Saturday, September 25, 2004

Who's lying?

I’ve been surfing the net yesterday and I found a post on Riverbend’s blog via another blog that I can’t remember now that was really interesting. I never wanted to criticize my fellow Iraqi bloggers but there are things that I just can’t ignore; telling lies. The blogger noted that our perspectives and those of Riverbend’s were always extremely contradicting each other and he seems more inclined to believe Riverbend than us, and I’m just fine with that, as there are many people who have the opposite attitude and this is all just normal. The problem is that they are believing ‘poetry’ not realities and facts. The scarce amount of “observations from the ground” you can find in all Riverbend’s post and especially the last one are actually frank lies, and I wish there was a polite way to put that, but lies are lies and it’s ironic that she chooses “liar, liar” as a title for her post.
She says about Allwi’s speech in the congress:

My favorite part was when he claimed, "Electricity has been restored above pre-war levels..." Even E. had to laugh at that one. A few days ago, most of Baghdad was in the dark for over 24 hours and lately, on our better days, we get about 12 hours of electricity. Bush got it wrong (or Allawi explained it to incorrectly)- the electricity is drastically less than pre-war levels, but the electricity BILL is way above pre-war levels. Congratulations Iraqis on THAT!! Our electricity bill was painful last month. Before the war, Iraqis might pay an average of around 5,000 Iraqi Dinars a month for electricity (the equivalent back then of $2.50) - summer or winter. Now, it's quite common to get bills above 70,000 Iraqi Dinars... for half-time electricity.

Let me show you where the lies are:
On our better days, we get about 12 hours of electricity”.
A straight out lie, as we get 16-18 hours of electricity per day on our worst days, while on our best days we get 20 hours per day, lately.
I want to explain that I don’t give all the credit in that for the Iraqi government efforts only, as it’s simply the fact that during this time of the year the consumption of electric power is at it’s lowest rates. Much less air conditioners as it’s not that hot anymore, no heaters and also no schools are opening yet.

Before the war, Iraqis might pay an average of around 5,000 Iraqi Dinars a month for electricity”.

Another terrible lie unless she lived in a house void of any electric devices apart from lights and fans. The bills we had before the war were at least 20 thousand Dinars a month.

equivalent back then of $2.50".
One of the very rare facts in her post (still not accurate. The right number is 2.27$ as the exchange rate was 2200 ID/$), which she ‘forgets’ to repeat or correct in the end of the paragraph. Maybe because it’s a good thing that the Iraqi Dinar exchange rate jumped from 2200 ID/US$ to around 1460 ID/US$? And the fact that it has been stable for a very long time now which never happened at uncle Saddam’s time, may be should be forgotten as it may lead some people to think (God forbid) that actually something good turned out from this war?

The most important fact that was ‘forgotten’ in her post and that is so obvious that even many people in the west already know about it is that prior to the war we, in Baghdad had a better electric supply in the last 2 years before the war only, while cities like Basra, Samawa, Diwanyia and in short most of the Iraqi governerates had to settle with much less than what they have now; meaning something between 4-8 hours per day for many years, and in some cities it was down to two hours per day with many days during the year virtually without any electricity. The just redistribution that took place after the war certainly must've upset the privileged ones.

Now, it's quite common to get bills above 70,000 Iraqi Dinars... for half-time electricity”.

Another tremendous lie. The last bill we got was 3650 Dinars and I’ve asked all the people I met today about this from the cab driver, the shopkeeper that I get my cigarettes from to the senior doctors in our ward, and the highest number I got was 350 thousand Dinars for 18 months ( 19440 Dinar/month)and that was for a shop, and shops are charged higher than homes. Besides, 5 thousand dinars was more than my salary before the war, for instance, while now I and most Iraqis get paid at least 20 times that amount of money. Here’s a photo I took for the bill we got. It’s in Arabic but it won’t be impossible to figure out the numbers, and I wish she could show us her bill.

I must admit that she/he (since we never got to know who’s Riverbend) has got one gift for sure. She must be intelligent, otherwise she couldn’t have managed to fool such number of people by presenting such rude lies almost all the time.

Finally I’d like to answer a question from the blogger who quoted us both but I just can’t find the link again and I’ll keep trying:

I read "Ali" and his compatriots fairly regularly, and I don't quite know what to make of them. I'm prepared to believe that many Iraqis feel the same commitment to a pluralistic, democratic future for Iraq, but find myself put off by their easy acceptance of so much misery being visited on their countrymen, their soaring rhetoric which mirrors so perfectly Bush and the American right wing, and most of all, I question his readiness to claim that anyone who is currently resisting the occupation is nothing more nor less than a terrorist. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the portrait painted in the Guardian/Observer of at least one insurgent strongly suggested that he is anything but a hater of either democratic governance, or Americans as a people, and that if the Bush administration had made good on any of its promises, they would have won the patient support of more Iraqis than they've managed to. My question about Ali is why its so difficult for him to imagine that there were other ways of deposing Saddam, and other ways to help the Iraqis toward a democratic future other than a full scale primarily American invasion whose purpose was not merely to get rid of Saddam, but even more importantly, to deliver all of Iraq into the hands of Bush & co?

We may sound sometimes like the American government but that’s simply because we do share a common goal, and believe it or not, I do have my own opinions and I had them long before the war. You see I don’t get it; if a western guy agrees with the American administration then he’s just taking a stand while if an Iraqi or anyone from the ME does that then he’s either a CIA agent or a fool! Does it sound like they are looking at us as minors or what?! I guess if instead I shifted to parroting Al Jazeerah or people like Michael Moore or Juan Cole, I’d be having a an independent voice?

We’ve tried the sanctions and it only increased the suffer of the Iraqi people as a result of the dirty tricks of Saddam and his friends in the so-honest, so- pure UN.
There was an uprising that most of Iraqis took part in and it ended in them being slaughtered in hundreds of thousands without anyone of you, humanists rising a single fucking sign of protest.

How many Iraqis should’ve died, how many innocent children should’ve got crippled in their first year and how many Iraqi women should’ve been raped so that we could get our freedom? Only now the pacifists have become so generous with your tears about the “poor Iraqi men and women getting abused in Abu Gharib”. Please, just try and show a tiny bit of the honesty you claim we lack.

I didn’t want to comment on Bush and Allawi’s speech in the congress because I don’t like to praise politicians generally and I thought from what I read that most people liked the speech just as I did, but when I read stuff like this I just can’t remain silent.

Bush was telling the exact truth about the electricity, while what Allawi said about security cannot be proved or contradicted that easily. Still there’s a lot of truth in his statement, and I mean when was the last time you heard in the news about Duhok, Samawa, Diwanyia, Kerbela, Irbil, Ammarah, Kut, Hilla and generally governerates out of the so-called Sunni triangle? Even in that area it’s not as gloomy as it’s portrayed by the MSM, as there are of course few towns that suffer terrible security situation, but even in governerates like Anbar, have you heard the words Rawa, Haditha, Ana, Rutba or Heet lately? Well these are all large cities in Anbar that seem to be not having any serious problems regarding security otherwise we’d hear them mentioned at least once a week as the MSM is not missing to report even ordinary crimes that have no political meaning what so ever! Still Allawi wasn’t painting a rosy picture, as he made it clear that the task is a very difficult one and Iraq need all the help she can get to succeed in it.

Allawi’s speech was articulate, impressive and honest and most Iraqis I talked to lately share the same opinion with me, but much more impressive was the reaction of all members of the congress who were there. That was the American people there, the whole American nation not just republicans, standing and cheering not Allawi but what he stood for; IRAQ. They were showing support and friendship to Iraq not Allawi and that was a rare moment in history where the two nations Iraq and America stood as equal friends, no actually it was more like family as one American friend described. Insulting Allawi and Bush and the whole speech, speaking so harshly of that unique moment is an insult not to Bush or Allawi but to both the Iraqi and American nations, and yes that goes for everyone did that.

Riverbend is disgusted with Allawi’s 9 “thank you” to America, and I want to say that you and I should thank God and America 9 million times and we would still be in debt. Just think whether you could’ve happened to you had you posted similar thoughts about any Iraq politician before the war. Oh but you weren’t posting before the war, nor did any other Iraqi, and I wonder why!

I’ll never stop telling what I believe is the truth and won’t stop fighting for that regardless of all the silly accusations and even threats sometimes. I’m not pro-Bush and I’m not pro-Allawi but I stand firmly with the new Iraq and with America. Iraq has run out of “historical leaders” and I guess there must be some people who still miss that time but they shouldn’t feel that bitter, as one can always visit one of our brother Arab and Muslim nations to remember the “good old days” that we, the vast majority of Iraqis are ready to give our lives to make sure they won’t be repeated.


-By Ali.
Update: Here's the link to the blog I was looking for.

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