Friday, January 20, 2006

Novel Horn

Iraqis adore guns. It appears in every field of their legacy, culture, everyday life and so on. Most of the Iraqis use guns to express their joy, grief, anger…etc. Shooting guns in air is a regular daily incident. I can recall long ago, when I was a kid, a funeral procession of a tribe leader (Sheik). Hundreds of men were shooting their guns in air, and I can recollect the fear & horror I felt then.

Saddam era, through several wars, made the relation between Iraqis and arms much closer, and the society have been militarized. On the 8th of August 1988, Iraq-Iran war came to an end. And to celebrate ceasing fire in a war which seemed to be an endless one, the Iraqis kept on firing their guns for three days! It caused death to more than 300 people and injured more than 3000 in Baghdad only. One of my acquaintances lost his pregnant wife at that time. She was killed by a bullet falling back to ground hit her head.

The common way to warn people of a moving car is to honk the horn, and of the emergency vehicles is to use siren. A brand new way of warning people of a coming procession is used nowadays in Iraq, that’s shooting guns in air. So a driver may be totally taken by surprise by an IP or National Guard vehicle shooting in the air to make their way. The American troops use a developed method by shooting directly at cars to draw attention of other drivers.

What makes such conduct dangerous, dealing with a chosen sample, is the repetition of it. As an example, in the past month two of my neighbors witnessed such incident. One of them died and the other barely escaped being killed. I’m speaking about a neighborhood of less than 35 houses and a period of time less than month.

The first was killed by a stray bullet hit him in the neck down to the lungs. He was sitting by the window in a minibus of the kind used in public transportation in Baghdad. No one knew where from the bullet came, but mostly it is of that kind used as horn. The other was driving his car; he was sidetracked by a chat with a friend when two bullets hit the car. The first hit the trunk and the second turned the glass of the rear window into pieces.

To be fair, two weeks ago I saw a Humvee convoy downtown. The nice thing was a head of a young woman in uniform appearing from the roof of the first vehicle. She was blowing a whistle to draw attention to the convoy. It is a civilized way of behavior, but it needs powerful lungs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over here our guys use the siren, and if it's not an emergengy, they just give it a nudge at intervals to get one's attention.

10:34 AM  
Blogger tdr said...

In the Unbited States it is taken as an article of faith by some people who support the right of citizens to own guns that having an armed population protects the people from dictatorship. These people will argue that Americans need to keep the right to own guns in order to protect our democracy. It appears that Iraq had an armed population throughout the years of Saddam's dictatorship. So an armed population apparently wasn't enough to protect the rights of Iraqis from dictatorship. I wonder if you have any thoughts on this.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This link is to an account of a near disaster caused by a falling bullet. Luckily the medics were able to stabilize Mala and get her to hospital. Perhaps a new law should be enforced regarding indiscriminate firing.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the last of the link cot cut off. It's the October 17th entry at

9:14 AM  

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