Friday, April 28, 2006

Bureaucracy , Bureaucracy

What happened last week ? Well the usual . Actually I’ m thinking of working out a Form, which I can just fill , since things are getting so regular . I have in mind something like this :-

- □ Yesterday
□ This morning
□ Last night
□ Other
□ Bombe
□ Missile
□ Car bomb
□ Other
exploded , causing ( 1- 200 ) deaths (all Iraqis, all civilians).

- □ Yesterday
□ This morning
□ Last night
□ Other
□ Relative
□ Friend
□ Neighbor
□ Co worker
□ Other
Was abducted from ( house ,on his /her way back home , in the place of work) . A ransom was demanded , later a ( dead beheaded / disfigured with traces of torture ) body was found in:
□ A dumpster
□ The outskirts of Baghdad
□ A neighborhood at the doorstep of a school/mosque/church/any other public
□ The infamous morgue
□ Other

- □ Yesterday
□ This morning
□ Last night
□ Other
A massive military attack was carried out by ( The American Army / Iraqi Ministry of ….. ) against insurgents to the :
- □ North
□ South
□ East
□ West
□ Other
Of Baghdad / Iraq , which resulted in hundreds / thousands of civilian casualties and the destruction of fields /houses/ cars /public buildings , the survivors had to flee and are awaiting compensation for damages.

- Al ……Area in Baghdad is completely under the control of
□ thugs
□ terrorists
□ men in uniform ,who no one will answer for
□ Others
Killing /kidnapping / threatening people to kill them if they won’t leave their homes / planting bombs to their hearts content . However , No one came to the rescue . After days/weeks/months the Americana carried out the routine checking and left the people to face their fate . Soon all of Baghdad will be under the control of “whoever” totally, including the Temple of Solomon ;I mean the Green Zone before they notice /choose to notice.

- An unprecedented rise in the prices of :
□ Gas
□ Oil
□ Petrol
□ Other bear necessities

- The Iraqi
□ Prime Minister
□ Minister
□ Other officials
Undertakes drastic measurements to solve the everlasting security problem . He also accused his predecessor of being incompetent , a separatist and a discriminator on ethnic basis .

- same as the previous item but the
□ Prime Minister
□ Minister
□ Other official
Are different instead of a Shi'i there is a Sunni or instead of a Kurd an Arab .

- The famous celebrated terrorist
□ Abu ….
□ Ben ….
□ Others
Appears on an Arabic channel declaring war on the infidels everywhere except in his own country / threatening to behead a western hostage . These appearances are now monthly / annual / semi annual , or whenever any one needs a push up or out.

- A new wave of assassination sweeps Iraq this time the victims are
□ Police/Army recruits
□ Doctors
□ Professors
□ Business men /merchants
□ Journalists
□ Barbers
□ Newspaper boys/old men
□ Any useful being for the country’s future
□ Others

- The prominent Shi'i / Sunni clergymen announces his support to this /that party causing street commotion and looting .

- The electricity was off the last 24 hours for:
□ Four hours
□ Six hours
□ 24 hours
□ More
God on the other hand refuses to reduce the heat a few degrees, in spite of all prays and supplications. Explaining, that he has a universal plan not to be disrupted .

After I finish the final form , cause I‘ve not yet . I'll leave space for afew items that could be added, cause it is not totally static over here , for instance women recently are being shot widely and attacked ,when walking without a scarf or driving a car , schools are being threatened to close or else bombed , missiles are destroying everything but the targeted green zone as usual , you know stuff like that . while, any special events like using unconventional weapons on villages or a towns , a wedding / funeral / kids birthdays being hit killing all guests.. can be attached as an appendix to the Form . So, as I said after I finish I would just have to fix the date above and place a tick in the square in front of the appropriate choice, copy here, paste there, then that’s it ; a post is born .

But, for the time being I’ll do it the usual way.
So, last week there were seven deadly explosions in one day, which left Baghdad staggering. They came as soon as the new prime minister held the reins of … well actually I don’t know which reins he is holding, I thought it was the Americans who are in charge. Any way seven the number was . And so on . The Ministers are squabbling over ministries , that will keep them busy till the next prime minister is due . .
Our newspaper boy reappeared, but refuses to share with us why he disappeared in the first place .
Thursday morning old Abu S…. came in as pale as a ghost saying, that he just saw a dead body in the street :
- What a boy he was, what a young boy , hardly twenty … oh Allah what have we come to ….
As he was making coffee I listened to his monologue before his creator , it went on for fifteen minutes :-
- …. why God , for what are you punishing us , this did not happen even in the time of Al Hussain “peace upon his sacred soul” , the unbelievers even then speared the lives of women and children .
He paused removing the pot from the stove then continued :-
- … even in the time of Jesus Christ “peace upon his sacred soul” the Jews speared the life of Jesus’s mother and his disciples “peace upon their sacred souls”, Oh Allah I beg you to dissipate these clouds of death from our sky . Why did I live to see all this? Why ? . The criminals are all in Jordan and London ( why London I don’t know and it was no time to ask) drinking Arak = (A lethal Iraqi alcoholic beverage , stronger than gin and vodka , where would they get Arak from in London I don’t know and it was no time to ask too ), while me and you -he looked at me handing me my coffee - poor, honest Iraqis are sitting here tricking Izraeel (the angel of death in Islam) to stay alive .
Now that really made me feel sorry for myself .

When the rest of the staff arrived he told them too , what he saw and experienced that morning.
We went home early .The news were not encouraging there too , at home I was told , that the local grocer told them, that all the shops received a death letter, warning the shop keepers that they will be shot like dogs if they dare to open their shops next week.
Abu A … our grocer said he will try to secretly sell his clients the doses of cucumber and tomato and celery .
I imagined him with his protruding belly in his white dishdasha ( national Iraqi dress) and white worn out cap, folding a couple of kilos of groceries wrapped in a newspaper under his arm, wearing dark sun glasses . With anxious customers meeting him in a designated spot , serving them one by one after sun set:
- Abu A…. give me the usual .
- the dough first mate !
- But Abu A… I need it for my salad .
- the dough , I said
- Here take it
Abu A… takes four cucumbers and shoves them in to the basket looking around him fiercely ,
- quick … next …Oh , what do you want Um Ahmmed , here you go a kilo of potatoes , what you don’t like them ?
- My husband wont eat that, they are rotten .
- Well, Um Ahmmed, his majesty Abu Ahmmed your husband can go himself then to the outskirts to get his potatoes for 10 times the price. I am the only dealer here. Next !.
- Ok , ok I’ll take them here you are, calm down will you !.
- Wait… did you hear anything, scram all of you , tomorrow if we are still alive at the same place the same time . My brother got busted yesterday selling Maggi soup… things are risky .. Then Abu A…. folds his goods and disappears in the dark of the night .
I shook my head and quit the night mare appreciating the salad on the table .
What next can happen in new Iraq.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


The last 10 days were very distressing and exhausting for me . A very close friend of mine in the office phoned me one afternoon saying that her cousin was abducted on his way back home , right in their neighborhood, he was beaten up to half death and dragged away in front of his friend -who was with him in the car-. The family received a phone call where the kidnappers professionally succeeded in intimidating them , saying things like : We are coming for you next , go collect your son from the morgue , keep a close eye on your grandson .. and so on …. A day passed, then they called again demanding seventy thousand US dollars . The man is a pharmacist, so he is not that rich, his father told them that his son has a car , 10 thousand dollars and a pharmacy . He implored them not to harm his son and told them ,that they may take the car, the shop and the house, he told them that his daughter in law will move and they may take the whole house . Of course this may seem a bit ridiculous, but it happened in many cases , that kidnappers actually accepted houses and cars in exchange for their hostages ( in Iraq that is of course). They called after a couple of hours saying, that they changed their minds, cause it is too much trouble and they are going to kill the 40 year old pharmacist who is also a father of a 13 year old boy, who has not been eating for 3 days now ,being so attached to his dad. After begging, crying and beseeching the old father accepted his fate and told them that he is going to make the funeral arrangements for his unfortunate son , and thanked them for being so evil.
That was one situation, the other one; is that I am under a lot of pressure at work , cause we are really sitting on pins and needles at the office , with all this new witch hunting on anyone who is working going on, even the newspaper boy has disappeared after receiving a threat apparently. We do not know how to get in touch with him, cause he lives in a war zone as it is (Al Sader city) , so we are just praying for his safety .
Also, Al Adhamia was on the brink of major military operations. We were calling our relatives their every hour .They were telling us the most disturbing things . Street fights and shouts for help were heard in the ancient lanes of that area .

I always try to understand the motives and explanations for all actions that I encounter in life , even when crimes are committed. I try to understand what stands behind them . Our psychology professor back in college days used to repeat time after time ( No criminal is born with a dagger in his hand ) .There is always an explanation, not necessary a convincing one from our point of view , but at least try to understand why it is so convincing from the criminal’s point of view . i.e, try to understand the logic of a criminal.
But till this moment I fail to understand the motivations of government members meeting endlessly with trays of oranges , apples and bananas in front of them ( every and each time ) choosing not to see the Spanish inquisition campaigns all around them .What does it mean that they just will not yield in spite of torrents of innocent blood in the streets on daily basis , unless naturaly they are told from Overseas to do so ? .

When I read blogs of people , who have lost hope completely in Iraq, it makes me cry , it is easy , or rather affordable if you are abroad to lose hope, but if you are here in the spot, to lose hope is simply an exorbitant price . It means death , just lie down and die, literally .
Here you are sitting in the midst of debris, being waken up every night by gunshots and explosions, fearing the night visitors that may take you and drill a hole in your skull just for kicks , each and every day hearing of people you used to know being killed or kidnapped , waiting for your turn . …And yet we still choose to wake up every morning , and after thanking God for still being alive and having our breakfast , we drag our feet to our jobs, facing thousand of possibilities , and if we return home safely we lock and bolt our doors carefully, and we sit writing about it all , letting others know that we actually had a life before all this started , and that we still have views , meaning our brains still refuse to give in .
It could happen to anyone anywhere in the world if it happened to us .
That leads me to an attempt to philosophize blogging as an act . For some I guess it is a path to fame . Inspired by others who have actually succeeded , you start blogging in hope of becoming some sort of a celebrity . Others, especially in other places than Iraq try to become more real through blogging , cause may be by being real to others you'll become more real to yourself . In other cases mine included , blogging is some sort of a message in a bottle, to get others to know that you were actually here, on this Island, after the wreck of your ship you survived, you are still here , and in spite of having little hope of anyone coming along to save you , all the same you sat and wrote your message in the bottle and hurled it in the sea ( the internet) so that THEY would know.

Monday, April 10, 2006


A link to an article by BBC John Simpson reflecting on three years of failures in Iraq .

Sunday, April 09, 2006


The bombing of Buratha mosque requires retaliation, and it will happen of course, more blood and destroyed buildings are required to set records straight.
Donald Rumsfeld said : If a civil war is to happen in Iraq , “as if it hasn’t yet” , we will not interfere . Now, that is really reassuring, we can really sleep safely now. To rephrase we can say, that we will be efficiently delivered form a dictator’s grip to the hands of combating fanatics and thugs . Now, that is one hell of a present , you know on the occasion of the 9th of April and all . To herald a civil war.... what more can one ask for . Many happy returns of the day !!!
Yesterday, Hosni Mubarak gave an exclusive interview to AL Arabia channel , he was asked -as tradition necessitates- about his views on the possibility of a civil war . As I said it has been a well established tradition to talk about the civil war in Iraq in a suggestive way for the last year or two . He said : “ there is a civil war already in Iraq” , he also said that traditionally the Shias are more loyal to Iran than to the countries they live in .
So, Al Jafari , in spite of his demanding schedule , that consists making everybody else’s life as miserable as possible , actually bothered and took the time to address the nation criticizing these statements and declaring that the Shias are as patriotic as all the other members of the happy Iraqi family, the colors that form the Iraqi rainbow , the ..etc..etc. …"It is not the time Cato" as the immortal Insp. Jacques Clouseau says . Just get on with your work for the sake of all the Shia’s, Sunnis , Christian Saints .

Friday, April 07, 2006


It looks like it is going to rain again . Three days ago it was pouring as if all Iraqis had decided to have a good cry together . The streets were full of filthy lakes ( not puddles, lakes ) .
The Boss of all Bosses called us for an emergency meeting, in the view of the recent targeting of Companies and offices .
Last week black cars parked near a Co. in Al Dawoodi, men in uniforms got out , entered the Co. , asked the employees to step out of the office and stand in a line and they shot them all down , three women and five men . That is how the eye witness reported the whole story . After that they just hopped in their cars and drove away . It is the most terrifying incident till now , I mean, there has been kidnapping and shooting of employees before, but the method is novel. You know to line them; both men and women and execute them at about eight o’clock in the morning.
So, we were asked to be careful, although our office is no big deal at all , and no ransom what so ever would be paid just in case, in fact the gangs themselves should offer us some material support.
We sat down me and my mates near the window watching the rain pour, reflecting on how much worse things may get . My friend brought a huge box of candies and we sat worrying and stuffing our faces simultaneously:
-Hey, give me the red ones they are supposed to have a strawberry flavor, I said extending my hand.
- They all taste the same, the colors are just different, she said handing the box over.
- So, what is it we must do in case they kill us ? I asked crunching the rock hard sugary sweets.
- Well , he said to run down the back stairs .
- Ah, I see , take these things away from me, I ate about 20, they are horrible. I said wrinkling my nose.
The door bell rang , My friend involuntarily looked at me . I joked with our other mate who went to see who it was : - If it is the – Maghaweer- ( a special force formed by the Ministry of Interior, the nearest translation is Commandos may be, whenever there is an accident people report that the culprits were dressed like them!!! A Regular Coincidence??? ) if it is the Maghaweer tell them I am not in mood to die today, will you love.
That was three days ago. Today they let us out early everyone is expecting the worst . Everyone is saying the shops in Najaf and Karbala are closed . Although Najaf Governor denied any unusual incidents yesterday in Al Arabia channel when asked , everyone is expecting more blood shed, this time in support of Al Jafary .
Al Jafary and Muqtada have been on amicable terms for quite a while now , they both spill phrases of praise whenever the other is mentioned . Al Jafary is expecting that Al Mahdi Army will come to the rescue, when the going gets tough .
Although he declared yesterday that he would “gladly “ step down if the “parliament” asks him too, also he said something that I thought at first I was half asleep or something when I heard. It sounded a bit senseless, he said : "All my life I’ve been seeking confrontation, I always wanted someone to kill me in the name of a cause" , of course these are the most comprehensive words to convey what he said, cause he is always going round and round in circles getting nowhere.
It is really no big deal, I mean if he really, truly , madly wants to get killed all he has to do is step out of the green Zone , his wish is the most attainable of all wishes nowadays in Iraq.
As I was saying, Everyone is dreading street fights and looting here in Baghdad and the southern areas . What will the Americans do in that case? No one knows : Will it be like at the beginning of the invasions when looters took their time in lifting all that could be lifted , and sometimes what could not be lifted without a fork lift . As I was told by an old co worker who witnessed looters actually bringing trucks and lifts an drills to assist them looting heavy machinery from Ministries, nothing was done then, they just let them go on for months . Or would they take a more active role ? Which choice is better ? A hard hard choice.

I am listening to my favorite songs from Jesus Christ Superstar , I love all the songs in that movie, I know most by heart , especially the Gethsemane song , now it really bears special meanings for me …
…..I'm not as sure, as when we started.
Then, I was inspired.
Now, I'm sad and tired.
Listen, surely I've exceeded expectations,
Tried for three years, seems like thirty.
Could you ask as much from any other man?
But if I die, ……………….
Saddams trial’s ratings are dropping sharply , may be the Producing Co. will have to take it off soon …

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Jill Carroll is free, thank God for that .We have a saying over here, that goes : In times of stress and disasters your good deeds come to your rescue. And that is quite true in the case of this young heroine .
Simple people everywhere in this wounded country were genuinely concerned about her fate in spite of not being safe themselves . Reports say that 30 Iraqis per day are abducted for various unconvincing reasons, the majority of them are killed brutally and thrown under bridges or in dumpsters.
Thank God anyway.

Trying to figure out what is going on in Iraq is as useless as trying to convince a cave man to use a laptop computer and do some online shopping instead of going out hunting. I think we have already reached that stage when one’s main concern is to stay alive , and not to think to much of reasons and consequences anymore . And may be those who actually will mange to survive, in many years to come will be as bemused as all the other preceding nations were, after it was all over. They all sat analyzing and asking each other in books and films the immortal question : How and why was it all permitted , how did the world allow the fact that millions of Europeans and Jews were slaughtered by one maniac, how did millions of Russians end up in concentration camps in the name of building heaven on earth, how did civilized people in Europe “in the nineties of the 20th century” carry out mass rapes in order to purify the race of former Yugoslavia..
What is happening on the Iraqi political arena is ludicrous; a semi literate clergyman is vowing to liberate and defend Iran and Syria , yeh well with whose army? an army of practically brain washed young unemployed people, the post Iran – Iraq generation, trying so hard to make ends meet. Or the other shrewd clergy man who mediated for a hearing to be held in Washington with Iran regarding the situation in Iraq , officially accepting the guardianship of our neighbor .
All that , and the streets, and what is happening in them, last week on our way home shots were rained on the cars near Al Ghazalia just like that!!! people scrambled and jumped out of cars and lied on the pavements, who were those people, where did they appear from? . In the evening a week or two ago in Al Ghazalia also gun men stood in the middle of a crowded market place and opened fire randomly on passers by .
Another thing I heard which really distressed me deeply, was what my friend told me ; He was in a car in Al sha’ab area, he said news had just come in, that a buss with visitors returning from Karbala after the Ashoor anniversary had been attacked by gunmen, killing all the passengers , he said he saw and heard with his own eyes and ears how about 20 young men getting into cars were shouting -lets go to fight them yes to fight ( nukatil) in AL Ameria in revenge - , so it is finally that way is it, Al Ameria is a place to go and fight “them” in , to fight who may I ask ? other fellow Iraqis ? in retaliation to the killing of Iraqis too.
I think once we have crossed that line there is no turning back .
We will also say to the next generations, that we don’t know how it actually happened , just like the Germans did not know how Gas chambers actually happened , just like the Americans don’t know how Hiroshima actually happened . We are walking with blind folds on our eyes in the same path , and yes indeed, every single one has his own reasons , they seem very very convincing reasons at the time, but in decades from now we will say the same lines that our fathers told us, when we sat judging them for permitting Dictators to rule them : It just happened that’s life !!!

I read years ago a brilliant novel by Stephan Zweig called –Amok- , the allegory is used to refer to times when wise men’s voices become so low and weak that they are barely heard, while voices of thugs and agitators gain a special strong tone . The novel starts with the hero in a car in India , a disheveled tramp appears from nowhere and throws himself in front of the hero’s car and starts raving , screaming and thumping the car front with his fists, this creature was not human anymore he was a beast, suddenly a group of people appeared with rods and sticks and start beating the tramp steadily until he calms down or rather looses his consciousness. The hero asks the Indian chauffeur: What was that? he replies stating a matter of a fact : It is Amok Sahib, Amok. When a person is insane it is as if there is a demon inside him that just has to be dealt with .
In the course of the novel many cases and life situation (unrequited passion which leads a man to insanity and crime, an idea that led to 2nd world war where millions murdered millions…), shows that sometimes reason and logic just do not work, they are temporarily “it may take generations” silenced or switched off , and the solution has to be sometimes even more senseless , sometimes with more violence or sometimes running away and avoiding the whole situation is all that is left to do , which is a crime just as bad.
eXTReMe Tracker