Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Battle Of Adhamiya, Live as LIVE can be

I have read so many contradictory and strange reports on the events that summarized the Battle of Adhamiya, between the good people of Adhamiya and the notorious Interior ministry forces, bascially, everybody down there really knows what's going on, so here's how I, until very recently a resident of this glorious area, interpret what happened in the past tragic couple of days.
First off, this isn't the first time that such a thing had happened in Adhamiya, the very same thing, on a smaller scale, was tried last month, and has been happening everyday in short bursts, read my post (The Day I Tried To Go Home), two posts before this one.

On the night of Mahmood Al-Hashimi's death (THURSDAY, Apr 13), clashes in Adhamiya were ferocious, it is said that the usual young dudes were returned home and only the tough guys, the ones with the BKCs and RPGs, were in the zone.

Monday, April 17 2006
TIME : 2 am

I was at my room, pretending to read, except I just bought myself an amplifier for my electric and was trying to scare the bejesus out of my grandparents sleeping below, Aerosmith was banging hard on my setlist so when the fas hit the ras (Iraqi antonym for fit hit the shan) I didn't know.
Hell was loose outside, all sorts of variations on the word Boom could be heard from all sorts of directions, I shrugged, in our side of the Earth, rat-a-tats at night were the oh-so-mundane lullaby of the bedtime story, they usually subsided after 10 or 15 minutes, probably some wise-asses Shiite back-in-blacks trying to take over the nearest mosque they could get at in the Sunni monster of Adhamiya, or like last time when a dude of the locally set-up watch teams accidentally mistook an American hummer for Interior forces and lashed out, intiating an accidental firefight that lasted for 30 minutes, only this time, it didn't break down.

As time went on, things only got worse and worse, the explosions became less monotonus and more scary, and for the first time in many moons, me, the careless, bohemian 21-year-old guitarist started to feel the pangs of fear, this was different, these goddamn Interior forces, why just couldn't they let us be...

I washed myself at 4 am and tried to pray, from far off, explosions stopped for a minute, triumpahnt cries of 'Allah Akbaar' were heard before the explosions barked back in retort. The event gave me a very uneasy feeling, what WAS going on out there?

I went to sleep.
I woke up at 6:30 am, half an hour before our Kia arrives to take me to college, Abu Esmail was up, as usual, but what was unusual was that the explosions outside did not die down.

This was bad, the room was hot, and I woke up in a pool of sweat, it was one of the few times when I felt an unbearable force of gravity pushing me to the ground and I felt that if only I could just get out of my clothes, my body, and just be free of all this terrible mess, of this inexplicable country, if God could only fleetingly transform me into an unimportant bird that could fly high in the sky singing songs about summer and meadows, as if in some false sugarcandy musical.
Oh my god, Oh my god.
I called the Line Driver, who said that he ain't coming and that All Adhamiya is sealed off.
Sure, I said, how can u come?
I cursed under my breath, took off my half-worn college clothes and slept semi-naked, Abu Esmail was still up.


I woke up at 2:30 pm, I heard nothing and I grudglingly I did some few chores before going outside to sniff out some news, Habeeb, my favorite naive neighbor told me that yesterday only five of our guys were killed, two of which were killed by 'friendly fire' or what he cheekily called 'own goal', of the Interior forces, he couldn't say, there were dozens dead ....

Those sons of bitches, they had it coming...
The people of Adhamiya are known for a strong anti-occupation stance, Adhamiya was named because of the Abu Haneefa mosque, otherwise known as Al-Imam Al-Adham (The Greatest Imam) hence the Adham in Adhamiya, the mosque ranks in importance as that of its Shiite counterpart in Kadhimiya, Imam Mosa Al Kadhum's. for these reasons, it is sometimes identified as the leading Sunni territory in Baghdad, in as much as Sadr city is THE shiite region.
Sectarian Badr/Interior forces have been responsible for the deaths of many good men of the area, such as the aforementioned Haji Amir which I talked about...
According to (Arabic), which is so far the same site which told the events as we saw them on ground, about 2 am yesterday, a force of the Interior ministry backed up by militias in civil uniform demanded to enter the area for search operations, since any search operation was prohibited after curfew (11 pm), and the force was not backed up by any joint American coalition forces as instructed by the Interior/Defense ministry directives, the local watchteams refused their entry, clashes erupted soon afterwards... preliminary counts indicate that six vehicles of the Interior commandos were destroyed with its crew and that bodies filled up the aptly-named Omar street.

By the end of the day, I called my Shiite college friend, who told me that life outside was pretty normal and that everyone, except those whose homes are in Adhamiya, have attended seminars. His talk seemed very alien to me at the moment, as if speaking from another planet, I found normalcy irrelevant, he tried to talk me up about the graduation party but I almost wanted to slam the phone in his face, where the fuck are we and where are you? it was weird because normally I didn't give a damn.

Pretty soon, the day ended and the night came, I stayed up waiting, 2 am, 3 am, 4am
oh well, I slept it and called it a day.


I woke up at 6:22 am, precisely so because the Alarm clock was mad and furious at me, I woke it up angrily hoping for all that noise to stop, I shut off the alarm,
it didn't stop.

the noise were outside, this time 3 times stronger than yesterday, I didn't even bother to call my line driver. the gunshots and explosions were literally over the top of our heads, calls from anxious relatives came rattling and local people with AK-47s were running in the streets, the mosque gave away a customary Muslim war chant : Allah Akabar , Allah Akabar , La Ilah Ila Allah....
some reports said that gunmen banged on doors and demanded young men to defend the area, nothing of the sort happened in our part of the town. Habeeb and his brother stood outside at the rooftop with their guns ready, much as we did in the days following the Feb.22 Samarra mosque catastrophe. I wished I could participate, but my parents have got rid of all the guns.

My love for my country, incongruent but always there, have focused now on my love for the people of my area, this was one of the dangers of sectarian get-togethers, my grandma, TA'IFFIYA, cursed Shiites on her every passing-by that day, and I don't blame her considering the trauma we've been suffering her for her emotion, wrong and politically incorrect as it may be.
As for the interference of the army in containig the crisis, a relative called and said that the National Guard people were just 'standing there shooting up in the air' while the fight rang on elsewhere.
American forces also joined in, siding up with the Interior forces, I really don't know about this one, I'll ask my pals later today.

Cursing, I slept again at 10 am, woke up at 3 and found that the noise has subsided thankfully, I hurried to Habeeb, we sat together talking girls for a while before his uncle came, telling us of the Interior forces commando who was lain dead at the head of our street for 3 hours...

The fight, as always, took place in the approprietly titled Omar street, as well as the Ras Al Hawash areas nearing the police center.

Fights were rampant around Baghdad college perimeter as well.

That afternoon, My grandparents told me that fliers were thrown in which 'Shiites' threatened to kill or arrest all the youths of Adhamiya, and said that the place have become unsafe for me and they told me that I'd better do the moving out which I've been planning for several months now today.

I quickly hurled up a few items of mine into a taxi and hauled ass, this was 5 pm.
the area was mostly empty, in Kamm street, Iraqi army forces set up checkpoints and began inspecting cars, we left there for my other grandma's house in an area that shall remain unknown.

Today, I called my grandma TA'IFFIYA to see how she was doing, she said things were fine and people at Abu Haneefa mosque gathered : National Guard officials, Msulim Scholars and Interior forces representatives settled to solve the issue, but said that there were rumors of things loose still, I told her I wanted to come back and pick up a few things and she approved this but instructed me to be careful.

I took up a taxi again and as soon as we reached the place I felt a sense of wondrous, wondrous pride of the people of my area, goddamit, we are strong, word on the street that something as big as 400 Interior forces members were killed.

Look at me, all sectarian and igrnoant in this post, but what can u do when hell's split asunder, u run for people who look like you, I'm sorry to say this, but the chances of any average Iraqi Joe considering things in non-sectarian terms, be it the people he meets or the subliminals given off by the color of his underwear, are as much as the appearnce of the proverbial Red Flying Elephant.

All this while the assholes in the g-zone play merry-go-round round the Prime Minister chair.

Wedesnday, April 19 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Freedom's 3rd Birthday, and Happy Birthday, Prophet Mohammed!

"I was born in the cemetery
under the sign of the moon
raised from my grave
burned dead
and I was made a mercenary
in the legions of hell
now I'm king of pain
I'm insane"
- King Diamond

(Music: Sami Yusuf - Al Muallim)
Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) was born in Mecca in the Sixth Century year of 570 AD, in the year known as the Year Of The Elephant, by the time when he was 40, he frequently spent time alone in a cave known as Huraa cave, when the Angel Garbiel desecended upon him with the first words of the Holy Quraan, signaling the beginning of Islam which spread onward to the rest of the world yadda yadda yadda and they married and lived happily ever after.

Now to important stuff.

Oblivious to everything as always and at 5 PM today, I was in my room pretending to study for my B.Sc but actually trying to get some highly inconveniently placed hairs in my nose, when I was subtly entranced by an array of sounds that pretty much resembled a mighty crash of so many kettles, teapots, and some other assorted faux-aluminum pans and pots all crashing together at the same time. Word? turns out it's the Birthday Surprise Party for Prophet Mohammed at the local mosque...usually at this time of day the mosque would broadcast subtle Quraan readings way until the Sunset (Maghrib) prayer but today they apparently hurled out the nearest cassette they can find of Prophet Praise, which I think was recorded in a kitchen. the guys in the scene were taking his Birthday as a subtle excuse for dancing the life out, 15 minutes onward, I just couldn't take it anymore and decided to join in the celebration my own way, by locking the room tight and shedding out my Gibson Airguitar Extravaganza and accessory
longhair wig for a lean'n'mean session of headbanging classics, a ritual I haven't done in a looong time, this is the only reason for the Mercyful Fate quote headlining this post.

Shortly afterwards though, power went down, silencing pretty much everyone.

The festival brought back some fond long-buried memories, too. Back in 1995, when I was a wee 12 years old, I was also, ahem, now this might shock you, but...I was a mosque enchanter.

(Music : Led Zeppelin - What Is and What Never Should Be)

WHAM? SLAM? BAM? true, at the pristine age of 12 - my parents, both religiously committed, enlisted me at the local mosque to learn Chapter 30, the easiest one, of the Koran by heart - amongst other local kids, as the days approached the Birthday, we sensed some kind of frenzy amongst the mosque administration, turns out the mosques engaged in giving out some kinda 'activities' to cememorate the day, one of which included Islamic chants, so they took our group (some 6 students) and gave us some Islamic chants to chant, pretty soon, they discovered me - I had a good singing voice - and that I know all the Holy Names of God, a chant I figured in my childhood, and pretty soon I was made lead singer of the band.
This starts a tour amongst lots and lots of mosques in the area that pretty much lasted a month, we would chant for a bit and then I'd do my piece, only to be rewarded afterwards by a large dish of KOOZI (rice and lamb meat, amongst other niceties) which we would eat by hand like some hungry sons of bitches who's never tasted anything for the whole year, and there were some weird days, the first performance, we were gathered early for the chant so we decided to spend some time by playing soccer, luckily, there was a beautiful garden nearby where we could play much more nicely than the usual streets, to avoid tearing up our dishdasha (traditional Muslim white-cloth), unfortunately, after an hour-long of fights, curses (lots of which were
directed at God and all that is holy, as pretty much all street soccer matches are), and slide tackles, we ended up looking like....SHIT...that's all I could say, our white ironed dishdashas looked now like army camouflage with so many grass-brown stripes, and we were supposed to perform now.We did it anyway....them were days, but now the band's broken apart and everybody's gone their separate ways, no more touring for these bad, sad Afghan version of the backstreet boys...
* END *

Baby, if this ain't turning into a nice old Islamic Republic of Iraq...spitting image of its sister eastward - I am sure u noticed I'm kinda cranky at the subject, not that I mean any disrespect for the holy prophet (much to the annoyance of some of my marauding friends) but I am so sick and tired of these fucking religious ceremonies, Death of Hussein, ha, we got the Birth Of Mohammed, and all these Shiite visitors can't wait to visit Imam Ali to 'congratulate him on the birth of the prophet', as if they're both real, breathing persons and not old long-gone 7th century dudes.

(Music : Iron Maiden - The Evil That Men Do)
In reality, I think this festival is incorrect by its own right, and I think the prophet wouldn't approve of it if he was amongst it, there are only two 100% certified festivites in Islam : Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr, all else is bid3a (creative balooney).

Crikey, verily.

Today, the prophet just made his 1436 birthday, damn that's a lot of candles, if we were to make a cake, I think people would be pretty much eating the wax off the 1436 candles than anything else. and what can we bring as presents anyway?

and of course there's that oh-so-adorable part-time hooker TV broadcaster on such cheap call-quiz Satellite stations such as STRIKE TV, who offered important statements that shed much-
needed light on the ceremony today :و

مرسي خالص للله و لحالكن و بنقول للنبي الكريم هابي برثداي

There sister, you just made yourself a hassana, may Allah put u in Janna.
And the answer to the riddle is an Ostrich, dammit, a fuckin' Ostrich.
Should i just call?
Ow, who cares!

Happy Birthday, Prophet Mohammed!

(MUSIC : Happy Birthday To You)

In other news, today marks Freedom's 3rd year, she now knows how to walk and talk and is still stumbling through her first words way beyond normal age for talking, yesterday she almost spit out 'roadside bomb' and 'armed car with big boo-boo', Freedom looked pretty darn cute on the first days, but these days she's turning into a real ugly boar, we avoid looking in her face most of the time, her teeth are falling apart and something is growing at her nostrils, we are seriously considering dumping her at the nearest trash-joint...

If Saddam died these nearby days, I think the gravestone should read:
and he'd be glad, that son-of-a-gun.
Happy Birthday, Freedom! ....
(MUSIC : Mawtini)