Monday, August 25, 2003
::: Badhdad Burning :::
::: A New Blog ::: The Iraqi View :::
Recently while surfing, I ran across a new blogger from Iraq. She gives an enlightening
view of what life is like for a young woman trying to survive in post war Iraq.
I could not resist and took several posts to present here in Baghad Burning
Appx August 17, 2003
So this is the beginning for me, I guess. I never thought I'd start my own weblog... All I could think, every time I wanted to start one was "but who will read it?" I guess I've got nothing to lose... but I'm warning you- expect a lot of complaining and ranting. I looked for a 'rantlog' but this is the best Google came up with.
A little bit about myself: I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days anyway.
August 17, 2003
Waking up anywhere in Iraq these days is a trial. It happens in one of two ways: either slowly, or with a jolt. The slow process works like this: you're hanging in a place on the edge of consciousness, mentally grabbing at the fading fragments of a dream
The other way to wake up, is to be jolted into reality with the sound of a gun-shot, explosion or yelling. You sit up, horrified and panicked, any dream or nightmare shattered to oblivion. What can it be? A burglar? A gang of looters? An attack? A bomb? Or maybe it's just an American midnight raid?
August 18, 2003
Normal day today. We were up at early morning, did the usual 'around the house things', you know- check if the water tank is full, try to determine when the electricity will be off, checked if there was enough cooking gas...
You know what really bugs me about posting on the internet, chat rooms or message boards? The first reaction (usually from Americans) is "You're lying, you're not Iraqi". Why am I not Iraqi, well because a. I have internet access (Iraqis have no internet), b. I know how to use the internet (Iraqis don't know what computers are) and c. Iraqis don't know how to speak English
August 18, 2003
How is it possible to wake up tired? It feels like I've been struggling in my sleep... struggling with nightmares, struggling with fears... struggling to listen for gunshots or tanks. I'm just so tired today. It's not the sort of 'tired' where I want to sleep- it's the sort of tired where I just want to completely shut down... put myself on standby, if you will. I think everyone feels that way lately.
Today a child was killed in Anbar, a governorate north-west of Baghdad. His name was Omar Jassim and he was no more than 10 years old, maybe 11. Does anyone hear of that? Does it matter anymore? Do they show that on Fox News or CNN? He was killed during an American raid- no one knows why. His family are devastated- nothing was taken from the house because nothing was found in the house. It was just one of those raids. People are terrified of the raids. You never know what will happen- who might be shot, who might react wrong- what exactly the wrong reaction might be... Things are getting stolen too- gold, watches, money (dollars)... That's not to say ALL the troops steal- that's unfair. It's like saying all of Iraq was out there looting. But it really is difficult having to worry about looters, murderers, gangs, militias and now American troops. I know, I know- someone is saying, "You ungrateful Iraqis! They are doing this for YOU... the raids are for YOU!" But the truth is, the raids only accomplish one thing: they act as a constant reminder that we are under occupation, we are not independent, we are not free, we are not liberated. We are no longer safe in our own homes- everything now belongs to someone else.
August 20, 2003
Sergio de Mello's death is catastrophic. We are all a little bit dazed. He was, during these last few months, the best thing that seems to have happened to Iraq. In spite of the fact that the UN was futile in stopping the war, seeing someone like de Mello gave people some sort of weak hope. It gave you the feeling that, no, the Americans couldn't run amuck in Baghdad without the watchful of eye of the international community.
Bremer is trying to link it to 'resistance' and Al-Qaeda... this is a new type of attack. *This* is terrorism, Mr.Bush... not the attack of occupying forces- that's resistance
August 21, 2003
So I just saw Al-Chalabi on tv. He was interviewed by a prominent reporter for Al-Arabiya. I missed it last night and this morning.
...... how when the INC first came into Baghdad, and began recruiting people, they seemed reasonable enough. Suddenly, they had overtaken the 'Sayd Club', a recreational club (not exclusive to the past regime) and turned the INC into a militia.
They were hijacking cars in the middle of Baghdad during April, May and June, claiming that the cars they were 'confiscating' at gunpoint were 'looted' (hence, property of Al-Chalabi?). The cars were kept in the 'headquarters' and smuggled out of Iraq and to the Kurdish territory. The nicer ones were split amongst the 'members' of the INC. Someone or another who wasn't getting a piece of the action complained to the CPA and Al-Chalabi & Co. were given a collective slap on the wrist and told not to do it again .....
August 22, 2003
Setting the Record Straight
I'm going to set the record straight, once and for all.
Although I hate the American military presence in Iraq in its current form, I don't even hate the American troops or wait, sometimes I do:
- I hated them all through the bombing. Every single day and night we had to sit in terror of the next bomb, the next plane, the next explosion. I hated them when I saw the expression of terror, and remembrance, on the faces of my family and friends, as we sat in the dark, praying for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the survival of Iraq.
- I hated them on April 28 when they shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers in Falloojeh- a place west of Baghdad. The American troops had taken over a local school (one of the only schools) and the kids and parents went to stand in front of the school in a peaceful demonstration. Some kids started throwing rocks at the troops, and the troops opened fire on the crowd. That incident was the beginning of bloodshed in Falloojeh.
Note: There are many other posts re the "hates" you should read on her blog!
On the other hand ...
- I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes ... looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we're Iraqi- we've seen this heat before.
- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from 'strange Iraqis'.
- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can't even begin to understand.
And this .... I find it shocking and embarrassing that someone would say these things to a young girl in a country under seige
Someone wrote that I was naive and probably spoiled, etc. and that not one single American soldier deserves to die for you. I completely agree. No one deserves to die for me or for anyone else.
I repeat ... for a young girl who seems blessed with a lot of courage and a great deal of common sense, I find it shameful Americans find it necessary to hurl insults. And then there is this ...
On the other hand ... they'll be back home, safe, in a month, or two or three or six and we'll be here having to cope with the mess of a homeland we have now
Some will not be back home and when they are, they will be wounded both physically and mentally and will surely suffer ... and so will she (I don't know her name and I wish I did. I seems so impersonal to call her "she.") ... for many, many years to come. Conflict is not so easily erased from young minds, or old ones for that matter. I am afraid there is a very long and difficult road ahead for the Iraqi people ... it takes tens of years to create a society based on freedom. And freedom is such an odd word with many definitions. Freedom is a awesome responsibility and many newly formed democratic (or republic as America actually is) states find the struggle harsh and violent. As an American who lives in a country where we at least enjoy the grand illision of freedom, I think it is worth the struggle. (Stepping down off soap box now!)
August 23, 2003
We've Only Just Begun...
Females can no longer leave their homes alone. Each time I go out, E. and either a father, uncle or cousin has to accompany me. It feels like we’ve gone back 50 years ever since the beginning of the occupation. A woman, or girl, out alone, risks anything from insults to abduction. An outing has to be arranged at least an hour beforehand. I state that I need to buy something or have to visit someone. Two males have to be procured (preferably large) and 'safety arrangements' must be made in this total state of lawlessness. And always the question: "But do you have to go out and buy it? Can't I get it for you?"
Before the war, around 50% of the college students were females, and over 50% of the working force was composed of women. Not so anymore. We are seeing an increase of fundamentalism in Iraq which is terrifying.
I am female and Muslim. Before the occupation, I more or less dressed the way I wanted to. I lived in jeans and cotton pants and comfortable shirts. Now, I don’t dare leave the house in pants. A long skirt and loose shirt (preferably with long sleeves) has become necessary. A girl wearing jeans risks being attacked, abducted or insulted by fundamentalists who have been… liberated!
.... dark, frowning figures stand ogling, leering and sometimes jeering at the ones not wearing a hijab or whose skirts aren’t long enough. In some areas, girls risk being attacked with acid if their clothes aren’t ‘proper’.
The SCIRI would like to give the impression that they have the full support of all Shi’a Muslims in Iraq. The truth is that many Shi’a Muslims are terrified of them and of the consequences of having them as a ruling power. Al-Hakim was responsible for torturing and executing Iraqi POWs in Iran all through the Iran-Iraq war and after. Should SCIRI govern Iraq, I imagine the first step would be to open the borders with Iran and unite the two countries. Bush can then stop referring to the two countries as a part of his infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ and can just begin calling us the ‘Big Lump of Evil and Bad North Korea’ (which seems more in accord with his limited linguistic abilities).
Ever since entering Iraq, Al-Hakim has been blackmailing the CPA in Baghdad with his ‘major Shi’a following’. He entered Iraq escorted by ‘Jaysh Badir’ or ‘Badir’s Army’. This ‘army’ is composed of thousands of Iraqi extremists led by Iranian extremists and trained in Iran. All through the war, they were lurking on the border, waiting for a chance to slip inside. In Baghdad, and the south, they have been a source of terror and anxiety to Sunnis, Shi’a and Christians alike. They, and some of their followers, were responsible for a large portion of the looting and the burning (you’d think they were going to get reconstruction contracts…). They were also responsible for hundreds of religious and political abductions and assassinations.
Someone asked me if, through elections, the Iraqi people might vote for an Islamic state. Six months ago, I would have firmly said, “No.” Now, I’m not so sure. There’s been an overwhelming return to fundamentalism. People are turning to religion for several reasons.
The first and most prominent reason is fear. Fear of war, fear of death and fear of a fate worse than death (and yes, there are fates worse than death). If I didn’t have something to believe in during this past war, I know I would have lost my mind. If there hadn’t been a God to pray to, to make promises to, to bargain with, to thank- I wouldn’t have made it through
I don't know about anyone else, but I find this quite an eye opener re women's issues. We need to get our collective act together and get security handled .. get on with the reconstruction ... before the whole process loses the American as well as the Iraqi people. For the life of me I cannot understand either Rummy or Bush's position on the insertion of more troops and on going to the UN for a resolution ... which Turkey and India insist on before sending troops. If I can get my TinFoil Hat settled ... there ... ok ... so does it not seem to anyone else that our government is running all over the world creating chaos, confusion and conflict ... is that not what the NWO Fools plan ... to destroy the independence of all states ... and unite the world under the World Gov. I guess that is supposed to go along with the World Army (NATO), World Bank, World Health Org. etc ... meanwhile, they work in secret on black projects such as HAARP in Alaska, projects which promise NO benefits to anyone but the Elite, Corporate Snake-A-Roos ... whew... TinFoil Hats off!
Finally, you have more direct reasons. 65% of all Iraqis are currently unemployed for one reason or another. There are people who have families to feed. When I say ‘families’ I don’t mean a wife and 2 kids… I mean around 16 or 17 people.
So there ... it is late and I am tired and the pharmacy will be humming tomorrow as usual.... there is much more to read on Baghad Burning, so please visit and for lord's sake, do not behave like vitrolic idiots.
Sorry, I know none of the RTB would ever do such a thing....