Thursday, October 13, 2005


To be locked up in the house for a while is not so bad after all. In fact it is great to lie about watching all the Ramadhan TV serials and cooking programs . The break is for four days , four days enjoying living in an aquarium ,which I decided to isolate myself in from any thing that reminds me of where I live and what is going on out there in a terrifying place called Baghdad . The purpose and meaning of my life these days is to watch my favorite series ( Nizar Qabani) on Dubai TV base on the biography of my favorite poet . One of the greatest poets of the 20th century - to my mind that is- .He was denounced at a stage of his life as an infidel ,and fanatics detest him till this day .
Ah… how can one forget his ( Fortune teller , The school of love or the Memoirs of an Arabic executer )… I love Nizar Qabani. I am entranced every evening at 11 o’clock by the finest poems, but he ( the poet I mean ) threw me right back to where I belonged , when he said -and that was back in the mid forties:
- “..We will achieve our independence ,that is not what troubles me .The French will leave us eventually there is no doubt about that , but remember and mark my words there is no independence without freedom , independence without personal freedom is lame . We shall remain for decades to come without freedom if our mentality stays as it is “ .
And his prophecy came true . The colonizers left us in the hands of dictators and the dictators left us again in the hands of colonizers and the story goes on .
I felt what Nizar said hit very close to home , it seemed as if we had been frozen for what? 50 years: the same problems ,the same issues the same guardians imposing thought in which we do not believe , so I decided to do something useful and read a book . I have been reading lately "Zorba the Greek" , I read …
Zorba said to the boss when the poor widow was slaughtered:
– Do any of these books explain to you why people die like that ?
- No, Zorba all these books are written by wise men who are seeking answers to questions like that .
- Then I spit on all your books boss.
I decided then to read the constitution draft once more although I promised not to.
This time it was the final version . We collected it yesterday from our local shop ,where we usually get our ration . I wrote about it before(July Post) , the same awkward issues are still there, I don’t see much change in them .
First section article( 2) Islam is the official religion of the state and is a main source of legislation (a) No law is to be issued if proven to contradict with Islam’s laws.
Well , the concept of Islam or to be more accurate the understanding of Islam defers from one group to another .Even in the most obvious issues there are differences in interpretation , which means that any progressive new law can be refuted if viewed to contradict with Islam . Here we’ll have to have clergy men and legislators who are really open minded and enlightened , which is a hard task .

Second section
Article 36(3)The right of demonstration is regulated by law .

That may be the case in many countries, I mean you have to obtain a permit to demonstrate and it is your right to demonstrate peacefully, but a law issued for that purpose may have implications such as determining the issues that you may demonstrate peacefully on .

Article 38
States that Iraqis are free to determine their personal status according to their religion , believes and choice . That sounds perfect , yet this strengthens sectarian division in issues as divorce , inheritance and marriage . The husband or wife may choose as they see convenient “which may not be fare always” the way to settle their disputes . I know this is complicated to understand even for some Muslims, I’ll try to explain it with an example: if a man is a Sunni and the wife is a shii or visa versa, when it comes to divorce she may demand settlement according to shia laws and he will do the same demand a settlement according to sunni laws , so what would the judge decide?, or more properly stated :What is the criteria he bases his judgment on? .You see this may lead to a situation, where disputing parties decide to take disputes to sectarian courts. But if it is all regulated by one law it would be more fair for both parties .

And now they decided to amend the items after four months from the elections of a new government . The role of the government has been postponing and pushing things along as time goes by , not one problem has actually been solved yet .
The news reported, that Sistani has issued a fatwa urging his followers to vote YES , Now that is not playing fair at all. So is it going be a NO then ???…..


Anonymous Don Cox said...

Are there any translations of Nizar Qabani into English available? I know it is never the same as reading the original, but the chances of my ever learning Arabic are near zero.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous The Iraqi Roulette said...

There are English translations, here is a link that may be useful:

The poet is famous for his preaching of free love ,but he also has brilliant political poems . Once he got his tongue unleashed the Arab leaders had to look for a table to hide under , he lived in London towards the end of his life .
Any way, if you are not satisfied send me a comment and I’ll try to translate some of my favorites for you and I’ll be glad to send them .

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Don Cox said...

Thanks. I've ordered a copy through Amazon. It's scary how much great literature there is out there.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

The issue of law and the ability of the populace to have a clear understanding of what law is governing is certainly a VERY important one. You just can't have a stable or free country where law is arbitrary.

But I still have hope that when people get a chance to see the effects of their votes and the kind of laws arising from them, they will make a change and some of these problems will be properly addressed with constitutional amendments.

The main thing is the process of democracy, the uninterrupted ability of the people to vote no and kick out of power those they dislike. As long as people still get to vote, new parties get to form, any one gets to campaign, then you will be okay because you will be able to make changes and improvements over time.

In the U.S., we started out with the "Articles of Confederation", which had to be scrapped in favor of the new constitution, because it just wasn't working. And we had a constitution that allowed for slavery and counted slaves as 3/5th of a person. Obviously, that is not an auspicious start for a free country.

Democracy is a work in progress. It never starts out perfectly, and as soon as you achieve some standard of perfection, standards change. As someone once said, democracy is the worst form of government -- except for every other form of government.

6:28 AM  

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