Saturday, June 18, 2005


Monday, May 29th., 2005
its my first day here in the school....
In the morning, there was the first meeting of all participants in the training course, with the teaching staff, and the supporting employees.
On a wall in the Hall, a World map was hanging, and each participant of us was asked to stand before the class, beside the map, and introduce his name, career, organization, where he came from, and show his country on the World map, and what were his activities to become a Peace Builder.
I noticed the people attending were from regions riddled with conflicts like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, spent most their lives under the pressures of the conflicts in their societies. But those of European or North American origins, I saw that most of them worked in different countries around the world as Peace Builders; in Philippines, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Palestine, Georgia, Kosovo, Somalia, and other conflict regions of which perhaps we never heard. Countless countries I cannot remember all…from east of the globe, to west.
Why would these people leave their homes in search to help others?
I was asking myself…
People's lives in devastated countries show their histories full of immigrations and immigrations to different exiles…from Afghanistan to Pakistan, from Rwanda to Borondy, from Bosnia Hertsigovnia towards their neighboring European countries…or from Palestine to Syria, Jordan, or other neighboring countries.
Those poor people didn't choose to immigrate, to live in camps to push away boredom from their lives, or to look for a deeper meaning of life.
But I think that when the western people collide with the truth of their live's emptiness of deep, noble meanings, they go in search of them in other countries, helping other people…their western governments were, in most cases if not all, the reason in destroying those countries, forcing the immigrations of those innocent inhabitants…
What should I say??
I don't know what to say…
There are people here, in the west, who are honest, their consciences are alive, not corrupted yet, who suffer from deep spiritual crisis. I do not want to ridicule or make fun of them; for if I was living in that empty, contradicting culture, which is controlled by capitalism and materialism, that emptied life of its deep, beautiful meanings, I would have ended up with a deep spiritual crisis, like them, and I would have left my country in search of an experience with poor, tortured people on Earth, to help.
On the other hand, there are a lot of men, women, and young people of the poor, crushed, oppressed nations, from old, great cultures and civilizations, who had had an opposite spiritual crises, who hate their roles as victims of the capitalism that knows no mercy, which stole their wealth, ridiculed their cultures, and put them on the margins. Because capitalism is a deformed creature, without a family, bearing grudges against those who live within families that keep principals, and the beautiful concepts that respect life. Capitalism strives in all ways to destroy and shred principals in societies; like religion, civilization, and the customs that give people a referential binding them under an umbrella of its own.
Capitalism doesn't want people to remain under one umbrella…..she always wants to divide them, tearing them apart, leaving them in a sea of darkness, and confusion…..
So those victims ended up wishing they were of those who carry a western passport, or that they could emigrate to the west and live there forever, as the western movies portray life there as an extreme of happiness and joy…and thus the dream of their lives becomes the west, and how to get to it.
I pity those victims…for sooner or latter, they shall discover the lie; that the west isn't that model, happy society on earth…
I came here, but I didn't see happy, nor luxurious people… I saw ordinary people like any other, some of them work, and some are unemployed. Those who have jobs are in terror of the idea that they might lose their jobs one day, for the economic conditions aren't comforting, in spite of the fact that the government depletes the budget in endless wars, in great ventures, under great slogans like: fighting terror, and achieving freedom and democracy on earth.
In the morning lecture we talked about the " conflict". It was portrayed as an Iceberg, the visible part of it is small, while the greater part of it is hidden under the water. And of course, the hidden part carries interests, values, intentions, assumptions, and former old wounds…as for the visible part, it bears only words, minor disagreements, and deductions….
Then we saw a diagram showing the phases of the conflict's growth, from bottom to top:
· The emergence of disagreements. (First phase).
· Arguments.
· A problem.
· Violence
· War. (The last phase).
Then there are the phases of cooling down the conflicts, from top to bottom:
· A cease fire. (First phase).
· Arranging an agreement between the conflicting parties.
· Rebuilding the country.
· Rehabilitating the infra-structure, and everything that benefits people; like education and health.
· Re-establishing the ties, and bridging the gaps between the various factions of society.
I look at that diagram, and see how the disagreements were created between Iraqis; this is a Sunni, this is a Shia'at, this is a Kurd, and this is an Arab. Then the dispute, problems, and violence started, to push the country forcibly towards a civil war.
I see with my mind and eyes that the process of manufacturing conflicts has been going on in Iraq since two years, to push parties towards a civil war..........
There are no peace builders in Iraq now.
In the afternoon, we sat in groups to draw a map of conflicts in various countries, after the display of a model to a conflict in one country, ( the intervention of a foreign country, for example, then a local government, then opposition forces, then, the civic society organizations), and putting the relation between one item with the others.
We divided ourselves into groups; from Africa, Asia, South America, Iraq, or Palestine.
I remained seated alone, for what group would come with me to speak about Iraq?
I was the only one from Iraq.
Then, the manager of the program suggested that I join with a group of Americans to talk about the Iraqi-American conflict. We sat down, and agreed that I would put down the titles of the conflict's components from the Iraqi side, as I saw them, while the American participants would put down the conflict's components from the American side, in their opinion.
We sat down around a table, and divided the board to two sides; one concerning the Iraqi said, and the other concerning the American side , while the supervising professor started drawing circles on the board, each representing a component…
On the Iraqi side we drew:
-(The first group):
· The American government.
· The occupation forces.
· The Iraqi government and supporting Parties.
· The Iraqi National Guards.
· The local media, or others.

-(The second group):
· The Iraqi resistance.
· Al-Zarqawi, (Al-Qaida)

-(The third group):
· The Iraqi people.
· Iraqi Nationalist Groups of independent men and women.
· The civil society organizations.

And I said to them: According to the conflict map, the first group works against the second, targeting it, while the third group is not taking part in the direct conflict, and is trying to calm the situation down, but nobody is responding to it.
And, there are a lot of Iraqis who think that the story of Al-Zarqawi is just a cover-up to destroy the Iraqi resistance, and all who reject the existence of the occupation.
Then, we wrote down the conflict's components in America:
-(The first group):
· The American government.
· The major private companies.
· The media.

-(The second group):
· The American people.
· The civil society organizations.

And they agreed that the first group is controlling the situation, trying to enforce its vision on the second group, who finds its self unable to change the situation.
By the end of the dialogue, I found out that the American people aren't in a better off situation than the Iraqi people. Both were powerless, and the decision lies in the hands of a small bunch, whom war means private interests to them; hidden, and public.
I said to them: America is always bragging, she destroyed us while talking about freedom and democracy, and I see today that you are suffering a lack of freedom and democracy, just like the Iraqi people…..I see that you live in a dilemma in need of explanation…..
Laughter filled the hall…. But I was very upset.
I was in no mood for laughter.
After the end of discussions, and the group's work, we hanged the conflict maps for various regions in the world on the wall, and I saw a common factor in almost all of them…
The USA government was always adorning the map, sitting on its edge like a dark, half circle. It reminded me of something we used to draw when we were kids in school, we used to draw the sun as a half circle of bright yellow, shining on every scene from nature we drew…
What a difference between that beautiful, warm sun, and this dark circle, representing evil…
In the next morning, we had a new lecture about the (needs) of every party in the conflict, and their (fears). The lady who is the manager of the program said that we should be careful and alert in distinguishing between the ( I need), and the (I want) phrases.
The needs are usually basic things; like water, air, food, and freedom.
But in the phrase (I want), enters greed…like : I have a shirt, and I want another. I have possessions, but I want yours.
Again, we were divided into groups, the same groups who drew the conflict map, shall discuss each party's needs and fears.
We entered the same hall in which we had our discussions yesterday…
There were about six Americans, men and women, who will talk about their government's needs from the war on Iraq, and its fears that made her wage the war. And I shall be the one talking about the Iraqis needs, as a nation, and their fears of the existence of an occupying force in their country.

-The American government's needs:
· The wealth in Iraq, (namely: the Oil, as an energy source, that began being scares in the world).
· Dominion, and the proof of power, in the Middle East first, then the whole world.
· Securing a strong economic future for the country.
· Providing security for the country, against outside enemies.
-The American government's fears:
· The weakening and tumble of the economy, if the energy sources were depleted.
· The national security of the people and the state are threatened by terrorist groups, like (Al-Qaida).
· The emergence of competing international forces in the region, besides America.

And the professor stood up and said: these are reasonable reasons and fears for war on Iraq. And we think, and say: from one side, those in the American government are right in providing energy sources for their country, and security for their people. But from another side we think; what about human rights?
I remained silent, watching the great dialogue between the Americans.
Yesterday, the same group agreed with me that the people are oppressed, not knowing what is happening, and that the decision is in the hands of a small bunch of leaderships, who want to assume power, and reap more money…
Today, they put down many points about needs, (which, in my opinion, are not needs, but more in the line of: I want; meaning: greed), and they seemed in agreement as to the logicality of these "needs" and "fears", then, at the margin of the dialogue, they finally remembered the human rights in Iraq.
I can almost see how things get analyzed, when a person becomes lost in choice: between the general principals, and the personal interest??
Then it was my turn, to talk at last about the needs of the Iraqis:
· Their need of freedom and independence.
· Their need of enjoying the wealth of their country, to improve their economic conditions.
· Their need to build the future of their country, by their hands.

And their fears:
· That the wealth of the country would be stolen by private, foreign, investing companies.
· That the military bases would remain in the country, threatening its independence.
· That the coming governments would be dummy governments, without power, and wouldn't fulfill the wishes of the people.
· That the future of Iraq would be dark, as long as there was a foreign force, dominating economically and militerilarly.
By the end of the group's work, I felt very annoyed… that governments could deceive people with the idea of: This war will bring a positive fruit for your future…meaning: raising its people to accept the idea of selfishness, taking opportunities, and sucking other people's blood.
That is the capitalist mentality….use all means to invest your intelligence and abilities, to gain wealth and profits…there are no red lines to block your way… monopolize, no matter what the way is, get other people's wealth. The important thing is the result. You shall be the owner of a wealth, holding decisions in your hands… and when you put your hand on these wealthes, you will control the fate of millions of people…
This is the mentality that knows no mercy, fault, and no principals… perhaps.
For them, principals were made for the weak, and the broke….like the prophets, and philosophers.
As to who owns power and wealth, that would be his way to control…and let principals go to hell.
After this, I could almost hear a demonic laughter, ringing around the whole of earth… where thieves move around now, tightening their grips upon the wealth of the poor, weak millions, who do not have the ability to confront, and change….at least, till this moment….and the thieves wish, dream, and plan, to keep things like this, forever.................
(….and they deploy their cunning, and GOD uses his cunning….and GOD is the best of schemers…..).
Sooner or later….we shall see the end of this story.
Translated by May/Baghdad.

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