from their plane on Al-Majmo3a street (the most active street in Mosul just in front of the university, full of computer, mobile, clothes and other shops).

Two Weddings and a Funeral

Even at one of the poshest Iraqi weddings in Jordan (they can afford Adel Ogla as the entertainment), Iraqis find a reason to cry, writes Yasamine:
Iraqi women bumping into each other started the common conversation, one asks the other are you residing here or visiting?” Um Hussam answered “just visiting, and how about you?” the other replied “I have decided finally to stay in Amman.”

“What about your house did you sell it or rent it?” asked Um Hussam. “Neither” answered the lady, “we left with barely the shirts on our backs, following a death threat.” Then with a sigh the lady asked “we haven’t met for such a long time, remember our weekly gatherings, God our lives have been turned upside down?” Um Hussam , responded idly “I only see people when I come to Amman , as for Baghdad I do not go out. Every once in a while I go to the doctor and that’s it or to see my sick mother.”

Aunt Najma attends her cousin's wedding. But being in Iraq has its own problems:
There were some Iraqi soldiers close by the house, they knew there was a wedding because of all the beeping. They usually get too excited and fire their arms when the cars pass by. My aunt opened the window and specifically asked them not to. My cousin's car arrived before us, and me, being the one in charge of videoing as usual, had to get there before they entered the house.. I left our car and ran towards the house, and the soldiers decided it was time to fire.. I was so ANGRY I really wanted to turn and shout at them but I was sane enough and decided to go on. I'm sure for few moments after the shooting the video would be all shaky!

And 24 Steps to Liberty writes a eulogy to a fellow journalist who was murdered recently in Iraq:
He was amazing. I never saw him without the beautiful smile on his face. When we reported on news conferences, we joked about the government and what it had to say. We were always sure that there was nothing in the conference that would help the Iraqis. We always thought the conferences were made to fill our newspapers only.

Although he worked for another newspaper, a competition to the one I work for, we never felt competing with each other. He called me to check quotes, he asked me to send him transcriptions. And I did. ...

When I told him what “Feeh” meant, he didn’t get it. But that’s how we ended our phone calls. Even the one a few weeks ago, when he called to talk about something private, he said “feeh” at the end. He said “I didn’t forget.”

He was a brave, professional journalist and a human being. That’s why they killed him...

Iraqi will always miss you Khalid. You won’t miss anything. But we will miss you.
Feeh Khalid. Feeh

And finally...

Baghdad Girl is back! And cat bloggers every where can breath a sigh of relief. With titles like "I just want to carry them..." and "Happy and sad" you know you will be getting a regular dose of cuteness. Now everyone join in with me... aaah!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

There is a lot on the menu in my post today. Reactions to the Iraqi bomber in London, the siege of Adhamiya, stories of exile, a little politics. And Chikitita borrowed a camera this week and took some snapshots of her daily life. I'll be dotting these around my post for added colour.

Electric Spaghetti
By Chikitita:
"No this is not spaghetti! Thanks to this clutter of wires, I’m able to have cold water, access to the internet, charge my mobile phone, and maybe a nap under the noisy fan."

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

Laith saw a sight that he found really funny.
I was in the car waiting for our turn to be searched... when we heard sound of explosions...

The funny things was watching the Iraqi and other foreign officials running towards the bunkers while their bodyguards trying to protect them... I really felt I want to laugh and cry at the same time.
He explains his mixed emotions:
I wanted to laugh because I saw their majesties the officials running away and afraid. Their guards were following them... I wanted to cry because I remembered the poor Iraqis who died only three days ago in one of Baghdad intersections. 78 poor civilians were killed, most of them were burnt to death. They didn’t have the chance to go to any close bunker...

I wish the officials taste the pains of the poor civilians. I wish they drink from the same glass of pain that we drink from everyday. I wish they live in fear just like we do. I wish them the worst and may God make my wishes true.

By Chikitita:
"The most treasured item of the lot. It was a big challenge for me to learn how to run one of these and thank goodness I don’t have to listen to stepdad complain about his backache, I can do it nice and easy."

An Iraqi Doctor in London

It turns out that one of the people who smashed a burning car into an airport in the UK was an Iraqi and a doctor. Naturally, this shocked a few Iraqi bloggers. Not least of which is one who is also living in exile in the UK, and just happens to be a doctor. A&E Iraq gives us his unique perspective. He remembers Nada, another young Iraqi doctor who failed to get asylum in Britain:
Like many others, Nada thought about seeking asylum here, and like many others also, she was informed that, they’ll not accept her as that means, they failed in Iraq!

Thinking about Nada; I just remembered a group of Hijackers ten years ago who kidnapped an airplane from Sudan and brought it to London; two years later they all were released from prisons as they claimed being oppressed by Saddam! Before the war, they tried to show the whole world how human they are, and how horrible Saddam was. Nowadays, they’re also human, so they have to protect Iraqis from each other by staying in their country.

What hypocrisy is this, could any stupid believe this? Did they care about us when were suffering the Embargo?
He concludes:
Yesterday they arrested two Arabic doctors, should we believe that they’re terrorists...

The only fact is the game is over; Iraqis are no more useful so they don’t want them, and the ones who are already here are enough to be arrested by the name of fighting terrorism. They have the right to invade and destroy our country but we don’t have the right to live in their countries!

like Iraq and every Iraqi, Nada has to choose the way she wants to die, she can stay here and wait to starve or to be arrested by their police or she can go back to be killed by their solders or by someone supported by their intelligence system.

They’re always nice, always democratic, even when they kill!

Dreamer, another Iraqi living in the UK, is despondent:
With the updates of today that there were Iraqi and Jordanian doctors suspected of their involvement in this mess, our hearts reached the low of the lows. These people have completely tarnished our reputation. They perform these acts out of desperation, thinking that this will bring them satisfaction and rivalry over whoever has sabotaged their life. Do they once think of all those others that will be put under scrutiny and be undermined due to their selfishness? The media will most definitely exploit the fact that they are from Middle East and Muslims.

It was inevitable that something like this would come out of Iraqis, considering the state Iraq has turned into. However, neither I, nor do I think anyone else has expected it of highly educated, most likely from a mannerly and modest families, to commit such a deed...

What future awaits me and hundred others? Should we still be hopeful?
And Neurotic Wife, who happens to be in London, is appalled:
Its pretty upsetting to find out that an Iraqi would get involved in such horrid events. That just invigorated me more, because it means that the countries that were willing to take on the Iraqis who really are innocent and who really are suffering in Iraq, will back out. Thats it, all those coworkers of mine who are dreaming of a better live, of a second chance will no longer get their dream. Its gone, gone forever because of a stupid, selfish man.

As an Iraqi, Im appalled. Appalled at what these doctors were thinking. Why??? Why do this to the country that gave you a chance? Why do this to the people that extended their hands out to you and opened their arms and took you in??? WHY? What for???To hurt the government? Or to make a change in foreign policy??? I dont get it, I really dont. You cant achieve a thing by violence. Instead you are creating more havoc, more havoc and more hatred. And hatred, thats the last thing we need at the moment.

By Chikitita:
" Looks messy and dusty, but I love them when they’re full of petrol. "

The siege of Adhamiya

Two bloggers gave accounts of the day that the wall around Adhamiya was completed. Something that has been poorly reported in the media. Nabil posts photos and a video of his walk to the border of Adhamiya. He gives a day-by-day account of a battle with American soldiers:
Day 1:

Thursday 10 am, an American tank gets bombed by a roadside bomb and 9 soldiers were dead, then huge battle starts between American soldiers and unknown (or as I may say no one), ending up on destroying the main underground water pipe which supplies the whole street, and destroying high tension electricity wires which went down laying on the street and electrifying the drowned street.After the shootings from the American side, while the American tank was still burning, two patrols of ING comes to back the American patrol against again "no one", and continue to shoot with them randomly and destroying more stuff and ruining the surrounding houses.

Then after about 30 continueous minutes of shooting arrives a fire
fighters team of the civil defense and extinguishs the burning tank.then shooting stops and silence finally is reached, two hours later the ING leaves, and the American patrol remains, I assumed they were still gathering the pieces of the blown up soldiers. finally at around 6 pm,
the American patrol leaves and the street was opened again, people went out and headed to the explosion scene to check out the damages. Some of the remaining piece of the dead soldiers were still there, Alqa`eda members diffuse to the street and gather around the scene and start to take pictures of their achievement.

10 minutes later a huge number of American heavy tanks and hummers come back to the scene again and arrest all the people who were standing in the scene but bad luck as I heared alqa`eda members has already left the scene, as I heared the arrested individuals were driven to an unknown destination and never been seen after the arressment.
Read on here.

Mohammed of Last-of-Iraqis lives near Adhamiya and posted his own account of the events. He concludes:
They blocked all the streets about and I mean all the streets , some of my relatives were at work and couldn't get back home , it was impossible for any one to walk a single yard in the street , my wife's uncle was trapped two blocks from his home and couldn't reach it!!!this terrible situation continued till 6 p.m when my relatives reached their homes , and I don't think they will be able to leave there homes any time soon to go to work or college , what a situation , no water , no shops , no food supplies , no medications , it's obvious they want NO LIFE in Adhamyia . Why didn't the media cover these acts? why did they build the Adhamyia wall? the simple short answer is to mask the crimes they do , it's a big new Abu-Gharib where a new torture and killing methods will be used......

By Chikitita:
"“A bald girl brags about her sister’s hair.”
–Iraqi Saying –

All the trees in our garden, though functional for cooking, look ugly. The gardener who used to take care of them was displaced and they were all abandoned, because none of my family is so keen on taxing chores. So I have no tree to show off but this marvelous palm tree next door. I just love it!"

Internally Displaced

Its one of those tame-sounding terms, like "collateral damage" that covers the true horror of life in a war-torn country. People are forced to leave their homes at the threat of one criminal gang or another. Many times without time or ability to even gather some basic belongings. This phenomenon is is certainly on the rise in Iraq and here are some of the bloggers stories about this.

Chikitita is still in Baghdad and talks of good-byes and being forgotten by young nephews. She writes:
I could hear the tears she was trying to stifle on my end of the phone. I had nothing to say but we will meet someday, not so sure of course, but I had to say something. My friend is one of those people, to whom the idea of leaving has always been out of the question... The last straw was the attempt on her dad’s life, only then she realized this is no longer home and it was about time to leave.

I have always hated goodbyes. All the friends and family members who knew every detail of my life seem to be trickling out of the country. On my sister’s last day in Iraq, she begged me not to cry... It dawned on me that my nephew and I will no longer be friends and my predictions have become reality. Yesterday I bowed and scraped for His Majesty to talk to me on the phone, he was too shy to do it. I felt so crestfallen; I’ve become the faceless stranger who sends him presents, not the “Tita” who used to watch animated movies with him, or the ugly auntie who’d yell at him whenever he came near my textbooks and pens. I have become just a voice from a place called Baghdad, whatever that means.

When my favourite aunt was forced out of her house and chose to leave Baghdad for good I told her it was too risky for me to come say goodbye. It was not the risks I was trying to fend off, I didn’t want to tell her that I missed her already...

...places may wax an awful lot of nostalgia, but it is the people around that make the places we are attached to what they are.

Ali talks of a neighbourhood lost:
I remember my days back home. I remember my neighborhood, the school that I went to. I remember my friends often... Zaid and Fadi, who are Christians, Haider who is a Shiite, and Hamad who is a Sunni....

Now that I’ve left the country, all I can do is to keep in touch with them. Hamad is in Syria because he and his family didn’t feel secure enough to live in that neighborhood. Fadi fled to Syria too with his family, but he went back to Baghdad to go to school and he is living with his grandmother now. Haider is still living in Baghdad but he is not going to school anymore because it is dangerous to drive all the way from where he lives to school.

I was talking with Zaid on the phone the other day and he told me that the neighborhoods where we lived and went to school fall in the territory of what is called “The Islamic State.” His family was threatened to leave their house within 30 minutes or they’d be killed. They couldn’t take anything out, not even his books that he was reading to prepare for the finals. He said that there are no more Christians or Shiites that can live Amiriya, Ghazaliya, Khadraa and Jamiya.

It was very hard to listen to Zaid talking about what had happened to my city. In those neighborhoods there were Shiite and Sunni mosques and there were Christian Churches. We all lived with each other. We all were friends. I was mad when I heard the news. I was mad because that is what I loved about Baghdad; that we all lived with each other and sects were not an issue . Sect wasn’t an issue when I made friends.

Now I look at the pictures from my neighborhood and remember all the people who lived there and I cry because now I can’t have the same days that I had. I know that my neighborhood is not the same place it used to be. I know that Baghdad is not the same Baghdad. I know that Iraq is not the same Iraq.

But I know that this is not the way my family and my friends and most Iraqis want Iraq to be. And I know that one day we will all tell the world that we are not Shiites, not Sunnis, not Christians, and not Kurds, but we are all Iraqis and we all will live on the land of peace.

And Sunshines writes about the displaced doctors who have no where else to sleep but in the hospital in her city, Mosul:
Mama suggested a great suggestion to prepare lunch for the doctors who had to leave their governorates and stay in mosul ,they live in the hospital, grandma and I liked the idea but dad didn’t !, so it was canceled.
I went with my mom to her work last Wednesday , to have another night-guard (I have bruxism ), I had so much fun there, they thought mama and I were sisters , no one believed that I am her daughter!!! And one of the doctors thought I am the new dentist !!!.
There were doctors from Baghdad , Faluja , Hadeetha , and other cities, they had to leave their cities because of the bad situation

By Chikitita:
"There’s nothing I like more than a royal breakfast, instant coffee and cheese, in the front yard, life without workplaces is good after all."

A little politics

Iraqi Pundit tells us a joke going around between Iraqis:
Saddam Hussein orders some men to dig up the grave of his mother. Once they do, Saddam spits in what remains of her face. He then orders the men to bury the dead woman again. The men, of course, follow his orders. They also very meekly ask why he would violate religious rules and disrespect his mother in such a way. He tells them he's just following her wishes. He said that before she died, his mother told Saddam: "If you ever turn out to be a good man, dig me up and spit in my face."
He explains:
To Iraqis, this makes a lot of sense. Even Saddam's mother knew how unlikely it was for her son to turn out to be a good man. Unfortnately, with the way things have been in Iraq, more and more people are saying life under Saddam was better. To Saddam's mother, that means her son has finally turned out to be a good man.

Iraq the Model looks beyond the current US military surge in Iraq and calls for wide ranging political reforms:
from holding local elections to choose new and representative district and city councils to amending the general elections law to allow voters to choose their representatives directly instead of the current slate system. It might be also a good idea to adjust the federalism law to allow turning each province into an individual region within the federal state to avoid the sensitivities that could arise from forming regions on sectarian and/or ethnic basis.

A US congressional group, last week, produced a report that said the Pentagon "cannot report in detail how many of the 346,500 Iraqi military and police personnel that the coalition trained are operational today," and that they "have no idea what our $19 billion [spent on training and equiping the Iraqi Army] has gotten us." Well, 24 Steps to Liberty has an idea:
Do we know what the Iraqi army is equipped with? I do:
AK47 rifles, pistols, 7.62 mm PKMS (BKC) Machine Gun, M16 [recently given to some soldiers] and less than a 100 humvees.

Do Iraqi soldiers have armored vehicles? No.
Do they have flack jackets? No.
Do they have night vision goggles? No.

The report also said that the US has spent $19 billion in recruiting, training, equipping and building training facilities.

What training? This is the army that fought eight years with Iran, invaded Kuwait, oppressed the Shiites in the south, killed the Kurds in the north, failed coups in the west and protected a dictatorship for more than 30 years. Train it to do what?

And who got the money? American contractors, right? [in Iraqi we say Hasna Jabata… Hasna Akhthata, roughly translated: Hasna brought it and Hasna took it back.]
While Hammorabi sees the weakness of the Iraqi army as a deliberate policy:
America under [George W Bush] not only weakened the Iraqi forces and left the country without army and security but they imposed a fragile and weak government though by kind of election but based on sectarian and ethnic divisions. Moreover the USA interferes with every thing in Iraq including the protection they offer for the criminals, the terrorists and the corruptors... It started of course from Paul Bremer who dissolved the Iraqi army and left the country to struggle in weakness.

One of the most important thing is the so weak Iraqi government that can not do anything for the country and this may suite the GWB policies in Iraq, at least this is what most of the Iraqis believe.

We think that the Iraqi government should be a strong one whether it is elected or not and it should have a strong army or at least to call the Iraqi army to get back and armed without interferences from the USA. In fact if the USA would like to achieve a better relation with the Iraqis for the future they should help in building up this army as soon as possible as it took long time just to create few weak and inefficient units.

And Finally...

Now that Hometown Baghdad has finished their project to document daily life in Iraq one of their member has gone on to use his video skills for greater good. Mike writes:
Hometown Baghdad viewers should know that when Saif isn’t booby-trapping his house with barbwire, smoking shisha, or talking about his beautiful wife Noor, he is playing guitar. And so he has decided to make a series of instructional videos for people wanting to learn how to play in a variety of styles... subscribe to his youtube channel.

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