(or Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome)
These were the words of, normally, mild-mannered blogger Marshmallow26 to the news that her uncle's neighborhood had been blown to pieces  by a suicide bomber who had aimed his load at one of the houses but in his hurry killed no one but himself. And she describes the scene:
It was about 5:30 pm and as usual it was dark already, all wires and electricity cables melted because of the explosion… smoke, shrapnel and screams in every where, we got into the house finally.
I will never forget how my Uncles’ wife and daughter looked like at that moment, scared to death, quivering so bad, stammering and crying!!!
…I walked into the house, and took a look inside in the kitchen; I found broken glasses, shrapnel, destroyed plants pots, broken dishes, and doors!!! It was so dark that we had to lit candles all over the place.
In TV room, the scene was bloodcurdling!! All curtains and glasses were mixed with each other the way we couldn’t move them, TV and satellite receiver were on the floor… I wanted to go upstairs to check the other rooms, I couldn’t go up, because of the teeny-weeny broken glasses were on the steps and the banister.
Today another post dedicated to the voices from Iraq. You may here on the news that the situation for the ordinary people is going from bad to worse but why not hear from the Iraqis for yourself. But it is not all blood and pain, there is also the experiences of a first year student at University, women complaining about men, a view from the front lines of the civil war and, if you read to the end, Iraqi women discussing *ahem* vibrators.
If you read no other blog post this week read this
Sunshine defines the meaning of “having a bad day ” in Iraq.
Yesterday ” Thursday ” I had a very bad day , I was in the garage , waiting for the driver , when my neighbor ” H” , came to say hello , he was standing near me , and talking with my grandma, suddenly he touched his leg and said ” awwwwwwwch “… A bullet entered his leg, he fell down on the floor … I got panicked and started to cry and shake hysterically, I ran and brought handkerchiefs , and started to put them on his leg , he was bleeding.
… I went to bring my mom I was out of breath , and couldn't talk , I was terrified ” I was , a man , a bullet , the car , blood , neighbor , bandage , cotton, come please ” I couldn't create a sentence , she didn't understand me but she came and brought medical cotton and bandage with her , she ran wearing her pajamas ! anyway she tied his leg so hard , to stop the bleeding , and I kept crying shaking and spreading so many handkerchiefs on the floor to cover the blood, I don’t know why !
… I went to school , and kept crying all the way long , and when I reached there , I was shaking so badly, even the teachers were worried about me , my mom called the headmistress and told her what happened , when I arrived school the headmistress asked me to sit in her room, the teachers were around me , trying to calm me down , after an hour I stopped shaking , but kept crying , …
“R” my dearest friend came while I was in the headmistress room ,she was crying and shaking too , a mine exploded in front of their car , !!!! the car's windows were broken , then US soldiers started to shoot their car !.
Then our friend “Sh” came crying , because she heard about me and “R” .
Then our teacher Mrs. E came to the headmistress with tears in her eyes because her aunt died .
Then Mrs. S she is another teacher came and said quickly ” excuse me , I have to go , 3 of my neighbors were killed “
At last Mrs. “A” came and said “did you know about the Arabic teacher , her nephew was killed” .
Suddenly the headmistress fell down , we ran to her desk to see what happened , she fainted because of all what was going on in her room ,as well as she was tired from taking care of her sick mother ,and from being awake all the night.
Stopping the Universities
Many Iraqi students woke last week to the news that even attending school will be more of a risk to their lives than normal. Fatima translates a not so thinly veiled threat  from one of the insurgent groups:
In order to protect your blood from the crimes committed by the Maliki government and its death squads…we have decided … to cancel the rest of the 2006-2007 school year for undergraduate and graduate students at all Baghdad universities and colleges…
[To those who do choose to continue] … We will choose the time and place to attack you, in your homes, and on your beds and in your schools… You will continue to live in fear until your time comes
The result was immediate. Treasure of Baghdad received a call  from his sister saying that armed men had distributed leaflets to students in the Baghdad University of Technology and it has been closed for a week already. Fatima adds , “This whole school year has been a joke so far, with students attending less than half of the normal school days (curfews, security situation, etc). … I don't know how authentic this letter is… but I do know that this letter has had its effect on Baghdad university students. Even if they decide to ignore it and go to class, they find that no one else is attending, neither student nor teacher.”
Meanwhile at another university in another city, Aunt Najma is getting used to her first year  there…
Universities in Iraq are mixed… unlike secondary schools … which was a bit hard to get used to. We are walking baby steps towards better communication with each other. Some boys just want to start a conversation, which is sometimes really annoying, since they just can't say a whole sentence without making fools of themselves, and sometimes offending us. … Girls can be smarter than them, they will have to see it now.
Hmm, I think this situation is not unique to Iraq. Najma continues:
I left home late today since the neighborhood was surrounded. We were having breakfast when an explosion happened and broke several windows in the house, including the dining room, but none of us was hurt.
I love college, still, but I am under great pressure to prove myself, and the circumstances aren't always helping me. I want to prove myself real hard that I am losing some of the fun in learning and studying. I guess I just need a real exams and knowing who my opponents are to know where I stand and how much work I need to do.. I just do not feel like losing here.
Following on from the story of inept male communication here is another example from Rejected who had a visa interview  with a diplomat from an embassy in Iraq. Following her visit to the embassy he called her to, well, flirt. She was outraged:
After hearing his life story and after having the privilege of being called Princess of Iraq.. Not flattered…
I struggle to comprehend how some men push their luck too much when they cheaply shoot way beyond their capabilities. First, not only the guy had a clear lack of education that he could hardly put together a useful sentence that you can make something out of it but had the most hideous looks ever. Did he really think that his disrespectful attitude+ his looks were a good package to offer? I was literally looking down at him, mentally and physically. Some men!
I think I am on a roll here… speaking again about bad habits of men… what would you do when you only get one night a week to spend with your spouse and you want that time to be special. Neurotic Wife finds out what I have to say is an all too common truth ..
We go to room and as usual I take my nightly shower. Ofcourse this time I took extra care, like lavishing myself with perfume and body lotion… I get out of the bathroom all smiles and smelling like “beautiful”… I look at the chair and its empty, hmm. I took one look at the bed, and sure enough HUBBY is there tucked in, SLEEPING!!! HUBBY I shake him. HUBBY wake up, Im done. He opens one eye, tells me na3eeman (something we say when we come out of the shower) and smiles. Then he pulls me next to him, hugs me and goes to SLEEP!!! OMG…
Struggle to keep the neighborhood
On the borders of the civil war in Baghdad there is a continuous struggle by various militias to occupy your area. Meemo is unfortunate to live in such a neighborhood . He writes:
Al-Mahdi militia tried to take over our neighborhood, but they couldn't, and I think they will try again later, and the other team that trying to take over the neighborhood is al-Qaida, they don't attack in the same way that Al-Mahdi army use, they are more bloody, like I don't know sidewalk bombs and get inside some house and kill the whole people in it, the both teams are killers, I don't like both of them I want both of them to burn in hell
Meemo is not a political blogger but when he gets started he is as sharp as any pundit:
about the bad things that happen to Iraqis, its not just in Iraq, I've been talking to my friend before few days, he live in Amman Jordain, and he told me how bad the Jordanian police treat the Iraqis … back in Saddam's days not even the KING of Jordain can mess with Iraqis, cause he was afraid of Saddam, I'm not saying that Saddam is a good guy, I'm 100% against him, but the Arabs are jerks, they are rats, they just want Iraq to burn cause they know if Iraq going to be a peaceful and democratic country they will just disappear, they are sending money for the terrorists and sending terrorists everyday they never want Iraq to get back on its feet, they are afraid of democratic Iraq as much as they were afraid of Saddam, so if they want to bring back peace to Iraq, they must destroy the source of all terror in the world which is Saudi Arabia, that's what I think.
And, HNK describes “un normal” life  on her own end of the blog..
Time….It's only time that is moving forward, it's the only thing that is making it's Job. It's the only thing that we both share. We both live in the same time…
I am with no power starting my day as usual, Waking up early to study and then taking my breakfast…. Till now it's look like I have a normal life.
But hey… Did you forget that you are reading Hnk's blog ( Iraqi girl blog)?
Here and in this blog nothing is normal. Here people are wearing a thick clothes under thick clothes till they become like a ball. Here people are drinking a dirty water,and take a bath once every week because the water is somehow closer to black colour than white. and if you are going to take a bath, you might possibly became dirty more than you are already.
let's go back to my UN normal life. One day not far along, but about week ago:
I was taking my breakfast, I finished it. I wore my clothes and my shoes and took a look throw the Windows to see if the car that carried me to school is waiting for me…. Yes, yes there was a car, No not a car but an American Tank. The road was closed and everything was calm. Anyway, after a while everybody was a weak even my grandmother and there were taking there breakfast and I was walking between them worry about my exam that I have that day. I sat on the chair and after that I don't know exactly what happened but there was an explosion took part near from us. The type of explosion that YOU will always remember.
And Neurotic Wife talks vibrators with Iraqi friends that live outside the Green Zone:
if you are below the age of 18 pls do not read further…
L a colleague of mine … came to me yesterday and said, I need to ask you something , but its kinda embarrasing, and you are the only one I can talk to, so lets go out and have a smoke. I followed her out and pulled my cig then said What is it L? Do you need anything? L said, no, then she lowered her voice and said is a vibrator what I think it is??? OMG. I was just startled. I almost choked on my cig. L, I asked shocked, how do you know about vibrators??? L who by now was blushing big time, said well, the American ladies I work with keep whispering to each other about using vibrators. I overheard them the other day, and because I didnt wanna embarrass myself, I googled it. (yup, the joy of the internet). I tried to act as normal as can be and asked, aha, and what did you find out???
L looked at me then came closer, she said, it looks like you know. Like what??? You know, like you know what I'M talking about. Hmm, this time I laughed from the bottom of my heart and said Oh L, yessss, it is what you think it is. She said, but why is it fun??? I said, hmm, hard question, why dont you ask the women you overheard??? She gave me a shocking look, you must be crazy she said. No way, I cant do that. Then I said, well, I dunno L. I cant answer you there. Then L flashed a smile and said, you know, these women keep getting me sweets and chocolates, christmas is coming, do you think maybe I should order something on the net for them??? And here was what I was dreading. Using HUBBYs credit card to purchase VIBRATORS, and umm to have them shipped here. Wont that be just lovely. I patted L's shoulder and said, L dont even THINK about it. Get them ANYTHING, ANYTHING but those.
There is sadness everywhere, but when they come here, they lose themselves in what they see as their freedom. My prison is their freedom, yet the laughter albeit scarce, is there. Can anyone imagine that vibrators will be a subject talked about in this part of the world, and in these circumstances??? No, nor did I until L brought it up. Imagine that. Vibrators. Vibrators in Iraq…