Tuesday, November 30, 2004
|**Big pharaoh describes his first reaction after discovering Al-Fayhaa TV:|
"Anyway, we discovered Fayhaa channel and we soon became addicts. As soon as I return from work, I take my dinner and stay glued in front of Fayhaa. I have been doing that for 3 days."
Read the rest here.
**Mahmood is reporting about the activities and demonstrations of university students in Bahrain and their calls for liberal changes, he believes that "there's hope!"
"A few days ago, some 60 students went on a march at the university to demonstrate their complete refusal of MP Jassim Al-Saidi's nonbinding law request to segregate the university but at the same time, the student were demonstrating at the lackluster application of the university authorities of the "decent dress code".
Yesterday, some 300 students went on a march again at the university to demonstrate against Al-Saidi's segregationist policies at the university, but also against anyone imposing any kind of dress code on them....".
Full story here.
Monday, November 29, 2004
| Few weeks ago, we published a letter that was written by a group of Arab and Muslim liberals and this letter is intended to be sent to the UN and Security Council to call for establishing an international tribunal for the prosecution of terrorists.|
Dr. Jawad Hashim (the Iraqi minister of planning in the 70's and one of the leaders of this group of liberals and intellectuals) sent me an e-mail yesterday with the final English version of the letter which you can read here.
It seems that this letter had already caught the attention of the Arab media because few days ago, Al-Arabiya TV interviewed Dr. Shakir Al-Nabulsi (Dr. Jawad's colleague). And as usual, the host tried to make this letter/project look like another circle in the chain of the Zionist-American conspiracy against Arabs and Muslims but the guest was very strong in his statements and defended his group's vision very well.
The letter still needs supports from as many people as possible regardless of their nationality or religion and anyone interested and willing to support this letter can sign with his name by contacting Dr. Jawad Hashim, here .
|**Arthur Chrenkoff continues the great job he's doing on his blog which I see now as an indispensable source for good news, this time he prepared for us an assortment of "good news from the Islamic world". Go read it.|
Sunday, November 28, 2004
| It's been usual for foreigners (diplomats, workers, journalists...etc) in Iraq to take lots of security precautions when they move around in Baghdad or some other Iraqi cities; they try to hide anything that might reveal their identities and I even noticed that they began to choose ordinary cars-from the kinds that many Iraqis own instead of fancy new cars- for use in their rides to avoid attracting attention. |
This is of course as a result of the kidnappings and various attacks that targeted foreigners in Iraq regardless of the nature of their presence here. This created the feeling that every foreigner walking on the streets is an easy target for direct gunfire or for kidnapping (for money or to be beheaded later). This even included Arabs and Arab firms and even Iraqis working in Arab firms. In short, anyone who is here to do something that might be good for Iraq.
One group of foreigners really caught my attention by ignoring all the dangers and moving in the streets of Baghdad showing their identity so clearly.
One might think that this group of people did so because they are very bold but actually I don't think this is true for this case. Why? Because simply they were French.
Yesterday, I saw a single car with the words "FRENCH EMBASSY" written in Arabic on the windshield moving in Karrada crowded neighborhood in broad daylight. They didn't seem to be in a hurry and were driving slowly unlike other foreigners who try to drive as fast as possible to avoid being tracked and chased.
It seems that the French are not afraid of the terrorists. Were they excluded from the terrorists' targets list for some reason? Is there a peace truce between them? Did we miss something here? Because the French are moving freely and saying for the terrorists:
"Hey, it's us, so don't mistake us for your enemies, the other foreigners! And we are not just ordinary French. We are the French government! And we are certainly not doing something good for Iraq, so relax!"
This may explain why no one is anymore worried about the two French journalists; they're in friendly hands!
On another subject, it's well known in Iraq that political parties that plan to participate in the upcoming elections are not allowed to start campaigning in the media before the 15th of December 2004.
This rule was breached yesterday and on the hands of one of the well known parties that are part of the current administration.
This party "The National Democratic Party" reserved half a page on Al-Sabah newspaper to advertise for its political program. What is worse is that Al-Sabah is published by the "Iraqi Media Network" which is run by the government in one way or another, and it's more than obvious that the government should not advertise for any political party. I expect Al-Sabah to repeat this with the major parties that form the government, but certainly not for other parties.
This is a bad sign because some parties do not seem to understand that they cannot inherit Iraq. Similar maneuvers belong to Saddam's dark age and do not and must not have a place in the new Iraq we're trying to build and parties like the one I mentioned need to wake up to this fact.
Still in the elections, I've been following the latest demands by some parties to delay the elections, and while it was really distressing to see such demands come from legal parties not from terrorists disguised in the clothes of politicians or clerics, I do understand why they made such demand that goes very well with the ultimate goal of the terrorists.
Some of these parties cannot think beyond their partisan interests and it seems they want things to calm down in the so-called Sunni triangle so that more Sunnis participate in the elections. This seems like a reasonable demand, but the problem is that they do not seek that as much as they seek to strengthen their own individual and partisan positions. I know it's just an assumption and I should not accuse them without a solid proof, but I know these people and they're not too stupid to notice that the terrorists dream is to delay the elections as much as possible if they can't prevent it.
They do understand, this yet they still want to risk the whole future of Iraq just to ensure they get more seats in the parliament. It's true that Iraqis are still not very ready for the elections and no one did a great job in educating the majority about the importance, the rules and laws of the democratic process, and from the beginning I thought we need more time to ensure that most Iraqis not only want democracy but have a minimum accepted knowledge about what it means. However, when the decision was made (due to pressure from inside and outside) I accepted it and was and still on the opinion that it should NOT be delayed no matter what.
It's interesting to see that some of the parties that demanded the delay rushed today to announce that they did not sign any document regarding this appeal! They understand that the majority wants elections as soon as possible, and most people are afraid of any delay, but the truth is that they expect it to come from America, not from Iraqi parties. Thus any party that declares such demands would be probably seen as collaborating with the Americans to prolong "occupation".
This does not necessarily mean that the parties that demand elections to be held at the exact set up date are the true patriots, as among these there are many who want this just because they will definitely gain when a large proportion of Sunni cannot or refuse to vote. They want it to happen now while they can ensure an overwhelming majority rather than wait for some time which might not only result in more Sunnis voting, but worse than that is that Iraqis would have a better chance to learn more about democracy and find their own voice. They might start to think that it's not just choosing between what's available, but making what you chose, available.
Some of those who rush elections still think in the way Arab dictators think. They don't understand that it's not all about the 1st elections. Politics stink, doesn't it!?
Update: Here's the statement of the Iraqi National Congress:
Baghdad, (26 November 2004): The INC supports fully holding the general elections, on 31 January 2005, without any delay.
Delay in holding the elections will be a delay in the restoration of full sovereignty to Iraq. It will also be a delay of withdrawal of foreign troops.
The INC upholds that the legitimacy of the Iraqi government is based on the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which clearly states in Art.2.b.2. that elections must be held no later than 31 January 2004. Moreover, Art. 3 of the TAL reconfirms the January election timetable by stipulating that “likewise, no amendment may be made that could abridge in any way the rights of the Iraqi people…; extend the transitional period beyond the timeframe cited in this Law; delay the holding of elections to a new assembly”. The TAL is also reinforced in United Nations Security Resolution 1546 that also refers to date for the elections which must be respected.
The INC welcomes President Bush’s commitment to holding elections on time, which he reconfirmed in his statements today.
The INC believes that a delay in elections will increase the cycle of violence and instability further and undermine the path towards democracy for Iraq.
Contact: Entifadh Qanbar
telephone +1-914-360-3875 Here's a link to the statement
Friday, November 26, 2004
A failed revolution.
| In the past in Iraq (and till now in all arab and Muslim countries except for very few, and since Trotsky came up with his idea of the “Everlasting revolution”), any attempt to change the government or even part of it was considered as a “conspiracy against the revolution” and an act of treason that no one would imagine a more horrible crime and a worse punishment for.|
In Iraq for a long time a revolution seemed to us to be the only way to overthrow Saddam and achieve our dreams in freedom, justice and democracy. There’s always something fascinating about revolution especially for people like us who suffered for a long time under a very brutal dictatorship. I used to watch the injustice that’s happening allover the world and the people’s silence about it and think that the only thing that’s going to save us is a wide revolution that spreads through Iraq to the neighboring countries, as the only thing the people of the advanced world seemed to be interested in was delivering fast aid to areas in most need for it, to make our suffering less terrible but not to deal with the primary cause that was continuously causing such crisis. It’s a noble and generous effort but it wasn’t enough, as we didn't want to just live, we wanted to live as human beings.
On the other hand the governments of the advanced countries were concerned only with their interests interfering only when those interests were threatened, while some governments openly and without feeling any shame supported these dictatorships even with knowing that they were participating greatly to our continuous suffering.
We thought we couldn’t and shouldn’t depend on anyone but ourselves. Many Iraqis fought Saddam and his regime with outstanding bravery even with understanding the horrible fate that was awaiting them and their families. Others, like us kept trying to gather support, encourage people to take a stand and educate them about their rights, that they should be the ones who decide the way their country is run. However in each time we tried to organize a larger group than just us and our closest friends, we failed to gather the support of more than 5-10 people.
Trusting others was almost impossible and very risky. We had to consider that we were not only risking our lives but also the lives of our family, close friends and relatives and the future of our relatives to the 4th degree! One of these days at Saddam’s time some friends were gathering in our house. We were just chatting and having fun. Our neighbor who is a Tikriti and worked for the intelligence knocked on the door and when I opened he asked me about the cars outside our house. I told him that these were our friends’. He said to me, “You know that gathering is against the law and if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re my neighbor and I respect your family, I would’ve sent you behind the sun. Be careful, as I understand but other people may not” He said it in a warning tone not as an advice!
However, one of these days we decided that we could never accept such life and decided to gather support and confront the government in a long awaited revolution no matter what happens. We were prepared for the worst and it seemed to me that my dream of becoming a true martyr was about to come true.
We contacted some friends and people who believed in the same principles we believe in and we told them about our plan. Some people didn’t like it but we still managed to gather more than 800 people who stated that they are not afraid of saying in public that they want to overthrow the government and do whatever it takes. We heard about other groups trying to do the same and we decide to unite our efforts with theirs but first we had to make the first step alone. The group chose me, my brother Mohammed and a friend of ours to go to the authorities and talk to them, as we were still hoping to do this peacefully without unnecessary bloodshed unless they refused. We knew of course that it might well lead to our death but then the rest of us would carry on using the hard way.
We reached the government main headquarter and entered without much difficulty. We went to one of these offices as we didn’t know were to go as this was our first time there. One of the government employees asked us what was our need. We said our prayers and told him that we want to change the regime. He asked us to wait until he call for the man in charge and I said to myself, “that’s it, they’re calling the Mukhabarat” the guy came back with another man who, after greeting us asked about our group. We handed him a file that contained our goals and a list of the people who supported us. He took it and told us to come back in 3 days after they study it.
“Study it!?” I said to myself “ they’re not going to hang us? Maybe they are letting the small fish to capture the large one?” anyway we went back and spent 3 difficult nights full of worries and nightmares.
On the 3d day we went back to the same place and another man was waiting for us, “are you a representative of this group” the man asked Mohammed, “no, I’m their leader” (man, that was brave of Mohammed! Now he’s gone and I won’t have the honor of being the first martyr in the group!).
“Pleasure to meet you Sir! Have a seat please” said the man to Mohammed and the rest of us with a broad smile. ( a trap! Ok so be it!) Our friend was encouraged by this gesture and asked for tea! They brought us tea and some cockies! (Maybe a last wish grant) After few minutes the guy looked into a computer and asked us about the name of our group. We told him the name and the guy said “Congratulations! Your demand has been approved and you’ll have a chance to layout your plans in public and if enough number of people agree with you, the current government would step down and let you among others take the lead”
“What!? These people are so easy! are they wimps or what? They can kill us just like that, and no one would dare to do anything about it. Alas! There won’t be any revolution and I won’t be a martyr!” such questions were on my mind as we left the place wondering why would someone who has all the power and control in his hands hand it to another one without a fight and without the slightest objection!
That was not a dream, it’s for real and it didn’t happen in the “free and independent” Iraq at Saddam’s time, it happened 3 days ago in “occupied Iraq”.
To summerize it and although many of you know that already but I would like to announce that the party we have formed, the Iraqi pro-democracy party is now officially registered and will have the chance to compete in the upcoming elections.
You can’t imagine the thrill and happiness I felt when I held the document that state that the “Iraqi pro-democracy party” is registered and Approved as a political entity that has the right to participate in the upcoming elections! This was a dream to us, and with the help and support we received from all our friends, the readers of this blog, the dream has now became true. We still have a battle to fight and we’re more than willing to go all the way.
You can find a complete list in Fayrouz blog here.
And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Internet in the Marshes!
|** I have a bunch of news for you from the south, some are good and some are bad and I'm going to reverse the rule and start with a good one;|
I'd like to announce that internet service had recently reached the small town where I work which is practically in the Iraqi marshes area.
The service was limited in the past few months to the governmental facilities like the hospital and the town hall but now it's available for public use in a neat, small internet cafe' from which I'm posting these news.
The service is convenient and the cafe' looks just like any other one in Baghdad or down town Basra and the cost is even much lower than it is in the big cities
(approximately half the cost).
** The situation in the south is somewhat different from what it's like in the middle parts of Iraq; to be more precise, it's more calm here with the attention of the people directed more towards the upcoming elections.
The people here are eager to register themselves in the voters' lists and every once in a while one could hear some of the folks complaining about not receiving their registration forms till now.
From what I've observed so far I expect that this area, together with many other regions in the Iraqi south will witness the highest rates of participation in the elections.
This is mainly because of the more stable situation when compared with certain other areas in Iraq and also because of the impact of the last fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani
in which he urged Iraqis to vote.
Still, the people need a great deal of electoral education and they need to be informed about what these elections can do for them and how elections will serve their interests in a better way if they voted according to what they need and according to their vision for their future, not because someone told them to do so.
** Yesterday morning I was on my way to central Basra when an oil pipeline suddenly exploded, reducing the export capability by 750 thousand barrels/day as I heard later in the news.
This means that this explosion will cost Iraq something around 30 million $/day and no one knows how long it's going to take to repair the damage.
What pissed me off the most is that I know that area where the pipeline was attacked and I know what kind of people live there; thery're what we call in Iraq (Mi'daan)
and this group occupies the base of the pyramid of the Iraqi society. Of course not because of their ethnic or sectarian origins but mainly because of what they do for living!
The majority of these Mi'daan make money from carjacking, kidnapping people for ransoms, smuggling drugs and weapons and even prostitution. In general they have no moral, religious or social values.
what I can't understand is why the government hasn't done anything to stop those thugs from destroying the country's economy till now!
The main problem is that they inhabit the areas adjacent to the main road between Baghdad and Basra and thus why their crimes affects the whole country in a very bad way.
I can be 100 % positive that those thugs are involved in this attack and similar attacks in the same area in the past because no one would dare to pass through their territories, let alone digging to reach the pipes that are under the ground, placing a bomb and arming it. So it's either they cooperated with outsiders (it's important to mention that this area is close enough to the Iranian borders to allow foreigners to move in) and let them blow up the pipes after receiving the 'price', or they've probably carried out the attack by themselves.
** Yesterday, one of the members of te association of Muslim scholars was assassinated in Mousl.
I've clearly shown my disagreement with this group many times so far.
I don't like them and I frankly I consider them as a part of the terror network that is trying to destroy Iraq but I'm against assassinations and I don't see assassinating people as a good way to solve problems.
We're looking forward to build a democracy where law and only law can rule and no one should try to make a judge of himself and throw out judgments and execution orders here and there.
Anyway, I see this assassination as a message from an unknown group to this association telling them that the violence they're encouraging and the hatred they're provoking could easily turn against them.
Sometimes a car is just a car..
|Says Arthur Chrenkoff in the 15th roundup of good news from Iraq. |
Friends of Iraq.
Spirit of America has started a wonderful contest called “Friends of Iraq blogger challenge” in which bloggers compete as individuals and teams to see which blog can collect the largest sum of donations to one of the multiple projects that these great guys are doing in Iraq.
We have chosen the “Friends of Democracy” project and we are honored to be part of SoA noble task to participate in spreading the values and culture of democracy in Iraq and we are happy to see this wonderful group of friends and colleagues compete together in this blogger challenge to help the largest possible number of freedom lovers allover the world to have a role in making history through helping to build a free democratic Iraq.
Many great bloggers have joined the challenge till now, like Roger L. Simon, Buzz Machine, A Small Victory, Chrenkoff, Winds of Change, LGF, Sisu and lots of other wonderful bloggers.
I don’t know what the prize for the winner will be, but Roger L. Simon says it’s a baseball hat, and despite the strong competition from major bloggers that have joined the contest till now, we still dream of wining this hat and our hope is strong in you to help us get this priceless award that means so much to us.
Anyone cares to help Iraq and help us win this contest can donate through Iraq The Model here (we are now in the fourth rank for individual blogs, so please give us a push upward!) or you can donate through any of your favorite bloggers here, and any blogger wish to help by joining the challenge can do it here.
Let's make history, let's have fun!
Sunday, November 21, 2004
If you knew then it’s a disaster while if you didn't then the disaster is even bigger.
| I was surfing the net as usual to find out what’s happening in the world, as I rely mainly on the net instead of TV now When I came across this article by Dr Juan Cole that made me feel ashamed of myself. This man who doesn’t live in Iraq seems to know more about the history of Iraq than I do. In his article he was criticizing the westerns, journalists in particular, for making judgments without knowing much about Iraq’s history, which I must admit is true.|
He also provide a link to another article by a professor of Arab studies in the university of Colombia and use it as a reference to back up his theory. What Dr. Cole was trying to tell us, as you can see in his article, is that Fallujah is celebrated in Iraq’s history as a symbol for the large rebellion/revolution against the British back in 1920. His source, Dr. Rasheedi goes as far as considering Fallujah the start point of that event and says in his article:
“To restore Iraq to their control, the British used massive air power, bombing indiscriminately. That city is now called Fallujah.”
After reading the two honored professors’ articles I scratched my head vigorously (I’m sure I looked stupid because I felt so!) trying to remember my country’s history as I read it in school. Well, my memory is not that strong to help me remember all those poets and decorated writings about our ancestor’s bravery that I read in the fifth grade, but I sure do remember the only Iraqi movie that was produced about that rebellion. The director of the movie used a huge budget (Iraqi standards) and hired some British actors including Oliver Reed. He (the director)was rewarded generously By Saddam for showing the truth about that historical event.
In the movie, Shiek Dhari who’s mentioned in Dr. Rashhed’s article was the hero. It seemed that the movie was about him not the “revolution”. So anyway everything looked ok and my mind regained its peace, as everything the two well-informed professors said seemed to match perfectly with what Saddam’s hired director sowed us in his movie! And my face stopped looking stupid anymore!
However, this lasted only for few seconds, as soon after that some naughty brain cells in my head started a rebellion that soon became as massive as the 1920 revolution (compared to my head size) and kept bugging me, “that’s not what you hear from people! That’s not what you heard from your father, grandfather, and tribesmen from Mousl to Basra!”. There’s one thing no one can beat Arabs in, and that’s knowing their ancestors’ history. Any arab dedicated to his tribe knows almost everyone in his tribe and most other large tribes for generations, especially when it comes to important people related to important events.
But the unofficial story is not only told on the streets and in tribes’ gatherings, but it was documented by the most respected and objective historians in Iraq. One of the most well-known and honored historians that came into my mind at that moment was the late Dr.” Ali Al Wardi”. He was a remarkable sociologist and considered by most as the best ever in Iraq and the Arab world but he was also a great historian when it comes to Iraq’s modern history. He wrote a series of books about the modern history of Iraq that is indispensable to anyone who wants to know the development of modern Iraq and the conflict between beduin and civil culture in Iraq that started long ago but was at its peak following WW1. His series are titled “Lamahat Ijtima’ayah min Tarikh Il Iraq Il Hadeeth” or “Sociological Glimpses from the Modern History of Iraq”.
In the 5th part, Al Wardi talks about the 1920 rebellion for about 700 pages; the events, the tribes that took part in it, the clerics role, rumors, feelings...Etc. He also mentioned Fallujah and Sheik Dhari in that part and talked about them for long 7 pages! What Al Wardi wrote in his book and what all Iraqis know is that the rebellion started in Rumaitha near Samawa, by She’at tribes, namely by Sha’alan Abu Al Jon leader of Al Dhuwalim tribe who was a She’at with help from grand She’at clerics who issued a Jihad Fatwa against the British. Only later the rebellion spread to involve most of Iraq including the areas near Fallujah. Moreover, Fallujah actually was never bombed and it was under the control of the British army all the time! Sheik Dhari’s hometown, Khan Al Nukta was half the way on the road between Baghdad and Fallujah and he had no control on any part of it!
Here are some short paragraphs that I translated from his book regarding how the revolution started after an unpleasant meeting between Sha’alan and lieutenant Hiyat (sp?) the governor of Rumaitha that failed to solve the accumulating problems between the British and the tribes there especially after the British decided to remove grand Ayetullah Mohammed Taki Al Sherazi outside Iraq:
Miss Bill said that Sha’alan was very rude to the degree that Hiyat had to arrest him.* After that Sha’alan men attacked the sarai (palace) and killed two cups and freed Sha’alan..
After Sha’alan returned to his tribe he gathered them and said, “Do you accept to serve your infidel enemy that hates Arab and Muslims?” and they answered, “Allahu Akbar! By God no!” after that he asked them to ruin the railway that pass in their lands and reward each one with a golden Dinar for each peace of wood, and then men and women hurried to rip off the wood from the railway and bring it to him..
And that was the beginning of the revolution.
And here’s some of what Al Wardi wrote about Fallujah and Sheik Dhari’s and his tribe, Al Zoba’a, role:
Zoba’a tribe resides near Khan Al Nukta that lies half the way between Baghdad and Fallujah, and it belong to Shimmar tribe that came from the western borders in a late era and that’s why it still preserve its beduin values.
The great victory that the rebels in middle Euphrates (used to describe the are of Hilla, Diwanyia and Samwa) achieved had a huge impact allover Iraq and the rebels sent delegations to the tribes’ Sheiks in Fallujah and Mhmoodiya to urge them to join. Some of them responded like Sheik Kudair chief of Al Janabyeen and Sheik Alwan chief of Albu Muhia.
Where was Sheikh Dhari, Saddam’s hero at that time? Al Wardi says:
The English assigned a monthly salary for Sheikh Dhari, 750 roupyiah (Indian currency) as part of their policy to assure the loyalty of tribes’ Sheiks and kept giving him this salary until early 1918 then they cut it off...
When the revolution started in June 1920 the English felt it was necessary to pay Dhari again but they made his salary only 500 roupiyah but it seemed it was too late.
There are many stories about why Dhari revolted in Al Wardi's book but it can be summerised in that one of those days, and after the revolution had already started and after a fight with colonel Lichman, the English governor- who used to insult Dhari and embarrass him all the time- Dhari couldn’t take it anymore and ordered one of his son and guards to kill Lichman when he was not well guarded.
It’s worth mentioning that Fallujah these days is a mixture of people who belong to different tribes but the dominating one is Al Dulaim tribe which also dominates most of Anbar governerate and that’s why Al Anbar governerate with other parts near it was named officially before “Al Dulaim’s province”
Al Wardi wrote also:
Sheik Ali Al Sulaiman, head of Al Dulaim tribes wrote to Dhari saying: “me and my tribes do not intend to participate with you in the revolution against the English no matter what it cost me, and I give you 24 hours to get out of Al Dulaim lands with your tribe. If you want to fight the English you can go to Baghdad and fight them there, or else I’ll be your enemy after those 24 hours and will fight you”.
After this warning Dhari had to go back to his land in Al Nukta Khan.
Then Al Wardi write quoting Major Haldane:
Zouba’a’s revolution resulted in isolating our troops in Fallujah and Ramadi from Baghdad, although these troops are well equipped, and Major Edi did an impressive job in preserving peace there.*
So you can see how conflicting all these info with what the two professors had provided; No revolution inside Fallujah, no bombing at all and not even the leading role they described for the tribes near Fallujah in the revolution that magically turned to be inside Fallujah in their posts. However I agree that history is kind of repeating itself, only with reversed roles. This times it’s some of the Sunnis tribes that are making the mistake of opposing, or better say not doing enough against those who oppose the change.
Anyway, I don’t know which is worse; that the two experts in Arb world didn’t know about Dr. Al Wardi and his writings or that they knew but chose Sadam’s version of Iraq’s history!?
*Haldane (Insurrections In Mesopotamia)-Edinburgh 1922-p 73-74
*Haldane (Insurrection In Mesopotamia)-Edinburgh 1922-p 171-172
Sorry, I couldn't find a link to the book, but I guess you have to pay to get them. Still, anyone interested can google Al Wardi and can get some info. on him, except the "informed" ones of course!
Friday, November 19, 2004
| I heard what Mr. Chirac said few days ago and read about it everywhere I turn my head to. At first, it was something I felt I shouldn’t even bother to listen to. It was something like what Al Jazeera keep showing us or what Arab leaders say all the time. But again this was a president of one of the most advanced and civilized countries in our times. It wasn’t Kaddafi or Assad and it made me sad and furious.|
The French government keep surprising me with their intentionally stupid and vicious arguments and I don’t know what to say about it or if it’s even necessary to say something at all. But then I’m an Iraqi citizens and these people are taking about Iraq and usually how the war brought nothing good to Iraq or the world, and I just can’t stay silent about it. I know there’s almost no chance that you’ll read my words Mr. Chirac, but it doesn’t matter, as I’m not writing for you anyway. You live in a different world.
In the past, I used to swallow my anger and frustration because I could get killed if I messed up with one of Saddam’s personal friends, but now Saddam is gone and I’m not afraid and I won’t stay silent anymore. This is a difference Mr. Chirac, and it’s a great one, probably just to me and the rest of Iraqis but not to you, and you just have to understand that it’s not all about you and your European dream which no one want to steal from you by the way.
The world is certainly not a better place after the war Mr. Chirac, but that’s your world, while our world, Iraqis as well as tens of millions of oppressed people everywhere who are dying for some help, is certainly MUCH better now, and I’m sure the Americans and the British world as well as most countries (including yours) is better and safer and will keep getting better. However I agree with you, as your world, your own personal world, the world of your fellow corrupt politicians in France, Russia, Germany, China and the stinking UN, your fortune and your influence is definitely suffering. I’m even surprised that you ‘saw’ that Saddam’s departure was positive “to a certain extent”, and I can’t wonder why is that! Is it because it left you with some bills you don’t have to pay?!
Is my language too offensive?! Not as half as offensive and irritating as yours and I will NEVER apologize, not even after you apologize and pay the Iraqis back all the money you have stolen from us in return for supporting your partner, Saddam and keeping him in charge for few more years.
You see, your problem and what separate you from men like Tony Blair is that you look only for what you might gain, and again “you” is not the French people, but rather you in person and the bunch of hypocrites that so sadly control the French people and manipulate them through lies and silly arguments. You never cared what would happen to Iraqis and the rest of the world had Saddam stayed in power, while Tony Blair did. Do you know why? Because he and the British government with all the brave British people live in our world, while you don’t.
Stupid British! Why should they care for us, America or their own kids when they can do exactly like you; take advantage of America’s need, blackmail her, support Saddam without taking much risk and gain billions of dollars.
Stupid British!Haven’t they learned from WW2 when you got your country back and even decided the fate of other nations on victory even though half of you made peace with the Nazis!? You certainly don’t owe the British and the Americans anything for that, as it was just their own stupidity not to do the math and see how much would they gain. Their lands weren’t invaded and the Nazis were trying to make a peace with them, yet they refused and fought as hard as men and women can fight to free your country for you, so that your troops could march victoriously in Paris! And you dare say that the US doesn’t repay favors!??
If you don’t like the world after Saddam, and if you miss him that much, you can keep living in your own world and we won’t bother you...at all.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
| The reason why we weren’t posting regularly in the last week or so is because we were outside Iraq, having meetings with our friends who are running “Spirit of America”.|
In the last meeting we put the final touches for the “friends of democracy” project; a project that is dedicated to spread the concepts of democracy among Iraqis through the internet by helping students’ groups and NGOs create their own blogs (in Arabic) and introduce these groups to each other in a way that enables them to exchange their thoughts and spread the news about their activities as well as by arranging for lectures and discussions to inform the Iraqi voters (through interactive discussions) about the nature and importance of the coming elections. This will be done without any interference with the choices they will make because our ultimate goal is to help our people choose what they believe is good for them.
The project will not be limited to the coming elections only; we’re looking forward to extend this project for the time following the elections.
We’ve already carried out some activities that are related to this project including lectures like this one at the college of physical education for girls. We were worried about the way students would react to a lecture like this one but amazingly the hall was full and the seats were not enough for the students. Moreover some of them engaged the lecturers in questions and discussions and most of them were eager to participate in the elections but they knew little about elections, democracy and constitution, etc and were so pleased to find someone willing to teach them. The way we see it is that the most important thing is to educate as many Iraqis as possible about the upcoming elections, their significance and how important each vote is.
We’re trying to tell them that each one of them has a significant role in deciding his/her country’s future. This is more important than encouraging them just to vote as we’re positive that the vast majority of Iraqis will vote but they need to know why they’re voting and what for.
For example some Iraqis still think that the elections are presidential ones! And many of them don’t realize that the main job of the national assembly is to prepare for writing the constitution and this is not their mistake it is the government’s and the higher commission for elections’ responsibility and till now they’re not doing a great job on this. This may be because of the huge responsibilities they have and the risks they’re taking and that’s why we want to help them in their mission.
Anyway, the coming week or two will witness more frequent and more focused activities and there will also be a website in both Arabic and English to keep the readers inside and outside Iraq updated as often as possible.
If anyone is interested in supporting this project, visit the website of “Spirit of America”.
We were planning to stay in Jordan for only 4 days but with the airport being closed, we had to stay there for a longer time.
Being out of the events’ field for a week and having the media as the only source of information made me understand more why many people have a blurred vision about the situation in Iraq, I mean watching Al- Jazeera and the CNN for a relatively long time made Iraq- at certain moments-look like “hell on earth”. Fortunately I lived my whole life in Iraq and when it comes to events taking place over there I can distinguish between the truth and the lies to a certain degree but my concern is about people who have never been there because the media twist facts and exaggerate things in an unbelievable manner.
As a matter of fact, from the news I got from the media I expected to find Baghdad in a terrible condition when I return; no gasoline, no electricity, fighting at every corner and dead bodies everywhere but of course I didn’t find it this way when I returned. Actually I haven’t seen any significant difference except for losing some hours of electricity!
|Here's another great piece about "good news from Afghanistan" from Arthur Chrenkoff.|
You can find news that do not only discuss politics but security, reconstruction, coalition forces situation and efforts , society and humanitarian aids as well; I think it's a collection that you can't easily find elesewhere.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Iraq The Model, one year old!
|Today we celebrate the 1st anniversary of this blog. We sat together recalling the early moments in the life of Iraq the model, reliving the moments of happiness and grief and the huge magnitude of events we’ve been through in the past twelve months where tears mixed with smiles, anger and dreams....it’s been a long year.|
Many people ask me why I started to write and how was the beginning and I today remember the time when we were sitting together, carrying our dreams, our ambitions and our hunger to communicate with the others; it felt like a sweet dream to find all the doors wide open for us and all the chains that restricted our minds simply gone.
I am free...
And I need to tell the whole world what this means.
I’d love to share this feeling with everyone, the feeling of being strong and capable of making miracles happen and that nothing can limit your dreams.
My friends...my readers..
This wasn’t an action from one side, your have always been a rich source of inspiration to us.
We have learned the meaning of being united together and we never felt alone in this; freedom lovers are everywhere.
Reading your comments and e-mails made my cry many times and I wish I could remember all your names and I could feel everyone, even those who didn’t write to us.
I wish I could embrace you all.
Together, you and us were, and will always be closer than brothers and sisters trying to stand against the powers of darkness and ignorance, doing our best to make our voice louder and louder and to make everyone see what our dream is.
Sometimes I would despair but your words were always there to comfort me and encourage me to restore my strength and hope.
I used to watch the media presenting the false image all the time and then I would want to scream out loud:
This is not the whole truth, this isn’t right . You’re overlooking a great deal of the truth and you’re not presenting the feelings of the love that exists; those feelings that are stronger than weapons and politics and are stronger than the hatred you’re trying to spread.
And this is the reason why we keep writing to you and we know that our love will find its way to you. No borders can stop it and no power on earth can stand between the love and the heart that opened its doors for the light.
Thank you for your empathy and for walking through this tough road with us. I have no doubt that one day we will reach our destination and even if we stumble once or twice, we’ve got the determination now to try again and again and we will triumph at the end.
We are so happy and we love you all.
What’s a blog and who’s going to read it? And is it important what we have to say? Such questions were on my minds when Omar started our blog and I couldn’t find an answer that convince me to write. However, and after my brothers published their first posts, my questions were answered. “So there are many people who actually read blogs, and it seems to be important what we write!”. after that I decided to join my brothers and post my thoughts and opinions.
What I’m trying to say is that it was the readers, our good friends who share with us this humble page who made me realize that I must write, I must tell people everywhere what I, being an Iraqi see in Iraq, what I think and what I want. I’ll be always grateful for the people who helped me and my brothers find our voices and encourage us to share our minds and hearts with as many people as possible from allover the world.
This simple web page has come to be an important part of my life for reasons that are much more than just expressing my point of view in politics and the situation in Iraq. It is my window to the world through which I greet my friends every morning from Australia to the USA. It’s not a one way road, as I feel I know each one of our regular readers, I worry about you just as you worry about us and I miss you when you’re gone for any reason. I learned from you a lot and the most important things I’ve learned were actually things I thought I knew very well before! This has motivated me to look more into the ‘facts’ and ‘basics’ I believed were unquestionable.
In the end I just want to clarify one thing. This blog was not a propaganda tool and will never be. Our unlimited joy with our new found freedom that we still enjoy its sweetness is too precious to be lost or sold no matter what the price. I know that many people look at our writings with suspicion and disbelieve sometimes. Most of these people are misguided by the huge flow of lies or half-truths from the MSM and I don’t blame them, as how can anyone know what’s happening thousands of miles away without depending on the media!? actually they’re the people we are trying to reach because we know that most people are smart and honest enough to distinguish the truth from propaganda. But again there are those who were born free and don’t appreciate the gift they have received and the slaves who have come to love the walls of their prison and can’t see life in a different light. These are the people who simply can’t understand our joy and enthusiasm, and the only logical explanation to them would be that we, and people like us are propaganda tool. We long for the day when these people can appreciate freedom, and then we will be brothers and sisters again.
We have faith in ourselves, our people and the good people everywhere, and all we are doing is trying to share this faith and hope for a better future for Iraq and the world with the others. What good would it do us to complain and whine about how difficult life is? And why does anyone expect things to be perfect after such a drastic change as the one happened in Iraq, and when they’re not, they start to attack the people who made the change possible?
We have certainly have made many mistakes and said some foolish things over this year and we beg your forgiveness and promise you that we’ll try to remain faithful to ourselves and to keep examining what we write and correct our course when we drift away.
Happy anniversary to all of you, as this is your blog and I’m not exaggerating when I say that you have put into it more than we have.
This is a big day for me but I don’t think I can express my feelings well as I’m overwhelmed with emotions. As a matter of fact, this occasion is more important to me than my own birthday.
Thinking of what we’ve done together on this blog makes me feel proud and gives me hop for the future.
Now we strongly believe that being optimistic in the darkest times is not something to be ashamed of. It can help us override the obstacles we’re facing no matter how huge they may seem and doesn’t mean that we’re dreamers because our optimism is based on beliefs and facts that do exist but are unfortunately not recognized by the MSM and many governments and parties that are either ignorant or have a similar agenda to that of the tyrant we lived under for decades.
The most important thing we achieved in the past year is building trust and understanding among us, failing the evil attempts of those who want us to think of each other as enemies.
I believe that we’ve all learned so many things from each other and to some extent, we’ve succeeded in bridging even if a small fraction of the gap that separates our different cultures, at least in the way of thinking about solutions for our problems because we’re facing similar challenges and above all, we share a common goal; freedom for all mankind.
I truly feel privileged by the enormous numbers of comments and e-mails we received from you and we benefitted from reading them all; the ones that supported our points of view encouraged us to work harder and keep defending our just cause while the ones that disagreed with our points of view taught us to look at different issues from different angles and broadened our horizons.
“Iraq the model” wouldn’t have reached this far without your contributions and ideas my friends.
Thanks to all of you and thanks to our colleagues in this huge, ever growing family (the blogosphere) who have supported us and spread the word about this blog to help us in our struggle to show the world the hidden parts of the fact in our country.
By the way, it's a nice coincidence that today is also the 1st day of Al Fitr Eid! So there's more than one reason to party, and even if it's early for some of you, it is beer o'clock somewhere!
| I recieved another article from Dr. Ghougassian, and although he had it posted in another blog, he wanted to post it in our blog too. I read the article and I see that it's worth sharing with our readers as it comes from a man who served in Iraq for a long time and had certainly observed many things by viewing events from an angle other than ours.|
Here's the article:
"FALLUJAH, KOFI ANNAN, AND ELECTIONS IN IRAQ"
From May 1, 2003 to August 31, 2004 I worked as a high ranking US official on the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. My last assignment was in the rebuilding of Iraq higher education, comprised of 20 universities and 48 technical institutes and colleges. I restarted the Fulbright Program in Iraq that brought the first 25 scholars to American Universities in February 2004 after a 14 years hiatus. I traveled extensively throughout Iraq visiting the campuses, meeting with administrators, faculty and students.
I lived in Saddam Palace with more than 3000 military and civilian personnel where the Coalition Provisional Authority had set up its offices.
In my trips to the various cities of Iraq, I did not encounter any significant antagonism towards the US people, US forces or US Government. Majority of Iraqis were supportive of our liberation policy and were grateful for the sacrifices our men and women in uniforms and civilians were doing to improve their new freedom, civil liberties, quality of life, economic prosperity, and educational opportunities.
Their complaints were centered around basic necessities such as uninterrupted electricity, instant availability of gasoline, job opportunities and above all their personal safety from criminal elements and organized crimes.
Of all the 18 provinces, Anbar was problematic from the start; and of all the Iraqi cities, Fallujah had remained a bastion of Saddam’s loyalists. Since April 2003 Fallujah has been the floodgate for foreign mercenaries, terrorists, and Baathists insurgents to come and go. It was the favored escape route for the enemies of Iraq and Iraqis leading to Syria.
It has always been my belief and perception that Fallujah mirrored the heart and mind of Saddam. While Saddam, the person, is physically incarcerated, his persona, anima, mind, and heart reverberates till today in Fallujah.
Last April right after the savaged killing and desecration of the bodies of the 5 Americans, I recommended to the Pentagon to lay siege of Fallujah and fight the insurgents until the city turned in those who killed the Americans, turned in all their weapons, and submitted to the rule of law.
For a short while we conducted mopping operations in Fallujah. We were quite successful in our battle against the insurgents and terrorists. Regretfully, the UN, French, Germans, Iranians, Russians, Chinese and the Arab opinion labeled our activities a massacre of innocents. We caved in to their opinion and stopped our military marches to clean Fallujah of the criminals. Then came Zarkawi and his band of beheaders.
They escalated the attacks on the Iraqis, Americans and foreign workers. Their evil actions threatened the national security of Iraq and hampered the US national interests in Iraq.
On November 8, 2004, the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi rightfully realizing that there could be no political or diplomatic solution with the insurgents in Fallujah, he ordered the Iraqi armed forces to storm Fallujah and he called upon the coalition forces to assist.
Allawi and the majority of Iraqis, including a great number of Fallujan citizens know that the Zarkawis and the Iraqi insurgents must be eliminated in order to pave the way for a successful and democratic election process in January 2005.
Under no circumstances should the January national election be postponed. Not only will this be the first ever transparent election in the history of Modern Iraq, but also, in the Middle East. The Iraqis, the US, Britain, Italy, Poland, and the other members of the coalition have invested a lot and sacrificed a lot to make this election a historic reality that might revolutionize the Middle East at its core.
In the week leading to the American election, the Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan remarked that Fallujah should not be resolved through military action but through a political process. Diplomacy is not a magic wand; it has its limitations. The communication language of diplomacy is dialogue. What we have seen in Fallujah since April 2003, is the language of monologue. The Iraqis and the good citizens of Fallujah have paid and are paying now dearly for having held false hopes that the insurgents and terrorists could carry a dialogue.
Once again, Kofi Annan is on the wrong side of the Iraqis. The Iraqi-American military operation must continue to the bitter end of ridding Fallujah of the extremists and enemies of Iraq, and thereby sleuth once and for all the anima of Saddam.
Dr. Joseph Ghougassian was US Ambassador to Qatar and Advisor in CPA/DoD. His email is Zena92029@yahoo.com
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
| Declaring the state of emergency laws had a positive effect on the majority of Iraqis although it should’ve caused worries but I believe that this explains the public hopes to see an end for the violence and presence of criminal groups in some parts of Iraq and this is a public feeling that grew bigger because of the brutality of the atrocities committed against Iraqis by those criminal groups.|
I think it also shows that Iraqis are convinced that this emergency law won’t be similar to the “laws” that governed their lives under Saddam; people know that a real change is under way and that the new laws are going to protect the citizens instead of oppressing them.
Perhaps the fact that most the Fallujans left the city proves that they have no intention to confront the Iraqi and multinational forces and it clearly means”go get the bad guys” and this discredits the media’s theory which claimed that “most of the Fallujans are willing to fight”.
The decision to enter Fallujah also shows clearly that the government is determined to build security and stability and to create a healthy environment for the coming elections and in fact the government realized that this is a public demand and that the time has come to answer this demand and start dealing really tough with the terrorists and outlaws.
| I found this letter (link in Arabic) of congratulations from Iraqis to president Bush and the American people on an Iraqi website and I wanted to share it with you.|
It’s open for any Iraqi to sign it. The letter was posted online yesterday and till now, more than 1060 Iraqis have signed it.
Here it goes:
In the name of God,
Sir, President George W Bush, President of the United States of America.
On behalf of the families of the victims of the mass graves, on behalf of the martyrs of “Halabja” and “Anfal” and on behalf of all the Iraqis that you liberated from dictatorship and oppression; we have prayed for you and now we want to send you our congratulations on being reelected as a president of the United States.
Mr. President, we’d love to congratulate you and the people of the United States on the beginning of a new phase of democracy, freedom and prosperity and we wish you and the American people the best, as they have led the liberation of Iraq and sacrificed their sons and daughters for the freedom of the Iraqis; the historical achievement that the United States has accomplished together with the other liberating countries.
The united States and the coalition, among all other nations were the ones who recognized the suffering of the Iraqi people and saved them from a regime that was more lethal and more destructive than any weapons of mass destruction. A regime that murdered, slaughtered and enslaved Iraqis for long, dark decades, denied them their freedom and their right to live a decent life until God inspired you and helped you to rescue us, liberate our country and put us on the road of freedom and democracy.
Mr. President, we-the Iraqis-are on your side and we’ll keep supporting and blessing your efforts in eradicating terrorism inside and outside Iraq and all those who carried weapons against the liberating coalition forces and the new Iraqi police, hunting down the criminals who murder innocent civilians, whether Iraqi or American civilians.
We-the Iraqis- are determined to establish democracy and freedom in our country starting with general elections that exclude no one whether inside or outside Iraq. These elections would lead us to a democratic Iraq and we wish that you could help focusing on the role of the Iraqis outside Iraq and make use of their qualifications in the reconstruction process.
We also want to emphasize the necessity of establishing an international legislation that incriminates the Ba’athists, terrorists, fanatic salafis and all the parties, and governments that support them, not forgetting the media that promote the ideology of killing and terrorism.
These parties ought to be confronted and fought to achieve peace and stability in Iraq, America and the rest of the world.
We’re also determined to establish a strategic, permanent relationship with our friends; the government and people of the United States to whom we hold the utmost feelings of gratitude, love and friendship for what they have given us and what they’re still offering.
We will be united on the road of freedom and peace and we will always be supportive to all the efforts of America in bringing peace to the region.
In the end, we ask God to guide you and bless all your efforts to do the best for humanity as a whole.
All the glory to the American and Iraqi martyrs
long live America. Long live Iraq, free and allied nations.
Your brothers in the “Iraqi Parliament” voice chat room and in “Sawt Al Iraq” website.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
| I know I said that we're not going to post anything until Wednesday but there are always exceptions and this time it's Arthur Chrenkoff with a new part from his great series "Good news from Iraq". Go check it out.|
Saturday, November 06, 2004
|Sorry for this pause my friends; I don't think we're going to post anything before Wednesday.|
There's nothing wrong but we're rather too busy right now.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
|The race to the white house is about to end and the results will remain unknown till the last moment. Many readers have asked for our opinions and I still see that it's not important whom would we favor, as it's the American's decision and we respect that and trust that they will make the right choice, for their own nation and also for the world. Instead I decided to put some of the opinions of Iraqis and Arabs who responded to A poll in the BBCArabic website asking the Arab readers how do they expect the elections to go and what would it's effect on the Arab world, especially Iraq and Palestine would be.|
Most of the comments till this moment came from Iraqis (11 out of 43 and I have translated all of them) and the rest came mainly from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. The contradiction between Iraqis and Arabs was more visible this time. While most of Iraqis who posted their opinions favored Bush strongly, the Arab readers showed distrust in the American system saying most of the time that it won't make a difference, with some of them favoring Kerry mainly (as some of them put it) because they hated Bush and his policy.
Here are some of the comments:
I expect the elections to take a course similar to that happened in 2000 because the support to both candidates is close, and no doubt Mr. Bush=s victory would have a positive effect on Iraq and Palestine, as he had made solemn commitments about this.
Ahmed Talib Al Ta'ai-Baghdad-Iraq.
I wish Arab regimes would have half of what the Americans have of freedom of expression and participation in deciding their future.
There will be a great competition between the two candidates but I expect Bush to win. As for what will happen for Iraq, I believe who started the war is the only one who will finish it. Bush has toppled Saddam the tyrant and I'm sure that some Arab rulers are afraid that their fate will be like Saddam's.
Bush has won in Iraq and Afghanistan and changed their regimes, and now his role is over and it's time for Kerry to finish the job and stabilize the conditions in both countries in addition to start the efforts to topple the regimes in Syria and Iran, and thus the "Big Middle East" project would be completed.
Amal Al timimi-Ba'aquba-Iraq.
Nothing will change. I wish Kerry wins just because I like the change, and maybe this would stop the war on Iraq and the brutality of the Zionists against Palestinians.
Victory will be for Bush because he works to secure the interests of his country and this is what the American voters want. I don't wish Bush to win because I like him, but because I hate the Arab dictatorships that he terrorized when he toppled Saddam.
Bush will win because he's the best, while Kerry is not ready to confront the hot issues in Iraq and Palestine.
Nazar Al Jaf-Germany.
I expect the American voters to chose Bush because he's a conservative. The American society is changing to the Christian fundamentalism which doesn’t differ a lot from Muslim or Jewish fundamentalism.
I don't really care who will win, as they're both two faces for one coin, but if Bush lose I'll be definitely happy and it would worth to be a national anniversary in Iraq!
Most Iraqis favor Bush because he needs to finish what he started, while Kerry might bring the Ba'athists and Saddam back to power.
President George W. Bush will win and the "Big Middle East" will become a reality and all dictatorships will fall.
I wish with all my heart that Bush lose, not because I like Kerry but honestly out of hatred for Bush.
Mohammed Al Mansour-Madina-Saudi Arabia.
I think Kerry=s win would be in Israel=s best interest, as he would cancel Bush's project in establishing a democratic Muslim nation in Iraq that would be an ally to America and which would form the greatest danger to Israel=s position as the biggest and strongest ally to America in the region.
Sarmad Al Iraqi-Germany.
All the American presidents are faces for one coin! Anyone of them get elected starts approaching Israel without any consideration for the rest of the world. This is their policy and their train always travel on the Zionist railways regardless who the president was.
Sabri Anas-Al Jeeza-Egypt.
I'm not very informed about Bush or any other candidate but logic says that this is the president who will save the world from terrorism and fanatics. President Bush is always serious in his words and does not back of if he sees in it the common interests of his country, like what he did in Iraq. By God's will he will win and I'll be the first one who congratulate all who wish him to win.
Al Muhannad Al Baka'a-Baghdad-Iraq.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
|You can now read the 2nd roundup of "Good news from the Islamic world" in Arthur Chrenkoff's blog.|