After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Iraq: Six Years On

Its the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war and bloggers remember the past yet few seem to look to the future anymore.

Pioneering blogger, Salam Pax, who started the Iraq blogging phenomenon looks back six years to the beginning of the war. In a series of posts, Salam reveals previously unpublished notes from the days he did not have electricity to blog. His wish to break from the past is clear when he writes:
In three weeks time it’s the 6th anniversary for the fall/liberation of Baghdad.

Baghdad Falls / Baghdad is liberated.. all semantics. What is fact is our life in Iraq as we knew it ended at that day.

Since the start of the war in 2003 we had to move house three times for various reasons...

While looking through the boxes of our belongings I found the notebook, with newspapers, photos and the flyers I had kept. As five years have passed and we’re entering the our seventh year of our post-war/post-Saddam lives I thought it would be good to look over these notes and share what I have from that time with you... I will upload it all online and throw the pieces of paper I have away. Hanging on to all of this for six years is enough.

For Sunshine, the war coincides with her time at high-school. At the leaving party for her school she remember the good and bad events at her school in the six years that have passed:
My best memory [was] when I asked my friends to make a surprise for our friend R who lost her dad and several relatives, I thought she needed to feel excited and happy so I decided to buy her a PC computer, my friends participated with some of their saves and I bought the computer, wrapped it and took the present to school. The students, teachers, and R were shocked, it was the best birthday gift ever..

Beside all the good events there has been very painful memories, when R lost her dad and several relatives, when M lost her mother, whenever a classmate have to leave Iraq, or get a threat, as well as all the times we had to hide under our desks when shooting starts, there has been terrifying battles near school, a mortar once fall, too many car bombs exploded, mines etc .. Many times we had to go walking among the tanks; our way to school is dangerous.

I'll always remember the good events and laugh, and the hard ones will only give me the strength, power and make me prepared for every hard thing I may face in the future

Laith reviews his dreams and reality:
When the US military started what they called Operation Iraq Freedom, I really felt so happy for one thing. I thought Iraq would be free again and we would have real government with politicians who really care about Iraq future and its people. I had a real big hope that services will be the best again and we would live happily again. I never thought that we would start killing each other for the sake of some strangers or to kidnap each other for money but I was completely wrong. I was sure that the American administration had planned very well for the stage after the war but I was wrong again. Nothing really changed in Iraq after six years. To be honest, we have one big change. Now we have hundreds of political parties that do nothing to Iraq and all they care about is their interests. After six years, the Americans approved that they came without any plan because most Iraqis are still poor and deprived from the simplest human rights. Iraqi governments and the American administration failed completely in putting Iraq once again on the right path.

I have to admit that after six years of the invasion, ALL MY DREAMS HAD GONE WITH THE WIND

After years away from Iraq, Attawie can only think of what she misses:
I'm away from beloved Baghdad. I'm away from family and friends. I'm away from the land I was born on; away of the soil I took my first step on, away from the house I was raised in, away from my neighbors, I'm away … but… not mind and soul.

War, chaos, loss of uncountable people and things, unemployment, corrupted system, mysteries, sadness, chain of mischief, lost dreams, burnt houses, smell of death, widows, orphans, tears, sad stories, cruel memories… That's all what we are left with?... I don't want to sound devastated. I don't want to show despair. I just want to tell you the picture is not pleasant, And it needs a lot of repair. What's going on right now is unfair.

I lost my focus and lost my words. I'm not sure if it makes sense. But that's all you're going to get on a Day Like Today. Life is frozen… the clock is broken. The prayers you're saying are not answered today... Oh Iraq, returning has become the dream that makes my day. Your memory is the sweetness in this bitter life. You are the sound of laughter, background music for this noisy life, the kiss on a mother's forehead, the grip of an infant fist.

Faiza writes a long post of her feeling after six years of war and occupation and concludes:
I smile, at the sixth anniversary of occupying Iraq, in spite of the sadness weighting on my heart, but I will never give up hope, ever; that Iraq will come beck to its people, that a brave nationalistic leadership will come, a leadership that wants only Iraq’s interest, will negotiate the occupation out, and will withdraw all the occupation’s powers.
When will that day come?
Only God knows…. But it will come, no doubt… for these are God’s laws on earth…

And, in the way that only Layla Anwar can, an essay comparing the creation of a new Iraq to a mother giving a forced birth of a mutant baby:
It was a monster infant. A hydra with a hundred heads, a hundred skulls, an octopus with a hundred arms, a deformed face with hundreds of eyes, bulging..its skin made of scaling scabs, its body made of slime, an invertebrate crawling, with no legs to stand, and from its mouth, instead of gurgles, it drooled a burning caustic froth...

And it has kept crawling for 6 years already, sniffing like a rabid dog, sniffing for more...keeping scum for company and preying for more fresh blood...more fresh meat...

It was exactly six years ago and she is still lying in that delivery room which now looks like an overused, stenchy morgue...drowned in her own blood, mummified with slogans and jargon...her womb and mouth stuffed with newspaper articles and essays...with words...stuffed with a silent forgotten death, like the desolate forgotten walls of this city, where rats and roaches furtively scurry along, feeding on the monster's vomit and excrement...feeding on ashes and dust.

And on that note I will leave you to make up your own mind if the war in Iraq, six years ago, was really worthwhile.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

A lot has happened in Iraq since my last post and it is with regret that I cannot keep these updates more frequent but as long as there is life in the Iraqi blogs I will labour on.
I, the terrorist...

I, the terrorist,

watched the bread break off my brother’s teeth

He had never tasted blood-drenched bread...

I, the terrorist held my breath,

as the bricks from my kitchen ceiling

hit my forehead…

But I could still stand…

I, the terrorist,

took the hole-filled road to get water

for my suckling infant.

I lost my fingers

on the way,

to a precision sniper…

I, the terrorist,

dug-up some water

with what was left of my stubs,

and tried

to nurse my wailing one,

as he lay in the arms

of the still-warm

body of his departed mother…

I, the terrorist, hated

that my newborn had to taste

blood-stained water;

I hated that

he now had no milk

the scarlet stuff slowly surfacing on his lips…

Then, I the terrorist,


that he,

like his mother,

like my brother

and every other terrorist

who had sat for a meal

at that fractured kitchen table

had stopped feeding too…

Inspired by a survivor of the Gaza massacre, sitting in what remained of his home with what looked like a fingerless bleeding hand...

written by ZZ

First Baghdad became peaceful

And no other blogger can give the bittersweet impression of a peaceful capital than Sunshine. Last month, she traveled to Baghdad for a short holiday from the northern city of Mosul. In a long post full of pictures and observations she concludes:
I didn't write about good events for long time, I am so glad I had good news to tell, yesterday I visited my friend, she is studying medicine, I didn't see her for 2 years! I had a great time..


I hope Mosul will be as safe as Baghdad, and I hope next time I visit Baghdad I'll find it as good as the past and even better

But this was not to last

Chikitita returned to Baghdad after a long stay abroad only to experience a new wave of bombings. Why? She writes:
They say I’ve jinxed the place again. Iraqis are too superstitious and once they read this, they will collectively sign a petition to the PM asking him to send me away. Iraq was heaven on earth until my return. All those deadly explosions ripped through the quiet streets of Baghdad because of … well make a wild guess!

On "Objectivity"

By Layla Anwar

Mince your words Woman, turn them around, change their colorings, give them new dimensions, weigh them, objectify them just like they objectify you and them, so they can understand in their objective minds...the intent, extent and depth of their own indifference and destructiveness...

Turn your inner and outer world,

banish the desert storms and the whirlwinds,

dam the rivers

stop the currents

erase the feelings with a rubber, blank them out,

become the zombie of PTSD

appeal to them, so they can pity you.

this is what they want to hear, need to hear...

their flip side is the Savior...

the objective savior

who needs to understand before he saves...

before he saves you, from himself...

Yet at the same time, control yourself, control your feelings and emotions because the objective mind does not accept what drops out from his frame...what is not aligned in with his thoughts...

Laith writes of his feelings when one explosion happens near his home:
It was about 7 p.m when I started my prayers. few second later, a big bang shook me like a little bird. I'm so familiar with the sound. Its a sound of an explosion but this time its so strong which means it is so close to my family's house and more than that its so close to the mosque where my father, my uncle and all my neighborhood men pray. At that moment, There was nothing longer than my prayers which I wanted to finish it but it was very long. When I finished the prayers and while I was trying to go out, I heard a second explosion. OMG I'm sure many people died. I run quickly and I saw the smoke of the explosions. I started asking and the men in the street told me that two roadside bombs detonated. My neighbor who is an old women said "Laith, go and check for your brother). Sh wanted me to look for her son who is a real brother for me. I was trying to check weather the bomb was inside the mosque or not. Thanks God, its near the mosque. My other neighbor came out of her house crying and yelling "I lost my son, I lost my son" I tried to talk to her but she didn't listen to me and run towards the place of the explosion. Thanks God again, he was simply injured...

It looks that the dream of living in peace in Iraq will not come true at least for the coming few years. The increasing violence during the last few days revealed the truth about the fragile security situation.

While Baghdad Connect speculates that the new wave of bombings are a reaction to the recent elections and the announcement by US President, Barak Obama, of troop withdrawal from Iraq. Baghdad Connect also reports of the latest announcement by Saddam's Vice President, Izzat Al Douri, calling for all the former regime's army officers to accept a government offer to return to their posts, leading them to fear a resurgence of the Baathists. They write:
The green zone soon will no longer exist as such and the American embassy will be the sole symbol of the invasion power in the capital. Everything is moving at a “double cheese whopper” speed of pickles. One interpreter for the invaders is given a gun to protect himself! He told us “the f***ing Americans are throwing in the towel!”...

“The Baathists are coming back” one professor said. “We need to build it up from the core; this is our way of doing business”!!!

Sentences Sentences

With many sentences handed out recently from former Iraqi regime officials, serving presidents to show throwers; Layla Anwar muses on the meaning of a "sentence":
The power of words -- phrases, verdicts and sentences...they take you up and down, they can make you, break you and change your life for ever...

The sentence has become a prison, a guillotine...has become the gallows...le bourreau du 21 eme siecle...

They have become daggers and knives to stab...they have become a charade, a masquerade for a circus...Today, sentences are meaningless...because there is no conscience behind them...

They sentenced him to Life, they sentenced him to Death...they cry out.

Who is the judge and who is the guilty one ? Does it have any meaning today ?

When the judge is the guilty one and the culprit is the innocent...what do sentences mean anymore ?

Lately there has been a lot of serious flirting with sentences...

Al-Bashir, Al-Majid, Aziz....a few names that come to mind...

Who will sentence the real killers...can any court of law answer me ?

Who will sentence those who "beefed and sexed up" the murder of over a million innocent ones ?

Who will sentence those responsible for an unprecedented genocide in the history of "Democracies" ?

Who will sentence the real criminals ?

And finally

We all have trouble with our Internet Service Providers. But Salam Pax's ISP takes the biscuit.

This made me laugh today.. Iraqi tel-com company Kalimat has a poll on it’s front page asking us how we rate interent service in Iraq.


the only options I can chose from are Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair…! Only options I would consider are Poor, Abysmal, Over-priced and Drives-me-insane.

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