Baghdad through the years

Iraq nowdays 11 Comments »

Good Morning My Country

Iraq nowdays 5 Comments »

I was listening to Kadhim Al-Sahir's new song "Good Morning My Country" and I thought to share it with you guys. This song was for the movie "My Country My Country". This movie was nominated for an Oscar a month ago as a best documentary, and was nominated for Independent Spirit Award as the best documentary too.

I hope you like it. 

"There's a war going on. A lot of people have died, a lot of people will continue to die and this is a war that was started by my country. I felt that my life wasn't any more valuable or precious than anyone else's; it was worth taking that risk to tell this story."   —Laura Poitras, the filmmaker.

Four Years of Injustice

Iraq nowdays 24 Comments »

Four years ago, Mr.George W. Bush decided to change the lives of 25 million people, permanently. I will tell you how I lived and saw these long, probably the longest, four years.
When the war started, we had strange feelings towards it. We wanted Saddam to go, but we did not want our country to be invaded. Iraqis have resisted the invasions for thousands of years. I just could not live with the idea that American troops will be wandering around in our lovely Baghdad. I promise you I will write a series of articles about the war, but now is just not the time.
After the occupation of Baghdad, I could not believe the looting that happened. The American as well as the Arabic news channels made it look like all the Iraqis are merely thieves. No one focused on the loyal and honest state employees who kept working during all the days of war, the bakeries that remained open all the time, the brave doctors that remained in the hospitals away from their own families, and more and more of the bright sides of the Iraqi people. All we could see or hear in the news was the looting and bank robberies. The thing with all the people all around the world is that they forget, or they act as if they forgot. No one remembered that Saddam let go few thousands of thieves few weeks before the war. He even let go the HIV infected people who were detained in a remote hospital in “Haswa” about 20Km west of Baghdad.
The first year of occupation, as compared to the next three years, was heaven. The attacks were concentrated on the occupants’ troops only. And the only fear you have on the street is that when the American troops show up in the street, there is a great possibility that the will be hit. And when they are hit, they respond in rapid fire all over the place with no distinguishing between anyone. Shops used to open until 9 or 10pm. I used to spend most of my time in ‘Abu-Nu’as St.’ and walk to a friend’s house in Karrada after 10pm. Schools were open and the students were real students going to schools to learn. The electricity had its ups and downs, but on average, we would have 2 hours of electricity out of 6. The water was cut for at least 2 days a week. But we were living. What I mean by ‘we were living’ is that we were doing our best to adapt with the horrible way of living. I can not tend to forget that Iraq is the richest country in the world.
At the end of the first year of occupation and the start of the second year, attacks began to move in another direction. All people working with the American troops became targets. And gradually during the year, government officials became targets. And by government officials I don’t mean the ministers that the occupation brought, or the governing council. I mean the small officials that have no huge group of bodyguards or fancy cars terrorizing the people passing by them. The attacks against the American troops began to hurt Iraqis. The bombed cars started killing dozens of Iraqis while ‘injuring’ one or two American soldiers. Attacks of Al-Qaida and other parties started to target the new Iraqi law enforcement troops. The Iraqi police, by the end of the year, became the primary target of attacks. Shops started to close up at 8 and 7pm, according to the area. Some areas ended up being extremely dangerous for the daily attacks conducted there. Places like Adhamiya, Amirya, Dawra, and Haifa St. became war zones. The electricity became worse. On average we had one to one and a half hours out of six. The water was out for about 3 to 4 days a week. Of course, the prices of everything started to rise. This was due to the lack of electricity which costed the merchants extra money for the generators and fuel. Oh the fuel. It took us about 4 to 6 hours to get benzene for the cars and generators. And we were adapting again.
During the third year, things started to collapse rapidly. I had so many near death experiences. I was there in the explosion of a bombed car. I got caught in the middle of cross fire twice. I witnessed three roadside bombs. Few more things happened that I consider negligible. In the third year, and after two really near death experiences, I decided to leave. I could not take it anymore. And my family was very worried about me because I am always out of the house. So, I left to Jordan. And until now, I am still in Jordan. The last time I visited Baghdad was about 15 months ago.
The attacks now started targeting Iraqi people. This is because Iran and Al-Qaida agreed on eliminating the Iraqis. Iran started to convince the Shiite that the have had enough of Sunnis. Iran convinced the Shiite that all Sunnis are either with Al-Qaida or at least have some sympathy with them. Iran started to make the attacks on Iraqis look like on Shiite people only. And Al-Qaida responded by announcing that Shiite are as much as an enemy as the Americans. And that started the snow ball. Things started falling apart very quickly. Sectarian violence started to rise on the surface more clearly.
It really hurts me to write these words. It’s just so sad to see all this harmony of the people who lived together for thousands of years falling apart like that. Life used to be easier. And love was in the air. But now, the only thing in the air is bullets. And the smell of roses I used to enjoy in our garden everyday was replaced with the pure smell of blood.
Starting from February, 2006, when the two shrines in Samarra were bombarded, the end had started. Sectarian violence was taken to the peek. And it has come to a point were you don’t need a reason to be killed. Your name is adequate to get you into trouble. And sometimes, death becomes your least worries.
I can’t just write about how the electricity was or the shops were opened or not. It is only death that I can remember during the last two years. Thousands of people died because no one said no. No one was man enough to think. Is this what we really want to end up to?
Its just so hard to put down in word all the frustration, anger, and agony I feel right now.
I am sorry I can’t go on.

Photos of the snowy Thursday in Amman

My Exile 2 Comments »

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly Weds (Iraqi Version)

Iraq nowdays 19 Comments »

After a couple of snowy days, today was a nice day. It was a nice day until few minutes ago. I was talking to a very close friend of mine. His story is my Iraqi version of newly weds.
He got married few months ago. He and his wife worked in the same company, in which I worked a couple of years back in Baghdad. They started preparing for their wedding and their apartment. The apartment was a small part in the second floor of the guy’s parents’ house. This is how it used to be in Iraq. The not-rich people in Iraq used to get married and live in the guy’s parents’ house. This is due to the high cost of buying or renting a house. And even when people did have the money enough to rent apart from their parents, they did not. Everybody usually do this for a couple of reasons; to save some money that can be useful in the future and to keep company of the new bride so she wouldn’t feel lonely and away from her family.

During that time, I was constantly in touch with both of them as both of them were my friends. They used to tell me about every single tiny thing they buy for their small studio apartment in the second floor. I even started imagining what it looks like. The small table here with the small candles all over it. And the small kitchen that they always said would not be enough for me to get in. I was not lucky enough to attend their wedding. I was stuck here in the ********** called Amman. It was a simple wedding in a lovely park in ‘Harithya’. The family and close friends attended the nice and cozy wedding.
Few weeks later the couple came to Amman for a few days for business reasons. We spent sometime together remembering the old days in Baghdad. This business trip was the replacement of they honeymoon.
Few weeks after they went back, they received a threat. The couple was half-sunni and half-shiite. But the district they lived in was under the domination of Al-Qaida in Baghdad. Yes, and area in Baghdad under the control of Al-Qaida. And Al-Qaida folks did not like the sunni-shiite mixture of that house. So, they have to leave. No matter how much they loved their little home. No matter if it was their home. No matter if they did not have another place to go to. No matter if they have the right to be at their home. They had to leave.
These threats were real. Many families in the neighborhood had to leave their homes. And those who did not take the threats seriously, had to pay. They did not have to pay money; they paid the lives of their kids or themselves.
On the other hand, the girl’s family got a threat too for living in the wrong sectarian area. And they had to leave too.
Suddenly, the three families had no where to live in. And the sectarian violence did not stop there. They threatened the families that leave their homes not to rent or sell the house.
Someone’s house is like the conclusion of their whole lives. It’s the last resort to the whole family. It’s the place to go when you are in trouble. How would you feel if all of this is just gone?
The newly weds left their small house along with their small dreams. They just had to leave everything behind as the Al-Qiada message told them.
Under which law is someone authorized to kill someone else’s dreams and hopes?
The newly weds are now cruising around the country, looking for a place that can accept the sunni-shiite mixture with no hard feelings.
Thank you Mr.George Bush
Thank you Maliki
And my thanks extends to everyone participated in giving the Iraqis this NEW LIFE.

One rainy day

Iraq nowdays 8 Comments »

Its raining very heavily today in Amman. Although I have been here for a couple of years, I am not accustomed with the weather here. It was very sunny and beautiful just yesterday.

Anyway, I used to love the rain. I used to like going out during the rain. Maybe because the rain used to be pure. But not anymore.

One day, during the war in 2003, there was black rain in Baghdad. It was caused by the smoke coming out of the burning oil all around Baghdad. It was one of the genius ideas of the leadership back then. Digg large trenches all around Baghdad, and fill them with black oil and set them on fire. The smoke was aimed to distract the vision of the "Smart" tomahawk missiles. I really can't see who was dumber; the smart missiles killing the innocent or the smoke makers trying to distract them.

Since the black rain day, I stopped loving the rain. When I look at the difference between this day and that day. I can't help myself noticing the great amount of destruction happened between the two. Four years were all what Bush needed to destroy the lives of millions of people. And he just can't have enough. I really would like to meet one iraqi person whom life was not affected by the war. Its just pointless to try to convince the world that the lives of the 25 million iraqi people got better in these 4 years.

Saddam's era was bad. But now, I'd really look back on Saddam's days and say that they were the good days of our lives. Bush and the group of monkies called "The Iraqi Government" managed to do the following things during the four past years:

1. Make Iraqis hate each other.

2. Make fools out of theirselves.

3. Make a hero out of Saddam.

4. Make large amounts of money.

The list is way too long to be written here, and I am way too bored to talk about it.

Hilarious song to the Iraqi Minister of Electricity

Iraq nowdays 6 Comments »

You have to listen to this guy (2.8Mb):

Download it

* PS: Sorry guys the song is in Arabic. 

Lunar Eclipse in Baghdad

Iraq nowdays 6 Comments »

Despite the horrible situation in Baghdad, a friend of mine stayed up and watched the eclipse yesterday and sent me these photos (and managed to stay alive).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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