Monday, December 27, 2004

Feelings are universal (2)

Additional thoughts to a previous post (Feelings are universal) are down here. Maybe they would be helpful in perceiving some of the events happening in Iraq.

What happened in Abu Graib prison is another image of brutality and seizing the opportunity to behave meanly which is the same of Saddam's era. It was expected (at least for me). Since August 2003 I'm trying my best to avoid any American person here. In that month a horrible incident happened to my brother in law. He is an electrical engineer, works in the maintenance department at the University of Baghdad. He is a man of self-respect, in the same age of mine. Their department is working hard to rehabilitate colleges of the university.

One day on his way back home in his car, an Iraqi police patrol stopped him and checked his car. He told me that he had noticed the cars, which had been checked, were all the same of his car. So he concluded that something wrong had been done using such a car. But the most significant thing he had noticed was the way of the Iraqi police behavior. He described it as a revolutionary change. They behaved in a very polite way. After that he stopped to buy bread. As he was parking his car, three American armored vehicles appeared suddenly and surrounded his car. Till this point nothing is wrong. But the way of the American soldiers' behavior was something unbelievable. They didn't ask him any kind of questions, and prevented him from saying a word. They dragged him from the car in a very savage way causing his shirt to be completely torn. Two guns were pointed to his head, a soldier kept on kicking his legs to lay him on the ground, another tried to break the trunk of the car, others turned the inside of the car upside down. After all this humiliation they said nothing but (sorry). He recounted the event with very deep pain and sorrow. It caused him high blood pressure.

Such incident happens daily. One may become a detainee without knowing why. Anybody may pass false information about another to the Americans. American soldiers are ready to damage (not knock) doors, destroy furniture, terrify families, and detain persons.

I can understand that the American soldiers are frightened and this makes them unable to discriminate between people. To avoid being humiliated for no reason, it's better to stay at home as much as possible. I can't bear humiliation, by some frightened or psychopathic soldiers, which may cause me to retaliate in a way that leads me to death. Such behaviors make neutral people to turn against the Americans.

Thanks to God that I have not met any American soldier who might detain me for no reason (like what happened to my brother in law). And I pray to God that it would not happen in the future. At Saddam's period one might be detained for using a satellite receiver, which is a trivial matter, but still there were some trivial regulations. I know many young men who had been detained just for standing outside their houses, in the street. It is impossible for some people to stay at a crowded home while there is no power, with all the heat and boredom.

Yesterday, for the second time, my brother was about to be crushed with his car by an American army huge truck. The soldier who was driving the truck hit another car pushing it aside without giving its driver any chance to get away of the truck path, causing lot of damage to the car. My brother was the one supposed to be hit but he managed to find himself an empty small area, in one of the busiest streets in Baghdad, rammed his car into it.

Two months ago, my same brother was in a traffic jam when he noticed in the car mirror a bunch of Humvee cars. So he managed to step aside near the sidewalk to avoid annoyance usually caused by the Americans when they pass through streets. What astonished him is that the Humvees' drivers chose to force their cars through a very narrow space beside his car scratching his car and breaking the radio aerial. My brother says that the soldiers in the Humvee looked at him in the same way of Saddam's henchman and bodyguards.

I have no explanation or justification for the behavior neither of the Americans nor of the Iraqis who retaliate unconsciously. I'd like to read your comments about it.

Friday, December 24, 2004


Merry Christmas & happy new year to everybody. Let me say in Arabic (Ayamkum Sa’eida) which means (wishing you happy days).

Till I finished my 9th grade at school, I didn't know what it is meant exactly by Christmas. As an Islamic community, people here don't know much about such occasions.

Still, one of the basic tenets in Islam is to believe in Jesus the Christ as a prophet. Moreover, a Muslim should believe in all prophets before Mohammed of Islam. This includes Moses and his Pentateuch (The Torah) in its main version, Abraham who is considered in Islam as the father of all prophets, Noah, and up to Adam & Eve.

Islam does not consider Jesus (Issa in Arabic) as the son of God. He is God's miracle. According to Koran, Mary the Virgin is his only human parent. And to prove this miracle, Jesus was able to talk from the very first moment of birth.

The story of Koran, about his birth, says that Mary felt she would be ashamed and disgraced by having a baby without marriage. So she abandoned her people to the desert giving birth to Jesus near a palm tree. She was puzzled about the whole matter wishing that she had not been born. At this moment the baby spoke to her saying "Don't worry mom, shake the palm tree, dates will fall down so you can eat and look there, water is welling for you to drink".

The story says in another part that the baby told her to tell her people, by signs, that she had made a vow to God not to speak for three days according to a rite or liturgy in Judaism. So she followed the instructions and when her people saw the baby in her hands, they accused her as a sinner asking for an explanation. She referred them to the baby. They replied "How can a new born baby answer us?"

People gathered at the Temple of Jerusalem to see the sinner. At this point the baby spoke to the people saying "I am the slave of God. He ordered me to praise Him and to pray to Him. God ordered me to show piety to my mother".

In some other part of Koran there are words said by Jesus as a good omen of another prophet will follow him. This prophet's name is Mohammed (the prophet of Islam).

Koran says that Jesus was not killed, but a duplicated person of his image was crucified.

Anyhow, Islam is another ethical ideology presented as a religion. It shares the many good values and principles with other religions in the world.

For the second year Iraqi Christians can not celebrate Mass in peaceful surroundings because of violence and threats.

One last word, don't look at the Islamic radicals or fundamentalists to create a perspective about Islam.

Finally, I wish you all merry Christmas, happy New Year and prosperous life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I was and still preoccupied by the concept of justice. Dose it originate inside every human being, and if it was there inside a human being would he/she be aware of it. And if this human being was aware of it, would he/she willingly put it into practice.

It seems that some individuals when they have the opportunity to behave meanly, they do. There is no difference between persons from different cultures.
What differ are the elite which enforce law.

The difference, between the elite of ours and that of the developed world, becomes clear when we make a comparison between Saddam’s regime and any western government. Saddam made many ridiculous laws. For example there was a law called (martyr of anger). This law makes it legitimate, for Saddam, to kill anybody he feels suspicious about his loyalty or intentions. If Saddam discovers, after execution, that person was innocent then all his ‘rights’ would be granted to his family.

A British court ruled in favor of an Iraqi citizen against the British Ministry of Defense. This is justice. Though it is imperfect, but there is a dynamic system which works on improving it.
The British soldiers conduct reflects seizing the opportunity to behave meanly which I thought it to be existing in our retrograding societies only.
Once more I repeat my certainty which says (No justice No great nation).

Saddam viewed judges and judicial system as toys which he can play with. In the mid of 1990s an incident happened between a bodyguard of Qusay (one of Saddam's sons) and another person. The two guys quarreled over a prostitute in a private party. The bodyguard drew a gun to shoot his rival. The other guy jumped on him, managed to snatch the gun and killed the bodyguard.

The case came to trail. Qusay ordered the court to hang the killer. According to the Iraqi law, since the accused had not had an earlier intention of killing the bodyguard and the gun owned and drawn by the victim, the maximum sentence is not death and that was the court rule. Qusay started to become angry. Appeal was made with strict orders from Qusay to hang the accused. The court of appeal couldn't change the judgement since the law is clear about the case circumstances. Qusay anger multiplied, so the case was finally taken to Supreme Court of Appeal in Iraq with the same strict orders from Qusay to hang the accused.

Head of Supreme Court of Appeal in Iraq relates "After reading the case dossier I became puzzled about what to do. When I had been chosen for the position by Saddam, he told me to be completely bound to law and to enforce law in the judicial system. As a solution, I called the whole board members of the court for a meeting. After discussing the case, we decided that the case to be taken back to the first court which had passed the main judgement with a recommendation to revise it.
The first court approved its main judgement, though the strict orders of Qusay were accompanied with the dossier. And the same scenario repeated in the other two courts".

As a result of not obeying the orders of Qusay, a presidential decree signed by Saddam was issued. The whole judges who had agreed on the lawful sentence were fired. And to humiliate them, the decree ordered to degrade their judicial title to the lowest one. Their pension was calculated according to the lowest degree.
The fired head of Supreme Court of Appeal adds "I was and still in great confusion and puzzlement about what Saddam had told me and what happened later".
For me, this story added corroborating evidence which assured me that Saddam was hastening to his end.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Short Stories

The other day I was walking in the street when I came across an old college colleague. He has an attitude of justifying what the insurgents do. He owns now a sport-stuff store at Adahmyah district in Baghdad.

Chatting with him for a little while, he told me about an incident which he witnessed few weeks ago. According to his story, he was working in his store when a masked gunman took him by surprise. Standing in the middle of the store, the gunman started to yell calling him to come out and fight the Americans. My colleague said ‘The whole events took no time, during which I stood standstill unable to comprehend what I see. Then the gunman vanished within seconds. I was still shocked when shooting started in the street. I hurried to close the store but I couldn’t, since heavy firing of guns spread in the area. I ran back into the store lying down to avoid being shot’.
This lad had kept on talking positively about the ‘resistance’. Has he changed his opinion after this incident? Only God knows.

One of my neighbors told me another story about a teenager. My neighbor recalled his story when the teenager crossed in front of the car which we were using to tour gas stations looking for fuel (there is a real fuel & power crisis nowadays). This teenager volunteered for Al-Mahdee militia of Muktada Al-Sadder. He was assigned to fight in Najaf, though he lives in Baghdad. When he was in Najaf, another group of Al-Mahdee militia who fight in Baghdad took position, to shoot at the American troops, in front of his family house. His father and brothers tried to prevent them from doing so, since the Americans would retaliate causing lot of casualties to the family. They had a quarrel with the militants which evolved into shooting. As a result two brothers of the volunteer fellow were killed.
Two of his brothers were killed by his comrades. Paradoxical, isn’t it?
Visiting his family, on leave, the volunteer discovered the truth of how such militias can harm the people. He quit immediately and started to work as a porter.

Two real stories of many here in Iraq. One can not persuade people by talking to them. They prefer, unconsciously, to go through every matter to have first hand experience. This leads us back to the Iraqi people awareness.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Human Rights

Today is the 56th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Till the year 2003, I was looking for any copy of this declaration. During that time when I ask about such matter I receive very weird looks. One day a baathist, feeling pity for me, told me to take care and to stop asking about it, otherwise I might be hurt.

Till the late 1970s there was a lesson in Iraq schools, starting at fourth grade, called (National Education). It dealt with many issues, except Human Rights, such as the three authorities (legislative, executive, judicial). When Saddam seized power this lesson changed into an educational doses about Baath ideology and to be changed later into some kind of rituals to praise Saddam and to wash brains.

This year, a new lesson is going to be taught in college about Human Rights. Asking many students and lecturers, it is obvious that there is lot of ignorance about this subject and others (like democracy).

After April 9th 2003, I asked many Iraqis about the Universal Declaration. I can claim that 95% of them had never heard about the name. I’m speaking about college students and middle class people.
Feeling free to ask about copies of the declaration, I managed to find two copies (English & Arabic) offered to me by a retired Iraqi official who worked for the UN. I printed out them, photocopied the printout, and distributed them. The reaction I got from people, frankly speaking, was discouraging. Anyhow, I wrote letters to newspapers to publish the declaration. At least one of the most popular newspapers (Al-Sabah) published it and other universal declarations by the UN which I had known nothing about them.

I believe and insist that we, Iraqis, need educational rehabilitation. For that we need continuous support by the free world.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


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.

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.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Uniforms & Weapons

I recall a movie. Its events are about a battle between Germany and France during the reign of Bismarck and Napoleon III (the Franco-Prussian war,1870-71).

A group of about ten French soldiers receive an order to retreat from the front line. After walking for a long time equipped with heavy military stuff, they are exhausted and out of breath. They come across a flock of ducks which imitate the soldiers in a funny way. The soldiers hunt a duck and cook it. After an uproarious meal, one of the soldiers goes to bring water for his companions from a nearby lake.
He decides to take off his uniform to swim. Once he starts swimming, an unexpected surprise is waiting for him. There is a German soldier swimming in the lake. Each of them hurries, out of water, to his rifle, aiming at other, panting and showing fierce hatred. Both of them are naked. After a little while of silence and awaiting, they burst in laughter.

They put down their rifles and sit together chatting, talking about their agonies, anguish, hopes, their sweetheart’s names and families…etc.
Abruptly, the two armies start again exchanging artillery shelling. Both of them hasten to his uniform, helmet, rifle and other stuff, and hurry back to their units. And as a funny coincidence, each one of them discovers that he took the uniform and the helmet of the other. Then, a series of humorous events take place by accusing them to be spies for the other army.
The movie tries to deliver a message which says:


A similar message is said by 2Slick on his blog. It says:

“…a question that I am constantly asked by fellow Americans- even today. "Do they want us over there?" My answer is always, "Of course not! Not with weapons and body armor on!" And we don't want to be there either- not under the present circumstances. Most Iraqis are quick to point out that they are glad Saddam is gone, they appreciate what we've done, and although they wish for the occupation to end soonest- they would love for us all to come back as tourists- and that they'd be honored to welcome us as guests in their homes.
They want us carrying cameras and souvenirs- not guns and hand cuffs.They want to see us wearing khakis and Izods- not DCU's and body armor.Who can blame them for this? I join them in hoping that it happens sooner than later.”
Well, 2Slick hit the nail on the head. He posted this after a comment I made on an older post (What's Next For Fallujah?), which I had been informed about by Papa Ray (thanks to Papa).

I’ve been trying to be more acquainted with American people through the internet which I started using it since few months before the recent war of 2003. I was, and still, wondering why we deal with the Americans, or the western in general, as enemies. So I started to gain pen pals from all over the world using the internet. For my amazement, I discovered that these people, especially the Americans, are wonderful, helpful and friendly. One should distinguish between the foreign policy of the administration of a certain country and its people.
Let’s look forward to a day in the near future. A day on which the Iraqi people receive guests from all over the glob saying (Ahlan Wa Sahlan) which means welcome.And till that day comes allow me to be your host in this humble blog saying to all visitors (Ahlan Wa Sahlan), your visits and comments please me.