Thursday, February 19, 2004

The translation:

Yesterday was Valentine's Day… the world was drowning in love letters, and gifts and love… and
Iraq is drowning in a different sort of whirlpool. I get emails condoling me and blaming Bush for
everything that happened; and I get other angry emails making excuses and defending him- but I can
read between the lines: we Iraqis are ungrateful of the sacrifices the American administration made
for us and is continuing to make for us.


Who can believe that a capitalist system, that always thinks in terms of loss and profit in every
aspect of life, has suddenly turned into some charitable organization that wages wars against evil
and gives freely the lives of its youth, and money from its budget, to set up a good country of
justice and freedom? A country tens of thousands of kilometers away with no similarities in ideology
or culture? He saddens my heart- that person who says, "I wish we could put a fence around America
and not deal with any other country in the world because they don't know or appreciate our
sacrifices for them and if we did set up that fence, everyone would suddenly start screaming, 'where are
you? Why don't you come to save us?!'"

I put my face in my hands and smiled bitterly… how do I explain? And where do I begin? You who are
living in America- a respected citizen with certain rights and pride your government ensures for
you- the same government that interferes in the business of other countries and to degrade the
people and humiliate them, and trivialize their history and culture, as if saying, "Get rid of your
identities and submit to us! You'll have so much fun if you surrender- you'll eat our food and wear
our clothes and listen to our songs- and melt away like a drop in an ocean of water… You'll see
things the way *we* see them and analyze things the way we see fit. That way you'll deserve the
life we want for you- nothing more than a life as followers." Like the people of the Matrix- that
famous film- people made to follow. They listen to orders and follow them- no arguments and no


The American administration was planning this war many long years- planning and postponing- until
it made its decision and entered the war with confidence and determination- without heeding the
warnings the countries of the world issued- especially the West European countries; warnings about
embarking on such an adventure. But the American administration was stubborn and sure of itself, it
wouldn't give in to pressure, and it announced its anger at such warnings and it acted with
hostility towards Germany, France and Russia. They beat the drums of war and, well, had a war… with some
sort of plan- clandestine or public- and the regime fell and an occupation was imposed. Bush gave
speeches and declared victory and around him were the applauders and we were staring at our
screens, confused… should we clap for him or cry for our situation?

A formidable army came and attacked a country that was just barely breathing… and they enjoy
victory and applause? It's the equivalent of a downcast, failure of a man who owns a tractor and wants
to convince himself he's a hero… so he attacks a faraway hut and destroys it around the family
inside, simply to get applause from the passersby in the street. He's not the only idiot- the
applauders are like him- they have the same principles and values when it comes to life. The strong eat
the weak- the is the law of the jungle.

The catastrophes then began to fall on the heads of the American administration- chaos, killing
and looting in the Iraqi streets… explosions targeting the American army and Iraqis in confusion
about it all… what is happening? One of two things and no possibility of a third: either bad planning
and generally bad administration, or everything happening was done on purpose with the intention
of causing more damage in Iraq until it collapses… and its treasures and people are taken unawares.

If the first possibility is correct, then Bush should resign because he failed the mission he had
taken upon himself and that is building a new, strong, free country. If the second possibility is
correct, then Bush is once more the loser because he has started a whirlpool of violence that has
no end…


At the beginning of the fall of Baghdad, we were optimistic… we said we'll give them a chance and
not think badly of them. As time passed, and chances became fewer and the excuses began coming to
an end, we could no longer accept the idea of their innocence, no matter what happened. All the
incidents flowed in the direction of flaming hatred between Sunnis and Shi'ites, Arabs and Kurds…
As if a federal Iraq, something they called for right from the start and have been attempting to
implement and push forward… and breaking apart the core of the Iraqi police and the army to push for
a longer occupation, and in whose interest would a longer occupation be?

The Bush administration is confused- after waving the banner of war alone, it comes along with a
new motto: the whole world should work together to create peace. It began searching for troops from
all over the world to replace its own troops, heading back home.

What was the point of planning for years if the results are going to be as catastrophic as this?
And then came the capture of Saddam- a winning card in a way, to push up his popularity for the
voting. But the Iraqis say he isn't going to be tried- there'll be a way to avoid that… either
sickness or death. A trial will bring certain secrets, that America doesn't want the world to hear, out
into the open. He was their ally, up to a certain point… and then they turned against him- or he
turned against them- it doesn't matter… the result is the same. As an old proverb goes: Imperialism
doesn't have any friends. Saddam Hussein chose his friends badly and he didn't think they'd sell
him so cheap and abandon him so easily.

And the projects that the Iraqis are waiting for- the ones that will invigorate and keep their
unemployed hands busy- where are they? We hear about some of them being given to foreign companies
for huge sums of money and some to local contractors, also at very high prices and people laugh and
whisper- the American official wants his piece of the contract before raising it and signing it…
where is the American public- I wish they could see and hear what is happening here! The American
citizen all the way over there thinks they've sent angels as representatives to uphold justice on
earth. The reality of the situation is very different.

The mobile phones hit the streets of Baghdad… a nice thing- but come hear the details. One company
got the whole contract without any competition for all of Baghdad. It plays with the prices as it
wants and you are forced to purchase the line with the mobile and if you refuse and tell them that
you have the mobile phone and only want the line you gave a down payment for months before,
they'll refuse and force you to buy one of their mobile phones. The line itself costs $69 and the mobile
phone can cost anywhere from $85 to $500, you also pay a fixed monthly non-returnable fee… and the
price of a minute is expensive compared to neighboring countries like Jordan.

Fine, a question: who gave this contract to this company? And why did they give it the right to
control the whole market? What is the point of the Americans? And how involved are they in fixing
these unsuccessful capitalistic dealings? Furthermore, is a deal like this considered 'transparent'
and far from suspicion?

And fixing the schools… the broken windows are replaced and the whole building is repainted- I
don't think any high-class additions were made- and the money given to the contractors at the time
was incredible and afforded much sarcastic conversation to the people- inconceivable amounts of
money for simple accomplishments.

In the hospitals, if there is any advance in the equipment or medication, then according to my
knowledge and experience, it has been through the different humanitarian organizations, funded from
abroad by several different countries.

There is no transparency- and the doubts are many and the stories are many. People living here are
depressed and the people living 'there' get their news filtered through news networks that want to
paint a pretty, ideal picture. They show the American troops as the savior Jesus Christ and us as
the evil population- looting and destroying any achievements.

And the new dinar- yes, it is of a good quality, and its price has stabilized somewhat. But its
purchasing value for the ordinary person is still weak. There have to be huge projects and a strong
economy for the new dinar to have any value.

Everything here is frozen- even any sign of results of the coming American elections- that's what
it feels like. There's no ready, clear plan to work on that will return normal life… and don't
tell me 'the explosions'! That's another exaggerated thing the media is concentrating on to justify
the failure to achieve anything obvious. The south is more calm, why haven't there been any
projects to return life to normal there? Even the local non-governmental organizations that work to help
civil society are looking for sponsors- both local and foreign, but it's useless… and they are
waiting for a miracle to keep them alive.

Next month, a year will have passed since the beginning of the war… and the month after will a
mark a year since the end of the war… and what has been done? Everything is moving like a turtle… and
time is wasting away as we wait… and the American media is convincing the people that everything
is ok. All the while, we see insufficiency in everything and we don't know if it's on purpose or
accidental but the performance, so far, is weak and far less than we expected. And while we're at
it, the school books have been reprinted the very same as before- the only difference is the blank
page where Saddam's picture used to be and the subjects about him. I wonder how much of the budget
this cost us? Wouldn't simply tearing out those pages have cost us far less? Especially if the
result is this simplistic?


The local television and radio stations broadcast day and night to complete the process of
constant brainwashing. One wonders who funds them? The answer is always America or Britain and most of
these stations are targeting the youth, why? Because they are the generations of the future… and
what sort of a future will it be with youth who eat Pringles and listens to and watches video clips
all with the same identity. You can't tell whether the music is Arabic or Western unless you turn
up the television to hear the language… half-naked women, and dancing… and raucous music. This
generation eats McDonald's products, drinks Coca Cola and memorizes the names of American films,
actors and actresses, the names of songs, groups and everything that has nothing to do with their
roots… no history, or literature, or culture or religion. Those are the men and women of the future
that America is betting on… after the generation that thinks and objects is extinct, what sort of a
future aw!
aits our children? And what sort of a future awaits our country?


America will never stop intruding in the business of other countries…. Starting from military
affairs to the economy, to the media, to the curriculums. The governments that follow directions are
thrown a few crumbs to better the economy and keep that government in power. The internal affairs
of that government don't matter… neither does the relationship between the government and the
people… or how satisfied the people are with the government. The important thing is to satisfy America-
that is the main thing that will ensure survival.

Governments that don't follow the directions and propositions face the drums of war in the media
and files are opened either about nuclear weapons or human rights! Haven't these stories that fill
the Western media become old and amusing? Who are they fooling? Their people or ours?

And after this and that, I go back to the concept of the angry email I received- that America
would put a fence around itself. It's a wonderful idea. I smile to myself and imagine what the world
would be like without "Big Brother is watching you so follow his directions…"

I think it would be a happier world than this one…
translated by riverbend

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