Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Friday, February 25, 2005
Good morning…
The news from Baghdad are still unsettled, that is; still in a state of waiting, and anticipation.
The new government is in the phase of formation, there are some alliances looming in the horizon, to arrange for the posts of President, Deputy, and Prime minister. Those are inevitable political games; ones that I do not suppose are being played randomly, for each game has its rules and arrangements, and each player has a chance in winning as big as the winning cards he carries,(money, power, and number of supporters). This is somewhat impressive. For example; I think: What draws together an ascetic cleric like Al-Systani, in one election list with a man whose history is full of uncomforting question marks, like Al-Chalabi?? And the answer is: In politics, every thing is possible.
And Ayad Allawi wants to arrange his affairs with small parties to form an opposition group, because his position is weak, and the number of seats his list won in the new national Assembly were small. He was formerly the Prime minister, carrying the power of decision, and today, he is looking for a new title, and a new position, despite all the sums of money he spent on his election campaign, inside and outside of Iraq, so that his list should win, but couldn't, not by the margin they wanted.
This is how politics is, a game of jumping all the ropes, and maybe it is so in reality. The important thing is; we want to see the results.
All that we want is a government that loves Iraqis, and is careful with their interests, manufacturing their future in the way that brings all that is good to the Iraqis first. Of course, this is an ideal demand in this period.
There is a foreign occupation, and there are men who came from abroad, who dream of gaining power and authority, this is their time…so, let them have it, enjoying things for a time, for there will come a day when they would go, and others and others would come… that is always how life is. The most important thing in all this is the participation of people (the citizens), in deciding whom we want, or do not want.
This is the idea of democracy, that the poor president Bush will die waving with… for which he waged the war on Iraq, presenting great sacrifices for, huh..haha….
And those miserable people (the citizens), are always the target, to direct their convictions to a certain direction, which is not always to their interest. And in most cases they discover that they have been tricked and misled, for the sake of the interests of others, not for the mass interest of people. And of course those others are usually a tricky, small minority, who owns the money, and the media to direct people wherever they want.
Of course, this evil, small minority is the real enemy of democracy, and not others. Those are the ones who make tricks, with all possible means to deform the results of democracy, so that the unsuitable men would take over the authority and decision making posts in the country. And people would keep on suffering, until those wrongly chosen samples would be removed, and some better samples would be chosen. And those in turn, shall be watched, until their truths and falsehood could be discovered, and so on…. As if it is an endless process.
I suppose that these long-term experiments take place in most world countries, and are lived by most people on earth. As much as the people are ignorant, the periods of tyrant and lying leaders get longer. And as much as the people have awareness of their lives, the shorter the life of a corrupt leader gets. This is the theory, as I see it…
But, there is a wave of “enforced ignorance” invading the world…. A thick wave, as if programmed and organized, somehow. Or maybe it is the nature of people in general, who love ignorance because it is easy, and a source of happiness…
Why should we tire ourselves with thinking, and searching? This is what most people say, and this is their way of daily life, or rather, long term life.
You do not care, and I do not care, and this and that… they do not care…
Well then, whose business is it to care?? It is this carelessness that dragged the world to the disasters we are living now… wars, cultural and economical colonization….poverty, hunger, ignorance, the diseases in many regions of the world, injustice, tyranny, the fall back of morals and principals that used to rule our lives as it was before, like ( mercy, forgiveness, honesty, simplicity, feeling the needs of the others, and what they suffer)… these characteristics are almost gone from our lives… to be substituted by (selfishness, cruelty, ignoring others, and pulling back from the life in which we share things with the others. Meaning, people are heading towards preferring the spirit of the “I” to the spirit of the “collective group”.
When will they feel their need to the collective spirit?
Perhaps when they face the hardness of life, like when they get ill, lose their jobs or money, or when they are threatened by danger, like a destructive earthquake, or a tsunami, or when war is waged against their country. Then, they will find, if they contemplate in a rational, correct way, that their savior from such calamities is the collective spirit of the group, in thinking and working to leave the bitter situation to a better one…
Usually after wars, chaos would rule, and dissension, in order to break up the collective spirit, for it is the interest of that who wages the war to create chaos and unclear visions, so he could remain in control of the situation. And if people were paying attention, and sorting their thoughts calmly, they should arrange their lives in a better way, without the need for some fools who want to gain authority, power, and some narrow interests.
My son Majid said once: long live the people, down with governments. I used to laugh then, when I hear his slogan, but today I see it as a true reality with which we live on earth…
People do not carry grudges against each other… and governments who broadcast hate and malice among the people, in order to pull them a part, to gain interests.
The ignorant, foolish people are the victims of media, learning to hate, and take severe stands against others. And the people who could fortify their minds against the influence of the media, will keep the ability to respect others, and hear their view points, and by others I mean: the people of other nations…or other religions…or other sects…or other ethnics.
For instance, the Iraqis were pushed somehow to fight Iran, and Saddam Hussein used to broadcast poisons against Iran and its people, day and night.
What do we know about them??
Nothing, except that they were Persians, who hate Arabs, and carry malice against them.
This is how he used to feed the minds of the Iraqis, provoking them to war.
Just like the George Orwell Novel: (1984), and in that novel people were living in a city ruled by astonishing laws to brain-wash the minds of the poor people, so they would obey the president, who calls himself:( The Big Brother). And in that city, there is always a big sign bearing the slogan: Big Brother is watching you. There is a program broadcasted on TV daily, called: (Two minutes of hate), provoking people against imaginary enemies. By GOD, Saddam and Uday used to implement this theory even after the war ended, broadcasting the same poisons from TV channels, calling the program: (so we wouldn’t forget).
it was about war memories....
Huh… so we wouldn’t forget what? Our hatreds??
Oh, dear. Now I remember all this, and laugh. There was a machine of hate that kept on working for years, in order to plant deep hatreds.
My younger sister is a doctor, who went to Britain in the eighties to study, and get a specialization in S.O.N.A.R., and when she got back, she said she sat one day on a seat in a public park, and beside her there was an Iranian woman who lived in Britain, perhaps also to study, and each talked about her pain because of the war, the hell and sadness that enveloped the Iraqi and Iranian families, and they both agreed that the rulers are a bunch of criminals, and the people are peaceful creatures, who are usually the victims to pay the price of the other’s follies.
And after the war in Iraq, I saw many Iranian women who visited religious shrines and talked to us, and I used to feel that they are ordinary people like us, not criminals who hate us.
I remember all this every time I meet a man or a woman from the west, face to face, or on e-mail, after the war on Iraq. I find us talking in a polite, peaceful way, asking each other about our studies, jobs, families, and the little details of our lives, becoming friends easily, and quickly. In spit of the difference in religion, culture, and many other things… but what drew us together is that we are humans, with faces, eyes, hearts, and minds that work in the same way. We have smiles and laughs, tears and sorrows, which could be understood without interpretation.
Who made us enemies??
And, I can almost see how much women are alike? Especially mothers, who have the same feelings and sensations towards their families, husbands, and children. Most of them are peaceful, and want peace to prevail in the world.
Because they faced similar events; marriage, taking over the responsibility of the house and family, then getting pregnant, with all its loads and suffering, the pains of giving birth, then, the labor of carrying on, night and day, till they see their off-spring getting older…
If those women had the decision of starting a war in their hands, they would never have started it, because they know how many victims would fall, and how many loving families those victims might have, how much heart broken these families would be, then, on to the society, which is a collective group of families, how many orphans and new widows would be added, whom the society must provide a good life for, and a lot more social and economic problems, uncountable, that would be dragged in the wake of war on to society.
If the matter was in the hands of mothers, no wars would have happened.
Men start wars, then fight over the important and governmental posts, to gain more money and power, and even if they let women participate, their role would either be weak and marginal, if they were peaceful, or she might get to leading positions, but only if she could prove that she had the mentality of the men of power, (like Gondalisa Rice), who must act like a man in power first, without emotions, non differently from any other man, so she could be chosen to a leading position like the national security adviser, or a foreign secretary.
I do not regard her position there carries any pride to women, for she seems to belong more to the world of men…the world of cruel men, not the ordinary men… men who have unusual ambitions and inclinations in life, that contain the love of power, money, authority, and taking over the world.
I look around me to life, see how people are behaving, and I smile. Each has a story, behaving according to the things he is convinced with, perhaps finding himself on the right.
In the apartment building where we live there is a janitor, and an elevator. The tenants are arguing, and debating, some of them do not want to pay the expenses of maintaining the elevator, or the janitor’s salary. The tenant on the ground floor says: I do not want the elevator, I do not need it, while the tenant on another floor doesn't want the janitor. The stair's light has some malfunction with the operating system, so, the stairs is now dark, and no one can open his apartment door in the dark, if they come home late at night. Who is the one to decide buying a new piece for fixing it? And will they pay, or stall, as usual?
To listen to the opinion of everyone, you would get a headache, those who oppose are ruled by selfishness, not the spirit of the collective group.
I said to them; in Baghdad we live in separate, independent houses, and my mind is clear and cool from all these problems.
To learn the spirit of the collective group needs an education, and tutoring, just like learning the spirit of democracy. But the pressures of every day life, like high prices, high taxes, lower incomes, and the shortage in employment opportunities, all these perhaps make people shrink into themselves, and be ruled by the spirit of selfishness.
Side by side with our apartment building there is a huge villa, and each person who visits us would look at it, and desire it for himself. The owner of this villa is very rich, he has many transportation companies, and his income is excellent. My neighbor, who likes spreading the other's stories in the neighborhood told me: he is divorced, his wife left him and asked for divorce shortly after they moved to the villa !!
Why? I asked with astonishment, is there a woman who would run from this palace?
The neighbor said: the poor wife traveled to London with her children for a vacation, a short time after they moved in, leaving the husband at home. When she got back, the maid told her, crying, that she wants to go back home to her country in south Asia, (Sirilanka or such), and after so much questions from the wife, she discovered that her husband raped the miserable maid while he was drunk. The woman got mad, paid for the maid's traveling expanses, asked for divorce, and left the house, and the children.
Whenever I looked on to the house, and saw the kids leaving in the morning to school, with the guard or the driver, I feel the misery of this family, and pity them, for I see they do not deserve to be envied their palace or money, in any way.
As to the ignorance that we see or hear from people, its endless…
When I met my in-laws for the first time, (and they are not Iraqis), and Azzam told them he intends to marry me, his mother gasped in horror, and said: How will you marry a Shia'at woman? Is there a court that would perform such a marriage?
I looked foolishly at her, my tongue tied, but he said to her: Mother, she is a Muslim, like the Sunies, but there are some minor differences between us and them.
And after I got married in Baghdad and came to live with them in Amman, I found everyone whispering, and wondering: A Shia'at? What is the meaning of a Shia'at? Is it true that you say that Gabriel made a mistake and brought down the Holy Quran to Mohammad, while it should have been brought down to Ali Bin Abu Talib? Do you really pray on a stone?? Does that mean you worship the stone?
Ha…Ha…Ha… how much time I spent from my life laughing, and explaining to them that we are Muslims, just like the Sunies, and that the differences grew in the time of Ali Bin Abu Talib's reign, ( peace be upon him), when he was the ruler of the Islamic Realm, at the end of the Rashid Caliphs era. Muawiya bin Abu Sufian was the governor of Al-Sham (Syria), and wanted to separate Al-Sham from the realm, to be his own state. There was a battle between the two sides, called the battle of Seffeen, north of Syria, in the year 36 of the Hijri calendar, (some 657 A.D.).
After this battle there was a split in the unified Islamic realm; those who supported Ali were called the Shia'at, who were mostly in Iraq, and those who supported Muawiya are the Sunies.
And so the Muslims were divided into two factions. And the truth of the matter is; the conflict was political in the first place, and not religious….and thus it remained, till this day.
There is a majority of Shia'ats in Iraq and Iran, and a minority in other Arab countries, and that is the reason of the people's ignorance of them. When I lived in Saudi Arabia, my Saudi neighbor told me: oh, um Raid, on the eastern side of the kingdom there are some people called Shia'ats, those are infidels, for a brother would marry his sister.
I kept staring in her face, and couldn't tell her that I am a Shia'at, and we are Muslims, and none of us marry his sister.
What can I say?
Ignorance is a great weapon, so the reality of the world seems, those who market it get the benefit of it, and by its help they plant the seeds of malice, hatred, and segregation among people.
And I keep wondering: If the Muslims, who live in neighboring countries, not more than a thousand kilometers apart, do not know much about each other, why should I be cross with the people of the west, and they do not understand Islam? And what kind of crazy stories they hear about us, deforming our image there??
Knowledge is a great weapon in the hands of Man. It opens his eyes, and broadens his perceptions, so he is not easily fooled. If he looks for it, he shall find it… as Socrates used to say.
Where does Knowledge come from?
Perhaps from reading many and various books, and from the many experiences lived by man, when he might be right or wrong, but he learns from it.
Books help in teaching people the Alphabets of life, giving them strength, and self-confidence. Religious books teach principals, and great values. History books tell the experience of people, and their way of life, in the old and new periods, and what various events they have witnessed. They teach us how to endure, and be patient, because those before us passed the same circumstances, so we should see how they dealt with them.
The books of literature, novels, and poetry tell specific details about the lives of ordinary people, their feelings, pains, sorrows, and happiness, their follies and wisdom, courage and defeat, they teach and tell us what happened to others, and how they behaved to face the different conditions of life. The books of psychology and sociology teach us a little about how to deal with people, especially those ambiguous people we can not understand, who are difficult to deal with. Perhaps we could find a way to communicate with them, because not all those around us are nice people, or angels. The books of philosophy show us how Man thought since creation, till now…in the east, or west.
As of our studying Medicine, Engineering, Computer, Law, Accounting, or any other science, these give us a career to learn and be good at, but wouldn't teach us to manage the other troubles we might encounter.
Knowledge and culture are something other than studying and learning. Most people study and learn, thinking that these are important steps to provide the means of work, and living. But only a small faction love Knowledge and culture. Most people see them as unnecessary, and useless, which is a sad thing.
A person without Knowledge and culture is a creature who lacks a lot of abilities. Culture teaches us how to deal with everything around us, and be successful in our lives. In the relation between man and woman, between us and our children, our work colleagues, our friends, neighbors, and relatives… even with the strangers we meet for the first time, Culture teaches us how to dialogue with them. It gives us social skills, self confidence, the ease with which to deal with a lot of difficult situations in our lives.
I suppose that Culture and Knowledge are the keys for all people to a world better than the one we are living in now, where ignorance is the language of the majority…as if claimed the language of the era.
In spite of the advanced technology… there is an evident gap between the progress of technology, and the decline of the morals and principals that bind humans together, as a language of dialogue, like violence, injustice, the abuse of power and authority, the narrow-mindedness, segregation, and the other follies.
There is an error in the last item that should be repaired…so the first item would be used properly…. And become a means of achieving all that is good, happy, peaceful, and just, for all humans on earth.
That is how I think we could achieve balance, in this difficult equation.
Translated by May/ Baghdad.

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