Sunday, June 27, 2004


Iraqi Greetings!

The following exchange of greetings is between three friends. All three are Iraqis living in three different countries!

Friend A (from Iraq): Ayyamkum Saeeda! [Tr: “May your days be happy!” Traditional Eid Greeting] I wish you all Health and Happiness...May God bring us all peace and prosperity under the wise leadership of … [names of some “imported neo-politicians” Iraqis are fond of making fun of]...amen!

Friend B (from UK) Thanks and God bless you... I must rise to this unfair statement. A year ago many people in Baghdad were scared from Ali Hassan Al Majeed, Sabawee & Sons and any good looking daughter they had was a target of bedding Udday... Love to all.

Friend C (Jordan): Eid Mubarek. Thanks for writing to me. The issue you bring up is worth discussing...A year ago we knew who to be scared of. Can we NAME who are we scared of today? and are we not still worried when our ladies go out? God Bless You All

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Baghdad Burning

I only came across this blog yesterday. It is written by an Iraqi lady who calls herself Riverbend. Her banner says:

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Beautiful words!

This lady gives a good glimpse of Iraq. Here is an honest, eloquent and penetrating testimony without the “diplomatic” restraint that comes with age!

She offers considerable insight into the feelings, fears, attitudes and political views of so many Iraqis elegantly sprinkled into reports of everyday life and little happenings.

I literally spent hours yesterday reading her postings. What I admired most was her fierce, uncompromising patriotism unmarred by any petty sectarian taints or blind prejudices. When she comes to the prisoner abuse episode, she doesn’t mince her words:

"I sometimes get emails asking me to propose solutions or make suggestions. Fine. Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill and get out while you can- while it still looks like you have a choice... Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed? We’ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go."

Highly recommended to anyone interested in how people in this country feel about things.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


The Mason and the Architect

A friend once (sometime in October, 2003 - a few months after the invasion) blamed another friend for being so negative and not helping the Americans who were so eagerly working to re-construct our country.

He said that he had met a number of these people both military and civilian and he was convinced that they were decent people who really wanted to help.

The other friend replied’ “Well, I’m sure you are right. Many of these people are decent and full of good intentions. I honestly believe that”. He then added, “In a construction site, if the mason laying bricks was a good, decent professional but the architect had designed prison cells for me and my people…do I give the good mason a hand?”

A major difference in mentality and outlook between Americans and Iraqis is that most people in the west generally concentrate on being proficient in doing their job, leaving the “grand designs” and the “philosophical visions” to “management” or other “specialists”.

Many Iraqis, on the other hand, keep looking for the grand design to see where they fit in the scheme of things…and don’t spend so much time on getting the job done!

A “ whole human being” should do both!

Friday, June 04, 2004


Healing Iraq

Yesterday, I stumbled on this blog, written by an Iraqi which had a few touching and revealing passages.

Healing Iraq

So how am I supposed to explain Iraqis to other people, when I sometimes, even as an Iraqi, don't claim to quite understand them myself. I wasn't raised as an Iraqi, actually until the age of 8 I was a typical British child. My parents (and I hold that against them) never taught me a word of Arabic or anything about my country or religion when we were living in the UK. I used to listen to them converse in this weird language and shake my head. However I remember having an overwhelming nostalgic desire to go to this strange place called Iraq which was supposed to be my homeland. When we returned I experienced symptoms of shock. Everything was so different. I was made fun of at school and by relatives my age because of my broken Arabic. But I never complained, I wanted to blend in and make myself belong to this society. So I adapted slowly until I became what I am now; A full-fledged Iraqi, but still not quite a regular Iraqi. Regular Iraqis suffered daily for decades. I never really suffered. So it's maybe not my place to talk for Iraqis.

If you were here now you would almost feel Iraq bleeding from its wounds. You would almost see the palm trees weeping and shedding tears. You would almost hear the two rivers murmuring and moaning in pain. You would almost hear Baghdad wailing and crying for help. You would smell the tension in the air which even rain is unable to wash away. You would sense the years of deprivation and negligence in its soil. Who is trying to steal the smile from its weary face? Who is going to heal Iraq? Who is going to help it stand on its feet? And is this going to be the end to all its sorrows or is there more?

Despite all of the above I am proud to belong to this ancient land. A few days ago I noticed somewhere on the walls of Baghdad a slogan that said 'Raise your head high, you are Iraqi', so I did. Whatever people may think of me or my nation I will sneer at them and say 'I am Iraqi'. However there were times when I hated Iraq with all my heart. There were times when I was ashamed to be associated with it or its people. There were times when I just wanted to pack and leave. There were times when I just didn't care about whatever happened to Iraq. And there were other times when I wept with my face in my hands and begged Iraq to forgive me for my weakness and selfishness.


# posted by zeyad : 1/27/2004 08:57:31 PM

Thursday, June 03, 2004


Tribal Codes:

According to the last general census, about 35% of all Iraqis live in rural areas. A good portion of city dwellers are first- or second- generation migrants from the countryside. All those people subscribe to some tribal code of conduct. That should not be under-estimated when evaluating the effect of recent events on Iraqis and their possible reaction to them.

[A “Hasham” is a penalty for injured dignity.]

A Woman’s Scream
Many tribesmen look down on women! It often infuriates me!
Yet, in the tribal code of many of the tribes in Iraq, if a woman is insulted or violated in any way that she screams, the offence is equivalent to murder!

The House’s Hasham
In the tribal code of many of the Iraqi tribes, entering a house by force or uninvited is equivalent to killing a man (unless you were a fugitive!).

The Head-band
To some tribesmen, the “igal” or headband is such a symbol of dignity that it has a “hasham”!

A slap on the Face
A slap on the face has sometimes led to murder. It is invariably regarded as an insult of some magnitude. The greater the social status of the person offended, the greater the offence!

Sex is Taboo
Sex and any sexual talk is almost universally taboo in the traditional Iraqi society! To know that a woman has been abused is one of the greatest possible crimes that can be committed!... even touching somebody’s mother, wife or daughter is a crime that can only be rinsed with blood. Otherwise, the man in question cannot look anybody in the eye or share a gathering!

Country folk never tire of telling the story of the Bedouin who, upon taking his revenge after 40 years, said: “maybe I have rushed things a bit!”

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Low Expectations!

Here is an extraordinary response from a young medical student living in Baghdad writing about the news of the prisoner abuse and the subsequent outrage…

It is not fair to compare that way, I totally disagree... In Saddam's time, there was no media covering what is happening 24 hours, day and night. Now days, we have million TV Channels just wanting something to happen... If someone sneezes (there in Falooja or anywhere else) the whole world would know few secs after....and the papers write and the politicians talk...

OK, It is not heaven in here... I hate living here, OK, OK...

There were thousands who were killed, tortured, and buried alive... I know the whole world knew about that, but they have not seen it live or few days after.

No comparison should be made between the past and the present... Every time has its advantages and disadvantages....

It is not heaven in here... There is an army... Any army in the world could do this and even worse... especially if they are being killed everyday... I am not saying it is justifiable... Never...My country men are being killed everyday by them...and we should work to liberate it from the Americans IN A CIVILIZED WAY...

But, has anyone of you ever imagined an army invading a country and goes out without crimes, if so tell me what that Army was ?!!!

Saddam is gone, That is something everyone should be happy of.... If no one is happy , I am sure I am ....and I am living here...In Baghdad..

If we want to talk about the disadvantages of this time, they cannot be counted, but it was not heaven where we lived before...everyone Should believe me....

I believe we have hope, though little, but in Saddam's there was no hope...
In 20 years time, Baghdad MIGHT be a wonderful place to live in...
But before, in Saddam's time, WA Allah 1000 years and Baghdad would remain ruined and destroyed...



A young man like Abdullah who wrote that touching letter shows a magnanimous soul and it seems that he is prepared to accept such things because now there is at least some hope!

Two words come to my mind when thinking about his reaction: nobility and ignorance! The nobility part is obvious. The ignorance part has to do with accepting the fact that any army would do such things and that these events are to be expected. Such low expectations!

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