Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mixed Emotions

On the end of my last post, I wrote: "and I can't wait to see what happens next, Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life"

and what a day!

The storm gathered by yesterday's evening...and by the time it was certain...I was too tired and went to sleep, I went to sleep at 2 AM...thinking that sometimes during my sleep, the most famous Iraqi of the 20th century will be executed...

I woke up at 9, mumbled Happy-eids to parents, then headed straight to the TV...and I recieved the images...the first thing that struck me was how unbelievable this was...Saddam was a part of my everyday patterns as a human being, I woke up, ate, drank, shat, slept, and Saddam is the undefeatable tyrant that never dies. It was hard, hard, hard to know that Saddam is no more, he was arrested, humilitaed and sentenced to death and I didn't feel much - but to know that he is gone is very strange - He was a given fact of life! and now he's dead...This doesn't happen in the world that I normally inhibit...

I also must say that from all the people that ruled Iraq at any given time, I do not hate any of them as much as I hate Saddam Hussein - through his stubborn Great Leader complex he has made us suffer so much, and pretty much a lot of the blame for the distingeration of Iraq as a fabric can be laid squarely on his shoulders, but while I was seeing these images, I had to keep reminding myself how much I hated Saddam Hussein, because they were flat-out disgusting. The problem of our politicians is that they always have to ruin the good stuff with the bad stuff, Mowafaq al-Rubay'ie, the national security advisor, said that Saddam looked very weak and pathetic while he was taking his final steps, but in the images I watched he looked just as brave, magnificent and charismatic as ever, despite his great evils, I must say that Saddam Hussein is the bravest guy that ever ruled Iraq. The problem is that Saddam is an extremely charismatic figure, he can drive many people to inspiration and is simply the most bravest man of all his opponents, Muwafaq, al-Maliki, al-Jaafari and al-Hakim wouldn't stand for two seconds alone with this guy, they all ran weeping to Americans...It's just, unfair, that they should be sing-songing like this while not only are they as cruel as he, but they are nowhere as brave or influential as him.
While I think that Saddam deserves a thousand hangings, I completely disapprove of the way they have handled this - they chose a very bad timing for it, the holy Eid is a day of joy, of happiness, of forgiveness, people do not want to start their day by watching a man insulted a thousand times with a rope at his neck, true, I completely understand the fact that there are hundreds of families who are glad to see Saddam suffer and die like their sons and families did, but they are not all Iraqis, and they are not all people, and true, maybe Shiites would feel there might be a religious conrguence for this timing as it is harmonious with the vengeful nature of Shiite Islam, as hatred of tyranny and cruel avengance are major pillars in their sect, but with the confusion of Iraqis everywhere and growing tensions, such delicate matters should not be handled as bluntly as they were when all the other people watch these images accompanied by the whole lot of insults and curses, on such a holy peaceful occasion, the feeling they give you is one of complete injustice and being cruller than the man they are hanging.

The joy that could have been to see Saddam executed was lost in the bad conditions to which Iraq is heading, from a strategic point of view, Saddam's killing could go a long way in dispiriting Baathists, as Baath is largely a personality cult - it is without doubt a significant hit to morale, but it still remains unknown how far could this psychologically curb them.

As for our naive Arab brothers here and Jordan, they completely condemned and rejected the sentence, they lost a 'great Arab leader who was the only one with balls' - yeah, Saddam did stand up, but look at the price we paid for that little hypocrisy of his.

I am sure many Iraqis have been relieved at the execution, and they have every right to, but it's a shame that this sight has saddened many others by the stupid way it was handled.

I don't know of a precise word for my feelings - Little if at all joy, unbelieving numbness and extreme disappointment. I've always wanted Saddam to be killed, but the guy had a way of making you feel sorry for him.

UPDATES: Here is the complete Saddam execution video that was partly aired on al-Jazzeera network from, it's shot using a mobile phone by one of the guards, and it shows how his neck was broken in the end, the guard who shot it stands at the western side of the room - two other version have resurfaced, the other is from the right side of the room and was broadcast at Al-Sharqiya TV (bad audio quality though), while the other displayed photos of Saddam after he was killed and was aired on Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Beladi TV.
also, a fellow Shiite blogger has described this execution in the perfect words, which are the words of Imam Ali himself during the Great Civil War:

"Kalimat Haqq Yuradu Biha Batil"
"A word of right that is used for an implicit wrong."

Friday, December 29, 2006

The End Of Konfusion: A Year In Review

And hereby ends another year of my life, as I am writing these words I am exactly 21 years, 3 months and 3 days old. Looking back now, I can quite confidently declare that this year was one of the most pivotal years of my entire life. A year filled with tears of joy and wails of lament, of surging pure love and utter despair and disappointment, a year that both contains both the best and worst days of my life, 356 days some of which I cherish and some I wish I never lived.

Outside, the year started as usual, badly. Fuel prices were just going to the devil and the Badr brigade was still running around as it pleases, despite with more outcries than before. Little did Iraqis know that they're in new worlds of pain and suffering, starting from the explosion of the Samarra golden dome in February 22, 2006 - in a massacre that continues to this date and only grows bloodier and more gruesome by each passing minute.
A new government was elected, the general feeling was a sick greenish one at the bottom of your stomach, many hands contained purpled fingers, but many others contained red ones. al-Jaafari found it kinda difficult that a bunch of other no-gooders will harrumph him outside his comfy chair, which was kinda getting more and more defined by his assprint - so he decided to stick as much as he can to it, before Sistani got fed up of reading these weird books in his bedroom and decided to sniff the air outside one day - his replacement, grumpy aftershave ad leftover material Nuri Kamil Abu Jowad Abu Israa Abu al Mahasain al-Maliki, proved as much ho-hokum as his predecessor, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Ahmed al-Ushayqar al-Ja'afari.
The year also witnessed other events which didn't change much in Iraq: The death of Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi, the end of Saddam's first trial with a death sentence, et voila. It is still a long way to go, in my opinion.

Personally, this year is perhaps the most important one in my life, aside from the year that I was born.

It started very lukewarm, until the dome explosion, afterwards, I began to gather an interest in the religious and historical sides of Islam, driven by an inherent curiosity regarding the Sunni-Shiite struggle, I gulped book after book in search of a meaning, and this have significantly reshaped my interests. I became a lot more politically motivated than before as a result of my blogging experiences with the New York Times and interaction with other fellow bloggers. In these aspects of my life, maybe a change that is bigger awaits me in the future, I feel like I want to do something, but I still do not know what that is yet.

This year contains the best day of my life: The Graduation Day, I have never felt such an exaltness and looseness in my entire life, I danced like crazy until i got too tired to stand up - maybe it's also because i felt very cool that day - Our costume was a Mexican Mariaachi, I was the only one with the long hair wig and the fake big moustaches, I was the talk of the town! I also wrote a song for the march and had the guys sing it, I felt very happy that day.
That day was June 5, 2006, six days later was the worst day of my entire life, my four friends were killed - for most people, graduation is a big thing, for me it didn't register much, because its joy was swiftly encompassed by the great sorrow that swallowed it - this event has changed my incredibly - I became very pessimistic towards Iraq's future and have now entirely different thoughts about my identity, before this year I used to think of myself as an:

1. Iraqi first, and most importantly
2. Arab second.
3. Muslim thirdly, not as important as the first two.

But today, I am:

1. Muslim first.
2. Arab second.
and I don't want to be an Iraqi, I didn't ask for being one in the first place.
The longhand explanation requires much discussions for which this year-in-review has no.
For me, "Iraqi" now is just a tag I am identified with, cuz of my dialect, the place I was born, etc- as for the emotions it conveys, it don't register here anymore. and I wonder if it ever did..actually. I am not even sad as I write this, I just want to say this out and loud for all to hear.

Let me detach myself and look at what I just wrote, you see how I have changed upside down, this is a moderate, kinda rational kid becoming more observant of his religion because of the violence, imagine what it does to those who have no education and mostly follow their emotions, and there are many channels by which extremism abounds....

Romantically, I fell in love for the second time in my entire life, and have been incredibly hurt by the experience, it was a scorching one-sided affair that ended in a very ugly way. As a rebound, I vowed never to play with people's feelings again and have finally broken up for good with my long-time ex-girlfriend (see how complex this was?)...Amazingly, I didn't sever all my ties with her yet!!!!
But I must say that romantically this year ends very happily, without giving much details away. ;)

Musically, I started actively jamming with a few chums in a no-particular-place-to-go heavy metal band, Hamballah. The project was intended to be a mini-gig at my graduation party, however, due to time constraints and intra-band friction (I love that phrase, it's like we're a real band!) the project fell apart. They did play behind my back, and the result was so cringe-inducing that it made me give up on my dream of being in a band, also, after recording a few things, I decided that I didn't have what it takes to become a vocalist/guitarist, mostly because my voice isn't up to shape - this, combined with me getting kinda bored with my playlist, made my musical interest decline considerably. Guitar is now a 3rd-level hobby, my new hobbies include blogging, history and most importantly filmmaking - I have finished my grand video project later last year, and have uploaded two short films of them at YouTube, I wanted to keep this a secret until I have uploaded other videos there, but I guess it's nice as a Christmas surprise, here.

This year also is the year I finally graduated from college, I wished to continue studying two more years in my M.Sc. studies, but the security condition has been especially unbearable for my grandparents, who decided to flee this year - also, the death of my two bestfriends left little desire for me to see the university anymore, it wasn't much worth staying around for anyway: Most of the teachers have left and the remaining close friends of mine have all left too. I wanted to continue studying because I was afraid of stepping into the real-life really, but now I have been flung into it, and I still have many things to learn. I also got me a job earlier at the beginning of this year, while it was a temp job that's not much of an experience, it's keeping me hanging around.

As you can see, this year has changed me remarkably, and it deserves the title of being the best year of my life...Most importantly, I am no longer Konfused about myself...In between the hurt of losing precious ones, being rejected, feeling love again, changing my home, I now feel like I have a purpose in life, It's not clear yet...but it's better than the earlier konfusion that was an integral part of me - lost between contradictory impulses such as girls, wanting to look cool, music, religion, family frictions.... I don't know if I should rename the blog or not, I mean - I'm still a Kid, but "Iraqi" and "Konfused" are feeling alien to me today. I feel like I am wiser and have learnt much, maybe not much - but it's a start on the journey.

It couldn't be said enough, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

أوديسة عمر

الأوديسة: هي مغامرة اسطورية كتبها شاعر يوناني قديم تروي مغامرات اوديسيوس في العالم القديم حيث يلتقي بشخصيات عجيبة و وحوش خرافية و كلها مليئة بعنصر الأسطورة و الغرابة.
و عمر: هو اسم عربي عادة يربط بالخليفة الثاني للرسول عمر بن الخطاب الذي تم في عهده فتح العراق و الشام. و هو احد أبرز الشخصيات في التاريخ الإسلامي.
اما أوديسة عمر, فهي تلك الملحمة الغريبة التي حدثت في شوارع مدينتنا بغداد المملة بظاهرها, المرعبة بباطنها و قد القاها على مسامعنا سائق الكية و السمكري سابقا عمر في يوم صيف قائض امام بيتهم في منطقة الأعظمية و نحن ندخن السكائر و انا انظر اليه غير مصدق الفضائع التي تسقط من فيه واحدة تلو الأخرى و هو يتلوها علي بسليقته المتساهلة المبتسمة.
طكلك جكارة و انتجي....و اسمع زين ترى القصة طويلة...و لو ما اني ادري ابو حفصة خوش وليد و شفت اخوه شون طلع و لاعظمة بمكانهه جان مصدكت و لا حجاية....
في باديء الأمر دعني اعطيك نبذة عن عمر هذا, هو فتى طويل القامة اسمر اللون ذو ملامح شعبية قحة, و قد عرفته منذ سنين طويلة حيث تربطني به علاقة قرابة بعيدة الا ان "الفتى الحائر" كما يحلو له ان يكنى ها هنا لم يعرفه الا لسنة واحدة حيث اصبح عمر سائق الكيا التي تقله الى الجامعة في هذه السنة الأخيرة....و عمر فتى شارعي بامتياز فقد ترك الدراسة منذ الصف الرابع الاعدادي و اشتغل "خلفة" لانابيب المياه, و قد فتح الله عليه ببعض اموره فتوفر لديه مبلغ من المال اشترى به هذه السيارة...و رغم كونه شديد اللسان وكثير السباب الا انه فتى طيب القلب و سهل المعشر ...يداري تلك الطيبة بالغلاف الخشن الذي اكتسبه بين مصلحي البواري و سواق الكيات...الا ان لعمر خصلة مذمومة و بالأخص في زماننا هذا انه ياخذ "الميانة" بسهولة مع اصدقاءه...واذكر ذات مرة انه كان يمزح مع اصدقائة سواق الكيات فبصق على صورة الإمام الخميني التي كانت معلقة في سلسلة ميدالية صديقه "محمد" سائق الخط هو الأخر بالاضافة الى كونه عضوا في تنظيم المهدي (عج)...و عمر يعلم ذلك و اذكر انني عنفته بشدة لمثل ذاك الا انه ضحك في وجهي بعدم
اكتراثه المتجاهل كانه طفل كبير
... و عمر تربطه علاقة صداقة شديدة بجميع افراد خطه عكس العديد من السواق الأخرين, و اذكر مرة كنت فيها معه في السيارة حيث قرر الولد من الخط الذهاب صباحا من السادسة لتناول الكبة في مطعم حياوي الشهير في الكم...و قد تأخرالفتى الحائر في النوم كعادته و جعلنا ننتظر ربع ساعة امام منزله قبل ان يخرج منكوش الشعر و يصرفنا بحركة بسيطة اختصرت انتظارنا الصبور عليه...و قد اثارت تلك الحركة سخطنا و بيتنا له الانتقام في ظهر ذلك اليوم اثناء الرجوع من الكلية...حيث تم الاتفاق على لحظة مناسبة اركن فيها عمر الكية في شارع عمربن عبد العزيز و نزلنا من الكية حيث تمت عملية سحب الفتى الحائر من المقعد الأمامي حيث كان يجلس متبجحا بقصة فخارية ما...و قد هددنا بالصراخ ان جررناه قسرة وقد حصل هذا فعلا في احدى اخطر شوارع بغداد على الأطلاق مما حدا بعض المارة بالنظر فزعين و الاسراع بعيدا...و سرعان ما قدناه الى الملاذ الأمن في عمق السيارة حيث انهلنا عليه ضربا في مخلمة امتعتنا جميعا ...حيث وجد نفسه بلا بنطال في نهايتها....و قد اخبرني عمر ان هذا المنوال قد تحول الى طقس خاص من طقوس الكية حيث حالما يبادر احدهم بازعاج احدهم يتحمس الجميع الى تكرار العلقة التي اشدت وطأتها يوما بعد يوم حيث كانت فوق الملابس اولا ثم استدعت خلع البنطال ثانيا ثم ما وراء البنطال...و لله الحمد فقد توقفت هذه اللعبة عند استعمال البيض و الفلفل الحار ....
و في صباح احد الأيام في اواخر شهر حزيران اتصلت بموبايل عمر حيث كنت اريده ان ينقلني في شغل من اشغالي..
"الو عمر"
"ها هلو عمار شونك"
"ها حبيبي تجي عليه هسه"
"والله اكلك...ترى اني ما اكدر هسه والله...اهلي انخطفوا.."
"عود بعدين احجيلك اليوم اجيك العصر اوكي"
كان كلامه غير مطمئن و لكني شككت في هدوءه و صفاءه حين استقبلني...و املت ان يكون الأمر قد انتهى...أتصلت به في وقت العصر الا انه كان غير موجود...ثم اتصلت به مرة اخرى في الليل و قابلني بنفس ايجابيته و هدوءه و قال لي ان كل شيء على ما يرام و الحمدلله و سيمر علي غدا لكي يخبرني بالذي جرى بحذافيره.
وجاءت كيه عمر الداكنة اللون في صباح اليوم التالي و هي تشق عباب الشارع المنجمد عن ناسه ببطء شديد...و قد كان منظرها و هي تأتي يبعث في محياي دائما بالغبطة و الفرح سابقا...الا انها اليوم اصبحت رمز شقاء و حامل ذكريات لنا ان ننساها...حيث ان راكبيها قد اصابتهم الفواجع تلو الفواجع في الشهرين التي خلت...و اولهم كان عمرا...و اذ رايته ينزل من السيارة و قد انبرى بابتسامه مرصعة باسنانه الصفراء و هو يناديني " ها ولك كواد" لم اتمالك ان اطفو انا الأخر عن تاملاتي و استقبله بنفس روح الأمس القديم......و تنفست الصعداء اخيرا حيث انني اذكر كيف لاقيت ابا حفصة قبل شهرين فقط ابان مقتل ابن عمه محمدا برصاص سيطرة في الدورة..و قد كانو ينوون النيل من السائق الذي كان يجلس بجانبه محمدا لان اسمه و لا عجب, عمرا.

و الى غير عمر, فقد فقد احد ركاب الخط امه قبل شهر بحادثة طبيعية لله الحمد (و يالسخرية الحمد, فها نحن نحمد الله على اي موت طبيعي)و لم يمض سوى اسبوعين حين خسر الفتي الحائر اربعة من اصدقائة بالانفجار الذي وقع في منطقة الكرادة...
بعد افتتاحيات السلام و الكلام...اشعلت لعمر و لي سيكارتين و اتخذ عمر وضع الراوي فاعتدل في وقفته وهو ينحني قليللا نحو سيارته...و بعد وقفة وجيزة استطرد يقول:
اخذ امي و اخوتي و اخواتي سيارة تكسي من منطقة الأعظمية حيث كانو ينوون زيارة اقاربنا في منطقة المشتل, و كان اخوتي اثنان احدهما علاء ( مواليد 87 (و الأخر حازم (90) و يظهر ان السائق كان احد الكائنات الباطنية التي تتكاثر اليوم بسرعة البكتريا...اي انه بجلف القول "علاسا" و هنا لم يذكر عمر ان كان هناك احد من اخوته قد صرح بتصريح لم يعجب رأي السائق او انه قرر ان يعلسهم ليطمئن قلبه حيث ان اسمائهم ليست طائفية على حد علمي (و هي طبعا ليست الأسماء التي طبعتها اعلاه) و لكن لا أدري فقد يكون اسم والدته او اخته كذلك...و في النهاية فان العائلة ما ان استقرت في بيت الأقارب حتى انهمر على الباب سيارتين من نوع بك أب مملوءة بعناصر جيش المهدي اقتحمت البيت و اخذت الغلامين و ذهبت, وكان عمر في كل هذا مشغولا مع اصدقائة في الكم حين تلقى اتصالا من امه و هي تبكي و تولول, و ما ان فهم عمر ما يجري حتى رجع الى البيت و اخذ صديقا شيعيا له منذ ايام الصغر اسمه سالم و توجه الى الرئاسية كما يطلق عليها الان...و ذلك حوالي الساعة العاشرة ليلا و هو بعد منع التجول طبعا الا انهم كانو يشرحون الموقف للسيطرات فيدعوهم يمرون, و بعد فترة وجيزة فقد عمر السيطرة على نفسه فتولى سالم القيادة حتى وصلوا الى المنطقة فلم يجدوا احدا في الشارع و ظلوا يحومون على وجوههم حتى التقوا برجل سكران اسمه لا اذكره فسالوه عن موقع مكتب السيد هل يعرفه فاجابهم بثقة الرجل السكير الذاهب عقله "أي اعرفه طبعا" فاخذوه معهم و دلهم على المكتب, و وجدوا المكتب مغلقا و لا حركة تنبر منه فاصاب عمر الجنون ها هنا و اخذ يسب كل الشيعة على وجه الأرض و لم تمض فترة وجيزة الا و اتت مواكب البيك اب تزفه حيث حملو الثلاثة معا ضربا بالكيبلات و ادخلوهم الى مكتب السيد, و قال عمر انهم لم يضربوه و لا سالما بقدر ما ضربوا الرجل السكير الذي اشبعوه ضربا و يبدو ان جيش المهدي له عداوة مع كل مشروب روحي حتى ان عمر وصفه ب"درعنا" من كثرة ما كان يتلقى من الكفخ و الكيبلات و ثم فصل الاثنان مع استمرار ضرب السكير بقسوة, وجاء المحققون ليعرفوا ما شان عمر فقالو له ما اسمك فقال عمر فسالوه سؤال الجمهور انت سني ام شيعي فقال شيعي فضربه و قال لا تكذب, فضل يلح ثم بعد فترة من الضرب و التهديد اعترف و اخبرهم بكل شيء, واخبره انه ابن عم لسالم حيث ان سالما و عمرا يحملان اسما ثلاثيا متقاربا...و بعد فترة جمع الاثنان معا ثم جاء "القاضي الشرعي" وهو السيد ذو العمامة و يقول عمر انهم كانو يجلونه و يعاملونه باحترام...سال السيد عمر عن اسمه و حين اجابه و اخبره بقصته قال السيد بالحرف الواحد: "هذوله ارهابيين...روحو كتلوهم عالسدة."
و في هذه الاثناء
المحقق: انت سلفي...مو؟
حازم : لا
المحقق: تحب علي ؟
حازم: اي
المحقق : سب عمر
حازم : خره بعمر
المحقق: هسه كول انت ويا منو
حازم: مو ويا احد
المحقق: زين معلميك المجاهدين متحجي
هنا يهوي المحقق بمطرقة حديدية على اصابع الفتى ذو الثلاثة عشرة عاما فتتهشم اظافره و تدخل في لحمه في نسيج من الدم و اللحم و الصراخ المعذب...و قد علم حازم المعصوب الأعين اسم المحقق حيث سمع من يناديه بالأسم, اسم ساسمعه كثيرا و كثيرا في الأيام القليلة التالية.
!!!!!!ابو درع
اركب منفذ الحكم عمر و سالم في كية عمر ذاتها ثم صعد هو و ادار المحرك, وضع شريطا من الاشرطة الموجودة فتصاعد صوت حسام الرسام يلعلع فاطفأة بسرعة و هو غاضب ثم قال: تسمع حسام مو, اليوم اسمعك حسام عالكتلوك حبيبي
و جلس الاثنان بصمت رهيب و قد كان عمر قد غاص في مرحلة الياس و الاستعداد للموت اما سالم فقد كان احسن حالا و كان يحاول ان يسال الرجل بين الحين والأخر
"سيد وين ماخذنا"
للسدة عيني
"سيد بعد شوكت نوصل"
مبقى شي
"سيد انت راح تكتلنا"
و لم يجب سيد, وها هنا فقد عمر اخر ما بقي لديه من امل بالحياة و اخذ يتشاهد بسرعة و استرسال و قال لي انه كان يريد ان يخبر أمه على الأقل و يسلم عليها قبل ان يذهب و كان كل تفكيره محصورا في هذه النقطة في الدقائق القليلة التي بقيت في حياته.
وصلت الكية للمكان و انزل السيد الجميع
سحب السيد اقسام المسدس...ثم رن موبايله فجأة...سمع عمر رجلا اسمه عمار يقول للسيد ان يحقق مع الاثنين و لكن ان لا يقتلهما...
وهنا يقول عمر ان ابا سالم قد كانت له معارف وقد وصل بالتلفونات الى الشخص المناسب في اللحظة الحاسمة و قبل فوات الاوان
سبحان الله و لا اله الا الله...خره بعرضك ابو حفصة شنو امك من داعيتلك...و بعد العديد من التنقلات بين مكان الى مكان ثم وضعهم في بيكب اب مليء بالجنود الذين عاملوهم بازدراء الا واحدا حن عليهم و جلس معهم...ثم تم وضعهم في سجن "مبرد" و كان معهم ايضا طوال هذه الفترة السكير الذي تم وضعه في الحمام لسبب ما, و بعد تحقيقات اخرى دخل رجل و قال له :
"عموري حبيبي احنا نعتذر و ان شاء الله ماكو شي "
شتعتذر بعد هوه انت بقيت شي؟!؟ و سال عمر عن اخوته فاجابه انهم احياء و بخير و هم في مدينة الصدر, وهنا تنفس عمر الصعداء اخيرا و استعاد توازنه و اتصل بوالدته و طمانها عن الجميع, و في حوالي الساعة الثالثة صباحا افرج عن الاثنين ليعودوا امام مكتب الشهيد الصدر كما كانوا اول مرة
ركب عمر و سالم السيارة و اتجهوا عائدين بعد ان حصل على وعد باطلاق سراح الاخوين, ولكن لم تمضي الا ثواني حتى فوجيء باطلاق رصاص مصدره احدى المولدات القريبة, حيث يبدو ان حرس المولدات قد شكوا في عمر و كيته الداكنة, و قد اراني عمر اثار الرصاصات على طول الكية و هي واضحة لا تحتاج الى اشارة.
و ما ان تمكن عمر من عبور هذه المولدة بسلام حتى فوجيء بمغامرة اسطورية اخرى في هذا اليوم اللا الهي, حيث شاهد ثلاث سيارات اوبل من بعيد و هي تلاحقهم...اصدقائنا السلابة...الاشرار القدماء...و قد يكونوا نفسهم الناس الذين اطلقوا سراحه قبل قليل....تمكن عمر من المراوغة في بعض الأفرع ثم رمى بسيارته في نصف خرابة فانية و هجرها هو و سالم ثم ذهبوا الى بيت صديق قريب و قضو الليلة هناك.
و في الصباح عاد عمر الى البيت...و ما هي الا ساعات حتى رجع اخويه معا..
كان الاول علاءا في حالة جيدة نوعا ما, فلم يستعملوا معه سوى السكاير, حيث يقول ان وجهه كان مليئا ببقع السكائر التي كانو يطفئونها بوجهه على خديه و انفه و حتى عينيه, الا ان شيئا اخر لم يكن به, اما حازما, فقد عذبه ابا درع, و قد استعمل معه المطارق, في كل مكان, حيث ان اصابع يديه قد تهشمت تماما و اصبحت صابونتي ركبتيه عبارة عن "صابونتين" حقيقتين ما ان تلمسهما حتى تتهشم في يديك, اضافة الى الكدمات و الجروح في كل مكان و اثار دريل على ظهره, كان في حالة خطرة جدا و قد تم نقله الى مستشفى النعمان فور وصوله
ثم اخذ عمر يشرح لى الاحتفالية التي حدثت في بيته و هو يتكلم بطريقة تمزج بين الفخر و الهول
في نهاية ذلك اليوم امتلىء بيتهم زاخرا بكل انواع الناس الذين يعرفهم و لايعرفهم من الأقارب و الاصدقاء, ثم جاءت مجموعة كبيرة من الناس المسلحين اطلق عليهم عمر اسم "المجاهدين" و كان جميعا مبتسمين فخورين و هنأوا العائلة على سلامة ابناءها الا ان ما استوقفني هي المقولة التي قالها له احد المجاهدين و هم يفرغون من انهاء هذه الحركة الدبلوماسية...حيث وعده بانه سينتقم له و ياخذون كوسترا اي باصا كاملا من الشيعة!!!!!و كان عمر ما زال في نشوة الفخر التي هو بها فقاطعته قائلا و لكن هل هذا صحيح ؟ في نبرة خافتة ميتة و كانني انا بنفسي لا اصدق ما اقوله...قال بسرعة نعم انا قلت لهم ان هذا غير صحيح و لكنه قالها بطريقة غير مكترثة و غير مصدقة, وكاننا نعلم بحجم الاخطاء التي تحدث و نوافق عليها و لكننا لا نفعل شيئا, وما الحل و قد اصبحنا كالرعيع تتناولنا مخالب الذئاب و الضباع من كل جهة في هذه الأرض الخربة المقفرة التى ما زلت احبها رغم كل شيء...
وهكذا انتهت قصة عمر الأسطورية الفانطازية مع اخر ومضة من سيكارتينا, و لولا اني رأيت اثار الطلقات و اثار التعذيب على اخيه شخصيا لكذبته حتف انفه, ولكن هيهات, فكل شي ممكن في هذا البلد على ما يبدو...و قد اخبرني عمر يومها انه يرتب اموره و سيسافر هو واهله قريبا الى سوريا حيث يبدأ بمزاولة عمله القديم من جديد. وهكذا تخرج عائلة اخرى من وطننا الذي يبدو انه لم يعد وطننا , فاقدة الأمل و هي تحمل تجاربا مملوءة بالدم و الويل و نظرة جديدة عن البشر و عالمهم.
و يبدو ان هذه القصة هي النسخة السعيدة من القصص في العراق اليوم, فلك ان ترى كم مرة داعب فك الموت عمرا و خرج منه بسلام هو و اخوته و لم يمت منهم احد.
and they married and lived happily ever after
حدث كل ذلك في الشهر السادس من هذه السنة, ولم أرى عمرا منذ ذلك اليوم حيث ان ظروف اليوم قد فرضت على المرء ان لا يخرج من منطقته الا لأشد الحاجات, واين انا و الأعظمية و ما ادراك ما هي...الا ان صدفة عجيبة جعلتني التقى بعمر في شارع المغرب في نهاية شهر رمضان المبارك المنصرم ...وفي باديء الأمر لم اعرفه, حيث انه قد باع الكية و اشترى بدلها سيارة أوبل زرقاء, و قد حلق المجاهدون المباركون رأسه حيث انهم ضبطوه يعلك متلبسا في وضح النهار في رمضان...ولم اكد اصدق منظره و هو الذي خرج من كل تلك الماسي و العذاب و لايزال في هذا السجن المقفر, بمحياه الهزيل المبتسم دائما بلا اكتراث و هو يضحك على تعبيري المقطب و كانني من كوكب زحل و هو يقول
"ها ولك كواد بعدك عايش"
ملاحظة: انا صديق قريب للفتى الحائر...و هو معجب بكتاباتي و قد ارسلت له قصة عمر التي الح علي ان اكتبها لفترة طويلة الان

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Iraqi Civil War Videogame

Aren't Iraqis tired of dying every day by the dozens due to some politician's bad hair day? while the politicians safely determine their destinies in trivial games behind safe castles? Why don't we have it otherwise for a change?
live your dream, pit all these politicians in a single stage and have them for their life a horrific mess of blood, guts, and democracy.

Initial roster
Versus Screen

*Adnan al-Dilaymi:

Teatime Friendship: Adnan al-Dilyami's head starts banging back and forth, until steam flows out from his tiny little sidara (hat), he and the opponent sit down to drink tea.

I Forgot To Switch My Phone Off: if you're Abu Dera'a, you can execute this special finish on Dilaymi, simply stand to the far off corner, Adnan al-Dilaymi will stand in a defiant tone, saying: "We are Ahul al-Sunna!", Abu Der'a in typical Sadr City crookedness whips out his mobile phone and calls al-Dilaymi's, his phone starts ringing, he's caught off guard, and has little time to shout before his head starts to rock too, eventually he explodes.

al-Hakim (Baqir):
Self-flagellation fatality: X,X,B,B,C (mid) - al-Hakim will recite a maqtal and self-flagellate, eventually exploding, the green words 'Ya Hossein', appears, while Bassim al-Karbalie sings 'Salla Aaleeka Maleek al-Sama'a'.

al-Hakim (Aziz):
Horrible Medusa: At the Snake Pit, al-Hakim is particualry strong, hold all buttons and release them near ur opponent, al-Hakim will uncover his head and will reveal a hair made of snakes. al-Hakim's body begins to flow snakes all through his robe, who eventually engulf the opponent.

Muqtada al-Sadr:
The Hidden Imam Plays Soccer : Muqtada will use al-Mahdi's power to roll into a giant soccer ball that crushes the opponent.

Habibi: Muqtada will assume a speaker stance, after a few incoherent sentences stuck together by the word Habibi, the opponent will die of laughter. Mahdi's army theme song will play afterwards (Yelagoona lo beehum Zod).

Finish the game will all the players to unlock Abu Der'a.

Unlock Solagh: at the title screen, type: "DRILL".
Unlock Mashhadani: Choose Harith al-Dhari, and beat all the Shiite candidates 12 times (not each), return to the title screen, choose the password menu, the shoe icon will be active, click it, and voila, Mahmood al-Mashhadani.
Saddam Hussein has an alternate 'Baathist' costume, find all the underwear in the laundry level to unlock it.

*add-ins will include Donald Rumsfeld, Iyad Allawi and Mahmood Ahmedinijad.
1. Bush's Lair
2. al-Askari Shrines
3. Sadr City
4. Abu Haneefa
5. Saddam's Republican Guard
6. al-Mashhadani's Lair (Iraqi Assembly Hall for the uninitiated) (Chairs are usable)
other fictional arenas.

This is one of many abandoned projects of mine, it's a mod for Mortal Kombat that enables you to play with Iraqi politicians, it got halted because I need either a good artist to draw look-alikes or actors who closely resemble the intended personalities, and I couldn't find any. It'd be cool if someone could give me a hand though...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Guitar Medley: An artifact of the 'good' times

I got a recording of a medley of Iraqi songs I did with Nabil earlier this year, I think May. I'm on vocals and classical rhythm while he's on solo acoustic...What's amazing about it is that it had brought back to me a flood of good memories and nostalgia, it was only May this year!!! Did it really change that much?
This recording was done a month before the graduation party, I had an idea that I would do some sort of mini-concert and I needed a back-up player, this was a time when I thought I could persuade Nabil, a proficient player in his own right, to play with me, I did it with somebody else in the end and it was a great step down from what I had in mind, but some ways, this is a hallmark for one of the best days of my life, if not THE best ever, the graduation day, this was before my friends were killed, before several other things happened that made me hate my country and everything that is in it...
and also, it reminded of a part of myself that I thought was fading, my musical self, it's amazing how a person can change in such a short time, back then, I took myself seriously on the guitar and I was really convinced that I had a passable voice (evidently not, as u can see here -), after repeated tries, I found out that doing any musical project in Iraq surely not work out (not just because of the condition, the audience itself is largely unreceptive and would rather laugh first and throw tomatoes second)...but this short clip, in all its mistakes and amateurish charm, has somehow resurged my interest in guitar as not just something to attract chicas with.

It is a medley of five traditional Iraqi songs, thanks to Ilham al-Madfa'ie, a popular Iraqi artist whose mean feat is transcribing folk songs to western arrangements, they've been done to death on guitar, it's like a Stairway To Heaven for Iraqi musicians, you have to play them at one point or the other: Mohammed Boya Mohammed (Mohammed My Son Mohammed), Fog El Na Khal (Up There We Have A Lover), S'ghayeron (Little One) - perhaps the most sell-out song ever due to the fact that guys like Bashar al-Kaysi have sung it, and Bayn el Asir wil Maghrib (Between the Afternoon & Sunset), I didn't know the lyrics at the time for that last song, and being the naughty person that I am, have replaced them with a high-school rhyme that is lewd in a polite way (The Haji Returned From Mecca).

Nabil sings on S'ghayeron too.... Enjoy

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To Iraq, with love...

"Al Pacino: Okay here are these lines, repeat after me: "I don't want your money, I want your bookie's fucking money."
Matthew McCoughney: "I don't want your money, I want your bookie's money."
Al Pacion: You didn't say fuck. Is that a religious thing?
McCoughney: No, I just don't like saying it.
Pacino: You've a lot to learn. I can't feel your frustration, your pain that you have to share with me. You have to say fuck, man - let me know that you share my confusion."
This is a poem I received yesterday, I made some modifications here and there. I'm not much a poetic spirit so I translated it as I see fit, sometime sticking to meaning but occasionally trying to rhyme, I hope the meaning was kept intact.
p.s. Ladies'd better shy away now.
ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه بي ما شفنا راحة و لا تهنينه
لا شفنه الفرح لا عشنه مثل الناس بس ضيم و قهر و امراض حط بينه
من ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق الديح اولاده ما راد اليحبه و عشك جلاده
نزل بينا كل ضيم الله و عباده و خله الدنيا كلهه تشمت بينه
ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق الما حفظ روحه يومية سرة يزتتنا للوحه
ناس اتفجرت و ناس مذبوحه جن واحد عدل و تشك مصارينه
من ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق, و ك* اخت كاعه جن مركب جبير و ضايع اشراعه
اعمى و كطعوارجلينه و ذراعه لا بيه يكوم لا يزحف على ايدينه
ك* اخت الوطن البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق, وناسه, وترابه ما اريدك بعد تطلبني بطلابه
كاع اصبحت و اليحكمهه سلابه و كلهه تريد منه و ياهو يطينه
ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق شماله و جنوبه لا صورة البقتله و لاله جرجوبه
كل ركعة شبر متخيطه بثوبه صدك يا ربي تقبل هذا تالينه
ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ع*ر ب*يز العراق و طاح حظ الكراد الشيعه و السنة تناطحت و انا*ت بغداد
زمايل مكيفة بتاريخهه و الامجاد مثل النعامة الدافنة راسهه بطينة
من ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت الوطن اللزربته امريكا و كل الدول رادت وصلة من لكيكة
فرح بينا العدو و كلمن رفع بيكه اذا طاح الكوي تكثر سجاجينه
ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
ك* اخت العراق الماله كل ميزة يا ريس يجيه يني*ه من *يزه
لعب ويانه لعبة طم الخريزة كلساعه يضمهه ويضحك علينه
من ك* اخت العراق البيه تربينه
عراق النشامى من جاهم حيدرة كدامه صفكوا عفطوله من ورة
ابنه صدكهم انذبحت معشره بس صدام النه كل يوم خارينه
ك* اخت وجه العراق البيه التربينه
Fuck Iraq, the country in which we were raised
No comfort have we seen, never we were at peace
never like normal people, never we were at ease
A whirlwind of misery, bitterness and disease
So Fuck Iraq, The country of which you are so pleased
Fuck Iraq, and fuck every part of this crap
Like a large wooden boat which has long lost its map
Like a blind man with chopped legs and arms snapped
It cannot stand up, forever falling on its face
so Fuck Iraq, the country in which we were born and raised

Fuck Iraq, fuck its people and its land
I don't want anymore of its plegdes and commands
A people that are and ruled by thieves, bandits and gangs
Nobody lifts his finger, but yet everyone demands
So fuck the country of the two rivers and sand
Fuck Iraq, fuck its north and its south
Not an image has remained and not even a shambling poster
Every inch of its cloth is ragged and wretched
Like a beggar awaiting rain with a dirty, open mouth
Fuck Iraq, the country which never did I doubt

Fuck Iraq and fuck these goddamn Kurds
Sunnis and Shiites fight while Baghdad is burned
Donkeys who bray about history and its mirth
Like an Ostrich which buried its head in the earth
Oh FUCK the country in which we've been given birth

Fuck this country, which America gnarled and ate
And now everybody wants a share of the cake
Raise your glasses, the loot is at stake
And when the strong falls, the prey becomes the snake
Fuck this country in which we were born and raised
Fuck Iraqis, who failed the Imam alive
but after he's long passed, they mourn for their own crime
His son bought their words, they fled in time of might
Only the iron fits us, so let Saddam feed us shite
So please fuck this country may it get out of my sight

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Iraqis: The Biggest Hypocrites

I have been reading articles here and there saying questioning the 'Iraqi' identification, saying that Iraq is really a bastard country formed of three separate Ottoman states in the early 20th century: Basra, Mosul and Baghdad. Such articles struck me as heavily unrealistic, great nations often come out of unholy marriages, case in point, world's current greatest nation, the United States of America. I came into life with a clear cohesion about the 'Iraqi' citizenship.

But after a while I began to understand where these un-Iraqi sentiments came from, with bloodbaths performed by supposedly authentic Iraqis against their own kinsmen, the social fabric is being quickly ripped apart, people first started throwing the worn-out conspiracy theories about how all these are orchestrated by the 'occupation and the jews', but they know deep down inside that it is not so, the fabric is quickly uncovering the great hypocrisy of the Iraqi nationalism. And it is time to say it out loud to the world.

The sense of Iraq's unity is a paradoxical, dare I say nonexistent thing, I used to think of myself as someone who loves his country, but slowly I became to understand that this was an illusion, like the slogan "Raise your head, you're an Iraqi." Exactly what Iraq has done, from the day it was created to the day that I am writing this to you, that should make me proud? We are a generation who practiced hurling out terms like 'the victorous, proud, chivalrous Arab nation' while in reality we suffered major defeats, exactly like the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, which was another disastorous loss where the descendandts of Monkey & Pigs, Jews (Arabic trademark phrase) almost captured age-old Isalmic capital Damascus. We heavily borrow from our ancestors glories to gild our miserable defeats, Iraqi Ba'ath propaganda was never absent from a direct reference to the invention of the wheel, the glories of Nebuchedanezzar, or the linking of the Iran-Iraq war to the 7-th century Qadissiya, etc). We as citizens, would greet our president with cheers and kisses and sworn allegiances, only to shed them the minute we are safe inside our homes. This practice has severely damaged all pride, we are a nation of cowards, tyrants, and morons.

Some people point out to people like us, who left Iraq, saying look at these cowards, we are not cowards, we are realists. The love of the 'country' is a hypcrisy formed by years of living under oppression and refusal to admit defeats. There is nothing that my country has done so far, and I am speaking too for all Arab states, that makes me proud of the fact that I am of its citizens. You can see how this is evident by how people are killing for the sake of sect, religion, their areas, their families, but never their country. Some people, mostly Baathists and their sympathesizers, continue their own bullshit about the 'patriotic Iraqi resistance' and how we are fighting for 'Iraq', shut up, you are fighting for the lost thrones you had. There is no such thing as an Iraqi resistance, and there never, ever was. It was al-Qaeda and Baathists all the way, I don't hate Mes'ood Barazani as much as I hate Saddam Hussein, because the first guy is a motherfucker who's at least frank about it, but the latter, Saddam ibn al kahba abu el gawad Hussein, is a hypocrite who can still make people follow him out of mere cowardice to admit how pathetic we all are, continuing an idiotic routine of hypocritic national identification.

There are some things that could hint of a national identification, for example, when you go outside Iraq and u feel like a total stranger, you try hard to find other Iraqis like you, forgetting how incredibly hateful they were back home. There are bonds that are evident in places like gameshows, soccer matches, but they are also incredibly hypocritical, they don't amount to anything more than that and precisely that, as long as the more effective political hypocrisy is in effect, all other identifications are merely so that we won't be "caught with our pants down" in the face of the world.

This is why many Arabs support Osama bin Laden, because he is a guy who doesn't bullshit around and actually does something, I think Bin Laden is a big criminal and a great danger on Islam because of that precise fact, he's a person who understands Arabs need to stop hypocrisy with action.
Wherever i go in Jordan, I look at phrases like "Jordan First", I watch Egyptian movies where the ultimate cause is "the country of Egypt", but Maybe countries like UAE have something to be proud of, but these are money-bought flourishes that are brittle fronts that will be demolished with a few hammerings here and there. Iraq is particularly a good example of Arab hypocrisy, becuase all its glories are lies while its people degenrated into morons, some people want Saddam back, you monkeys - at least psychologically, do u want to return to a stable, but paradoixcal state of glorifiying Saddam's farts and belches? Some people said this is because of Saddam, well he's gone now and look what have you done to the country? IT IS YOU. YOURSELVES. this is why we must stop the hypocrisy of identifiying with "Iraq" in its current meaning and be brave enough and say how much of a losers we all are. I do not hate my country, but I don't really care for it that much, I'd love to see it flourishing and stable, but I wouldn't die for it, so it's not enough - the difference is that I'm brave enough to say it. I only love my family, my friends, and recently my area (as a post-effect of the sectarain civil war), but I don't really love my country. In fact, I think it's a big shame that people are dying becuase of such a stupid, hypocritical lie. I would cut my arm and hand it to you on a plate if you can find me a single Iraqi who'd die for his own country. There's just no such thing. Islamism is real, Shiism is real, Iranianism is real, al-Qaeda is real, but al-Ba'ath party is the true example of Iraqi patriotism: fake identifications with a myth of glory that is based upon truer past achievements that we had nothing to do with.

I leave you with the words of an Iraqi writer on the Internet which has greatly moved me, I have added a few of my own here and there:

"I write these lines with big sadness and grief because I belong to this country of cowards and tyrants, this is the truth that many of you are trying to hide, how we are people who are divided into many factions, most importantly of which is the one of cowardice and the one of overlords, you are killed by the thousands in your areas, villages, streets, houses, in the middle of your families, you are slaughtered and you cannot even lift a finger in the face of your killers, what a bunch of losers, you see your brothers and sons killed and you scatter like mice trying to protect yourself and shouting slogans in the air, knowning fully well how much of a bullshit are you promoting and that your turn is next, that you will die not of honor, but of shame, when a tyrant comes to the throne you bow to him without a word, which is what you desrve. I am an "Iraqi" like you, I am not a Baathist, not an Islamist, not a Saffavid, not a Persian, not a Shiite, not a Sunni, I am a person who stands up and says it like it is, listen to the truth, you are people who have created new idols for themselves, idols not made of stones like the "Sadr Martyr" who a great deal of people worship now, let a person curse Allah in front of you and you will leave him be, but let him curse Sayyid al-Sadr and you will race for killing him and spilling his blood. Die, Suffer, Move, get kidnapped, burn in vain for you and all you who claim to be Iraqis.
As for the tyrants, who are people who understood how cowards are driven by the same fake wordplay and have adapted to leading them, he who says that Saddam is the tyrant i say to him that a great deal of Iraqis are potential tyrants.
I stand here believing these words until the final moment of my life and I will try to shed this ugly disgusting skin of Iraqism that you are proud of at public but privately shun and spit at until I become of the nothingness of this universe."

To be "hip" (lol) with the times, I will quote an 8th century speech by a famous Iraqi tyrant, al-Hajjaj bin Youssif al-Thaqafi, who is often compared with Saddam, in which he desrcibes Iraqis, the speech is famous and the line : "people of shikak and nifak" (land of division and hypocrisy) is an insult that is used until today, rightfully so - While this speech greatly insults the Great Iraqi People, I think today it applies to all Arabs in general, but particulalry Iraqis:

"O People of Iraq, I see that heads have bloomed and it is time to pick them, and I am their picker. By Allah, It is as if I am looking at the blood between the turbans and beards, By Allah, O People of Iraq, the Caliph Abdul-Malik has looked amongst his leaders, and found me the most bitter and the most severe, so he made me rule over you, O People of Iraq, O People of Shikak and Nifaq, and the worst of Akhlaaq (manners), You have long embroiled in division, and have fallen to the climate of the deception, By God I will smite u by hammers, and beat u like sheep. You are people who were safe and had a plenty of God's gifts, but you rejected the virutes of God, so he unleashed his promise that he promised for all cities upon you. Be moderate, do not lean, obey and cheer me."

"Allah does not change what has befallen people until they change what is in themselves"
- Holy Quran

Friday, December 01, 2006


If Bush is a chimp, then al-Maliki is definitely an Orange-tang. Think about it. I don't believe in the theory of Evolution, but seeing Mr. Bush and al-Maliki tpgether was too strong a point that definitely made me reconsider.

I'm posting more often. I should stop doing this before it gets too much.
Ever since I left Iraq for Jordan, I was feeling a sense of guilt and remote detachment from what I was talking about, I was hoping that I won't be one of these people talking about things far removed from reality on the ground. It's nice to know that today the news came knocking at my doorstep.

Today, Abu al-Mahasin Abo Esraa Dawlat Prime minister Nori Juwad Kamel al-Maliki was about to meet up with George Bush. Hang on while I go get me a banana.

At 5 PM Wedesnday, my sister who was in college couldn't get inside our area, it was barricaded!!! She did manage to return 20 minutes later, but nostalgia almost made me stand up too quickly, what the? I left all checkpoints behind me in that hellhole....curious enough, I dug up a friend and arranged a hangout....
at 7 PM I was out and no sooner than a few streets away that I find a heavy entourage of police surrounding the Four Seasons hotel ; ever since the 2005 Amman explosions, the hotel has put up a 2-man checkpoint at its main entrance, today a memory-raiser Hummer (green, though) was lazily parked while about 10 men were stationed across nearby streets....all the cars parking at the nearby Arab Bank has been evacuated and they effectively cut off the hotel from the outside streets...they allowed traffic to come in at a regulated pace. As I was making my way through when a bus full of 20-policemen came into the hotel. What could be in there? doesn't King Abdullah II has a royal palace zoo for keeping these malicious simians? It could be the press, speculated mom before I left, but it's too much for that in my own opinion...could the Elephant Man Allawi be snoozing there? or maybe shit-grin Azuz? Sheeesh....The thought of al-Hakim being so near sent shivers to my spine.

Picking up my pal, we had to listen for the typical sermon of the valiant Arab hero, the Jordanian taxi-driver, after a nice exchange of the glorious Iraqis and the Arab nations, asked me where do I hail from, I replied 'Adhamiya' and he said after a moment of recognition, "yeah yeah those brave Sunni resistance" he then descended into the usual routine of calling Shi'ites as unbelievers that should be afraid of the 'Saffavids' and saying that how much we ADORE Saddam, we hate Uday because he raped women, etc etc....for the fuck of it, I told him that I was a Shi'ite. He was caught off guard for a minute and then I couldn't stand it and laughed out loud.

There was a rumor, launched by a subtite on hugely unreliable al-Zawraa TV, which has since Saddam's death sentence been following a very vocal pro-Baathist stance, going as far as broadcasting resistance videos, that Abu Der'a, the notorious Sadr City rambo, was killed. But I don't think so. and even so....what good did the death of Zarqawi do anyway?

The city in general was barren, and other hotels, such as the Days Inn, and the Radisson, which were actually attacked during 2005, did not have such security measures.

The great thing about that day though, was the movie...It's been a while since I last saw a movie that totally, totally blew me away. "The Departed" is a new entry into my picky all-time classics, it's already in my favorite gangster movie genre, reminding me a lot of Curtis's LA Confidential, another classic of mine....I never really appreciated Scorcese until now - the ending is one of the most original ever ; the unexpected, unexpected, unexpected climax generated all sorts of reactions from the crowd - the girl curled up next to me let out a gasp....I laughed out loud again! too loud this time though....but most were silent, awed.

Watch it.

Hey...looks like al-Maliki hit Bush with a pipe (Iraqi slang for dumped) for today's dinner date, I don't think it was because he wanted to shave though.

Nice going, Darwin!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Solution #298 : Reanimation

Spring 2005, we stayed the night in a friend's house in Hay al-Jami'a. There were four of us, next day was Friday - For some reason, we decided to go to the Friday prayer, the big problem back then was that I was wearing a Metallica t-shirt, our host, despite being several sizes larger than yours truly, did manage to produce out a shirt from his 'early cum period', sheesh! I didn't have another choice. We went walking, listened to the sermon, and prayed. Not one of us has looked twice on the fact that one of us, Haidar, is Shi'ite. He prayed with his hands down like a good Shi'ite as the sole abnormality in the line of hand-over-hand Sunnis, we did pray at the back, but still.

Looking back...this memory is almost looney in the suggestions it implies, and what maddens me the most even more is that it only happened a year ago, not five or ten years! Today, even thinking of him going out with is out of the question.
A few days earlier, I contacted a Shiite friend of mine, Laith, who lives in Najaf via e-mail, after a few jokes, I winded him into a religious debate we've been having for several months - I have been keenly researching the Sunni-Shiite conflict and was interested to find out what he, the most religious Shiite friend of mine thinks. That day, I asked him whether it was okay for a Shi'ite to pray with Sunnis, he said: "Well, some Shi'ites drink wine." He equated praying with a Sunni with a highly punishable vice.

Today, people like my Laith (who, despite having a computer full of pro-Iran files and prays in quasi-Persian, is one of the people I truly love) is all over the place, and there is nobody doing anything to stop them ; Haidar is just as good a Shi'ite as Laith, in fact, Baathists once broke into Haidar's house and pulled his mother's hair, but he is a great moderate and I still see him as a great example of a model for a perfect co-existent Iraq. With the ghost of civil war materializing ever more, I was almost paralyzed when I remembered this little public praying-together.

When one looks at this chaotic condition of Iraq, it is hard to imagine how exactly had a single regime managed to effectively all this hocus-pocus under one banner. And out of desperation, sometimes one wonders about the idea of restoring that power.

There are many temptations. First, Saddam is perhaps the most psychologically effective weapon in Iraq in terms of stabilization. It is hard to argue against the fact that Saddam, despite his many crimes, has a formidable personality, his figure can inspire the "Patriotic National Resistance (lol)" beyond morale, and he is especially destructive to the psychosis of any good Shi'ite because of a two-fold reason that greatly applies to both the near-history and the far-history/psychology of the situation: Saddam's minions were monstrous when they quelled the 1991 uprising, and most importantly - Shia faith is built upon losing battles to tyrants, subscribed to intense victimization that is kept alive by a cinematic scope - a lot of modern Shiite leaders draw parrels between any unjust ruler to Hussein & Yazid's Karbala, how can you win against the pernnial 'tyrant' figure when even your holiest figures falied? I really think that in terms of at-hand stabilization, nobody can do it like Saddam, the running joke is that: "Saddam once said to prison ward, you know, if they'd let me get back at that chair for one hour I'd whip this country into shape."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. 55 minutes to wash up, shave and wear new clothes, and 5 minutes to appear on TV."

But this is impossible for a great number of reasons:
Saddam's resurrection will be only a temporary band-aid, knowning him, he will greatly entrench Sunnis and completely butcher Shiites beyond suffering, learning his lesson, he will be the USA biggest tool and will not bother them again. Iran, his sworn enemy, may step up to the challenge, but I have the feeling that it cannot really withstand a determined Saddam/USA alliance. The sectarain tensions has heated up considerably, and this will eventually lead to a regional war at some point.
Most importantly, USA will lose face to the entire world, and won't be ever respected again in the same manner.

It's just a quick temp job that won't do the trick and will only lead to negative escalation of the regional conflict. Of course, There is a way of resurrecting part of Saddam's psychological advantage, perhaps by killing him, to eliminate any chance of his return, then reconcilling the remaining Baathists with some promises and installing a regime with Baathist traces that will not abuse Shiites, but uses the same brute force against everyone, with loyalty to Americans alone. So what if we are loyal to America? It's better than being loyal to al-Qaeda, Saddam, or any given Ayatollah - I wanna do the funky dance and eat my junk food, man. an Allawi-led regime could work to this advantage, given that many Iraqis now ironically remember his brief era as the rosy part of the post-invasion period.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The End Is Nigh

This is going to happen sooner than I expected.

Interior minister Jowad al-Boulani (slightly mischievous literal translation is Jowad The Pisser) came out on state-run television today and said that an arrest warrant has been placed on the head of Harith al-Dhari, head of the Muslim Scholars Association.

Wow. First off, al-Dhari represents the topmost 'Sunni' figure in Iraq's political scene, with credibility as powerful as SCIRI's Abdilaziz al-Hakim for Shi'ites. He represents the earlier Sunni stance of all-iraqi-rejects: no to occupation, no to elections, no to governmnets, fuck all - Falluja on your ass. He is incredibly hated by Shi'ites in general, and has been accused of being covertly allied with al-Qaeda, the Wikipedia entry for the Muslim Scholars Association describes it as the 'political face of al-Qaeda in Iraq.'

al-Dhari give his enemies the opportunity they've been dying to get a few days back on al-Arabiya television, he called the Anbar Rescue Council, the recently formed force fending off al-Qaeda in volatile Anbaar governorate a formation of 'weak tribes and bandits', he also said that al-Qaeda is 'a form of resistance, but we do not agree on them killing innocents'.

This is going to flame hell, as a Sunni, I used to love al-Dhari back in 2005 when Badr was running around killing people without anyone to step up to them, he looked strong, determined ; but after a while I got sick of all the sectarain bullshit and decided to hate them all, I must say however that my hatred for al-Dhari is rational, not emotional, this is how we are these days, I have to force myself to hate him, because no matter how hard I try there is a reminder deep down inside that we may lose to the other guys, and it scares me. Forget the "Sunnis and Shiites are united" This is Bullshit, the people who love Iraq as a country are a scared minority living outside the country and doing nothing.
Most Sunnis do love the Muslim Scholars, unlike Saddam, who's only credible with Baathists and opportunists who were livin' it back then, mainstream Sunnis may fall back on old Saddam sometimes because they feel so lonely stranded with Badr and Mahdi's big cahoonas.

What do I feel about al-Dhari's arrest warrant? I'm a minority, a guy who loves his country, not his sect. so my opinion does not entrail nothing, but here it is: Like so many people said about Saddam's execution. It could've felt much better, I would really be happy if they caught al-Dhari, but I would've felt happier if they managed to lay hands on al-Sadr, al-Hakim, Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, Solagh and all the other haters and murderers out there.

With Saddam, the Ba'athist figure, and al-Dhari, the Sunni Muslim figure being chased, the shitstorm prediction may be sooner than u think, hang on to your toilets.

I can really smell it, and to tell you something, I am relieved. Cut the teasing and just get it over with, we are getting sleepy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Iraqi Personalities : Shalash al-Iraqi

Americans keep asking us all the time to be grateful, having given much thought into what exactly are some of the things that we cannot evade but say "thank you" the way a grateful near-gone patient say it to the smug know-it-all doc, and one of the things no two Iraqis (given that they can read) will argue about being a good byproduct of American Invasiliberoccupation of Iraq is that we got to hear from Shalash al-Iraqi.

The importance of Shalash cannot be overstated enough, at its best, Iraqi art and literature have always verged on a quasi-real ambience that felt borrowed from an unreal, Shakespearean sketch of heroes and villains, it have worsened substantially under the totalitarain years by the added burden of forced tribute to the king - who often wrote novels for farts, what little post-relative war drama that managed to escape fake patriotism failed to reflect a true daring vision of life in an Iraqi street, and Iraqis lost interest following up such laughably unrealistic creations that have simply no relationship to day-to-day motivations of Iraqis; merely pretentious, poseur hambala (one can only point at the horribly languid dramas that showed during Ramadhan such as the laughable parallel-universe "Love Militia".

And out of all this wrecakge of theatrical wannabes and detached artistic indulgences came a voice so real in its simplicity that lights a candle of hope for all Iraqis every morning that he chooses to write. Since Septembr 25, 2005 - Shalash started to publish articles in well-known Iraqi website, the first one or two articles were nondescript political commentary without any particular course, but soon Shalash began to craft satirical masterpieces about life in now-legendary Sadr City slums, his articles soon gained a large following and is heralded today as perhaps the most read Iraqi writer today. For the Western world, it is best to understand the impact of Shalash al-Iraqi by comparing him to the influence of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when it first hit out - it uses the language of the street to uncover social diseases with unflinching blatancy, there are actually many factors as to why Shalash is such a revered writer, first - quite simply, Iraqis need black humor as a pscyhological defense with urgent demand ; nothing practical seems to work and while we can't fix it, we might as well use the defense of the joke, like the small nourishement of an anti-Saddam joke back in the relatively 'good' days of the moustached tyrant. Second, Shalash manages to hit on all the rights strings that defines a typical Iraqi in a time where it's very hard to find a good depiction of that: From his very name 'Shalash', the image he conveys is of a simple, downtrodden man who looks at the follies of the world at large and cannot do anything about it, a straight man who revers holy figures but is not particularly religious, aware of his sect without it being a problem that transcends his nationality. Politically, Shalash is not biased toward any particular group, he has one day been honored by the government for that day's article which made fun of 'the enemies of the state' only to be severely threatened for the next day's article, like most Iraqis, Shalash is especially spiteful towards all Iraqi politicians and generals and has only apathy for Americans.

Shalash is a great study into the Iraqi psyche.

And, he is so funny.

Shalash is one of the few writers that can make me fall out of my chair in surprised laughter, it is hard to convey to you how exactly he does it and how well he does it, becuase the charm lies in how his words dance together in their streetwise charm - it might be important to notice that the usual written word is Classical Arabic, which further creates a sense of detachment from an Iraqi's everyday experience, when you you open an Arabic novel, you are teleported into a different world. Shalash keeps you firmly entrenched in your mundane surroundings while making their otherwise dull presence shine with gleeful charm. Most importantly Shalash makes you proud of the fact that you are Iraqi, that your culture can be so funny, can be so touching, he brings back a piece of importance and glory to this suffering land that has become largely dependent on past days' glories. Shalsh isn't just a talented talker with the commitment of transcribing his words to paper, he is a crafted, encyclopediac writer who is skilled with all the ins and outs of storytelling - Taking Sadr City as a starting point, Shalash creates a dynamic universe to set his stories in: while not fictional by any means, Shalash utilizes an array of characters who are often comical exaggerations to create an enjoyable experience that carries his idea forward, characters such as fan-favorite Khanjaar, (literally translates as dagger), an ignorant, flamboyant person with who always is where the money at, a somewhat accurate comic sketch of the mentality of people in the Mahdi's Army or Nowira, wife of Ghurab (Enlightened, wife of Crow): the woman who knows all the secrets and scandals of the street or many others, Shalash has managed to provide a consistent string of classics until February of 2006, where his tone has notoriously changed - his writings became less frequent and when he did actually write, his articles lacked his quick down-to-earth wit and were instead formless ravings about how bad it is with machinegun curses at most of the Iraqi politicians, a tactic far removed from Shalash's masterful humilitation of them in his earlier articles, Zeyad said that one of his friends has been killed, but I have no evidence of this anywhere. However, as of late - Shalash seems to be recovering and is writing more regularly, his recent writings seem to indicate that he has a newfound hunger and is recuperating, it is still not as good as his older ones, and some people doubt that it comes from the same person, but we may now be blinded by the weight of expectation or it needs some time to sink in.

Little is known about Shalash's true identity for reasons understood, judging from his knowledge about Sadr City it is safe to say that he has lived there for some time, but it is doubtful whether he continues to live there now.


Shalash's pieces sometimes are just for the fun of it, but more often than not they are allegories that might be missed if u don't look close enough, I have chosen this piece because its brilliance lies not in its language but in the idea, it is one of the few pieces which Shalash has written largely in Classical Arabic.


16 October 2005

The tale of Jabir and Mahdi begins in 1982, when comrade Jabir, a Baath official in one of al-Thawra* city's districts insisted to pry Mahdi from the arms of his mother and two orphaned sisters to enscript him in the ranks of the People's Army to contribute in the war against the "Fire-worshipping Iranian" enemy.

Mahdi tried and tried to evade his fate by changing the courses and timings of his comings and goings between his home and his workplace at "al-Jawadain bakery shop", but he finally fell into the trap, while Mahdi was going to work in an early morning hour Jabir finally managed to trap him and to force him inside the section's car. Mahdi's tears and beggings did not soften the heart of comrade Jabir nor his fellow comrades, and when Mahdi gave up on it, He only asked for a chance to inform his sick mother, who has nobody to support her but him, but the Party taught Jabir to only follow the prinicples. The car drove on and Mahdi found himself in a training camp away from his mother's eager heart, who awaited him duly on the doorstep until late night when she knew for sure that he fell into comrade Jabir's vile hands. "What I feared has come true" she said to herself and sobbed heartfully. The next day, she called upon Fatima, her eldest daughter, to show her the way to the comrade's house, which is normally called 'The official's house', a weak hand knocked on the door, and comrade Jabir opened it and explained to her with courtesy that the country needs men and out of his respect for Mahdi's neighboring of him he will ask for someone to take care of him, adding that it's "only a matter of months". when Mahdi's mother explained in between tearful shrieks their hard living conditions "By the Abaas, we do not have a lump of bread", comrade Jabir curtly said that "The country is passing through a difficult historic stage and we must sacrifie the expensive and the precious for the eyes of Abu Oday*, this is what men are destined for."

In the first attack he was flung into, Mahdi was captured in the famous 'al-Shoosh' battle, to find himself in a camp on the Soviet-Iranian borders where he lived his youth as a prisoner facing extremely difficult conditions: "We ate very few rice and bread, never meat, and we tried to cut our way through ice which was a meter thick, by our plates, hearing nothing of the outside world and on top of that...." Such a thing was normally heard from Mahdi upon his return.

In 1987, one of the most bizarre, if not nightmarish, things happened, as during a visit of a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) to the prison camps to issue a religious seminar, a man by the name of Fadhil who wore a turban and was close to al-Hakim's family which owns the council, this man was accompanied by four aides, the foremost of them was, lo and behold, comrade Jabir, yes, comrade Jabir who also was captured in 1985 and announced his repention, becoming one of the repentors who formed the Badr Brigade.. Madhi felt the earth shaking below him seeing that the heavens has unleashed Jabir upon him in his homeland and now to this forgotten spot of the earth....oh my god, what is going on!! Mahdi said this while his eyes shot to the sky. Comrade Jabir took a few steps towards Mahdi after having recognized him, he said: "God has sent me as mercy to you, oh Mahdi, how much have you changed...look at the white enveloping your hair, what ghost do I see? Are you really Mahdi, my longtime neighbour, do not lose hope, God will forgive you, come, I shall register your name with one of the repenters to be one of the heores of Badr Brigade, under the banner of Imam Khomeini may God extend his presence, we shall free Iraq from the unbelieving tyrant Saddam may God curse him."

Mahdi took a long look at Jabir's equally long beard and his new appearance, and he replayed in his head the image of this wolf when he spoke about principles and the Qadissiya* of Saddam, and the banner of the hero of national liberation, valiant comrade Saddam Hussein (May Allah bless him and keep him)." He regained what might he has and said: "Listen Comrade Jabir....Hasn't it been you who has brought me here? Hasn't it been you who ruined my life? What do u want more of me?! Have you not prevented my mother from my sight and left my sisters shelterless? Ok, I forgive you for all of this...but if you want to make a traitor out of me then by God that I will not the end of days you want to make me an agent....of what are you made? There an official and here an official, what the hell are you?!"

Jabir smiled slyly and replied quitely to his poor prey: "Listen Mahdi, you are not one who is of use and you must have believed yourself, you must know that I am a leading person, here, there or in Mars. God created me a leader, what can I do? It's not in my hand...I'll give you a week to think this through and after this you know what can be done to dirty, unbelieving Baathist!" Mahdi held himself and restrained a spit that urged to let go, he turned his face away from this low agent and withdrew inside his cage with tears raining from his eyes.

A week later, comrade Jabir would host daily torture parties for Saddamist Mahdi, as he liked to call him, torture parties that Mahdi could not fully describe, because the minute he remembers them his eyes swell with tears, his face goes pale and his temperature goes up, only to sweat and to shy away from those present.. Days passed, the war was over and Mahdi returns to find that his mother has passed away after losing her sight in sadness for his departure, while his thin sisters are living on the aids of neighbors and the charity of relatives...Mahdi depended on God and began his life anew in the bakery shop during the horrible years of economic blockade....

Days yet again passed, Saddam's regime collapsed and things got messy. Today, in the constitutional referrendum center, which Mahdi decided to vote yes for, he entered with his elderly composure, curved back and hesitant steps...slowly he headed towards the record employees, and suddenly his eyes fell upon two eyes that were watching him between a number of Badrist ring-yielding bearded men who were watching the center, his soul shrank and he almost fell face flat on the floor when Jabir called loudly:

"Mahdi! Lak* Mahdi is that you? What brings you here?!"

Mahdi grunted a near-dead yes that even he could barely hear.

"What will you vote for, ya* Baathi?"

"Yes. I will vote a yes and if you would like you can write it for me."

"Ah ya Mahdi the Baathi, what did you refuse to repent and spent your years rotting in cages, why did you not believe me when I said that I am a natural-born leader and you are an insect, but an insect that cannot make heads from tails."

Mahdi stared into the face of his perennial tormentor and said: "You are a traitor....a natural-born traitor." Mahdi said that sentence and disappeared.


*: Thwra: Sadr City's name before Saddam's time, in which it was named Saddam City (people still called it by its original name, Thawra, in their normal conversation, which is its original name, literaly meaning Revolution)

Qadissiya: Baath term for the Iraq-Iran war, allegroy to the historic Battle of Qadissiya, during which Arabs conquered Iraq from Persians

Lak: Iraqi preposition, a rugged form of calling someone that can be either offensive or ruggedly friendly. it's short for 'Wayl Lak', which means "A plague be upon you"

Ya: Arabic preposition, meaning 'O', as in 'O Lord'.

The way I see it, this story has a simple moral and a more composed one, the first of which is the direct criticism of SCIRI and people who always seek to rule over others - and the other is an allegory to Iraqis and their rulers during the course of several reigns, as Jabir becomes the complete shell for the cruel Iraqi ruler and Mahdi is the suffering citizen. Note that while the narrative is in classical Arabic, all dialogue between characters is rendered in slang, except the first speech given by Jabir when he repents, to add a religious and authoritative weight to it which is quickly countered by his fact-sheet style second speech.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam's Sentence

Baghdad, Iraq - Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for his role in the death of 184 Shiites in al-Dijail case today, ending a long courtroom session that witnessed the death of several people involved in the ordeal more than one year from the date the whole facade started.

Other sentences included two other deaths for notorious courtdroom drama bad boy Ibrahim Barazan al-Tikriti (Abu Uday's half-bro) and Awad al-Bandar, head of the Revolution's Court. A life sentence plus some other sentences to be carried out in death for Taha Yassin Ramadhan, and other prison sentences (7, 15) for three other nameless dudes, and one clearance.

Asked about his performance on the trial, Saddam Hussein said that he could've done a lot better and that his performance sounded robotic and uneven, no where near his accolade-earning performances in earlier seasons, while we all respect the great multiple-award winning figure for his fiery and inspirational performances earlier on, he felt like speaking monolgues on cue even while brandishing his Quran, he said that he will be studying performances of Jack Nicholsons in 'A Few Good Men' and Al Pacino's 'Scent of A Woman' and 'And Justice for All' for inspiration for his next performances, which is unlikely that there ever will be - supporting actors like Taha Yassin Ramadhan and Awad Fadhil al-Bandar trotted out usual fares in their comfortable propaganda characters, especially chuckleworthy was the brittle parting speech of Ramadhan, in which he proclaimed: "I know that this court cannot keep me alive nor will it terminates me, but it is only in the will of God and the Mujahideen." He himself looked bored by the drone of such familiar words, they did not even make sense on his tribal, criminal face. This is always bad for actors, and it is rumored that Ramadhan might lose his contract if he keeps up these muddy performances.
Co-star Barazan al-Tikiriti however remained as controversial as ever, ending his role in a surprise twist of calm deadpan delivery: 'Congratulations.', retaining his unpredictable flavor. He later said that this was an improvisation: "I had my lines memorized, but while the cameras were rolling I felt that a silent, brooding look added menace and intrigute to a character often plagued with neurosis, he chuckled in the make-up room.

While the script was predictable to a great degree, the writers did an especially nice job by some neat touches here and there, there was an ingenious scene where Saddam Hussein, upon hearing his death sentence, shouted: "Allahu Akbar", and a watcher above also said the exact same words - except Saddam said it in protest of the court's injustice while the wather applauded that court's integrity....such an ironic and fascinating display. I also liked the bit where they kick out former US attorney Ramsey Clark in a show of the court's independence and Iraqi spirits. It's very cool to see a bald Kurd kick out a Ramsey Clark (played by Jon Voight).

The director does an absoluetly brilliant job as always, the visuals are slick and Saddam's make-up is absolutely spot-on, every camera captures a sublte nuance and the special effects are downright spectacular. Brilliant.

Most of the Iraqis I've prodded felt oblivious to what could happen to Saddam's neck, a Sunni cousin of mine by the name of Omar in Ghazaliya said: 'To the hell', while another Sunni cousin of mine in Egypt said: 'To the heck." I for one, felt happy, and congratulated everyone I saw. While having justice done to the tyrant would have been so much better if it were not for the sad state of Iraq today, I only felt good today because this could actually achieve good effects on the ground - I think that the minute Saddam is executed many of the Baathists would stop and reconsider what they are fighting for, the Iraqi Baath party always will be a personality cult. Hell may break loose for the next couple of days but remember, we are already in hell, so bring it on.
Jordanians however looked upon the matter from the average benign way Arabs look upon Saddam, a brave valiant hero who stood up against America.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Iraqi Konfused Kid Happy Eid bonuses

Happy Eid everyone, here is a tribute for the four friends who were killed in a roadside explosion week before their graduation, I talked about them in the 6/11 post. RIP.

In case you were curious how do I sound like talking English, here is me being interviewed by the BBC regarding my post on the Baghdad Treasure blog, enjoy

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mecca Document? Iraqis choose Mahdi's Army

I watched the Mecca PR stunt yesterday, a dazzling feast that has plenty of action and romance, with dazzling special effects, I especially loved the way they made them all sit with the holy Kaaba visible from the window with people circling it, the fatwa is supposed to be the religious s be-all end-all viewpoint on the sect-fueled war that is going on between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, it was supported by all the big players - Read about it in details here, if you want

In the conference that was broadcast live, a table was shown, Ahmed Abdilghaffour al-Samarrie, the Sunni endowment head, in my opinion a nice harmless guy who's just about as clueless about this as any, and a SCIRI representative, approprietly frowny and white-bearded like a Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer fashion fan, sat together and told knock-knock jokes about Sunni-Shiite being as much friendly to each other as teddybears and that their faith is in the essence the same, brilliantly clad in symbolic black & white turbans as a cinematic afterthought, after the blah-blahs faded, they gave space for reporters to ask them questions, this was what they asked them, the actual exchange was much more graceful, but luckily I had my Bullshit Filter on:

REPORTER 1: Do you have any mechanism for implementing your edict on the ground? (actual question was more decorated than this)
KHOSH-WALAD SAMARRIE 1: blah-blah yaddad yadda peace and prosperity, but we hope that Iraqis are naturally good and this is the last night of Ramadhan.
REPORTER 2: Do you have any method by which you can apply your fatwa in Iraq?
FROWNY-JALAL TURBAN 2: wiggilie-wiggilie peace humpty dumpty love sumbul bulaybul dumbk dunaibuk understanding.
REPORTER 3: Excuse me, but on terms of a practical appreciation of your document, do you expect that it will be endorsed and applied (same question reworded)
THE COORDINATING GUY IN THE MIDDLE: All right buddy, you asked for it, this is the top religious clergy here, we tell you how in which direction to shit and how many papers you use to wipe your arse, we are here to say that blood is forbidden, it is up for the Iraqis, the natural loving and peaceful nation to endorse it, if they do not - we have made ourselves clear on the matter.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Shiites favor al-Mahdi's army Read it, it's very nice, and very honest.

Can you blame the Iraqi Shiites? I do not. They tell the truth, this is not a simple ideological struggle that can be waived aside by the whiff of a religious clergy's ruminations, even Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is waning, after being used by UIA as an advertising campaign to win the elections. Anyone who calls for peace is shut-up by the realities of life as it is, everybody is so afraid of each other, I remember when Zarqawi died and I went to the mosque to listen to the Friday speech in an Adhamiya mosque, the Imam was practically crying! Nobody wants militas or Zarqawi, but everybody is so afraid of the other now, there is no trust.
Unless the National Reconcillation gimmick targets those who you should really make up your peace with, the blood-soaked Baathists, the backbone of the insurgency, who had their homes and money but now lost it all and are giving Iraqis and Americans a hard time about it, it will be fruitless. al-Qaeda is worthless without their straetgic allies the Baathists, who adopted a more Islamic veil to fit in with the times and bring us all to this sectarain lollapalooza. Shiite militas atrocities are infintely more horrific, but you have no right to blame them when you are part of the blame, get real. In Sadr City, Abu Der'a is a national hero, to quote Abdilaziz al-Hakim's 12 year old son. These murderers will lose their support only when you negotiate with the Baathists.
Ayad Jamal al-Din, my only favorite politicain (aside from stand-up comedian parliament speaker Mahmood al-Mashhadani) says: "I support dialogue with those who killed Iraqis, you see, most of the insurgents attacks these days are 95% targeting Iraqis, and 5% targeting Americans, reminding them that we, the Baathists, were your loved ones before and we can stir shit up if u ignore us - these are not necessarily terrorists in the regime time but they had homes, positions, and gains and now these were all stripped and they were even persecuted, so it is only natural that they resort to violence. It is like a young stubborn child who's being kicked out by his mother and is starting to throw rocks at the house. Unless you convince them, there is no hope behind it all."

PEOPLE ARE AFRAID. and they resort to their sectarian identity because they ARE AFRAID, not because they are hateful beings.
KID (leaving the mosque's prayer with Habib, his neighbor): Man, that speech was one disgusting peace of crap!
HABIB: Come on man, now they can slaughter us like sheep! and we can't do anything about it! If they killed one, we could've killed a hundred! it's like Saddam, he was bad but when he left everyone missed him.


"Be careful of the Wahhabis!" said the father in Sadr City to his departing 8-year-old son
"I just want him to know whom to hate."


You may laugh and say look at these nomadic Arabs slicing each other's heads off like there's no tomorrow, but please try to understand...this is no joke...

We are dying? Do you understand....we are dying...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Iraqi Bloggers Discuss Lancet Study, Iraq The Model

Debate summarized by Konfused Kid

In a first-of-its-kind event, a sizable number of Iraqi bloggers sat down together and discussed the recent Lancet study, which states that more than 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion and its ensuing chaos.

However, the event was not a direct discussion of the study itself, what caused the commotion was an especially volatile post of prominent Iraqi blogger IRAQ THE MODEL in response to the Lancet study. ITM called the Lancet: [a bunch of] lies, I'm talking here about those researchers who used the transparency and open doors of the new Iraq to come and count the drops of blood we shed. when they did not find the death they wanted to see on the ground, they faked it on paper! This is an insult to every man, woman and child who lost their lives.Let those fools know that nothing will stop us from walking this road and nothing will stop our friends and allies from helping us reach safe shores."
The discussion started when furious blogger Konfused Kid sent a mass e-mail to a sizable group of Iraqi bloggers, demanding that they give their opinions about the general viewpoint and direction of Iraq The Model in general, outlined in this post. Kid said that: "they [ITM] are just an inbred propaganda machine, if this is not crossing the line, then I don't know what is....", Kid accused Iraq The Model for being "an example of the mentality that currently prevails the Green Zone, nervous Iraqis who just want to make a few bucks by catering to an audience and telling them what they want to hear"

He also posted a more expanded reponse on his blog.
His letter was met by a series of emails, carrying mixed responses. Most of which however, seemed to agree, with various degrees of enthusiasm:

Miraj said that: "he wants to follow other Iraqi bloggers to US and what is better than sucking up to the Americans."

Baghdad Treasue: "I wish I could fly from America back to Iraq just to show him what being a tool to the white house means. He is just a shame."

El Delilah : "He could have made things simple just by posting a picture of himself licking a pair of bloody-muddy timberlands shiny."

El Delilah also posted a vicious criticism of ITM on her own blog

"Traitors like ITM get a voice because people like us lose ours in the squabbling. this is not about democracy and it is not about freedom of speech. Look up social responsibility theory in mass communications. When someone publishes something that does the mass public harm then that person has forfeited the right to freedom of speech."

He also have written a short post about the Lancet study

IRAQI SCREEN: "I am sure they are dying for an asylum in USA to be close to their dear Bush. Did they ever read about Haditha masscre, Ishaqi and Falluja?"
KHALID JARRAR: "Being a traitor is not an allowed option, and should not be legitimized by ranting about freedom of speech, I swear reading them is just like reading a white house statements."
NAJMA: "ITM makes most of us angry, yet most of the people who read' em almost worship their opinions"
SALAM ADIL: My main point was that they are in danger of growing up to be like the Baathist apologist that they so despise. Spinning wild stories just to make their supporters feel good.

Salam Adil also wrote a feature about all the Iraqi blog posts about the Lancet survery on his regular GlobalVoices feature, including some posts by fellow bloggers who did not contribute to this discussion.

24 STEPS TO LIBERTY: "You [ITM] said it is a shame to have such a study? A shame to count the sacrifices Iraqis have to make along the way to a better future? Why have you counted Saddam's victims then? Why you, and your kind of anti-rational dialogue people, have endless statistics numbering Saddam's horrible crimes? Isn't a shame?"

ANARKI13: "ITM should pick their fights a bit better, and one should never argue with mathematics.this was not their most inflammatory post, but it does hit on some really strained nerves"

MAJED: "this [post] is sick! I disagree with the idea that this nonsense could be marked as freedom of speech"

LORD: "we must not let people like ITM and other opologists have thier way. we must realize the truth, we must uncover thier lies, we must uncover the crimes thier masters had done to our people. everybody seemd to forget about what this study was really about, which is humane beings."

IRAQI SIGNOR: "I didn't quite understand what was so bad about it. However, afte reading between the lines, which I should have done from the beginning, I saw the underlying message of blunt support for the occupation of Iraq. How shameful."

Iraqi Signor also published a long post about the study on his own blog

RAED JARRAR: "I wonder what readers will think of the fact that ITM sounds like a holocaust denier. After all, counting the holocaust casualties was based on a similar methodology to that used by this latest Iraq casualties report."

WHITE ROSE: "I think [they] seem to be living on a different planet not to notice the killings, disappearances, kidnappings, bodies burnt & disposed of in rivers or thrown collectively in other areas and garbage dumps, this is not what a supposed "liberated country" should be going through. We the "liberated" must not be dying this way anymore, since Saddam, the cause of all our misery & violent deaths, is not an issue anymore. "

IRAQI THOUGHTS "One has to just look at the comments section of ITM and see why they write the way they do.... its a blog written to be read for non-Iraqis, I am proud to say my blog was removed from their links section, a lot of us USED to read ITM, but its bull***t now, lets stop hating on them, Just stop reading it if you want"

however, some people did not voice their objection quite as soundly:

IHATH : "I think there are enough people beating up on each other in Iraq without the need of us adding to it. I myself stopped reading ITM long time ago, I can predict what theywill say on any issue before going to their blog. Enough said."

She also wrote a characterisitcally strange post on her personal blog

HALA_S: "I did not like ITM post at all, I have to agree with you all that it was too much to take.However ITM has a lot of virtues as well. They worked hard and constantly reported on daily issues in Iraq for a long time. Probably they are the onlyones who never took a break, also they never expressed any secterian remark which is something most of us do."

NEUROTIC WIFE: I too was very pained when I read ITM's post regarding their dispute of Iraqi killings. It did boil my blood , but I cant say that I dislike ITM, cuz I dont. They have interesting point of views, and sometimes they are very informative."
She also wrote a post on her personal blog .

and ZAPPY: "a blog belongs to its owner, he can say whatever he likes, if hes got a comment link then comment, else leave the matter alone. don't take this thing too personal, you disagreed with the ITM's, so do I and a number of other bloggers, so what?"

NABIL: "What is this all about? Why don't u leave the guy alone, he's nuts anyway..."

Several high-profile bloggers also participated in the discussion, godfather of Iraqi blogs SALAM PAX expressed interest in writing something in response to the ITM, but did not add further to the point, while ZEYAD, who had earlier written about the study, also provided comments but they were not related to the debate directly, while RIVERBEND watched the debate silently, but perhaps as an indirect response she decided to break her 2 and a half months hiatus to post about the study.
Fellow bloggers MIXMAX and FAYROUZ, did not participate directly in the debate, but have posted about the study on their own respective blogs.

There were, however, a few who had an entirely different opinion:

SOONI: "ITM is one of the most respectable Iraqi blogs, although I disagree with them in what they say sometimes. The problem is never been with the American presence in Iraq the real problem is with Iraqis themselves they keep looking for new ways and reasons to kill each other"

IRAQ PUNDIT : "I was taken aback by ITM's posting. I believe they are nice guys who have somehow allowed themselves to write something bizarre."

Iraq Pundit also wrote an issue about the study and the debate on his own blog.

NIBRAAS KAZIMI: "ITM is a true patriotic blog"

NO PAIN NO GAIN: " I believe they mean that [the deaths] are incomparable to the death that Saddam killed, the [current] fear and these deaths that are occurring everyday has [a chance of a positive] outcome. I believe the ITM are trying to look at the bright side of matters in Iraq. They want to see that they are still fighting for a good hope...a hope that is fading among Iraqis and they dont want to let that go."

While knowning that this debate was taking place, IRAQ THE MODEL moderators have not responded in any direct way, they simply removed Konfused Kid's name from their blog-index and they posted something that may be an implicit reply that supplemented their Lancet post. They followed that by removing names of some other bloggers who participated in the debate.

FOOTNOTE BY KID: I am really proud of all that has happened, this is the first time something of this magnitude has happened, I hope this would be the start of a more active Iraqi blogger community, something which a lot of people has been voicing need for since a long time.