Friday, August 26, 2005

Step by Step

La Bona made a comment on my previous post which represents a point of view. His attitude is to prevent circumcision. For me, circumcision (of males) seems to be effective in reducing sexually transmitted diseases (STD). I don't have a concrete scientific proof, but observing the Iraqi society through its past history makes me accept the idea. The Iraqi society till fifty years ago followed very strict rules in separating between males & females. Nowadays it witnesses a regression toward those rules. As a result, sodomy has been dealt with as an accepted social feature.

Dr. Ali Wardi, an Iraqi sociologist, wrote about (sodomy in Iraqi towns) in his book titled (A Study in the Society of Iraq). He says:
"Sodomy was so spread during Ottoman era in Iraq. It could be ascribed to several factors. The most important are:
1- The education of alleys. Where kids acquire this concept as a way of showing off their mates.
2- Putting heavy veils on women. This results in homosexuality,especially between males, as compensation.
3- The traditions of the Ottoman's army (Inkisharee)."

The contemporary Iraqi society makes use of sodomy, since women and men are mixing nowadays in everyday activities. Intimate relations can not be avoided. These may develop into sexual ones. According to our conservative legacy, a woman must not lose her virginity before marriage. So, any unmarried couple who have sexual affair should pay attention not to remove the girl's hymen, since it proofs her virginity to the future husband (This is one aspect, of many, of hypocrisy in our society). And one can imagine the alternative.

What I want to focus on is that such wide spread of sodomy has not caused much spread of STD. As an unproven conclusion, it seems that circumcision has a great role in preventing the spread of STD. I hope that some of you have points of view with/against circumcision that will appear on the comments section. Maybe, a Jewish friend would like to add some thing about it, since circumcision is practiced in Judaism.

Now, let's refer to another issue. It is the urge of UN envoy in Iraq to the Iraqi government to desist from carrying out executions. I'm not sure whether the death penalty would deter more crimes or not, but it may help in calming the public. Our tribal legacy considers law & judicial system as the means of weak & coward people. During Saddam era, law completely lost its role in Iraq and it is so important to retrieve the public trust in it. It is not easy to control the people's emotions, especially of those who lost a family member by kidnapping, killing and rape. As a step toward this task, it is important to make people believe that the government will seek revenge for the murder of their relatives.

It seems that death penalty still exists in 64 countries, according to Amnesty International
. Here in Iraq, the humanitarian level outside prison, for criminals, is far below that inside prison. To be sentenced means to go to a better place. Moreover, prison became the most suitable place for the extremists to spread their ideologies. Preaching ordinary criminals is the most favorite issue for the imprisoned islamists. It is one of the major methods to recruit new members. As an example, Al-Zarqawee was recruited in prison by a man called Al-Maqdis'see. Zarqawee, mainly, was an ordinary gangsta at Al-Zarqa (a town in Jordan).

The above two issues, circumcision & death penalty, might be dealt with in a developed stable society by the public with much interest. The Iraqi society has so many issues of importance much more than these two. Our society needs lot of educational rehabilitation. The dominating issue of nowadays, the new constitution, reflects the amount of ignorance between Iraqis. Radio& TV programs ask the public about any note they have which help in writing a good constitution. Listening to what callers say, one can hear a caller asking to include the infrastructure reconstruction in the constitution items. A woman complains about not accepting her son's application to a governmental agency. Another person demands to establish a college in his town and so on. The most astonishing matter is a bunch of Iraqi women demonstrate against women's rights.

To jump or burn stages is illogical. But by determination on a continuous process of educational rehabilitation one might dream about a bunch of Iraqi women, in the future, demanding for animals' rights.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Powers of Darkness

One of my acquaintances trades in toys. After the recent war his work flourished & he decided to import toys from China. One of the toys he ordered is a dancing boy. It is mainly some kind of mechanism which can be dressed any thing. The different dresses, and the characters they represent, are printed on the packet of each toy. One of the characters is Saddam (another is Bin Ladin). The guy, who imported the toy, was taken by surprise by four good looking young men paying him a quick visit at home. They asked him:

- Are you the one who imported the dancing toy?
- Yes, it's me.
- How dare you import a dancing Saddam toy?
- Wait a minute…wait a minute, who said that?
- We saw the toy at stores and when we asked, they led us to you.

He says "I couldn't stop the wave of fear which overwhelmed my mind & body, believing that they were going to kill me. I tried to collect myself and said:

- I'm ready to open the ware house where I store the toys immediately and you may search it for such a toy. Moreover, I'm ready to relinquish the whole consignment to you.
- No thanks, but we want you to wipe out the cartoon, represents (president) Saddam, printed on each packet. Otherwise you can imagine what will happen to you & family.

After this short conversation the four guys disappeared. So he hired several persons just to erase the cartoon. I asked him "Have you ever seen them before?" He replied "No I haven't".

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine brought me a leaflet distributed at the entrance of a mosque nearby his home. It contains a statement issued by a group calling itself (the media dept. of Al-Qaida organization in Mesopotamia). This organization is assumed to be led by Al-Zarqawee. The statement threatens everybody not to take part in the political process. It is a prolonged statement. In general it considers any kind of referendum, election, people representation, constitution…etc as an apostasy of Islam.

Who had distributed the statement? I asked my friend. He told me that someone had been standing at the main gate of the mosque without covering his face but no one ever had seen him before; he vanished within no time.

What I want to say is that the baathists is still moving in a very stealthy way. The intelligence services of Saddam's regime are still working underground, providing a logistic back up for any kind of work that keeps the situation in Iraq unsettled. Huge secret institutions, like Mukhabrat, which received very sophisticated training for 35 years, are not easy to be dismantled. They can be felt wandering among us but no one can point them out. The age of such institutions goes back even before the baathists reign which started in 1968. You may grasp an idea about the baathists way of ruling this country by reading a previous post of mine (
Rambling Post (5)):

Saddam worked hard on making contacts to gather as much as possible number of gangstas, and organizing them under his command. He managed to create a group of them, which was called (Hunain group), to represent the armed wing of the Baath party. The gangstas who refused to join Hunain group were killed in mysterious circumstances. One of those gangsta groups, which refused to obey Saddam, was (We'ild As'safra) which means (sons of the yellow woman). They had been killed publicly in a café at Ad'damyah district in Baghdad.

Going back to the time before seizing power in 1968, a baathist with a PHD narrates in a book he wrote examples of the methods used by the baathists to infiltrate into the government. The simplest example was when this man, Dr Jawad Hashim, appointed by the prime minister as a head of a committee to employ the high school graduates who did not manage to join college. It was a recession time in Iraq. The baathists moved and gave him restricted instructions about where to appoint the baathist youths. In this example they were employed at gas stations, especially close to important governmental agencies, to watch and report to the superior baathists.

Saddam's regime doesn't want to let go of power. For that it tries to make use of any ideology, group, movement, criminal, gangster, politician…etc. One of the steps which Saddam made, about five months before the war, was setting free the whole prisoners, regardless their crimes. This step provided a good pool of tools to implement criminal deeds taking place now in Iraq. Another underground activity of (Mukhabrat) is spreading rumors. You can read some examples in my previous post (

There are so many stories about this mafia called (Baath party)…

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Iraqi Women's Rights

Kat is launching on her blog a campaign to support the Iraqi women in their struggle to oppose adopting Shari'ah as the sole source of law or as a major source of law.

Now, let me speak about some other features of dealing with Iraqi women as an inferior creature. It is the Bedouin tribal legacy which represents the frame governing men's attitude toward women. One of these features is awarding women as compensation when killings happen between tribes. It is called "Fasli'ya". The compensated side tries to humiliate the woman which is awarded as "Fasli'ya" by marrying her to a very old man, since she represents the foe.

I can remember a work colleague, of tribal background, used to say "I'm trying to hasten the marriage of any one of my sisters". I asked him "Is any of them engaged?" and his reply was "No, but I'll force any of them to marry the first man who would propose". The reason he gave was that he could marry using the money which he receives as a dowry for his sister. Woman is dealt with as a commodity.

Another feature is to use a relative woman, mostly a sister, as a dowry to be exchanged with another man's sister. Each marries the other's sister. It is called "Qusa bi Qusa". Each one of the two women will be continuously threatened to lose her home & family. According to this way of marriage, if one of the two women, for example, is divorced then the other must be divorced regardless whether she lives happily with her husband or not.

A fourth feature is "Al-Nahwa". It means that a man can prevent the marriage of any of his female cousins. The man might be married to another woman or so old for the bride, still, he can stop the marriage. Declaring "Al-Nahwa" by a man allows him to kill any one would propose to his female cousin. And he might never marry her but just to harm her by keeping her unmarried for lifetime.

In other cases women are deprived of their rights even according to Shari'ah. A woman may be excluded from inheritance.

The above features do not represent the dominating way in dealing with women, but it still exists in some Iraqi communities especially the rural ones.

Iraqi women need help to achieve their human rights and constitutional rights. So if any of you can help, even by a word, then please don't hesitate. For me, I encourage you to sign this petition. Thanks to Kat and to all of those who will make a step in supporting the Iraqi women's rights. By the way, the referendum on the constitution is on 15th October, so there is time to put pressure & make a difference

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Heat & Electricity

It is so hot, since it is summer. Here in Iraq, temperature reaches degrees which non-Iraqis could not imagine. Yesterday I took a thermometer and put it in the direct sun. It astonishingly rose passing the scale marks. It seems that the manufacturer do not imagine heat on the globe my go up more than fifty degrees centigrade (122 Fahrenheit), so the scale ends at 52 C. I think no one of you believe that the thermometer went up above 60 C (140 F). Such heat drives human being to insanity. Water & electricity become essential, but there is a tragic shortage in both. Nowadays, electricity is supplied less than four hours per day. One can imagine life without cold water or air-conditioning systems.

Electricity plays great role in everyday life, especially in work. Thousands of workers have nothing to do but waiting for electricity to run their businesses for an hour. Local generators spread widely as an alternative. Still, these generators, causing lot of noise, can not substitute the national grid. Using local generators means a significant increment in fuel demand, which causes very long queues at gas stations. Queuing up for hours under the burning sun turns any person crazy. Fuel shortage leads to black market. Owners of local generators increase the charges, which leads to many quarrels between them and the consumers. It is normal to use guns in such incidents. In one of these quarrels a son of the generator owner was killed, in another a grenade was used to blow up the generator and so forth. Even the local generators can not run endless time under hot temperature, so the owners switch them off to cool the engines. This requires small generators in every house to fill the gap. And more fuel, engine oil, maintenance is required; more noise is produced.

A "
Report to Congress Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" (pdf) issued by the Pentagon says:

"The number of monthly attacks on Iraq’s infrastructure, such as electricity generation and oil facilities, has decreased since the election, but continue to have an adverse impact on electricity transmission and oil exports. The Iraqi Government, with Coalition support, is leading an increased effort to enhance infrastructure security, such as hardening key nodes and expanding the number and capabilities of personnel guarding pipelines."

It is a report which few Iraqis know about, and even those who know pay little attention to it since on the ground, tangibly, nothing moves forward. The most important things for Iraqis in a boiling summer are water supplies & electricity. These two services are targeted by the insurgents to increase grumblings among Iraqis. People here in Iraq drew a very optimistic image, before the American invasion, about what kind of revolutionary changes in their live they were expecting by the Americans. A question is asked by the majority of people "What kind of super power is US, since it failed to reconstruct the electricity sector after about two and half year of occupation". US is viewed as the most scientifically & technically developed nation, still it can not build an electricity power station within two years.