Iraq: F*** you Washington Post
...so says Raed Jarrar. Today's post features voices from the edge. Sunshine is waiting for the war on her doorstep to end and writes of her hopes and aspirations; Last of Iraqis is turned back at the Jordanian border and writes of hopes lost; Layla waits in the immigration queue; Baghdad Dentist writes of a relaxed Baghdad and the blogger formerly know as Konfused Kid writes of a world that has changed.
(Cross Posted to Global Voices Online)
The Washington Post publishes a story about a dog that was rescued from the 'Baghdad slums' and Raed is incensed. He writes:
one million Iraqis killed in the last 5 years, and you celebrate rescuing an iraqi dog. what a bunch of racist a**holes.and he invites concerned people to send similar comments to that journalist.
f*** you Karin Brulliard, and f*** the washington post.
On the edge in Mosul
The city of Mosul is virtual war zone at the moment. With the Iraqi government threatening a final battle to retake the city, there is a nervous tension that verges on the unbearable. Sunshine describes the feelings of waiting for the war to end and her hopes for a better future. In a post that must be read in full she writes:
I still have hope, I don’t know why.. All the ex-operations failed, but there is a voice inside my heart telling me to be optimistic...
I open the curtain above my bed, look at the sky, and think.. If the troops will defeat the terrorists and we’ll have security, my relatives who live abroad will come to Iraq, and I’ll be able to see my aunt again, we’ll do whatever we want and wear what we like, without being afraid from terrorists .. I’ll feel more free to write about what I feel.... we’ve been living in a war zone for four long years, full of sadness & fear ... I can’t end the war, but we say “if you have lemon, make lemonade” there’s no bright side in the war, but in this four years I became stronger, and independent person, I believe in myself and I know nothing can stop me from moving forward, not even the war, nor terrorists when I have determination and faith ..
I realized how much I love Iraq, I didn’t know how much Iraq means to me, until I saw It destroyed.
.. but I have to prepare myself for the worse, so that I don’t get depressed if things didn’t work well, I don’t want to feel what I felt in the beginning of the war, I thought we’ll have the life we were told to have, a bright future, and live happily ever after, I didn’t know there’ll be fights and battles in front of my house.. I didn’t know I’ll see dead people in the streets nor hear all of the horrified stories that I hear each day, I didn’t know I’ll have to hide under the stairs for 10 hours continuously!
and Najma's family is preparing for the army house raids that will inevitably come:
Mom has been trying to get us ready, "they might come from the roof, so don't be scared if you see them at your room in the middle of the night", I start whining and tell her to stop but she keeps reminding me that it can happen and I have to be ready. ... Now if my sister decides to have a baby in the middle of the night, what shall we do?
Conversations like this went on and on between my mother and my aunt as I and my cousins sat trying to imagine a better future!
God shows me his love in so many ways.. And I trust that there will be a way out one day, one very happy day... I just can't see it yet!
Meanwhile in Baghdad
Iraqi Dentist is enjoying the new peace that the capital is experiencing. He writes:
as for baghdad, it's great. now it's on the way to heal and stepping forward in the road of revolution and good future. except for some what i call "defects" here and there, one may say that the city has settled down. the people now feel safe and can go out for shopping, visiting friends and relatives without fear. i feet that the normal life is getting back again. while in febuary last year (like the current days), i just wanted to get out of baghdad because at that time i couldn't get oiut of the outdoor. eveeryday we heard someone or two were murdered in our destrict. no one day passed without a funeral...
we still have some problems concerning electricity ( well they are big problems). the electricity in Baghdad just say "hi" for few minutes twice daily. The goverment ... spent millions of dollars just to provide every family with 10amps ... 10 amperes for every family?!!!?? that means no A/C at all, can't iron with refrigerators turned on, can't use ovens or microwaves and and .... moreover till now we are not supplied with that 10 amps. where all that money has gone?
Marshmallow26 is suffering from a bout of insomnia and with army raids in her neighbourhood and barking dogs she has a hard time catching up with her beauty sleep ("oh no I see those black circles surrounding my red bleared eyes…wish there were no mirrors at all"). Marshy concludes that it is the suffering of others that has caused this:
so many killed people and couple of deadly explosions took place yesterday and the day before... I guess that is why I am suffering at night, there are many people need prayers, sleeping on the streets, no shelters, many kids don't know whether their parents will stay for another extra hours with them in this world or the rope of death will wrap them in a spit of a heart beat!!
I decided every time I wake up at night, I must say a prayer, I should ask for peace, peace and peace in the land which the "peacetime" term turned into a forgettable expression.
And over at Alive In Baghdad, a video about the youth football team in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.
Waiting in Exile
Last of Iraqis tries to enter Jordan to leave Iraq for good but gets turned back at the airport. In a repeat of the treatment he received last time at Jordan's Queen Alia Airport he witnessed the wholly degrading experience given to Iraqis turned back at the border. In an essay with photographs and detailed description gives stories of treatment of Iraqis in the "airport jail". He concludes:
I feel the disappointment every minute, a stupid low life intelligence officer destroyed my future and killed my dreams, a legal dream of having a secure safe future, a dream of becoming a dentist in a place that appreciate science and doctors, not trying to kill each one of them… a stupid officer made me sleep on the floor and starve me!! A stupid officer prevented us from seeing our families whom we miss so much…a stupid officer destroyed our dreams….this is what happened in one day…this is a story for one person….just imagine every day how many stories like this happens…every day…can you imagine? This is a serious issue….I don't know what the Iraqis are made of to stand these crisis? What happens every day in that cursed airport is something so important, where is the media from all of this? It really requires the media attention, the light must be spotted on this issue and I'm ready to help as much as I can to expose the truth.
Once in exile in countries like Jordan and Syria, Iraqis do not fair much better. Layla Anwar joins the queue at the immigration counter along with many other Iraqis who apply to extend their residence. She gives a beautiful (and horrifying) description of the nervousness and fears of people waiting for a single official who, at will, decides who will stay and who must leave. She writes:
We were lined up like a herd of sheep, patiently waiting for the "official's" stamp. That much needed stamp which will prove that we are still accepted here...
Or that stamp that will allow us a few more months of breathing space...
Or that stamp that will give us an illusory freedom in some temporary legality...
Or that stamp that will confer upon us a seeming sense of belonging...Another illusion of a "home", however fleeting and ephemeral, that illusion may be...
I stood there like everyone else, waiting for my turn, overwhelmed by a strange feeling that I am about to take part in a game of Russian Roulette...
What if he refuses to stamp, what if he finds an excuse not to stamp, what if he delays the stamp, what if he requests more papers to stamp, what if...what will happen then?
I am almost certain that I was not the only one entertaining these deadly thought. And yes they are deadly if you happen to be an Iraqi hanging on by a string...
So much power in the hands of some official, who sometimes holds your documents upside down...Some much authority in the hands of this, almost always, mustached man who has the final say on your life or death...
The blogger formerly known as Konfused Kid now goes by the catchy handle of Abbas Hawazin and renamed his blog to "Catharsis" in English and "Shaqshaqa" in Arabic. Has he grown up? has he reached an epiphany? Abbas tries to explain:
things might change on the inside quite a long time before they do so visibly. The changes that I implemented to this blog and the desire to do so have been long thought of, I just didn't know how I would finally impart with the name I've been using for quite a long time now, after all, "Konfused Kollege Kid" was a gimmicky name for a gimmicky blog...
As for the name, the Arabic signifies that Arabic language is going to play a more prominent role here, I can't decide whether I will dedicate another blog for it or just throw the whole thing here.
Shaqshaqa is taken from a famous Shiite sermon in which the usually reserved Ali throws a fit and rants about his lost caliphate title in a very angry, but articulate manner, after he is interrupted one of his companions ask him to continue but Ali replies to him dramatically: "O' Ibn `Abbas it was like the foam of a Camel (Shaqshaqa) which gushed out but subsided." Meaning he has calmed down now. I've always loved the word 'Catharsis', which basically means a similar, but less Camel-inclined, thing in English.
So people, don't worry, I'm really feeling quite okay.