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Flying Over the Iraqi Blogodrome

Literally this time. I am writing this as my flight to Dubai is actually flying over Iraqi airspace. First time ever.

If I were to give a true summary of the Iraqi blogs these past weeks it would be one of sadness, death, and violence. But I am not going to dwell on such matters as it is depressing and achieves nothing. Today I will concentrate on politics. With the situation in Iraq becoming beyond bearable for Iraqi people, several bloggers are looking at the future, asking questions and trying to see ways out of the mess. But first…

If you read no other blog post this week, read this.

Faiza al Arji (mother to Iraqi bloggers Raed, Khalid and Majid) visited her, now empty, family house in Baghdad. After seeing the house empty and all covered in thick dust, she wrote:

I felt sad, and felt how heavy the sadness is on my heart.
I walked out silently, quietly. My relative walking behind me, also silent, without a word. I stood at the top of the marble and wood staircase in the center of the house, and looked down at my son Khalid's computer downstairs; he left the loudspeakers on the sofa, and the camera fixed on the screen, everything in its place as if the people of the house will be back in a short while, and dust covered all of these.

I looked at the big chandelier in the middle of the house, and found that dust marred its brilliance and beauty too…

I gave the whole house a sweeping sorry glance. I remembered the war, the chaos, robberies, thefts and assassinations, the immigration of my brother, the owner of the house; a doctor, his fear for himself and his family, my leaving my former house to this one here because the old one was in an area near the Airport Road, the heart of the battle against the occupation, with daily explosions, and broken window glass.
Then I remembered the story of my son Khalid's kidnapping from university, his arrest, being put at the Interior Ministry for twelve days accused of terrorism, for nothing more than having a beard! How this family endured these difficult days, then they let him go because he was innocent, and because we paid a ransom for him, and decided to leave Iraq, like thousands of families did, before and after us…

I remembered how the family separated; Khalid studying at a university outside Amman, I see him once a week, Majid studying in Cairo, Raid lives in America to work for Iraq, and I work with different organizations to help the devastated and the displaced from Iraq.

I started to burst into tears. My relative came to consol me; Are you crying for the furniture? Because of the dust? Tomorrow, a woman will come to clean the house…

I told him through my tears: No, I do not cry for the furniture, let it go to hell. I cry for my country which was shattered, my family which scattered, the Iraqis who were killed, the blood that was shed, and the devastation that spread. All the Iraqis are like me, what happened to them also befell me….
I kept crying bitterly, but he dragged me, and removed me out of the house in spite of me, so I would be quiet….

“What is going on in Iraq?” is on the lips of so many people these days. Sectarian politics has turned into open combat and many ask questions and some look for answers.

hala_s watches remembrance day in Britain and remembers the Iraqis.

I sat there watching, reading and wondering about our unknown soldiers and unknown victims; who will list them and pray for them? Who will compensate our children for their stolen childhood? Who will compensate our youth for the lost years?

I cannot stop myself from thinking that the prosperity and stability in here were only accomplished because countries like ours live in hell.

They initiate wars to get cheaper fuel for themselves, they starve Africa to get better food and they incite hatred to cause civil wars and find markets for their filthy arms business. …

When I ask my family and friends back home whether it is better for the foreign troops to leave us alone, I find their answers more confusing. They became accustomed to the fear they know and cannot take another shock. …

Once there was love, once there was hope and once there were memories.
Now there is nothing, and if there will come a day when this nightmare is over, I am sure no one will want to remember.

There will be no remembrance day for us.

Mohammed reports that Iraqis have lost faith in the current govenment but argues against removing it until a new coalition is assembled from Iyad Allawi's bloc, the Kurds and people “from within the parliament in addition to liberal powers that weren't lucky enough to reach the parliament”. How?

The only means is explicit, direct support from the United States to this future partner. Everything is allowed in war and since Iran or other countries support this or that harmful party then America has the right, and the moral obligation, to support a party of its choice. America is in Iraq now and in order to create a cover of legitimacy to any political or military solution, a strong Iraqi partner must first exist.

Salam Adil (that's me) explains that the civil war is being driven by support from outside forces and America has lost any control of the situation in Iraq. His suggestion? America should “sacrifice Israel to win Iraq“:

By forcing Israel into a humiliating withdrawal from occupied Palestine and the Golan Heights, America will focus the attention of the Arab states away from Iraq and towards the Palestinians. It will give Syria and Iran confidence to turn away from supporting insurgents and accept deals with the US. And the warring parties in Iraq, seeing that they are losing support from outside, will have no other choice but sue for peace.

Fatima gives a 6-point plan.

1. Close the border with Iran and Syria and literally threaten Iran with extreme military retaliation if the situation in Iraq does not improve.
2. Clamp down militarily on the most problematic militia (Jaysh Al-Mehdi) kill or arrest the field commanders and senior leadership. Once that happens the other militias will take heed…
3. Change the present government. The problem is when parties are above the law because of their militias they are not prone to compromise, force them to when they no longer have their militias and Iraq will be a different place today.
4. Threaten immediate US withdrawal and the parties will all compromise because the Sunnis have more to gain from a civil war than the Shia do.
5. Give Sunnis a reason to go against Alqaeda and other extremists. Presently they are seen as the only solution to US and Shia agression against them.
6. Change the posture in Anbar, let the Sunnis feel that the US is not against them.

LORD was inspired by some questions posed by Luke of Olivebranch to pose his own solution to the violent situation:

The first step would be to ban all religious and sectarian parties, the second step would be getting rid of all who came with the occupation, and put them to trial for treason, this step would include following anyone who fled the country and confiscating all their assets. All the terrorists are included in this too, with the exception of the national patriotic resistance. The third step would be forming a national patriotic government and putting Iraqi nationalists into office, the choosing of which would only be based on merit regardless of sectarian, ethnic, or religious belonging. The fourth step would be to restore all Iraqis to their original jobs and annulment on any laws that incriminate thoughts, beliefs, or principles. No individual should be incriminated without hard evidence and beyond any reasonable doubt. The fifth step would national reconciliation, letting go of all the mistakes of the past, starting over and putting whatever happened before behind our backs. The last step in the most important and crucial step in building the Iraqi future. Revenge will get us nowhere to say the least, in fact revenge is one of the reason we are where we are today.

Iraq Atheist looks to a solution. Among his suggests are:

[the Americans] bring troops two or three times as much and make them take over, stay for two years and then pull out, with no bases or troops left.

Toppling this government for at least these two years and running the government by someone like Sali7 Al Mu6leg; a former Baathist who would win the hearts of most Sunnis. Or an Arab king or prince, who would be hated by all Iraqis and perhaps then Iraqis will have something in common.

taking control over mosques in all Iraq by the army of Saddam and appointing preachers who are controlled by the government.

Taking control of the holy shrines … under the pretext of protecting their authenticity and safety. (Personally, I would like to see them levelled to ground, if you have seen the movie V for Vendetta, you would understand!!)

Konfused Kid, senses the end is nigh for the Sunni resistance in Iraq:

With Saddam, the Ba'athist figure, and al-Dhari, the Sunni Muslim figure being chased, the s**tstorm prediction may be sooner than u think, hang on to your toilets.

I can really smell it, and to tell you something, I am relieved. Cut the teasing and just get it over with, we are getting sleepy.

Neurotic Wife looks at all the failed reconstruction by America in the past and makes her own suggetion:

Dont spend more on reconstruction, spend more on rebuilding the person. The Iraqi person. The Iraqi human. Take away his fear by reinforcing laws and rules. Get rid of the current government that proved to the Iraqis and the world where its allegiance is with. Invest in building lives rather than concrete structures. Do what you preach and live by your words “Winning the Hearts and Minds”. Instead of the billions lost on concrete and foundations, spend the rest by helping people get on their feet. HUBBY once said, if all the money that was spent here was distributed amongst the Iraqi families in a fair manner, you will never see an insurgent on the street. You will not hear of stories like “such and such militia paid so and so a $100 just to kill someone for no reason”. People wouldnt be in need to do such things. People wouldnt be in need to survive.

The last word goes to Zappy who suggests that Iraqi Bloggers should form their own militia:

Dear Iraqi Bloggers “inside Baghdad” how about we set up a Milita?

Maybe we would do much better than the Idiots in parlament, at least Im sure we would smell better.

And Finally… Sunshine keeps bringing light to the people around her. Apart from collecting money to help send a child with a heart problem for treatment abroad she collected money to help her classmate R. R lost her father as well as 6 other relatives to the violence in Iraq. I'll let Sunshine tell the story:

In this week , I decided to collect money to buy a computer for R , (my best friend who lost her dad as well as 6 relatives ), and I collected so good amount of money , I can't wait till I see her impressions when I will bring the computer to school , I think it is really nice present …

I teach R how to use computer twice a week ( we have old computers in school ) . she feel comfortable to talk to me , because she's sure that I will not tell any one about her problems, when I reach home I burst with tears , she is living in such hard circumstances, and her financial condition is really bad , I try to help her in simple things , like buy her stuff she needs , or in any possible way I can do , like in computer lesson , the teacher wanted us to create a computer program , she said “if you don't know you will have to go to a programmer and pay for him, but that will cost a lot ” … Anariki and The Kid helped me making the program and I added R's name next to mine in this project , as well as S my other best friend .

the computer teacher is so mean with R , she say ” why don't you have computer ? “,”are you illiterates ?”,” only people who are …. You know don't have computers”” she means poor people , or” are you still illiterates” , ” everyone have computers in their houses ? ” can you believe that anyone in this world can say such things to a poor orphan ? I went to another teacher and told her , R really get hurt from the teacher's word , not all of the people in the world are rich and have computers .

Anyway I told R that I bought her a computer ( I didn’t until now , but I told her I did ,so that she can't refuse taking the present, pride issues again) , she refused first , but I convinced her hardly and told her that my relatives sell computes and they didn’t take so much money from me , ( she believed that , heheheh ) I don't lie , but I had to this time . she's extremely happy, but she still have doubts that we might be kidding or it's just a jock , but she will be sure that I am serious when the computer will be in her bedroom .
I told her because the girls condition was to tell R first , and if she agree they will bring the money ..
R's dad bought them a computer desk , and a chair before he died , he was planning to buy the computer on Sunday , but unfortunately he was killed on Thursday .

And you know there is hope when you read stories like these.

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