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Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Making todays post is like mixing a pancake – you have your eggy mess in the middle and you must whisk in the flour a bit at a time or it ends up all lumpy. Lets move on before the Analogy Police get me!

This week there is a mixture of politics, analysis, word from the streets and deep emotion. And you must read to the end to see the cute kitten.

The main topic this week was politics. With the implications of the Iraqi election results now sinking in, two veteran bloggers, Salam Pax and Mohammed (of Iraq the Model) slug it out to see who can be the most pessimistic about the future. Round one goes to Iraq The Model:

In a post entitled “Is there a place for democracy in the Middle East”, Mohammed start by asking questions:

“Is it possible for democracy to succeed here? And is the struggle to change our backward present and catch up with the modern world a losing one?”

He goes on to look at recent history to explain why the secular parties failed and the religious parties succeeded. Mohammed explains:

“religious parties .. had their offices (the mosques) and a schedule for meetings (prayer times). Unlike them, we had to find an office and we didn’t have holy dates and times for our meetings; clerics didn’t have to send invitation cards, hang banners or give every member a phone call as their audience was coming out of fear from God’s punishment.”

Mohammed ends defiantly: “Victory may look far away but defeat I can’t see at all and if some consider our sacrifices a defeat, I consider them a price that has to be paid.”

Salam Pax responds in a fighting spirit

“Today we celebrate a new holiday in Iraq. It’s Democracy day. On this day last year we voted for the first time after the war. Now give me a moment to do my Happy Dance to celebrate the fact that we have a couple of religious extremists sitting in parliament”

Then a strong jab to the left:

“Thinking of this now it feels like I have been living in a make-believe world, I keep asking myself where are all the secular Iraqis? Where did all this religious extremism come from? … There is only one answer, it was all a mistake.”

And the knock-out blow – Salam Pax gets personal:

“Sorry Mohammed but, to repeat a cliché, denial is not just a river in Africa. You are still expecting too much.

To come back to the question, is there a place for democracy? Well. I don’t think either of us has the heart to say no … But it’s such an uphill struggle to keep believing that …”

Then out of the blue in steps Baghdad Dweller and sweeps the old bruisers aside. She says:

“Is democracy associated with happy and stable society? .. India is a democratic country, yet the majority is in or under the poverty line.

Instead of blindly imitating the west, we must build our own pyramid by starting from the base and not from the top as the west telling us, by starting from the people and not from the government, by creating a suitable surroundings for justice.”

And we have a winner.

In my own blog, Asterism, I pointed out how the secular, religious and Baathist parties are failing and that there is now a power vacuum in Iraq. I called for a new democratic and secular movement to fill this.

Midterm exams are over in Iraq and some bloggers are giving a sigh of relief.

HNK approached her exams with the right attitude:

“For about 12 days, I didn't get enough sleep nor enough rest. I was weak mentality and psychology. From the first days of my examinations the generator was out of use. So imagine! How could I study without light? …”

Hassan Kharrufa missed an important lecture because the Interior Minister's daughter was kidnapped. and Aunt Najma is celebrating the exams being over: “I'm finally done with the mid-year exam. Inshallah, those were the last mid-year exams in a school for me ever!”

Word from the Streets:

Honorary Iraqi, Christopher Albritton returned to Baghdad and found it the same as when he left. Well not exactly: “I’ve been back a day and I’ve already received an earful on the high price of petrol”. he goes on to talk about the failing infrastructure, the political process, the mood of journalists and why there were more marriage convoys than usual when he arrived in Baghdad. Well worth a read!

Nibras Kazimi writes more about political proceedings and gives a clear picture of the meltdown in security in Iraq. “A similar situation occurred in the interim between last January’s elections … but this time around the intensity is fiercer and wider.” He goes on to say “I’ve had two sources tell me that they had recently tried dialing the ‘130’ emergency numbers to find that no one was picking up the phone.”

Konfused Kid posts two of his articles that were not published by the Day To Day in Iraq blog in the NY Times. A summary here will not do them justise. Just go there and enjoy some original writing.

Baghdad Treasure talks about the cult around the “Baghdad Sniper”.

“Baghdad Sniper is a man who shoots US soldiers with his silent guns. He fires once and vanishes just like ghosts. There is never a follow-up shot, never a chance for US forces to identify him. It’s a matter of seconds. You’ll never hear it.”

But he is not impressed: “my own point of view is this man and many others like him are leading the destruction of this country. … And who is suffering now? Before, it was only Iraqis but now, it is even the Americans who are losing loved sons, friends, and relatives in an endless horrible war”.

Morbid_Smile turned 22 on Tuesday and has been missing her Mom who was in Dubai for a while – Happy Birthday!

Attawie chats about the difficulty of finding a violinist in Baghdad. Attawie finds one but “The thanks go to our society that girls can't trust guys and vise versa.” Read on to find out how they overcome the obstacles.

And The Woman I Was writes about the difficulty of day to day life: “It is winter.. Rains and cold.. If I can buy fuels for the heaters; many could not…”

And Finally…

If the above was all too depressing here is a picture of a cute Kitten from Baghdad Girl.

Raghda takes catblogging to new extremes. I just dare you to scan through her blog and not say ‘aaaah’ once. When a teenage girl in Iraq can live through the horrors of this war and still blog about kittens it reaffirms my belief in humanity. As she says “Iraq for ever, cats for ever and Baghdad Girl for ever….”

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