Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Awareness

First I’d like to refer to the power shortage dominating Iraq these days. There is no sufficient electricity to deal with the PC. Power is supplied for 1.5 hour every six hours. Moreover, one have to go wandering round looking for cooking gas, kerosene, gasoline…etc. Local generators are operating less time because of fuel shortage.
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Many years ago there was a referendum in one of the European countries about joining the EU. It was a matter of debate and controversy, since the country, which I don’t recall its name now, had standards of living higher than the EU.

On the referendum day, a young lady, pushing her baby in a stroller, was leaving a poll center when a TV reporter stopped her, asking about the choice she had made. Her choice was YES for joining the EU. The reporter asked ‘What reason you have for this choice? Since it might jeopardize your personal standard of living’. She replied ‘It is not for me but for the future of my little girl’, pointing to the baby in the stroller.

For me, living in a retrograding country, it was a remarkable comment by the lady, regardless whether it was a media fabrication or not.

Nowadays the Iraqis are expecting elections within 54 days. One of my numerous queries, about Iraq and its future, is (Do the Iraqis have a notable awareness of their actuality and their future?).

Few weeks ago there was a radio program on the BBC Arabic. It receives calls from the audience to talk about certain issue. That day it was about the Iraqi elections. Something, similar to that of the European lady, reflected by an Iraqi woman. She said, through her call, with much enthusiasm that she will participate in the election for the sake of our future generations. The radio presenter asked her about the threats made by the insurgents to blow up the poll centers and that she might be harmed. She replied in a humorous way with determination ‘ I’ll vote even if that day is declared as the universal day of explosions’. Excellent reply, but how many Iraqis have the same opinion. I hope that they are the majority. Otherwise this lady represents a minority which should be looked after as a seed of the future.

There is high ignorance, among Iraqis, about the elections. The majority believe that they are going to elect a president. Till now, people do not know what kind of constitution they want, if they realized that it is about writing a new one. For that, they are easily prejudiced by demagogues.

16 Comments:

Blogger Terrence O'Connor said...

People need to step up and start taking ownership in their Iraq. Take a step back and realize that we are not there to take your land.

Vote in Janaury and lets start moving on. If you see something suspicous in your neighborhood, report it.

I wish you the best in your elections.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings Ibn,

I hope that you and yours are healthy and safe.

The courage of actions that are dangerous is not something that most people have. But,if do they have it, it is most of the time because of the love of family and friends. Ask any Soldier or Marine.

That is what makes a hero,or a person who makes a difference;in any given situation,in any land,at any time.

A father can be a hero because he takes a new job that is dangerous but earns a good living for his family.

A mother will neglect her health and safety for her family every time.

Children will look to their parents for their safety no matter what the circumstances.

The average family in almost any country is not interested in politics beyond what the politicians will promise and/or do for them.

When families are put in the position like you and your family are in now it is hard to know what to do. It is hard to know who to trust to do something for you if you vote for them. Even more so if you have never had a vote or voted before where it really mattered.

A constitution that is agreed on by everyone is not possible. But one must be drawn up and signed that will make possible a safe life,individual freedom of choice,and the opportunity for improvement and success of all citizens.

Fear,greed,false honor,false promises and false jahads from corrupted religious leaders stand in the way of all of your hopes and dreams. You and your friends must not let them win. If you must, you must fight against them and rally like-minded people to do the same.

America is strong and this is your fight more than it is ours. But you may be assured we will fight along side of you for your freedom,rights and responsibilities.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

9:09 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

In our recent elections, the grass-roots movement was incredible. The Republican Party had a massive 72 Hour Task Force to get out the vote before the election. I walked around areas in St. Louis to get people out to vote. I told them that this was a crucial election, and could decide America's fate for a generation. And I truly believe that this election will resound for at least a generation. The effort worked, and as you know, Republicans have control of every branch of our government (for at least 2 years).

The real movement was not just the Task Force, though. Individuals who believed in President Bush and the Republican Party drove the grass-roots movement. I, as an individual, wanted my vote to count, so I encouraged many people to vote. I also helped them understand why I felt so strongly about voting in this election. In fact, I asked them to vote regardless of who they voted for because I did not want to see the same problems as the 2000 Election.

I recognize the threats to individuals are serious on their Election Day. The best solution I have to make it work is to do what you can as an individual. That is what Democracy is all about: individuals coming together to elect a government by majority consensus. Encourage everyone to vote, whether they agree with you or not. You must take the high road. The more people who vote the better.

At least if you do something as an individual, you have a personal connection to the Election. You must encourage that responsibility. If you do not Vote, you have no Right to complain when the government is selected. I know it may take a while to educate people about this, but you have to start somewhere. Rome was not built in a day, and America did not become a successful democratic superpower in century. Perhaps Iraq can do more with brave individuals like you, Ibn al-Rafidain. Good Luck!

10:03 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Sceptics have asked whether Iraqis and others actually believe all violence will end the day after the elections. Possibly some do believe so, but there are two main reasons to expect a significant change:

1. The actions of the terrorists and anti-liberationists will be very obviously against the people as a whole. The "anti-invader" excuse will be fatally weakened.

2. The opposition is using a huge amount of its manpower and other resources to disrupt the lead-up time, and will be losing much of that throughout the whole 2 months and across the country. They are exposing themselves, in other words.

And there's the big issue: public confidence in each other. Finally Iraqis will see how each other think on a large scale, and will have confidence that they are not acting in isolation when they resist and oppose terror locally.

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter is in your country. Every day she is out among your people. A fine people the Iraqi's are. Maybe a few are not so fine.
All nations have something called a silent majority. No one knows what they think, until the day of the vote. The silent majority is does not give interviews. Does not offer opinions. It listens..and hears. On the day of the vote...They will speak. They, like you..think more about the future of their children than temselves.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

My dear friend Ibn al Rifidian,

When I read your words, I was thinking about several men in the American History that spoke important words, shared ideas and helped move us from one plain of existance to another.

One such man was Martin Luther King Junior. He was a black man who believed he should lead the fight in America against racism, hate and the ugliness of segregation. He believed in achieving these goals peacefully, but he also understood their difficulties.

In regards to the lady on the radio and those that should be speaking and not hiding, Mr. King had these words to say about "silence":

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.
*********************************

He also spoke about men standing for what they believe in and doing it not only in good times but in times of controversy:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
**************************************************

Then he talked about the future. The future that he dreamed of for his children and his people and he recognized that, while he was the man that struggled in that time and place, the things that he struggled for, he might never see with his own eyes, but he was willing to go on and fight for it, not for himself but for those that would come after him:

...And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.
Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before King was assassinated
******************************************

Martin Luther King Jr, was assassinated on April 4, 1968, but his dream did come true. Segregation was ended and the oppression and discrimination against people of color was outlawed in the United States. During his struggle, the people who marched with them were beaten, imprisoned, hung (lynched), water cannons and dogs were used against them, but they kept marching on.

I remember other quotes like "keep your eye on the prize". There is a prize my friend, it's not far away and I do worry and wonder who can see it. Can they feel it? Can they taste it? I know though, just by reading your words that somewhere in Iraq there are hundreds if not thousands of men and women, just like Martin Luther King jr, who fear no man. They see the promiseland. They know they could die today or tomorrow just for talking about it, but they go on anyway.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent. -Martin Luther King

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. - Martin Luther King Jr.
*************************************************

My dear Ibn al Rifidian,

Today I am very far from you in physical distance, yet I am closer to you in mind than many others I have known. Who will keep their eye on the prize? Look over the river to the promiseland and strive for it whatever may be the personal outcome for you. tomorrow and the next and the next can only last so long. Eventually, it will be a tomorrow far from today and we will look back and wonder at the struggle to get there.

Keep your chin up and your eyes forward. Always forward.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Leap Frog said...

Ibn: Elections are essential, and I can't imagine trying to educate everyone during this difficult period, but they are the starting point.
Sincerely hope you get relief from the gas and electrical shortage.
What is different here, is the whole world is in support and proof is in the Ukraine. Last but not least, Iraqis want their long deserved freedom!
That might be a powerful force the terrorists can't knock down.

Nice blog, by the way Papa Ray provided the link.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Son of Two Rivers,
Thanks for another interesting post. And thanks for going to such great lengths to get power for your computer in order to continue bringing us information. You remind me yet again of the things I take for granted here. Hopefully one day very soon you will be taking for granted having round-the-clock power, too.

Political scientists have studied a phenomenon they call the 'spiral of silence.' It is when you are in a room of people and one person voices an opinion (party X is the best, or whatever) so strongly and with such conviction that nobody says anything to contradict that person. Everyone else in the room may disagree with the supporter of party X but since nobody says anything, everyone comes away believing that the majority of people agree with the Party X person. In the future, then, people who heard Party X's supporter are less likely to voice a different opinion in case they are the lone wolf (so to speak) who believes in party Y (or issue Y, or whatever).

I imagine that this phenomenon is only made more dramatic in Iraq's case because of the ongoing violence, the fact that this is the first democratic election ever, and that so many people don't quite know what the government structure is going to be or what exactly is being voted on in the election. It must be difficult for people to find out what's going on if there's not much electricity, and when it's on if they are listening to or watching certain media outlets.

I am always grateful that I live in a country that is a democracy, and I do believe that it's the best kind of government around. At the same time, I can sympathize with people in Iraq who are more concerned about staying alive and feeding their kids than any election. Patrick Henry [one of the leaders of the American Revolution] might have said "give me liberty or give me death" but frankly I'm not sure I would be so heroic! So I have great admiration for everyone who will go to the polls in Iraq next month. And I hope turnout is high. And I wish I could be there to give out coffee and doughnuts to voters :)

Beth

2:38 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Ibn, Greeting to you and yours. I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Here is someone that has a changed perspective


I thought you might find it interesting.

This is MY post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

8:46 PM  
Blogger Gadfly said...

Dear Ibn (I know that means "son of", but it's just so handy)

I made this post at Hammorabi's place, but I read your blog and it seemed like a good idea to post it to you as well.

Ibn,

Please don't loose heart, man. I read your blog (and others) so I can have eye-witness information about what is happening in Iraq. If you loose faith in the whole effort, it makes it much more difficult, at least for me, to see the steady stream of bodybags carrying our best and bravest back from the fight.

I guess that's kind of a selfish thing to ask. I have no idea what it takes to make it day-to-day in your world.
Iraqi police being killed almost daily, sometimes by the bus load - I can't imagine the balls it must take for those men to raise their hand and swear to protect the peace (if they do that in Iraqi culture, I have no idea), when they know the criminals they will be fighting carry RPGs and buy explosives by the ton.

Among the things this Administration didn't forsee in this struggle, is all the thousands of extremists pouring into the country to fight against the American and Coalition forces. Unfortunately, in addition to having a long-standing, powerful regime unseated and angry, Iraq has become the battlefield for all terrorists in the region. The difficulty in electing a government in that mess is staggaring. But please don't give up hope.

I'll tell you one thing that got my attention. The day Baghdad was liberated, every news station in America was playing the footage of that big guy in the "wife-beater" shirt, swinging that sledgehammer against the base of Saddam's statue. It was, of course, a futile effort -- that base was (and I suspect still is) enormous. But everybody admired the guy's heart. As I watched, I thought "maybe there is something to this Iraq". And I still believe there is. Everybody is fighting and dying in hopes of giving Iraqi's a chance to build their own destiny -- to show the world what they're really made of.

If one day a free Iraq can stand with the global community, and at the same time feel its roots that reach back 7000 years to Uruk and Sumer, THAT will be something that was worth fighting and even dying for.

For what it's worth to you, I really believe that.

Keep the faith, Ibn. The thoughts, hopes and prayers of many millions of people are with you and your countrymen.

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you stay so postive in your thinking? I have a friend in Baghdad that's starting to get discourged with the situation there. It's easy for me to say everything is going to get better when I'm sitting here in the usa. I want to help him, but I'm at a loss on what to say or do.

3:48 AM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Beth - that is true about the scenario you presented whereby one person states a position strongly and everyone is silent. I have been in SO many situations like this - it is frightening and difficult to be the one to stand up and state a loud opinion in disagreement. I have felt the sting of scorn being heaped upon me for doing it. I have also experienced the opposite when people felt a bit safer to disagree as well. Of course - I always prefer to be the one to wait for another guy to do it!! LOL! Without hesitation I will backup someone who has the balls to do it first. It's very risky to be that first guy though.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings Ibn, I hope this finds you and yours safe and healthy.

I have been reading, trying to understand more. I find the more I think I know, the more I understand, the more I find I don't know or understand.

For example, this website has much information. The essays or articles give light on many things but raise many more questions in my mind.

http://www.minaret.org/

I would like to share it with you, in case you were unaware of this website. It is interesting.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear all,
Tomorrow (December 10th) is Universal Human Rights day. The declaration of human rights was ratified by the U.N. in 1948. The full text of the resolution is here:

http://www.udhr.org/UDHR/default.htm

Regardless of what your stance on the U.N. today is, the document is worth reading and considering. I for one especially like article 1: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood," article 3 "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person," and article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." [Hey, that was written in 1948! Cool! and very pertinent to this particlar post, and the internet in general, too!]

Lots more articles in the document, and some of them are probably too liberal for the tastes of some who post here, but please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. [OK, true confession. I am a bleeding heart liberal who believes in taking care of the very young, very old, the sick and the weak, as well as being kind to kittens and ponies. So sue me! ;)]

I wish us all a happy December 10th, look forward to a full realization of human rights across the globe someday, and keep you [all of Iraq, all the posters and readers here, Son of Two Rivers, our military, and so on] in my prayers.

Beth

7:46 PM  
Blogger Pat in NC said...

Ibn, I am hoping that the Iraqis come out for the elections with as much courage and eagerness as the Afghanis did. So much to gain from being involved in theri own government. Keep up your blog, it helps all of us.

11:28 PM  
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5:08 PM  

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