Sunday, September 04, 2005

The week started as usual with discussions about the Constitution , Sunnis refusing items and promising to do some campaigning against it . Also,early this week detainees were released ,that subject was shortly forgotten by finding 36 corpses out in the middle of nowhere near the Iranian borders .

The usual chit-chat at the office recycling the same old stuff : What is better Saddam’s despotism or the massacres taking place now .Of course and as always we agreed not to agree. Me and two others though that killing was going on then but the culprit was well known unlike now. In other words killing now is random, while in the Time of Saddam it was more organized .
Older co workers thought we were crazy and stupid “ Numbers , Numbers is what matters. Saddam use to kill 250 /month in Baghdad, while during the last month in July only 1082 were killed “ -One of them yelled -waving Dan Murphy’s article published in Al Sabah newspaper under our noses- .
That was one recycled topic, the other favorite one was the possibility of a civil war in Iraq .
What? the possibility I said , do you mean it hasn’t started yet? . Do you think that a civil war should be declared somehow , or should the conflicting groups stand confronting each other: Shias dressed in Green Sunnis dressed in White and the cry CHARGE! will tear the skies. I don’t think so .
What do you think all these assassinations are supposed to mean? Dora and Ameriah have been no man's land long enough , ten men from my lot shot means ten from your lot randomly shot .
- Yes, but there can’t be a civil war in Iraq , families have been integrated for ages ,it is hard to tell which is a Sunni family or a Shii family, my brother is married to a Sunni ,-one of the old men said as usual when ever this topic is discussed- .
- Yes , the other old one said ,and my daughter is married to a Shii fellow..
- All that is cool, perhaps you will not kill you son in law, but that has nothing to do with the possibility of a civil war . If these assassinations escalate and take a certain model, which is by the way happening, such a war will be a fact before we have time to realise it , I said.
Assassinations are a daily fact in Iraq ,and as in any chaotic situation people try to comprehend and find an explanation for them, to feel more safe:“ Ah he is a previous Baathi, …. She works with the Americans … He is rich that’s why they kidnapped and killed him when he failed to pay a ransom … He is from this or that party, his opponents must have killed him “.
It has been a while now since reasonable explanations are succeeding to comfort anyone anymore.Ordinary people are being targeted without any convincing reasons, just for the mere sake of adding numbers to the lists . Sunnis are killed in retaliation to killing Shias and visa versa. Kurds and Christians are not spared from the equation too.
So how does a civil war start anyway?I remember watching a documentary film a year or two ago ,it was about the war in former Yugoslavia. A young Serbian soldier was telling his story : we lived with the Muslims like relatives, we visited them ,we celebrated with them, we played with them as children in the streets , we served in the Army together , and suddenly we just drifted apart , the gap that appeared did not form gradually it formed suddenly . He said : I really do not remember how we became enemies, it was like we went to bed friends and woke up enemies .., In Iraq you talk to any Shii he will say there is no difference at all we are all Muslims , You talk to a Christian he will say I love Muslims,in fact my best friends are Muslims , You talk to a Shii he will say I’ve lived my whole life with Sunnis they are my brothers . All that is perfect and believe me it is true in every case . Who is responsible for spreading seeds of fear from a Civil war then ?. Many are blaming the Media for agitation . I agree that the Media is powerful enough to do so . They can choose to talk about certain things and drop out other things according to the message they are trying to deliver : for instance I don’t think, that any one reported that a young man (a Sunni) from Al Adhmiaa Area(located at the other end of the Bridge where the tragedy happened last week), swam again and again to rescue Shias who fell in the Tigris till he eventually died himself, accomplishing that truly holy mission.The assuring thing up till now is that Iraqis “thank God for that” , are fully aware of these attempts to inflame a civil war in their country , also with the worsening of their lives they are consciously distinguishing between their politicians, they know now who is who and who is playing for which team .

Back to the stampede
Casualties have reached over a thousand and are expected to rise dramatically .A Friend said “ hundreds of bodies are still in the river , they are to float soon and then we shall see the number” . She told me that doctors were hanging blood bottles on the walls with tape, right in lobbies and corridors ,cause their wasn’t any other place . A lot of patients ,who were already there just went home limping or carried by their relatives since it was pointless to stay in the hospital further .
Many accusations and versions of the same story have been told .Is there a direct cause? . Well of course, the government failed to deal with a crises situation and that is understandable, it would have been a miracle if they had dealt with it properly . They should have warned people and frankly told them, that they are not ready for such pressure . (Everyone is wondering if the government hadn't interfered and the worse had happened -such as a car bomb for instance- ,perhaps casualties wouldn't have been so grave). Yet, a very reasonable question is being asked (fairly to my view) : Did the people really have to go ? They knew that they will be targeted , There is something called common sense after all ? Of course , it is not obligatory . But still they went .
Every one of them had a request, a wish, an unattainable dream: "to live safely for instance" , a loved one with an incurable disease, who nobody is even interested in helping any more , a missing husband , brother or son who has been arrested or abducted and no one is even caring to offer an answer to console ( did you notice how many women- young and old- were killed, well that fact speaks for itself ) .
There were 12 descendants of the Prophet Mohammed , all of them suffered significantly and were killed by various tyrants in heart breaking ways . That’s why the ill-fated tend to associate their suffering with the suffering of the holy 12 martyrs.And just as in the case of Christian Saints most people have a Patron saint ,whom they seeks comfort and protection in, they light candles for these saints , keep their portraits, name new born after them , and ask for justice invoking their names ,when praying to God.
Many intellectuals and highly educated look with irony to these practices . But when nothing works you always hope for miracles .
Al kadhim ( the name means he who curbs his anger this name was givent to him for his tolerance and patience) , suffered in prisons for years and eventually was poisoned being innocent. This is a very familiar story to all Iraqis, even Christians visit his holy shrine, when life becomes intolerable as it is.
In order to explain more without going through theological aspects, look at this story and try to cast all scientific thinking and try to understand the logic or rather the absence of logic, which corresponds with the absence of logic in the lives of Iraqis .
So, : after the tragedy of the Bridge we phoned friends , neighbors and relatives just to make sure everything was ok, and to make sure weather anyone happened to be there . Fortunately we had responds such as "….. I decided not to go at the last moment …. I left there just before it happened and so on." .One lad who works in a friend’s office as a tea boy , lives in a poor area with a majority of Shias ,was telling my friend, that just the night before, his sister made such a fuss in order to go . He and his father were firm not to let her . The thing is her child has leukemia , they are mostly taking care of him at home , of course they’ve been to doctors but , well there is no need to digress here at all . So , she said that she had a dream the night before, where her child was asking to take him to visit Al Kadhim , naturally she took this as a sign . She cried and ranted and begged, but the men were unyielding ,so she decided to go alone with her baby – "He is calling us, it is a call, we have to answer , the baby will recover if we go"- She was late getting out of the house and the tragedy happened .
When the woman’s brother and father and husband told her how lucky she was for not going after all she replied carrying her ailing baby and sulking “ May be my son would have been cured now had I managed to go .. it is my fault … “ . I think no further comments are required .


Blogger cile said...

hi there, i just saw that you linked streamtime to your blog. thanks for that! and please keep on writing, keep on going. you're doing fine like this; i am always glad to read your new posts. and sure: take care...

1:19 AM  

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