Monday, November 14, 2005


Little Glimpses

[This post is dedicated to my son who is away. A taste of home, in case he misses it!]

Shopkeeper wisdom

I was talking to a shop keeper some time ago. He was relating an argument he had with someone. The other man had said that Saddam was better than the lot holding power in Iraq at present. The shopkeeper had a different view: he said that saying “Saddam was better” implies that both were good! The proper way was to say that this lot was “worse than Saddam”. That implies that they were both bad.

I can’t argue with that!

Illiterates with Mobile ‘Phones

Sometime ago, I met a farmer who was an old, illiterate man. He had a mobile ‘phone. I asked how he managed to use it. He said that it was quite simple. Some of his children stored his contacts for him on the ‘phone. He would fumble with the keypad and make a call to anybody at random. He would then ask whoever he was calling to pass on his message to the one he had in mind! Usually the one he was trying to call would call back… making the phone call also less costly!

The Lone Insurgent

He is a retired army officer in his mid fifties. He is totally convinced that America is an enemy. He has dedicated his life to expel the invaders. But he does not trust anybody, so he works alone.

He puts his AK47 machine gun and his RPG (rocket propelled grenade launcher) in the trunk of his car and roams the streets of Baghdad and the surrounding areas. He never acts rashly and waits for a good ‘hit’. When the opportunity presents itself, he makes that hit, and goes back home.

Putting the Prince in his Place

Iraqi ‘insurgents’ are usually called Mujahideen (holy warriors) in the countryside and in small towns whether they are religious or not. The Islamic insurgents are organized in cells or clusters. Each is led by what they call an “Ameer” – Prince. In some areas of Iraq they are a force to be reckoned with, feared and/or respected.

This particular “Prince” had a quarrel with a hard-nosed old farmer. The quarrel was purely social. They were distant kin. The old man took a few of his boys and they gave the Prince a severe beating.

The cell the Prince was responsible for issued an ultimatum for the old man and two of his close kin to move out of the area within three days. The old man took four car loads of his lot, set up a road-block in the area and kidnapped three of the Mujahideen. He did not release them until that particular cell issued a written apology to the old man… and promised not to bother him again.

I find the image of those fierce fighters who have been causing so much headache to the most powerful army in the world being beaten up and kidnapped by a simple farmer… quite amusing, almost hilarious!

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