Love is in the air this week and even hardened Iraqi bloggers go mushy at the knees on Valentines day. The cartoon controversy has been brewing with more thoughtful comments and Iraq has been dealing with its own controversy – the demon of abuses by British and American troops has been rearing its ugly head again. There are comments on Saddam's Trial and in ‘word from the streets’ we will hear about how Ashura passed, the arms market and air-strikes over Baghdad. Now on with the show and…
If you read nothing else today read Riverbend's first hand account of how the Iraqi security forces raided her neighborhood.
One of them stood with the Klashnikov pointed at us, and the other one began opening cabinets and checking behind doors. We were silent. The only sounds came from my aunt, who was praying in a tremulous whisper and little B., who was sucking away at his thumb, eyes wide with fear.
Hala S. guest-blogs on Asterism. “My aim is to write something constructive has a meaning and could lead somewhere.” She gives a personal recollection during Saddam's Iraq:
[the head mistress] looked me in the eyes and asked: who are you? What is your father name? Do you realise what you have done? Today you are conspiring against your tutor, tomorrow you will do the same against the government! I will pass it this time, one more move of a kind, and you will find yourself and your family and everyone you associate with in the hands of the intelligence police.
And she suggests: “If one feels they are a victim, they will continue to wait and wait for someone or something to lift the hardship off. Unfortunately this never happens.”
Please swallow your pride and pain in order to begin conversing with each others, including those who have hurt you and caused you suffering. If you have lost loved ones and you cannot FORGIVE, at least cease revenge. … There is an UNTAMED YEARNING to end the occupation and to heal! PLEASE participate in making it happen. … Let our Forgiveness Campaign begin in February.
Word from the streets: Ashura was commemorated in Iraq on Friday.
Zeyad points out how Baghdad cane to a complete halt for two days. He describe the ritual flogging processions and is concerned how the event is increasingly government sanctioned every year. he also notes:
An alarming fact is that Iraqi police and army vehicles are flying green, red and black flags, as well as posters of Shi'ite Imams, while supposedly protecting the processions. One police unit was patrolling my neighbourhood (a largely Sunni one) with Shi'ite mourning chants playing on the loud speakers.
Iraq The Model describes the attitude behind the ceremony:
For many Iraqis, the wheel of time had stopped 14 centuries ago and it seems that it is the past not the present that is more influential in the lives and mentality of many Iraqis.
Iraq The Model also reports on the arms market in Iraq. He notes in Qurna that there are more than small arms on sale these days but also mortars, rockets and land-mines. he wonders aloud whether Iran is supplying these weapons and more ominously who would be buying such weapons.
Christopher Allbritton hears explosions in the capital and finds out they were due to air-strikes. He notes:
But if the war’s going so well, and the Iraqis are taking the fight to the terrorists, blah blah, why are the Americans resorting to air strikes here? That’s, like, so 2003.
More images of coalision troops abusing Iraqis:
Christopher writes about Abu Ghraib:
These photos are already being spun as “isolated incidents” that are no longer occurring, and that may be true. The Americans may be “scared straight” by the reaction around the Muslim world to the photos. Alas, the same can’t be said for their allies in the Iraqi government whose Shi’ite-dominated security forces are torturing Sunni men to death … Yeah, at least the U.S. never did that. God, how did the bar get set so low?
Baghdad Dweller looks to past British abuses:
Old Brit vets left nice memories 100 years ago about their residence Iraq just like their grandchildren are doing now and they hate to remember the name of Iraq !!. Our grandfathers left us a great legacy, lessons in heroism, I still remember my grandmother telling me, she a woman and alone “she set fire in 3 British military vehicles”.
But I have to question the timing of all of this. Pressure on Iran and Syria; the Danish Cartoons; the Video of the British soldiers beating Iraqis, more Abu Ghraib pictures. What else? Maybe in a year or two we will see the real video of Cheney shooting his “hunting partner” in the face.
There should be an end to these vicious actions. It seems what happened in Abu Ghraib by the other “liberators” was not enough for these monsters. They need to see more and more people being humiliated and tortured. BOTH of the country’s “liberators” gathered and claimed to liberate Iraq. Is this is the way liberation is?! Someone should tell me! Now, Iraqis are expected to throw roses at these “liberators”. Hurray! Praise to be to the “Liberators”.
More on the cartoons:
Raed Jarrar insists that Syria and Iran should pay compensation for the European embassies that were attacked.
Hassan Kharrufa tells us that ironically protests in Iraq passed peacefully. He also observed the depth of feeling against Denmark:
However, most Iraqis now including me- are not having anything to do with Denmark anymore. I have to note something here, that even the most Anti-Americans in Iraq, will buy American products, but not Danish products, to show you how big an insult that is for Muslims.
Trials and Tribulations of Saddam:
Morbid Smile was shocked by what she saw of Saddam's trial:
Was it Barazan sitting in the court hall in his underwear on the floor or was I hallucinating??! This is a true mockery. Those folks should be judged immediately without prosecution. They didn’t try their victims so why should we waste so much time to try them?
Iraq Pundit questions Saddam's hunger strike:
The problem I'm having, is understanding what exactly are they protesting. Because the media have yet to agree on why the thugs are not eating. The answer to such mysterious questions is probably the simplest: the thugs want attention. And they will have it. The gangsters are desperate because they know they are guilty and will likely be convicted.
And finally: Valentine is here.
I didn’t talk to my girlfriend since 2 days, and I really miss
Her, Valentine's Day is tomorrow and I can't be with her,
What a cruel World, full with sadness and restless days.
Baghdad Treasure offers advice to romantic Iraqis:
Don’t read bad news. Focus on the happy things you might not see soon and say, “Happy Valentine”. Go out and find a presents shop. Start the engine of your car, challenge death, go out and buy a present to your beloved ones. Do not hesitate.
I rushed out and bought my wife a rose on his advice!