Writing this post is not getting any easier, and this week is especially hard. I can even notice that I have been subconsciously avoiding it. The stories that Iraqi bloggers are telling this week are of sadness, horror, disappointment and general depression. If you are looking cheerful uplifting stories, don't read any further, skip to the ‘And Finally’ section at the end. I think I am beginning to sound like Lemony Snicket.
First, my heartfelt condolences goes out to Truth About Iraqis who lost a relative recently to masked gunmen in Iraq. He writes:
Armed men stepped out of the car and apprehended Aziz and his brothers. They searched the car, searched the men and asked for IDs. After checking the names, the armed men singled Aziz out. They separated him from his brothers. They told him they had orders to execute him.
Aziz pleaded with the men. His brothers pleaded. It was no use.
Aziz crumbled to the floor, lifeless, a bullet to the head. A flash of gunfire and his life was snuffed out. Gone. The father of two, husband, friend, brother .. gone …
And with grief comes anger at his blog commentors:
I am not surprised at all to see that many of those who frequently post comments on my blog could not even offer a single word of condolence. They pretend they care but in actuality, they do not.
Those who masquerade themselves from one blog to the next saying they care about humanity are the ones who are gloating right now. Gloat all you want, like I always say, your real intentions for Iraq and my people are evident in your words and actions.
On top of his grief TAI lost his blog to cyber-squatters. His blog address is now truth-about-iraqis2.blogspot.com.
Condolences again to the family of Zappy's close friend. Zappy writes a farewell letter::
Its been a while since we have had a time to joke about what is happening around us,
I always like to buy from your shop and we being both sarcastic just for the fun of it, although its painful for both of us but we keep joking anyway, we did discuss that you may be kidnapped or killed if you don't close down the shop for a while, you always said that our ages are within the hands of God, you were true.
I hope your three kids are o.k. though I wouldn't believe that they ever will be again.
I'm sorry to hear the news of your Assassination by those cold blooded murderers three days ago, I just got the news this morning. …
I also heard that “they” will not allow your family to set a funeral?
Salam to you, may God soothe your wife and children's Hearts.
If you read no other posts this week, read these
Have you ever needed a word to describe how super powers can flip flop in their allegiances over time yet it is always the ordinary people who suffer just the same? Well that word is “Karagoz” Baghdad Connect explains:
As once said there is no new wave but only the sea. And that goes for the super powers and their seasonal séance trance and theatrical performances. Whether the USSR invaded Afghanistan or the USA invaded Iraq. Whether Bin Laden is a freedom fighter in 1985 or a world terrorist in 2001, whether there is a tyrant Shah or a tyrant Mulla; whether Algeria, Libya and Saudi Arabia are good Muslim countries and Sudan, Palestine and Syria are not; whether Kyrgyzstan is an independent democracy and Lebanon is not, in the end it’s all part of the same Karagoz.
End of year exams are stressful at the best of times, and getting questions on subjects that were not even in the school books does not help. But this was the least of Sunshine's worries. To begin with:
I had 40 days to study , and about 3 weeks examinations , it was awful , hot weather 46 C. , no electricity , no fuel for the generator, studying in hell would be better !!!
But even that was mild compared to what happened during the exam weeks:
On Tuesday, I had an asthma attack. And stayed-up till 1 am, on the respiratory-machine, I woke up in the next day a little bit dizzy, and tired but even though I went to school , and answered well.
Wednesday at noon, I was not capable of breathing, the doctor gave me many many medicaments, that made my hands shaken and my heart beat so fast. I woke up on Thursday feeling much worst, I used the respiratory-machine all day long, my heart was like the drums , I couldn't study , I couldn't see through the respirator mask … my mom had to give me hydrocortisone shot .I thought I'll be ok…But I was totally wrong!
And she had to risk the night-time curfew to go to hospital. But, at hospital, she was one of the lucky ones.
I saw the most horrible things, a woman who had a heart attack, her two daughters were running here and there trying to find a doctor for her, the old woman was in pain , and no doctor came !! …There was only one nurse running her and there helping people in the emergency room …
Among the most horrible cases I saw, and I will never forget it. A couple of worried parents caring their daughter , she was in my age , they put her in a bed beside mine , the dad was shouting ” her heart stopped , she stopped breathing too “.
No , the doctors didn't come running , the nurse did , ” we need oxygen here , bring one ” he said. There were only two oxygen bottles…
I was looking at her crying mom , I just can't imagine her fears and feelings , I randomly took-off my mask , and gave it to her , after a sec , the nurse said ” no , we should put her on the DC . ” it was very scary , mama and dad , kept saying ” do not look , look at the other side ” but I couldn't, the girl returned to life , then a doctor came , “toooooooooooooooooo late mister!”
After all that how well do you think she did?
I am expecting a full mark in math , and from 90-100 in the rest of the exams , except physics , and Arabic , I'll get my results in the middle of July , I am a bit nervous , but excited in the same time .
And Sunshine keeps shining.
Helpless and suffocated…
Miraj thought she would take some time off work and relax by reading through some Iraqi blogs. But she got as far as Olivebranch and stopped. “I don't feel to read more blogs better stick to my work instead of feeling helpless and suffocated…..”, she writes.
And here is a selection of what she missed:
Aunt Najma emerged from her final exams and reported on the “Hollywood-like” adventures of her relatives:
Imagine sleeping in your bed when parts of the ceiling above fall on you.. This is what happened to my uncle when the neighborhood was attacked with mortars! My uncle sent us an SMS saying that “A mortar exploded on our roof, financial losses only, thank God”.
But that was nothing compared to what happened to my friend, and relative Z's house.
It was minutes after she came back home from the Arabic exam when a very loud explosion was heard, this time it was much more than financial losses, her two sisters and her dad had multiple injuries in their heads and had to be rushed to the hospital, and her grandma had some minor injuries…. Their house is barely a house now, but they can't be more grateful to be all alive.
Only one death was reported thankfully, a female student on her way home.
Zappy catalogues a long list of what is wrong in Iraq: “the Ministry of Oil has increased the Benzene prices to 350 ID from 250 ID… Queues are Quadruple in length, and people are dying rapidly, electricity has been off for 5 days and heat is nearly 50 Centigrade… People whom their beloved ones have been Assassinated can't get their bodies out of the Baghdad Morgue due to Terrorists Waiting for them over there to kill them too….Eight Mortar Shells fall on Al Adhamiyah. Now the City is Virtually Hell.”
For the past few weeks 24 Steps to Liberty has been telling some of the stories of the crimes of Saddam's regime collected by the The Iraq Memory Foundation. This week he tells the the story of Hussein Yousif Rabiya who survived to recount the revenge killings of people who rose up against Saddam in 1991 after the end of the first Gulf War. But only to be assassinated in June 2005. 24 Steps writes: “He lived the last 40 years to witness one of Iraq’s darkest eras in history, but wasn’t meant to live after giving his testimony. … Rabiya wasn’t killed by Saddam Hussein. He was killed by the deterioration in the security situation after the dictator was toppled!”
Konfused Kid was nearly assassinated by a gang on his way to a funeral for four friends. He was dressed all in black and was nearly killed for looking like a Mehdi militia man. He changed into something else. But after the funeral a friend pulled him over to one side:
‘Are you crazy? How could you dare to wear a blue shirt, that's the sign of the FPS police, they could kill you second.'…
They didn't understand why I was laughing, you can't dress black, can't dress blue, can't even dress the collegeboy's white after the recent killings….well, that's Iraq for you.
The final word goes to AnaRki13:
so many things happened during those months in which i did not write.. Horrific things, Good things, Sadness, Happiness… you smile, but your eyes are full of tears, and your heart is rent in two.
but, no matter what is thrown at you, life has proven without any doubt, that it goes on.
Iraq is worse than ever before, and we still HAVEN'T hit rock bottom.
enough of politics, i cant take any more bad theatre.
More Bad Theatre (or The Week in Politics)
The big story last week was the announcement by the Iraqi government of its plan for security and reconciliation. None of the blogger are saying that it is going well.
Raed had been a supporter of the proposed plan and was uncharacteristically optimistic for the future. But he is now feeling disappointment, because, under US pressure, four key points were removed from the final announcement. He writes
“Sadly, again, the U.S. intervention turned the strong 28 point plan into a weak 24 plan that does not include any requests for a withdrawal timetable. In addition, the very solid amnesty proposal turned into a vague and useless one after an extreme amount of U.S. intervention. This latest wave of US interference included a number of Congressional bills informing the Iraqi government that granting amnesty to Iraqis who have killed Americans is not acceptable. … Consistent U.S. interference in Iraq, and the misuse of the Iraq war for gaining advantages in the U.S. domestic sphere, eliminates any hope for Iraqis to get their country back through diplomacy and democracy, and it is pushing more Iraqis to adopt violence as a means in building a better future for Iraq’s next generations.”
Omar of Iraq the Model worries that “This reconciliation plan continues to face serious challenges and the worst of which is today's [July 1] barbaric attack that killed and wounded dozens in Baghdad, in Sadr city…. this attack will provoke followers of al-Sadr whose response will almost certainly be a violent one and will probably lead to a series of exchanged violence that will threaten the reconciliation initiative in its first steps.” And, as predicted, the reaction came, as Omar reports in the following post of a large attack against the Baghdad district of Adhamiya by al-Sadr's militia.
At least there are bloggers convinced by the personalities in the government. IraqPundit is mildly encouraging: “Nouri Al Maliki's government appears to be serious about its security plan” and Sami is gushing with praise after attending an open meeting with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers:
“I don't want to divulge to much information apart from the fact, he has a presence and he is a great man though I am secular and he is not, though he is a Shiite and I am not I believe that he is the right man for the job if people don't interfere in his way.”
But then what hope is there for a government that, as Mohammed opines, has members with “one foot in the cabinet and the other in the insurgents’ trench”. Or where party leaders make corrupt land purchases at 1% of the market price?
Neurotic Wife is seriously pissed with her husband. And the best way to get over it is to have a serious rant on her blog. As far as I am concerned this is what the internet was invented for. And, boy, what a rant..
HUBBY is being really difficult…My patience and believe me I do have patience when it comes to him, is gonna run out pretty soon…He was in the States for 2 weeks after Iraq, then he came here…to supposedly settle down and look for a job…No one forced him to come here, certainly I didnt…I made sure after knowing that we are leaving Iraq to ask him and discuss the future plans…I even offered him, if he wanted, I would compromise and move back to the States if thats what he really wants to do…”No” He said…”I dont wanna go back to the States…I dont want a 9-5 job anymore” Hmm you sure HUBBY??? Are you 100% sure??? I mean I really am willing to go if thats where you want to be…”Yes honey, Im sure”
Two months later and all he talks about is “What a mistake this has been”…”What a boring life this is”…”Id rather be in the States”… “I cant live here”….”We have to either go back to Iraq or to the States” Hmm…pretty nice comments that I get everyday….Oh but fortunately I get these comments in the 3 or 4 hours that he is actually awake in…All he has been doing is eating and sleeping…oh…and complaining..
When I ask him “Why are you sleeping all the time???” He answers with “Im jet lagged” or “Theres nothing else to do” OMG!!! Nothing else to do??? What about exerting abit of energy and sending CV's out….I dont get it…I really dont…He is acting as if its my fault he left Iraq…That its my fault he doesnt have a job and its my fault that he aint in his back garden in the States…I mean the minute he arrived here, he started talkin about going back to Iraq…He said “We should go back” WE??? Nope…Sorry…not me….Yes I would love to go back, definitely…But not now…I wanna give this place a chance…
After venting her rage she ends in a conciliatory tone…
maybe its just a small hiccup…Maybe he doesnt think he stands a chance..I know he does and I believe in him and in his ability…I really do…If only he puts his mind to it…
Im still gonna try to be the good wife…Lets see where that leads to…
We will be there to read all about it.