Photo of Moon and Planet over Baghdad by Marshmallow26
“To light a candle is much better than cursing the darkness.”
So signed off Ausama on his last video for Hometown Baghdad.
Today I will concentrate my post on reactions to the second bombing of the shrine in Samarra. An event that has provoked much speculation among Iraqi bloggers. The first bombing proved to be a juncture in the ongoing war in Iraq and the second may prove just as critical, so it important to record responses here. That is not all, there is also Iraqi food and if you read to the end, which is the most sectarian blog ever? But first..
If you watch no other video-blog this week watch this one…
My heartfelt condolences goes goes to Ausama for the loss of his uncle. Killed by American soldiers while returning home from the market. We hear of so many accidental killings by American soldiers of Iraqis but no news report ever lets you feel the devastation and anger at such a needless loss. Which is why video blogs like Hometown Baghdad are so critical to understanding the true meaning and pointlessness of the American military presence in Iraq. Ausama's mother says:
We used to like the American people we used to believe they are good people but by force, by military action, not the best will come.
The last time the the Askariya Shrine was attacked it heralded a wave of reprisals across the country along with a wave of comment from Iraqi blogs. This time around the blogs are still buzzing.
New blogger Mohammed of Last-of-Iraqis reports the ensuing violence giving details that you simply do not hear in the media:
I was in the dental office when I heard about this from my senior, he said that I should go home now because the streets are so troubled, so I decided to go home, when I was in the street I realized that the streets are really troubled and scary, I took a cab and went straight home and as I reached, the sounds of explosions didn't stop, I think they were mortars falling everywhere mixed with the sounds of ambulances and police patrols, it's really scary in Baghdad now. I wish it will settle down soon with the minimum casualties.
He provides updated reports and the whole post and its following post on the reprisal attacks against Shia and Sunni Mosques make essential reading.
Eye Raki is almost losing hope with the Americans and the Iraqi Government:
I have always said that removing Saddam Hussein was the best option for Iraq… It's just the manner of both the US and Iraqi government that worries me… they are making mistakes and they should learn from them. When one of the holiest shrines in Iraq gets blown to bits, if you can't re-build it … the very least you can do is make sure things like that don't happen again. The terrorists simply came back over a year later and finished the job.
Shaqawa echoes the same sentiment. He quotes Ayatollah Sistani, “If the government cannot protect the shrine then someone else should.” He also explains his view on the mentality of the bombers:
the terrorists want to tell the Shi’a “We hate you, we hate your religion and your imams.” They want to kill all Shi’a. They want to tell us that nothing good will ever happen for the Shi’a.
And Hammorabi goes two steps further. While blaming the bombing on the failure of the occupation forces, he suggests that they should leave and a military government should replace the current democracy:
Democracy like the one in Iraq is more dangerous than military roles for the country. Iraq may need a strong leader to withhold it rather than weak chaotic politicians.
Several bloggers vent their anger at those behind the bombing of the Shrine. Iraq Mojo cannot believe those people call themselves Muslims. April Girl asks angry questions:
There are 6,601,676,326 ways to God. (Right now.) That many ways to worship, to think, to talk, to act, to take in this world. Has that not been realized? …
What is going on? Do you not believe you are walking on the One True Path? Is that not enough? Does your path force you to hurt, rape, murder and destroy this planet?
What is going on? Isn't your faith beautiful? Isn't that enough? Why bother other people who don't believe in the things you do? What is your problem? What do you want from them?
What is going on? Are you not right?! Aren't you satisfied with that? Let people be! As long as we don't harm each other then why don't people just let people be?!?!
Why do you bomb a Holy site that has been there since the 10th century? Do you think we care about bricks and mortar and gold? Do you think it is the physical building that is the cause of people's faith? Destroy that and you've crumbled the Shias of Mohammad? The Shias of God? Is your gray matter that atrophied?? In what state of Soul are you??? Sorry, do you even have one is the question. Nasty human beings.
And, Neurotic Wife saves her loathing for all the parties that “have ruined this once historic and divine place” and blames the neighbouring countries:
This war is about Iraqis themselves. This war is about destroying Iraq and everything it represents. The so called friendly neighbours, who keep promising to help out are themselves the criminals. They are supplying the militias and the gangs with deadly weapons. Not one of them wants Iraq to be stable, not one of them wants Iraq to prosper. This war is no longer about the occupation. This war is a deadly war, A Deadly War of the Devils….
But I will not end on a sour note. After emerging from the inevitable curfew following the bombing, Chikitita was surprised by what she saw:
On the trip back home, we dropped by the drugstore and kind of liked what we saw. Baghdadis strangely wore smiles on their faces, I thought I’d never see those again. Shops were bustling. People are reverting to their Iraqi manners, mum noted, referring to a policeman who helped a woman get into a minibus. This too was non-existent few weeks ago.
Mum’s words reminded me of what she once told me, you’ll never know which people are good and which ones are bad until you’re struck by a crippling crisis.
Food, Glorious Food!
Ah, a couple of posts on my (and probably every Iraqi's) favourite subject. I have spent many dinner parties discussing the intricacies of Iraqi dates or the Noomi Heloo (an Iraqi citrus fruit) or finding the English name for Iraqi foods (anyone know the nearest thing to ‘botnich'?). Fatima is in America and tries hard to make the food she likes but:
after trying to make that perfect cup of tea after cup of tea, and after a few attempts at making a yummy dish of eggs, I have finally come to the conclusion that it just tastes better over there!
Hala_S talks about Iraqi food starting with the Pomegranate:
For me the sight of pomegranates takes me years and years back to my childhood when these fruits would stay in the basket untouched till my dear mother wash them, take the seeds out and put them in a large bowl in the fridge. …
Poor Brits, they think they are eating pomegranates, while in fact they are eating something that looks like them, but far from the real taste, I wish they can try the ones grown in Baqouba or Karbala, they will know then that they’ve been cheated out of their money and taste!
This goes for nearly every other fruit or vegetable. Tomatoes are the best example, you find cherry tomatoes, beef tomatoes, plum tomatoes and tomatoes on vine leaves, and really they should be called cherry plastics or plum plastics. Where are they from our shapeless, disfigured, dented and full of spots ones? Our ugly tomatoes full of juice and flavour will put all others in shame!
I once paid a fortune in an Italian restaurant to eat samples of few truffles brought all the way from Tuscany in Italy, and were served to me in such a fuss as if I was about to eat pieces of gold!
Oh my dear Iraq, if only they’ve tasted your muddy truffles that we used to buy in big sacs and spent ages to clean.
We the people of Iraq are exactly like our crops! Rough, tough, harsh and scarred, but once you open them up, you see the real flavour of kindness, generosity and genuineness.
And Finally, The Most Sectarian Blog Ever Award goes to…
After Konfused Kid labelled The Shaqawa as the ‘Most Sectarian Blog Ever’, Shaqawa has been wearing it as a badge of pride. He even made his own logo (pictured left).
Salam Adil (that's me) reviewed another contender. On his qualification points of reverence for the sect's leaders and pathological hatred of the opposition, Salam passes the award to Layla Anwar. He writes:
After Layla's fawning letter to Saddam and labelling of Basra as an Iranian enclave; I am sorry Shaqawa you are going to have to hand over your award!
But Shaqawa is having none of it. He writes:
I will have to say that I will never give my award to this Layla. Of course you know that the Saddam lovers and Ba’thists stole everything in Iraq and made Iraq into a big prison. They took everything and still were cheered by so many people and even today many Arabs and Sunnis will praise Saddam. Well after stealing so much now their hero Saddam is dead and buried in his dirty village. And the stealing days of the Ba’thists are almost done. Ba’thists in Iraq are almost done. May all of them see Saddam’s end as a warning. Iraq is for Iraqis, not Ba’thists. Even an online award, I will not give it to a dirty Ba’thist and lover of Saddam.
So, no contest then. But I do not see why we should stop at Iraq. What other blogs would qualify for this award?