The streets of Most Iraqi cities are controlled and ruled by the militias and even the government acknowledges that fact now . But this is not normal and it nearly led to confrontation again.
A crisis (between Muqtada Al Sadr and Badr brigade ) that had been brewing for the two last weeks came to it’s natural climax last week and resulted in :
-“Burning down the house”- a very familiar script . But as the situation swelled it eased suddenly .
Muqtada is playing things differently from last year , he spoke very calmly and wisely and asked his supporters to just let it go .
Every one including Muqtada himself and his rivals are fully aware of the support he has among “Les Miserables” .
The poor and the abandoned see him as a Robin Hood in an “Imama” (the turban clergy men ware ) . The deprived who live on the margin of society in regions infamous with crime ,crowded houses and the absence of services caused by decades of deliberate neglect during the reign of Saddam .
The people there have been struggling for survival and coping with all sorts of discrimination in the Iraqi society.
Muqtada’s most zealous supporters are from those areas in Baghdad.
Why do they love him ? Well, first of all due to the reputation of his father and uncle, who were both promenant clergymen murdered By Saddam in the most beastly way . Also because Muqtada is a genuine Arab unlike Al Hakeem (Commander of Badir Brigade ,whose rates are falling dramatically in the Iraq street ) and Al Sistani (Persian roots involved here ), who look condescendingly to the poor semi illiterate population of the gutter .
Muqtada- the Martyr’s son ,the Arab and the compassionate young leader is a guy you can talk to as an equal- that is how he is perceived by the street Kids .Lately even the Sunnis are talking in his favor .
While most intellectual Shias and Sunnis and Americans may I add see him as a fanatic and a power seeker who is using the love of the masses to his father, and who is involved in the murder of an enlightened clergy man ( Al Khouii) three years ago.
However Muqtada showed tolerance and self restrain last week . thank God for that one- a problem less-.
Wednesday three car bombs exploded in Hay Al Jameaa (a residential and commercial Area)in a street known for stores of all sorts and Doctor clinics… etc
After three explosions gun fights broke out between men in masks and police men. The police men managed to kill six of the others , yet I didn’t catch how many policemen were killed .
That was one incident the other one was mysterious a bit . My friend lives in Al Khadraa Area, she phoned me Thursday morning and told me that a horrific blast tore the quite afternoon in her neighborhood the day before: windows broke and the neighbors all ran out like mad each one of them thinking that it was his house that was hit . She told me the bang was so loud that all of them were finding difficulty hearing for the first 15 minutes . When they came out they saw that a house, a big house was flattened to the ground, the family inside could not be found they were all burned to ashes .There was eight of them in there: two brothers , their wives and children . Neighbors were trying to figure out what had actually happened , the adjacent houses were left partially damaged too . after an hour or two my friend said they understood that dynamite sticks were planted all around the house and Bang !!! gone with the wind .. Why them? Nobody knows. What could it be? … they were a normal Family, not officials, not merchants, not activists of some sort , neither do they work with the Americans, which is the first thing to take into consideration when any body is killed . The only things that the neighbors came up with was that they were Shia , but that is not the case of course since other Shia families live there too . It could be some religious based assassination it is a common thing lately, but the method is new and terrifying .
In the previous blog I wrote about the petrol Saga .Well Bahr Al Ulum Junior the wonder kid went back to the old method . What did we say at the first place ??
And what is so funny or sad rather is that they announced it on one of the many TV channels as an achievement .
He caused it and now he is solving it , well done in both cases . That reminds me of Saddam’s decisions , let me remember how did they use to call them- wise inspired genius decisions- ….. Lets invade this country Hurrrray ( the crowds jump up and down ,up and down .. ) …. Naaaaaaa lets liberate this country from ourselves, lets withdraw heroically ( the crowds jump up and down ,up and down .. )
The drunk dust man
I really like observing people more than politicians and political analysts that have suddenly sprung out of the blue . Where do they all come from ?, or a better form of the same question what did they use to do in the era of Saddam when there was no need for analyzing anything .
Also how can you tell some one what is the problem with the constitution for instance ,how can you analyze that ???. You get a flower and pluck it’s petals saying : approved it , approved it not .
Ah… to hell with this whole situation . What about people who don’t make the news…
One character really popping out of one of Nikolai Gogol’s stories is a garbage collector ,whose line of duty is near our office. He is always drunk. He goes about his business scattering the garbage as he pleases rather than collecting it quietly and rarely talks to anyone at all .
A neighbor in the building where I work is a very merry soul , that always tries to convert anything possible into a joke . When he pops around to say hello there is always something to laugh about . He came in last week and asked us if we are going to vote against or in favor of the constitution .
- I am going to vote against of course, and I demand that all of you do the same. I am even campaigning for that , he said.
– Oh really, Ok, we love you so we’ll do as you say , but we are not that much , sorry your case is lost .
After chatting for a while he went with one of my colleagues to grab something to eat when they returned they were giggling like school girls . Whats up? I asked
- He got hold of …. you know him the drunk garbage collector , and he told him to go and vote against the constitution, the garbage collector was silent like the sphinx as usual , he kept persuading the poor drunk and following him around and then he said to him: do you know that there is a special item in the constitution regarding alcohol , the garbage collector stopped and threw the empty cans he was collecting : what did you say ? he squealed
-Yes it is exactly as I tell you they are going to ban alcohol and prosecute any one who drinks and if they catch you drinking they’ll hang you where you stand right on top of your garbage heap .
- What! that’s not fair -the garbage collector screamed - the sons of the ….. the bastards the pimps the sods and he fell in a outrageous tantrum .
- Yeh you go and vote against them.
- I will, Oh I will, and I’ll tell my friends to do so too . Fancy them bastards sitting in their 1000 dollars suits , but do they do something for poor hard working men like me? NO , why should they .
I felt sorry for him- … you know that was cruel ,what kind of sadistic game is that .I said.
- No that is how you campaign you find the key for a person and then you use it against him, or as a motivation . Do you know how many garbage collectors he known/ .
- Do you ?
- No , many I suspect.
Thursday I was left home alone , all my folks went out for tea at a relative’s house . I stayed watching TV . I don’t know what goes on while I am out kneeling on the grinding stone . Who comes visiting, where do they keep the flour or rise cans , where do they get this or that commodity from, .. non of my business .
A kid rang the bell and told me that he brought the gas tube we requested . Ok fine, if you say so , I gave him the money, and pulled the heavy tube . He was about 10 or 12 years old and was pushing a primitive iron cart with about 6 tubes . He looked so familiar I’ve seen him somewhere . Skinny , very dark complexion burnt by the sun , huge black eyes … a yes, I remember seeing him as a tiny tiny child about 5 years ago playing around and helping his mum when she delivered bread to houses .
– Hey haven’t seen you around for a while , in what grade are you now? . Your name is Issa ( Jesus) isn’t it .
- Yes that’s me , I dropped out of school 3 years ago, I was in the third grade .
- Why Issa ? didn’t you do well , didn’t you like it ? .
- No , I was alright ,but Life demands .
- Are you still living in your old place ( a square empty piece of land between houses, where they built a few bricks to form a hut).
- No, the owner came so we moved to another place in the same area though, not far from hear, you used to walk to work pass us but not any more .
- Yes I work in a different place now.
Life demands , wise words from a ten year old . I watched him in his rugs and torn sandals drag his Cross .. I mean his gas tube cart, hitting it’s handle with a metal stick making a jingle as he walked through the streets of Jerusalem .