Iraq: Seven Years On

But first… if you read no other blog this week read this one

Lubna writes:

Now, I want to share with all of you guys some of my own personal experience as a young woman living in Baghdad, may be that’ll give you an inside access to the sometimes very secret and seemingly mysterious world of ‘Middle Eastern women'…

So here I am saying it loud and clear : I am an Islamic feminist, my mom ran out of the house when I was 12 and we’ve never heard anything from her ever since, that’s right, she’s not dead, but I refuse to be judged by others according to what my mom did, Allah judges me according to my own actions only-not according to the actions of anyone else even if that anyone else was my mom, so all of you must do the same, all of you must accept me as I am

Seven Years On

With the recent elections still fresh in the news it is all too easy to forget that the anniversary of the start of the war is this week. But this will not pass some bloggers.

In a series of four posts, Layla Anwar marks the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with her memories of wars past. The power of her writing brings back vividly the pain of a people who have endured war after wars for more than fourty years. She writes:

One scene leads to another, like in a labyrinth…no wonder this is a door I never wanted to open…

War after War after War…back in the tunnel, swirling back…subtracting years, 1991, the fireworks of another liberation. 1980, 1973, 1967…I remember them all…one by one…

The same scene repeats itself…windows shattering, plastic and tapes, glued to the radio for the latest news, hoping batteries won't run out, and more sirens…all the sirens sound the same…Baghdad and beyond — same sirens, same wars…

Israeli air raids in 1967 and 1973, I was there too…I laugh when I think about it, laugh sarcastically, as if Destiny wanted me to be a witness…

I remember another shelter…this one was very damp…it was in the basement of a building…not really a shelter but more like an underground storage room…it smelled bad…humidity and piss…I remember Dad grabbing the radio, and Mom pulling me by the arm – Yalla Layla, let's go…and I'd hear the thunder outside shaking the earth beneath my feet…and after so many rounds of “punishment” from the Sky, I'd say to my mother – do we really have to go to this dark room, can't we just die here in our home ?

I remember her just pulling me by the arm down the stairs — no time for a reply, every minute counted…hurrying down the stairs whilst everything shook…and ending up in that dark humid, smelly room, smelling of rot and piss…there would be several families there…again each family would take a corner, gather and huddle together…waiting for the final verdict, waiting for the final sentence, waiting…to see if God, the Universe, MIG fighter jets…decide who will live and who will die that day…

And so it is in this part of the world, from 2010 to all the way back…their raids and bullets fly over your head taking you from up and their articles take you from down….and they still shove them under your nose telling you how oppressive – oppressed you are…

and Iraq Pundit makes a defiant statement: Iraq will never fall apart. He writes:

The outsider view of Iraq is that it is crumbling. There is a deep sectarian divide that is difficult to heal, according to outsiders. Experts for hire declare: “It could get really nasty,” says Joost Hilterman of ICG. “I'm utterly unconvinced that the Iraqi institutions are strong enough to withstand that kind of conflict.” Of course he would say something negative, he has been arguing against Iraq all along. He can't believe Iraqis can get along because he would not longer have an act. He and others have built entire careers on the idea that Iraq is a failure.

To outsiders, it's a divide between Sunnis and Shiites. This is based on what Iraqis consider a war of attrition between al-Qaeda and the Iranian militias. Naturally they coopted locals into the battle, but Iraqis by nature don't focus on Sunni-Shiite differences.

Post Election Talk

With Inside Iraq's summary of the latest results showing that the election on 7th March is still too close to call there is only speculation in the blogs.

Laith wonders about the whole point of the election:

In all the election all over the world, the majority is the one who form the government but in Iraq, it looks that our political parties have a different ideology for election… It looks that our politicians want to design a kind of democracy that fits their demands and wishes regardless the wish of millions of people who voted only to have a real national government that can provides their basic needs which they have been waiting to gain for decades.

If we are going to see the same sectarian and ethnic sharing in the coming government and since our election aims only to share the positions among the political parties, then why did we participate in election. In fact the right question should be (why do we even have election?)

Ladybird gives her analysis of the post election conflicts and predicts the worst scenario for the Americans in the elections. She writes:

Washington’s worst scenario right now, is that any understanding occurs between Syrian — Saudi Arabia during the conflict tactics will lead to the rise of a unity government and a new Iraqi nationalism, leads to the emergence of unexpected election results similar to the results created by the new Lebanese cabinet recently, which are formed as a background of an understanding between Syria — Saudi Arabia, and led to a major coup in the agenda of regional Middle East policy.

To look at his blog you would think of him as an average American. Yet, Ramsin voted in the Iraqi election even though he grew up a world away from Iraq and his parents left some twenty years before he was born. He gives his reasons why he took part in the out of country vote (OCV):

Until Iraq’s democracy moves past its post-conflict illiberal stage, OCV-eligible voters have a duty to express their franchise in solidarity not with some interest group but rather with the principle of democracy itself. That is the story behind my purple finger.

And Dr. Human wrote:

Actually I hate politics , and I dont want my head to ache me because of it , I thought not to go to the election , but then I thoght they may play with my paper and fill it with a person that we never want him .. !! so I went and [gave] my vote to a person after I read his C.V. on the net ,and I saw that he is an active person and has nice projects ..

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