Sunday, February 11, 2007


To civil war or not to civil war, that is the question !

I think this tragic period is coming to a climax. Naa, just kidding, cause we've said that before . Whenever we say that things can not get any worse , fate surprises us sticking out it's tongue saying 'Guess what! it can! .'
We have been talking for ages now about the tragedy of people being driven out of their houses . Nobody mentioned it till ; ta daaaa, we have ,over night, 1 million displaced Iraqis within Iraq. It is a tragedy beyond words. Imagine having to leave your house and everything you ever worked for behind you and run for your sweet life. Thousands and thousands of people are in the middle of nowhere, in tents living in appalling situations, within Iraq I repeat, cause not everyone has relatives in the south or the west of Iraq. Shias and Sunnis just happen to live in Baghdad -for generations now- , and they do not necessarily have backup relatives in other parts just in case the whole country goes berserk.
All that has been going on for quite a while, but now that they are talking about it all over the world, our lot over here start to take sudden interest, in other words, when a foreigner brings it up , then the officials take the trouble of looking in to the situation. And will they a actually help the people? or will they neglect them again once the smoke clears. In fact many people are starting to accept the whole situation and are dealing with it as a matter of a fact. What else can you do! when they come for you, you have to move and do not try to be a wise guy.
A friend of my father was driven out of his house last week . No big deal you may say, it is happening every minute in Baghdad these days . Well, that is not the news actually. The news is that he is a Sunni and has been driven out by Sunnis . How is that? Well, he had a Shi'i neighbor, who was threatened and had to leave his house, So my father's friend helped him move and promised to take care of everything for him till things get back to normal. And he agreed with this Shi'i friend to bring a Sunni tenant for him. That is a procedure widely followed now, to insure that the house is at least in trustworthy hands, instead of being invaded by total strangers . Then a week ago masked men came with guns and knocked the door on my father's friend , ranting and raging .
- 'What did I do?' he asked them .
- 'You helped that so and so,why did you do that ? why are you sticking your nose where it does not belong?' They said .
- 'Look I am a Sunni just like you and …' he said trying to calm them down.
- 'We know that, and we know you are the one who brought a tenant. How dare you bring a tenant whom we do not approve of !' They interupted him.
- 'He is a Sunni, you want a Sunni area , so what is your problem?' The man replied sensing the danger more and more.
- 'You and that new tenant of yours, must clear off by tomorrow morning or else' the threat was clear enough.
Of course, the men packed and went to another area . That proves that people of that sort do not have a strict moral agenda . May be they wanted the house for themselves or to store things in , and my dad's friend unwillingly interfered with their plan, I don’t know .
That is mostly what happens when a thug is responsible for your safety. Most times it is even worse than the danger you are being protected from itself. But the people are not to be blamed . With no one else to protect you, no reliable police, no law someone is bound to step in to do the job and fill the gap . People once more, as it happened before in history of Iraq, handed over their freedom in exchange for protection.

Yesterday, on the news they said that the new security plan is a bit behind schedule-wait a second and allow me to wipe my tears and get a sip of water cause I am choking with laughter - Schedule! . And that is not the worse, they also said that they were behind schedule cause they could not agree on which areas they are to start with , Shi'i areas or Sunni areas , that was actually reported on the news .

Also, I saw an interview yesterday on AL Hurra with AL Alawi, a prominent historian and philosopher . It was really depressing, yet realistic . He said when asked about his predictions : 'You can not stop a tumbling rock from a high mountain, and building dams once the typhoon stars Is futile' . When he said that I wanted to chew my pillow from frustration .

When I went to the office today , we exchanged the weekend's news as usual . I really get worried about Abu S... since his area is often hit with mortars. These days he is really busy, cause his grandchildren are taking their exams. Abu S... got more involved in their lives since their father ( his son S...) was killed.
I was updated that my Boss' neighborhood was searched by the Americans during the weekend . Abu S…'s neighborhood was searched by the Iraqi Army . My Boss said they searched the whole street one house at a time . My Boss, being a sophisticated man, speaks English, Arabic and Swahili so did not need a translator, he answered all the questions all by himself . He said that they searched quietly and left after thanking him.
Abu S… said that he was fast asleep when the Iraqi Army came to search his house.

- 'I always cover my face with a blanket when I sleep, so I couldn't hear anything . Apparently they searched the rooms downstairs and the roof and then they entered my room' He told me when we were taking our break .
- 'And you were asleep in the middle of all this?' I asked him curiously.
- 'Yes , they found our gun and asked my sons who it belonged to . My son said it belongs to the Haji . So the officer said to him 'And may we take a look at this Haji ?' My son said yes and removed the cover from my face then I woke up .'
- 'My God you are a light sleeper aren't you? And what did the officer do? did he run out the room or scream, I mean how did he react?' I said pulling Abu S...'s leg as usual.
- 'Why should he ?' he answered frowning .
- 'Well, you say you were asleep which means that you did not have your false teeth on, so his fear would be understandable ' I said .
- 'You are making fun of me huh?, for your information I was once a very handsome young man that’s how Um S… fell for me.' He said laughing .
- 'Yes I remember, that was when Moses split the river wasn't it? I remember you and Um S… were dating back then.' I said making a reminiscing expression.
- 'Well lets see you when you are all wrinkly and old.' Abu S… said raising his eye brows .
- 'Oh, you are an optimist after all . Do you think that I am going to live till I reach that age? With all this going on . I don't think so Monsieur, besides I am not that young any more'.
-'Comparing to me you are' he sighed .
- 'Anyway, isn't your area any safer with all that searching ' I asked him .
- 'No, not a bit , and your area?
- 'From bad to worse. Our street is practically empty, it is just us and two other families . You know what most are doing now? they are preparing their essentials in a bag just incase one has to run . I tried to do that the other day , but I could not make up my mind what is more essential to me .' I told him as I gazed from the window
- 'Don't worry, when the time comes, you'll find that your dear life is the most essential thing to carry with you .' he said warming his hands on his stove .
- 'Yep' I agreed


Blogger Zeyad said...

Good post.

What happened with your Sunni friend is very common. They usually have their eye on these empty houses to bring in families from Western Baghdad or Anbar to inhabit them. And the same in Shi'ite areas, which is why people sometimes try to switch in advance with relatives or acquaintances. When we spent a few months in Amman last summer, they came to our neighbourhood and asked about our houses and why they were empty. We were lucky that my uncle was still next door and he told them to get lost.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous the iraqi roulette said...

Dear Zeyad,

Thanx for your comment . Unfortunately it is a policy and accepted now in Baghdad . And I am still dizzy from the shock of having 1 million displaced within Iraq in just three ,or even more correct, two years. It is practically impossible, yet it happened.
And you were lucky with your house or else it may have been turned into a loony, nutcase, headquarters of some sort.
Take care

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Solo said...

I think I'd like Abu S. We could sit around and make fun of you young'uns. :P

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Hi IR,

I have sent you three emails now but you haven't replied? I hope you got the edited versions of your beautiful Christmas story anyway..

all the best,

2:31 PM  
Anonymous the iraqi rolette said...

Solo ,
I am not that young. I am in my thirties, and I wont say on which side of my thirties I am ;-)
take care

Sent you an e-mail today 17/2/2007
check it and feed back please.Looking forward.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Solo said...

I passed the half century mark. In my thirties I still had pretty girls flirting with me. Now they call me sir, but I'm still riding my motorcycle and the gray in my beard is actually chrome. ;-)

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Roulette said...

Good morning Iraqi Roulette,

The article was seriously interesting, though it took 3 hours for me to understand where your coming from, but finally it made sense =)

Readers comments were interesting and your comment for solo was interesting as well, Mind telling us, which side of the thirty you are in now? :D



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Blogger Panharith said...

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8:46 AM  

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