Wednesday, June 25, 2008

رد خايب كلمن لاوانا

Firebrand populist to some, childish jackass to others, and profusely ugly to all. What's he doing here?
IraqPundit should be throwing a fit over this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Photo To Remember

"A house where a picture of any living being is hung shall not be entered by angels." The Muslim God is strongly displeased with pictures of any kind, he actively hates them, the textbook explanation for this aniconic appraoch is that God fears that human beings might worship the picture.
If you enter any traditional Sunni Muslim house, you're likely to find all the pictures either simple calligraphy of holy verses or inanimate objects. Shia Muslims prefer to plaster all the walls with the Indo-Iranian depiction of Ali and/or his Superfamily.

the friendly Wahhabis, in their puritanical approach, carry this practice verbatim without bothering to expain, analyse, or study the matter further. I had a distant family relative who was a very pious Wahabi, and he would refuse to appear in any family picture for Allah's sake! Thus, in that context casual observers might be forgiven to believe that the Muslim God is very, very retro and/or highly skeptical of the ability of human mentality to develop and grow up over time.

But if one could look past the angry Wahhabi with his beard and scream, we might begin to discern the reasons behind this holy censorship.

to Painting, Photography was an asshole waiting to happen, Painting's position as a necessary and practical everyday application was suddenly delegated into a mere art-form for closeted twits to look at, I've never been an art buff and I will never understand what is so amazing about those depressing classics with chicks who are boring even with their tits all over the place, but I do not think it is ever at all possible to corner photography and render it obsolete in a similar fashion. Yes, moving pictures is a wonderful step forward and has provided much entertainment and fascination for the human race, but it still lacks the majesty of static. It is here that we come to understand the Muslim God's reasons for being so Saddam-Hussein on this particular issue. Because pictures are Man's defiance of Godhood, Art is his way to challenge God's creation ; more so than any other scientific breakthrough or development, it is in the sense of creating something that touches the soul with the same spiritual awe that God wants purely to be for Him, that divine touch God wants Muslims to believe only exists in the Quran but you really find it in many a place of Human creations, in a certain musical passage, or a book, or a picture that make you go: "How the hell did any human being ever manage to conceive this brilliance?" My grandfather, the wiseman of the family, and an officer in the army who really wanted to be a painter once said :"Pictures are much more beautiful than reality." and I found this to be true, there often comes a picture taken by a really good camera where everything just seems so fresh and exciting, and you really wonder how did boring unscripted reality manage to hold the seeds for such a beauty. This touch of God, this tingling magnificence you encounter in a frozen, static image of life, is what the Muslim God hates so much. He hates your bedroom posters for the same reason he hated Huball and al-Llatt and al-Uzza. That is why he hates music, pictures, and just about everything that could cultivate those sensations man has been inspired to have, It must be all for him. all of it.

I have recently seen a photo that had freaked me out with its Godly power, but this post is too long already, so i'll talk about it in the next post.
and i'm sorry for not continuing my Syria trip but it wasn't really that exciting and it was a bitch to write, I'll continue it if you want me to though.

Friday, June 13, 2008

للشام يهدوني

al-Marja Square, where I stayed in Sep 2007

Syria is beautiful.

The kindness of the average Syrian never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps I am exaggerating, maybe it is the effect of the new Syrian dominance over pan-Arab entertainment that made the mannerisms and dialect of Syria so familiar, I often fear that I might be too self-critical of Iraqis at the expense of not seeing the shortcomings of others (for example, you won't get the self-flagellating speech about how all Jordanians hate us from me) but having lived in two countries other than my own, I found something instantly amiable about Syrians in particular, they are not overtly soft and chic like the Lebanese, nor helplessly derisive and sneering like the Iraqis, and not frowning for no particular reason like the Jordanians. That doesn't mean they are actually better human beings than their peers, but they sure know how to put on a great show of it, the comparison between Iraq and Syria's dictators by US Ambassador April Glaspie comes to mind as a concise comparison, both are pan-Arab Baathist dictators, but the Levantine one was softer, smarter and more charming than the brute-force Mesopotamian. I found their dialect, with its odd rhythm in which every sentence ends on a rising, elongated note, very entertaining, and while certainly soft-spoken like other Levantine accents (with the exception of the Bedouin Jordanian, which has more commonalities with regular combative Iraqi) there is some sort of elegant pride in that rising tone that makes Syrian Arabic looks sexy on women and masculine on men, which is what made Bab al-Harra the hit TV show that it is.

Damascus is loads more fascinating than Amman, for all its dirtiness and uncompromising traffic that has no understanding of the concept of lanes, there is a sense of urgency, history and soul that penetrates you the moment you enter it, Amman, with its sprawling, ultra-modern West side, spikey-hairdos and American fast food chains feels depressingly fake and sleepy in comparison.

This was my second visit to Syria, I've been there for a week back in September, and spent that time between Damascus, where I was fascinated by the Ummayad Mosque and enjoyed eating the famed (and overhyped) Bakdash ice cream in Soq al-Hamidiya, and between visting my relatives in the Damascene Countryside, the area they lived in, Sahnaya, is Druze territory, but I only found Iraqi shops and people there, in fact, the entire area reminded me of the more quaint parts of Baghdad such as al-Ghazaliya, back in Damascus, Hezbollah flags and Nasrallah pictures were all over the place, Shi'i literature was all over the 80% Sunni country, Iranian pilgrims flooded the Ummayad Mosque [which contains one of several sites that claim to have the head of Imam Hussein] Iraqis were ubiquitous, most of them were poor and had no place else to go, in fact, the Sayda Zainab district looked exactly like Sadr City. They were visibly less this time, after Syrians imposed new restrictions and regulations. Overall, I found Syria pleasant, if only for the ridiculous amount of pictures of Bashar al-Assad, found on practically every building and shop, something even Saddam didn't do. All in all, Syria felt shockingly like what I felt Iraq resembled in the 1980s, with a much friendlier weather.

My first trip was somewhat sketchy and family-centric, but this second trip marked me doing several things for the first time in my life. I decided to see more of the seedy underside of Damascus, which is a popular destination for Gulf Arabs looking for some poontang (the more affluent ones frequent Southeast Asia and Europe), I was hoping I'd run into of these poor Iraqi prostitutes, to see them face to face after reading so much about them, so I took a taxi with my friends and headed to the Ma'raba Nightclub area outside of Damascus...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

انا انا انا ابريق الشاي

You won't see this on MEMRI, Amidst all the gay-bashing, hypocritical, sex-obsessed, honor-killing, helplessly fanatic, anti-semitic, horribly depressing 7th century Middle East where children shows diligently instruct children to decimate people of the Jewish religion, and unfortuantely for Mister Ghost and his ilk, people do act like normal funloving human beings sometimes. [GASP!] This innocent, nonsensical Egyptian song a la Lewis Carrol had a major effect on the weirder parts of my feeble young boy's brain. I realized today that it means absolutely nothing, and its rhythms are probably the worst ever made, that's why it's so fun.

[refrain] I am...I am...I am...the Teapot!
My hand like this
My mouth like this
I pour you tea
and go back like this...

Kids, I can also tell stories...
There was a one out of three
With four, five others, ta-ta-ta-ta!
who went to candy shop owner Amm Ali
and asked him for some chocolate wafers
Children, the candyman pondered a bit and then said:
"I have no chocolate wafers, but maybe the grocer has some"
and the grocer said : "Buy sugar"
"Buy sugar with everything you have"
The best thing in life is sugar
you could even ask...Mr. Teapot
Mr. Teapot! Mr. Teapot!
Once upon a time, there was a red dress
Adorned by a princess, named Marmar
there was also a male cat, and a turkey
and all of us were having one sweet time!
All is fine, all is great
but suddenly, an earthquake hit!
Turns out it's the Elephant with his trunk
he was dancing in the jungle...
Deep inside the Indian jungle
The elephant sang a song
it goes; "My trunk, you and me are nothing compared to Mr. Teapot."
Mr. Teapot! Mr. Teapot!
Once, in Wonderland
A tea party for three loving friends
The Bear, the puppy, and the ant
but the Fox was told to stay outside
The Fox encircled them all
and his tail was knotted seven times
Everyone was upset by the fox
and told him to stay away by 10 yards
Mr. Foxy said: "Oh yeah, just you wait"
"I'll ruin the chairs and hide the cups"
"and to make you cry and beg me dearly"
"I shall hide, Mr. Teapot!"
Mr. Teapot! Mr. Teapot!
There was...once...a Musician
with his friend, the songwriter
their boat drowned...
and they swam, and swam, and swam, and swam...
to the Island of Pirate Zannati
they used to be broad and big
but they appeared weak [???]
They looked like this because of [???]
and the horrid Piranha fish
the pirate said : Stand upright!
"Oh oh! We were doing just fine!"
"Let's persuade him with a song, how about Mr. Teapot!"
"Mr. Teapot! Mr. Teapot! I don't know it!"
"I'll just write it on the spot"
"Write away!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lebanon Crisis Shows Hues of Iraq

"What we have done here is basically what we did in the 1980s. We picked a group of Western-oriented Lebanese political actors whom we liked because they kind of looked like us and talked like us," he said. "We decided to array them against people who have real street cred; the results then were disastrous, and I think the results now are proving to be very bad."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Nir Rosen's recent piece is a harsh read about the powerful influence of Mahdi Army in impoverished areas, the ineffectiveness (or carelessness) of the ISCI government regarding those poor people, and the hostile relations between ISCI, Mahdi and Sunnis proper. Be warned, It is incredibly ugly.

I rooted for Badr Democratically Elected Iraqi Government over Mahdi in the recent Battle of Basra, I don't really remember why. I think it was because I perceived Mahdi to be the more renegade and dangerous of the two, and in the end, maybe one milita is better than two after all, but it seems to me that the Mahdi Army is still by far the stronger, more credible of the two among Iraqi Shi'is, most of which are rough, poor peasants, while the affluent middle-class Shi'i aristocracy-of-sorts who support Badr are only found in places such as Najaf, Kerbala, Kadhimiya and Karrada. if I was a Shi'i, a regular Shi'i who finds torture, rape and sectarian slaughter as humanely offensive as the next guy, I'm forced to appreciate their provision of services when nobody else is doing that, and more importantly, I am sure to find comfort in the genocidal performance of JAM post-Samarra countering those nefarious neo-Baathists/Qaeda/Sunni Arabs.
Accrassicauda has come a long way from the wannabe posers that they were in their pre-2003 gigs, they are pissed off, hungry, and are plugging their anger in the music, it shows.

While I'm not really interested outside of novelty value, I do respect their dedication, their growing professionalism and their new hair.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

UPDATE: Crocker responds.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I hate to bring this up one more time, but it seems that the Basic Haloscan Plan only maintains comments made in the last 4 months, I don't have spare money to expand it, and there's also one more thing, I can't seem to find on the posts some comments are being made on, and so, as another temporary solution, I've gone and done it bad ; restored the trusty and safe Blogger comments side by side with the fast and efficient Haloscan [hat tip to the esteemed Mr. 13], until they come up with a commenting service that can get the best of both worlds, it seems we're stuck with this.

The Metrosexual Imam

Why is The Abrahamic Deity so cruel?
Why does he create people in a body that they do not belong in?
This story is one year old, but it's the first time I see it.

You can see many pictures of this sandshadi who repented his shadi shadiness here.

Is he homo? I don't know much about gay culture, but Iraqis would be quick to label him this, I pick the reserved "metrosexual," anyway, Muslim clerics, like their Christian counterparts, have a somewhat embarrassing history with sodomy. Here's an anecdote that reflects an apologetic justification of Muslim vice:


I was having intercourse with a young Sufi disciple, and whenever I'd stick it or take it out he would say: "I beg Allah's forgiveness," after we copulated, I asked : "Why did you do that?" and he said: (Your putting it in is an ill-deed, your taking it out is an ill-deed, and my remembrance is a good deed, and Allah most high said: Lo! good deeds annul ill-deeds." and so I shall go away without a sin added to my book.)
I asked him: "Who told you this wisdom? who learned it to you?" and he answered: "My Sheikh taught me it."

source : al-Tivashi - Nuzhat Ul-Albaab, p 157.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ode to Zai

More and more Iraqi heavy metal is grac(z)ing the web, I wouldn't really post about it except that most recently videos of who I called early in my blog "Iraqi Metal Supernode" Saad Zai are popping up all over YouTube.

Saad Zai (which rhymes with Steve Vai) was a man of slim build who looked many years younger than his age, like most Assyrians he was nice and friendly, but there was something about him, while he usually smiles politely and responded to jokes in kind, I've never seen him break into sincere laughter, suggesting some sort of morose attitude to the world in general, my impression of him was the cliched nice and naive Christian padded with a peculiar strand of streetwise Iraqi cynicism that he seemed to have picked up to make him pass as more than cursorily nice, most of his jokes (all in deadpan) were pretty original and witty , producing a somewhat interesting blend of character. He was universally admired, but I must admit that my time with him wasn't really something I'd remember fondly, and I don't think he'd remember me either, except for my scowl. The reason for said scowl is that after having taught myself guitar from the internet for the first seven months or so I decided to get a few lessons out of him, so I'd go over his messy shop which always looked like it was hit by an RPG (sadly, it was really hit by an RPG a few months after I left Iraq, but our man - who has renal failure - miraculously emerged from the rubble.) I'd go in confident in my abilities and he would give me crap about how I would make a "fine beggar" احسن مكدي with my hand position, and I would return home, unconvinced and frustrated, after a long time, of course, I realized that he was right. Some people (well, Anarki-13) have said that Zai is the best guitarist in the Middle East, see for yourself:
These terrible recordings depressingly eclipse his talent, and they are a fitting representation of what Iraqi Heavy Metal looked like: a messy, uncertain haze.

Fur Elise

Original Track:



There's also some other interesting Iraqi guitar videos on YouTube, here's a guy I know vaguley playing Canon Rock.
More interestingly, here's a beautiful Iraqi girl playing beautiful Iraqi folklore on classical guitar.
You may also want to check out the group Sumer, which is composed of Scandinavian singers singing Iraqi folk songs, directed by an Iraqi musician named Talal, the result is quite amazing.
I'm composing a list on the sidebar for all the Iraqi guitar I find on YouTube, it's going to be up soon.