I cannot believe it has been four years since the Iraq war started. Has it ended? I don't know but it feels more like an a lifetime has passed. In one of the rare coincidences with large parts of the media, Iraq bloggers are commemorating another anniversary of the war. This post gathers their collective thoughts. But first…
If you read no other post this week, read this:
After five months (!) of self-enforced exile in her home, Chikitita decides to venture out into the Baghdad streets and feels somewhat like a tourist in her own city. Her initial inquiries about the outside world were not too hopeful: “it turned out that buses no longer pass by my once safe neighbourhood. It has even earned “The Frontline” label based on the fact that it has been teeming with cannibals lately.” Venturing out only confirmed the rumours:
A Tsunami has hit the area and nobody bothered to tell me. I could not recognize the new décor; what's that charred bus doing there? When did all those shops blow up? I'm running out of pens and notebooks and the only shop that sells stationery has been razed! Only now I could match the sounds I've been hearing with the pictures.
Feeling nostalgic she took the bus, but that proved sadly depressing.
“The atmosphere inside was so eerie; passengers are no longer exchanging chitchats as they used to do, not even smiles – except for the woman who passed my fare to the driver. People are no longer discussing politics … I could sense the apprehension and mutual mistrust, no one wants to venture be outspoken about anything or anyone that bugs them. I thought national mourning has been declared; none of the half a dozen vehicles I rode had a radio playing…
Tears kept streaming down my face until I reached the Jadriya Bridge. Only there I could smell life.”
She concludes: “Meeting fellow Iraqis in the streets of Baghdad used to inject a dose of hope within me. Yet, it's no longer the case. People are tired and fed up, smiling used to be an Iraqi trademark, and sure it has become a part of history!”
Four years on…
Imad Khadduri links to a set of graphs from the Brookings Institute Iraq Index showing how the situation has progressively deteriorated over the past four years. He writes: “As for Rumsfeld's metrics, the Iraqi saying goes: soak it in water and then drink the water for all the good it will do you.”
Neurotic Wife gives her review of the whole war:
Four years on and while the world listen to their Ipods, Ipods filled with their favour-te music, Iraqis listen to daily mortars, explosions, bombings and helicopters. Four years on while the children of the world play their Wii's, Iraqi children sleep the nights in fear. Will I live or will I die they think to themselves. Will the Americans come and get me or will the Iraqi baddies take me away. Yes Four years on…
She demands that Bush and Blair fix the mess they created:
You have been putting your hands in the devil's claws, for once Bush and Blair, just for once, before you leave your powerful chair, do something good, do something commendable. For once Bush and Blair, just this once, do something for the IRAQI PEOPLE, the Innocent Iraqi people. Support them in their times of need. HELP THEM. Give them a safe haven. Don't you think they deserve it? Don't you think that after all these years, these people's lives are worth saving???
Attawie continues in a similar vein:
Fourth year of misery and mysteries; Where are we now and where are we going. For how many more coming years? For what? Hope had abandoned the land which once wrote the very first letter ever. Logic seems bizarre on the land where the wheel was invented. Beauty disappeared. Nothing has left but hideous streets, which once were cloud nine; today they are spotted with innocents’ blood.
She left Iraq to exile in the Gulf but the attraction of her homeland remains strong:
We leave hoping to start a new life but still this land pulls us by the magic it once had. So I believe that magic still lingers on. It still pulls us by the memories we keep in our minds, by the dream of going back to our childish never land, the land that tries to be optimistic. …
It pulls us back by its very sweet sound, it's the precious Iraq.
Faiza publishes a letter from an American friend:
i can't believe in a few days will be the commemoration of the beginning of the war four years ago. Iraq is a survivor — and we will keep working against those who destroy the joys and beauties in life, and working for those who just want to relax and lay their head down on their pillow in comfort and peace, without having to worry desperately about the safety of everyone and everything dear to their lives.
After four years Khalid Jarrar has given up on any hope that American people can bring an end to the war:
for four years I have been pleading for peaceful ways of ending the occupation. Trying to cooperate with the peace movements here and in the states to find a way out, but as we can all notice, our efforts are in vein…
It sounds to me, that after 4 years of occupation, that America is a nation of selfish people, too busy with their lives and joys to care about how their own country is screwing the world, instead they really concentrate on getting fatter, rockin’ and rollin’, watching the Oscar night and reality shows… if it wasn't that the American army is losing by all means, most of Americans wouldn't have moved a hand, or a tongue to demand the withdrawal of the army from Iraq…
Sad fourth birthday hateful spiteful occupation, Sad fourth birthday dear beloved Iraq, i miss you, and i promise you that there will be an end, soon.
The woman i was runs through the ‘successes’ of the new Iraq: “more than 20% .. under poverty line, more than 700 000 civilians lost their lives; more than 4 million Iraqis became refugees.. more than 300 000 poor women were widowed; .. the Baghdad morgue receives more than 60 dead bodies on daily bases” and writes:
It is time to shout: enough is enough; Bush should try to change himself and the Americans should try to change their regime. Almost one million civilian Iraqis bloods is enough for giving the Americans safer world, more fuel for their cars and more prosperity. We should all shout put in mind that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said those who watch injustice silently are evils and Martin Luther King said that silence is betrayer
And 24 Steps to Liberty recalls how he braved almost certain execution to escape the front line as a soldier in the Iraqi Army in 2003. He recalls:
I don’t know how to use a weapon to defend myself. Even if I did, defend myself against whom? My brothers [that what I called the U.S. soldiers] or against the Kurds [I am half Kurdish]? I cannot do that.
I decided to end this stupid play and do it my way.
Between you and me it seems that nobody had anything good to say about the last four years how about you?