Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Everything is here this week… from going to schools in a war zone, review of the latest political scene in Iraq, must-see video blogs, stories of extreme bravery and extreme pathos, a $1,000 KFC meal, and if you read to the end, how gays cruise in Amman.

If you read no other blog post this week read these two:

My deepest condolences goes out to Sunshine whose uncle, “M”, was murdered on Wednesday for nothing more than a few papers. She writes:

uncle M's dream was to see his daughter graduation , she is determined to accomplish her dream and her father's dream , after the funeral , she stayed in my grandparents’ house to study , she couldn't concentrate in her house , her exams will start soon . I also heard about another relative , who was kidnapped but freed versus money.. Try to concentrate in such circumstances?! In addition to a hot weather with out electricity (46 C. ), Can you ?? the Iraqis are the bravest human being , we absolutely deserve Guinness World Records for tolerance and patience

But that is not all… Sunshine also had to endure walking through a virtual war zone to get to an exam at school:

“we walked , me and dad alone among the damaged stores and buildings, with police cars everywhere , on burned ground full of windows’ glass , shrapnel, what a good way to start your morning?!”

And tells of her friends experience after American soldiers raided her house and arrested all the men. She asks:

Can any teen in this world bear our life? Just going to school is a challenge, living each day is hard , specially when you lose the people you love. And feel afraid about the others .

Inspired by the story of Samantha Larson, the youngest person ever to climb to the top of Mt. Everest Marshmallow26 tells us the story of a brave Iraqi woman who dared to meet one of the kidnappers that bedevil the lives of ordinary families in Iraq and out wit him. Here is her story:

She is not armored with climbing mountains hobby, not with scuba dive or jumping professionally on the trampoline … She is a simple and more than simple house wife living by herself after losing her husband…

Her daughter's brother-in-law was threatened to leave his governorate job, his house, and leave the city for good, he was getting phone calls all day long on his cellphone, unknown people who kept calling him kept teasing him, threatening to kill him and his family, … they asked him to pay $100,000 as a ransom, he doesn't and will never be able to have that amount as long as he works as a governmental employee..

The brave woman “B” that is how I'm gonna call her, knew about this story and asked her daughter to get the guy's cellphone and leave it with her mom (the brave woman),

“MOM??? Are you serious? why do you wanna answer this phone while there is so much going on with its owner?” daughter said.

“It is none of your business, I know those guys are playing games only, so I will be the one who will take it…” the mother replied.

Read on here to find out what she does.

The Week in Politics

With America's surge of troops in Baghdad in full swing, historic talks with Iran underway and major laws being considered by parliament, politics is again coming to the foreground in Iraq.

Security? What Security?

While much is made in the media of America's security plan for Baghdad little time is given to how this affects ordinary people in Baghdad. These stories come out in the blogs. Last week I had the lament of Baghdad Connect of a city being torn apart by military operations. Today I have two more stories. Neurotic Wife gives her view from inside the Green Zone.

Things are pretty bad here. No wait, bad is an understatement. Things are pretty darn bloody. The so called security crack down has not worked its magic. Its way past that. I doubt there is any solution to whats happening at the moment here. I think its beyond repairable. And please dont tell me that thats impossible…

Electricity, a source of energy that we all take for granted has been scarce for millions of Baghdadi residents for over a month now. Scarce in this intolerable heat. … Water, a vital source of keeping us alive has now become a major target for infections. Security, oh whats that again? A word that almost everyone here forgot how it felt or what it really means. The dead bodies you read about being found on a daily basis scattered around the Baghdad neighbourhoods, have now become a normalcy. If people dont see them, they think there must be something wrong. … Money doesnt mean anything to them anymore because the truth of the matter is, inflation has hit them hard. All the prices soared to a degree where the $1800-$3000 they make here per month disappears. They save nothing. Not a single cent. So imagine those who dont work in the GZ, or those who dont even work. How are they surviving??

And she is impressed by the survival powers of the Iraqi people:

Every Iraqi, every single one, that is living under these stark conditions have struggled to keep their sanity. If it was me living these dire conditions, there is no doubt I would be roaming the streets aimlessly pulling my hair out, literally going nuts. But no, these people, the Iraqi people should enter the Guiness book of records. Oh yes, most definitely. They are truly my heroes. No matter how much I say this statement, I can never do justice to them. Never.

Omar gives his colleague Hussain space to tell his story of what happened when the security crackdown visited his neighbourhood :

Tuesday morning was a disaster for me , my family , relatives and friends.

At nine o'clock of Tuesday 22nd of May , the American forces had a raid on Amel neighborhood ( west Baghdad) ,the place where I live with my family which is few miles from Baghdad airport. … Three armoured vehicles came to our alley ( street)carrying dozens of soldiers to search the houses looking for terrorists leaving at least 50 other vehicles in the area to do the same thing with other blocks . Father .. was the first to receive the unwanted guests. There were at least twenty soldiers who entered the house and forced my father to sit on his knees with his head towards the wall with no consideration to his age ( 65 years old) and sickness ( he has blood pressure with his left eye on recovery from a new operation ). They refused giving any kind of mercy or time to let the interpreter explain what my mother want to say to them about my father's condition …

At the end his father was taken away without any word to his family about his whereabouts.

Iran and America

Some bloggers had their own view on the first ever talks between the Iranian and American ambassadors in Baghdad on Monday. Omar of Iraq the Model is not impressed with Iran's performance. He writes, “Iran's attitude didn't only make the meeting unproductive, it made it insulting… Ignore the meaningless diplomatic pleasantries … Iran mocked Iraq and America today, their ambassador was here just to laugh at us and buy time for his regime. … All in All, I see that the regime in Iran doesn't want to limit its interference in Iraq, it's simply hoping to give this interference a cover of legitimacy.”

While Hammorabi views these talks as the opening shots of an imminent war:

The US and Iranian meeting today … is nothing other than throwing dust in the eyes. Both Iran and USA has interests and the Iraqis are paying the heavy price since the revolution of Khomeini in 1979 until now.

We know that if America is going to attack Iran this will not happen from Iraq but from other parts of the Gulf and from its own aircraft carriers however Iran is alarmed from the USA existence in Iraq. From today meeting we feel that the conflict between Iran and the USA is of no doubt coming and may be imminent.

But Baghdad Connect sees this meeting as no more than a huge garage sale. He writes, “Congress nods to Bush, Bush nods to ‘anyone’! You break it you own it, and then you dump it in a garage sale!”

In other Comment

Al-Ghad tracks the rise of oil workers’ movement and sees this as a welcome sign:

The voice of the most advanced, and best organized, sector of the Iraqi working class, has started to join forces with other mass non-violent popular resistance against the occupation, marking a new welcome shift in dire situation in the country, away from the docile and corrupt administration, and the blood thirsty sectarian gangs that occupation had set-up.

And Wissam congratulates Iraq's brave leaders:

We mustn't forget the freedom and the respect that we've gained as individuals from the Iraqi leaders and the leaders of other countries. The President of Iraq has left to the United States of America for medical treatment while my wife has cancer and I can't take her even to Syria for treatment like many other Iraqis do.

The Chairman of the United Iraqi Alliance made a trip to the United States of America to undergo medical treatment for his cancer; but he didn't like their hospitality so he made his decision to go to his mother's country (Iran) at least they will treat him better; but still, the choice is his to go anywhere because he's “the man” in Iraq, but my wife like so many other women do not have the choice, because they are not the “madams”.

The Deputy Prime Minister is the bravest. When he was injured during an assassination attempt, the government took him immediately to the green zone hospital (which is under the American doctors’ supervision). Then, he flew to Jordan for medical treatment. So, as he is a leader in the Iraqi government, they took care of him but it doesn't matter if other Iraqis are injured by an IED or VBIED (car bomb) , understandably ….there are a lot of Iraqi's but there is only one PM deputy.

Word from the street

Electricity is scarce and the temperatures are soaring, forcing many Iraqis to sleep on their roofs at night. But rumours of US soldiers shooting from their helicopters on sleeping people at night gave Chikitita an interesting mind game to lull herself to slumber:

Not sure on which side I should lie, back seems to be a lesser evil, one shot to the head or stomach I’d be painlessly dead in no time, front means I could get a bullet in my spinal cord and end up like mum’s friend – vegetable because of one tiny metal chunk fired in the late ‘80s to celebrate Iraq’s so-called victory. But what if my legs or arms get shot, do people shot in the extremities live with disabilities?

And, oddly, it works.

hala_s calls her brother on his birthday and asked him to make a wish:

“I wish I never grew up” he said “It is against nature that I lived a better life than my kids. They don’t know how to cycle, swim or even swing. When I manage to take them out, I tell them about imaginary places and events that took place on this spot or that. I could see their jaws drop in disbelief, and my youngest insists that I repeat those fairy tales at bedtime!”

And Zappy describes a $1000 KFC meal that cured his friends back problem. Click here for the explanation.

From the Video blogs:

My honorary Iraqis and bloggers for the week are VBS who give us the story Iraq's only Heavy Metal Band.

Hometown Baghdad videos the story of Saif leaving Baghdad for the last time.

And Alive in Baghdad covers the challenges facing a Girl's school in Adhamiya, Baghdad.

And Finally:

Konfused Kid gets propositioned as the object of what I can only describe as “Gay Cruising” in Jordan:

I was waiting at the bus stop the other day for a bus at 7:30 PM in a cloudy cold evening with another man. After 10 minutes the dude, who was dressed neatly and had shaved his head, started pacing to and fro around me, in the end he offered me a cigarette and then said politely in an Iraqi accent: ‘Want a job?’

I paused. ‘What kind of job, friend?’

He paused. ‘Come up to my apartment with me and I will tell you everything in an hour's time.’

Huh? What the hell? ‘Why don't u you just tell me here friend.’

at this point some white car drove up to him, and he was prepared to get inside it, polite and slender as only non-heterosexual Iraqis can be, he continued ‘but you won't understand what I am talking about and why I can't tell you right here until you meet my supervisor.’

It dawned fairly quickly on the Kid just what was planned at the apartment and he came up with the ultimate put-down: “Hey, I got a CCNA [computing qualification], maybe I can be your orgy's IT manager.” The answer was a polite, ‘No thank you’.

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