Sunday, February 27, 2005


The official weekend in Iraq is one day, which is Friday, just like many other Islamic countries. At some of these countries the weekend consists of two days (Thursday & Friday). Last week, the Iraqi cabinet decided to make it two days. The added day is Saturday.

Choosing Saturday astonished me, since it was expected to choose Thursday according to public opinion. Anyhow, I did not judge the matter till I got information which gives reason for it.

I'm not concerned, here, about the pronouncement itself; I'm annoyed by the impression I got from people. They are obsessed by conspiracy theory or something like this. The other day I came across a person whom I know. He is a doctor and I expect him to have a good logical standard. He did not vote in the election and when I met him he started to use bad language and condemn the decision. I asked him 'What is wrong about it?' His reply astonished me 'Don't they know that Saturday is the Jews holiday? The cabinet intentionally chose it'.

A year ago, there was a controversy about the Iraqi flag & should it be changed or not? There was a contest to design a new flag. A design by Rif'at Chader'chee was chosen. Mr. Chader'chee is a very famous Iraqi architect who designed many remarkable buildings in Iraq. He fled Iraq in 1982 after being imprisoned for 20 months for no reason. He is teaching since then at Harvard & other famous universities about philosophy of architecture.

A public idea appeared likening the new flag to the Israeli one. People flew into a rage because of it.

I wonder whether such perverted way of thinking exists in other communities since I've not met many non Iraqis.

I keep on telling my relatives & friends 'I'm afraid that one day we will reject honesty as an ethical value because the Israelis or the Jews say it is a good one'.

Another example is people who doubt democracy and refuse it, because it comes from America. Most of people in the region do not set aside their feelings & prejudices, and use logic to verify an idea. Somebody may say it is human nature.

Once again, I believe that we, the Iraqis, need educational rehabilitation. I'll be pleased to read your comments.


Blogger Louise said...

Ibn Alrafidain, your posting gives me hope. Middle Easterners have to start challenging some of these irrational and silly ways of thinking. I wonder how many people say these things outloud but secretly believe something else? It's only when a few brave individuals begin to challenge the mindless orthodoxy that others will start to be honest and truthful. I hope it won't take long.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

Some Arab countries have Saturday off, including Jordan and Lebanon. Jordan's weekend is Friday and Saturday. (Lebanon's also includes Sunday.) So maybe the people in the Iraqi government were just trying to coordinate the Iraqi weekend with Jordan's weekend because it is a neighbor country that many Iraqis visit and do business with.

It seems extremely silly that some people see it as a Zionist conspiracy. (Is there anything they DON'T see as a Zionist conspiracy??)

8:19 PM  
Blogger DagneyT said...

Ibn Alrafidain, for many decades your people have been taught that America was the root of all of the bad that happened in their lives. America established despots like Saddam, and propped up the House of Saud. It will take the educational revolution you suggest to overcome those ideas. It will be easier for those who have direct dealings with our soldiers and contractors...the 90% who are good people who epitomize us, Americans. Overcoming lifelong mental attitudes cannot be done over night. The media that bloggers represent is the greatest hope of turning their minds around. It is why blogs are so important. Shining the light of knowledge and truth will drive out the darkness of rumors and old ideas.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Start a rumour that the government is going to pass a law requiring all Iraqis to have nose jobs, because large noses are Jewish.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Brian just cracked me up.

Ibn...I understand that the friends of democracy have been organizing very interesting things like "parliamentary forums" for children in primary and secondary school to teach them about democracy and parliamentary proceedings.

I understand they also give seminars in universities and social/political groups. I guess this group needs to get bigger faster. I have wondered why the public television programs don't show more educational things or more live government meetings so people can see the process?

We have CSPAN. It's not exactly the most popular thing here but it does get some good viewing and it shows government proceedings, committee meetings, educational programs, other countries news and parliamentary proceedings and interviews or panels where people talk about policy.

You all need electricity and then 24 hour television with all this stuff beemed in. Then maybe people will start realizing they can be seen and others will know they can see and believe.

But, you're right, this is not something that will be cured next year. You're going to have to be in it for the long haul.

4:03 AM  
Blogger JJ said...

Ibn....decades of anti American propaganda and Zionist conspiracy theories will be difficult to change.

I don't know why the powers that be selected Saturday as the second weekend day - maybe just to be different from other ME countries.

I do think there will have to be a great deal of re-education of the Iraqi people. Blaming Israel for everything is giving them far too much credit for things that happen in the ME. In reality Israel is a very small country whose influence does not spread much beyond it's borders.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Patty-Jo said...

Ibn Alrafidain you are absolutely correct that the answer is education. There is much work to be done, but I believe the Iraqi people are up to the task. The Iraqi children of today will be taught the truth, in a free and democratic society. By the time they are adults, most of them will not carry the same prejudices as their parents and grandparents.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Gadfly said...

Hello Ibn,

I think it might be easier if you explain that democracy came from the Ancient Greeks and not America.

America is just one of the many proponents of democracy in the world.

Love your blog

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Kerrville Bill said...

Many Americans take off Saturday and Sunday from work. Most Americans consider Sunday a day for worship, although some religions worship on Saturday. I think it is great that Iraqis have something like which day to take off to argue about, instead of the problems from the days of Saddam.

With capitalism and democracy just hope you can take two days off,whatever they are. I used to work on many Saturdays instead of taking two days.

Kerrville Bill

6:06 AM  
Anonymous WC in Texas said...

Yep. That kind of thinking exists everywhere. However, I think you can judge the health of a society by how such bigotry is either condemned or accepted. In a well educated society with a robust free press, such ideas are rightly labled as backward and dangerous hate-mongering. The advocates of such idiocy are rightly seen as feeble-minded and easily mis-led.

If a large number of Iraqis actually can (and want to) believe such nonesense, then it will take little effort to mobilize and energize squadrons of terror goons. It was just so in Nazi Germany, Milosovich's Serbia, and the old Jim Crow South (in the good ol' USA). Take hope! All of those places (thank God) are healing (Serbia just barely, but it takes time).

Good post!

Happy Trails!

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding your work week... It is much better to have chosen Saturday than Thursday. If you select Thursday, then only 3 days of work will be in common with the rest of the western world: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This means that it would make Iraq a very undesirable place to locate foreign operations. My employer has operations in India and eastern Europe and Russia. If we only had 3 days a week in common, it would be a very big problem--we are on the phone with these offices every day of the week to solve very complex problems as one worldwide team!

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furthermore, these Zionist conspiracy ideas are just insane. WHO DO YOU THINK KILLED 125 PEOPLE YESTERDAY? Do you think it was the Jews? Heck no, it was Muslims---Baathists and Salafists/Wahabis. .... The Jews are the LEAST of the Iraqis problems! In fact, the Jews would probably be more respecting of democratic Iraq than just about everyone else because the Jews know that stable democratic countries in their neighborhood is absolutely in their long-term best interest.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Alright, anyone who hasn't read THIS Iraqi IP story, do so NOW. I mean it!


(Apologies, but I'm multi-posting this on some of my favorite blogs.)

7:50 PM  
Blogger AngloGermanicAmerican said...

For what it is worth, and perhaps it is not worth all that much, I suspect that the "perverted way of thinking" is one aspect of human nature that is alive and well in all communities. Just look at any policy proposed by Republicans, and you will find persons "spinning" the proposal as some sort of artful subterfuge to advance a hidden, underlying, purely "evil" agenda. I use Republicans as an example, but the same is true for policies proposed by Democrats and others as well. Education just makes the "perverted way of thinking" more believable and convincing. I am saying this a little more strongly than I actually believe. Education, hopefully, reduces the number of unfounded fears and prejudices in a person as well as that person's susceptibility to being manipulated, but the point I want to underscore is that regardless of our ability to employ reason or logic, we choose to eschew logic in favor of feelings (fear, hate, jeolousy, etc) when it serves our purposes. The fact that people are educated just means that the "conspiracy" allegations are presented in a manner making them more plausable. Here's an example using a Democrat: Clinton fired off some cruise missles soley to divert the country's attention from his personal problems with perjury, Lewinski and impeachment. If you hate Clinton, you'll probably think it plausible, and if you do, you will repeat it to others, and together you will get steaming mad. If you hate Clinton, or you hate Bush, nothing these guys ever do is for the "right" reason, but rather for some self serving or wrong headed purpose. Again, I am stating this a little more forcefully than I actually believe, but the point is valid I think.

10:35 PM  
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10:56 PM  
Blogger jedati said...

Your posts are always so interesting!

You said: "Another example is people who doubt democracy and refuse it, because it comes from America. Most of people in the region do not set aside their feelings & prejudices, and use logic to verify an idea. Somebody may say it is human nature."

There are Americans who don't accept democracy. There are some who are socialist, communist, etc. who hate America, even though they enjoy the multitudes of benefits stemming from democracy. So, I am afraid to say, but I think some of it is human nature. But I believe education will work on changing many minds, so it is still hopeful.

I am wondering, from your perspective, how much education will be able to change minds if all the anti zionist feelings stem from religious perspectives? Will education have any chance at all?
Or do you view any of the problem as being religious?

3:40 AM  
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5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I just wanted to pop my opinion.

1: I get very scared when people, especially north americans, talk about truth and democracy, since from my view point, they have neighter. They have rogue media, rogue business, and they havent even elected their own president. What's the deal?

2: Thus some readers are already offended, but please explain, where is democracy in american warfare? And how does boming innocent Iraqis equal democracy?

3: Democracy comes from the people, its not "given" to the people. When you "give" democracy, you automatically disregard the opinion of the people. Why are they not allowed to build their own model? North american democracy is utopia in Iraq, because Iraqis have tradition, which does noet equal american tradition. Have some respect and let the people decide.

4: Education is of course of importance. But make it clear. What will be educated? And who will be the educators?

5: How come nobody is talking about the oil? Ibn, I wish that you comment on that.

6: I think that the flag looks very peaceful.

Thats all for now brothers and sisters. Love.

5:25 PM  

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