Sunday, August 29, 2004

Thursday, August 26th, 2004
Good evening…
Baghdad is still in tension, the streets may close suddenly, increasing the traffic jams, and many hits against the occupation forces taking place in most inner Baghdad streets and high-ways, as an expression of anger against what is happening in Najaf. Grief continues in Baghdad…
I would like to speak about Najaf, and what this city means to us Iraqis generally, and to Shi'aa in particular.Najaf holds the Mausoleum of Imam Ali (Peace be upon him). He is the Prophet's cousin, his companion since the beginning of the calling for Islam, the husband of his youngest daughter, Fatima (Peace be upon her), the father of Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, (Peace be upon them).Ali, (Peace be upon him), suffered from revolutions and inquietudes during the period of his rule, wars erupted in his time, the Islamic Caliphate state became divided into two states: one in Iraq, with Ali, the Prince of Believers, the Caliph, being of the kin of Prophet Muhammad, (Prayers of God be upon him, and HIS Mercy and Blessings), and one in Syria, the Umayyad state, the first seed to the secular state which separated the state from religion, taking another path in life… luxury, power, some leisurely few in high palaces, and far- away people whose word couldn't reach the ruling faction… I think it was the seed of the dictator, unjust, Arabic state. While in the Caliphate state after the Prophet (Prayers of God be upon him, and HIS Mercy and Blessings), Ali being the last of them, the leader was a man from the Prophet's companions, or his cousin, and the Islamic Principles in Mercy and Justice were the prevailing rules, the Prince of Believers wearing humble clothes, sitting among people. He, his wife and children were an example of modesty and good manners to people. I think that model was the core of a Democratic, Islamic State, where the ruling was under the emblem: (Their Decision is in consultation among themselves), from the Holy Quran.
Kufa was the Caliphate center in Ali's rule (Peace be upon him), the Kufa mosque, Ali's house, and some other religious sites are still there, where people visit them. When he died, (Peace be upon him), he was buried in Najaf…So, Najaf city became a sacred symbol to Muslims, especially Shi'aa, where they bury their dead.Graveyards in Najaf are vast, endless cities, as if without boundaries…as if they are real cities, but its residents are in another world, having different customs…differing from the cities of ordinary people. On its walls there are writings: Peace be upon you, people of –NO GOD BUT THE ONE GOD, you are the former, we are the latter…When I read it I feel spiritually calm, shy from the dead, and feel sad for the fate of all humanity. Every year we go, my sisters and I, to visit my parent's graves…we take fruits and pastries to distribute among the poor, asking them to read Al-Fatihaa Verse (The first verse in Quran) for the souls of our dead…we sit by the graves, lighting candles, reading the Holy Quran, remembering our loved ones, and we cry for their separation from us… and when we get back to Baghdad…I keep thinking all the way: How petty life is, how a human should live in all honesty and truthfulness, because he will surly die, so die an honest, well-remembered person, better than dying a villain who harmed people and stole their rights, or spilled their blood without justification… And I remember the words of Imam Ali (Peace be upon him): Death is the best preacher…meaning- that remembering death schools the soul, and purifies it from greed and follies.And also his words: Work for your life as if you will live forever, and work for your after-life as if you will die tomorrow…
We used to perform these rituals at the end of Rajab, the Arabic month, every year before the war…Last year we didn’t go…..And these days are in the month of Rajab, and there is violence, fighting, and blood in the streets of Najaf and Kufa…So we will not go…I saw pictures of the American soldiers barricading behind the walls of graveyards, carrying their automatic weapons, and shooting at Al-Mahdi Army….I kept staring at the picture, putting my hand on my cheek, and a voice inside me asking: Oh my God, even the dead weren’t spared by the occupation forces? They followed them to the graves, and disturbed their peacefulness….What should I say?I always said- thank GOD my father and mother are dead, and didn’t see the occupying army, they would probably have burst in grief to see Iraq an occupied, destroyed country…. But the occupation forces want all Iraqis, dead or living, to know it is here, want to step upon them all, dead or living, by their consent, or without it …….That is how things seem to be….
I always wonder: what is the difference between a man lying, and a man telling a half truth??? I don’t know….for there are many aspects of explanations.All right, Bush meets some Iraqi men whom Saddam Hussein cut their hands for dealing in dollars by the Black Market some time…the punishment was cruel, and In-human.And Bush volunteers to have artificial limbs fitted to those men, courtesy of the American government, or his personal account.He uses the subject as an advertisement for his humanity…So, why doesn’t he take some Iraqi children whose limbs were amputated by cluster bombs, dropped by the occupation forces on Iraqi villages, and have artificial limbs fitted to them?? Does he have the audacity to show the American people the other side of the story?? Why?? If he was a just, merciful, humanitarian man, let him complete the picture…That is how I understand courage and justice. And this is how I want the American people to think when looking at our reality, so the picture would be complete. So there would be honesty with one’s self…..
Exactly like the history of Red Indians in America…When the story is told by biased governmental sources, they portray the Indian as an aggressive, barbarian, backward person…And when we read the works of Historians and writers, we see a different picture, we see the Indian as a good, understanding human, but there were clashes between their tribes and the state army, which drove them out of their forests and pasture lands, in order to be given to new residents to cultivate…so the Indians revolted against the new comers…Truth has many faces, so the picture would be complete…And only a fool sees a one dimensional picture, and believes it to be the whole truth.
Going back to the Iraqi Business Women Society…the Society is new, poor, and in need of research, proposals, projects, and locating some funding for those projects…. I have a lot of various ideas, which I wrote down as small projects. I visited some factories of Hand-Made and Mechanical Carpets, who are state-owned factories, their products are beautiful and lovely, I am thinking (as a project) of buying some of it to export to Europe and America and other countries… I was also thinking of exporting pieces of the lovely Iraqi Hand-crafted products …thinking that part of the profits gained by these sales would revert back to the society to buy new products, and the other part would be used to buy winter clothes and school bags to a number of poor students, as a contribution from the society to re-build the local community…There are some Non-Iraqi societies working here, who have very good funding from abroad…they are researching in defending women’s rights, enlarging the political contribution, and democracy building. I attended a lecture today…by the title: Violence against Women.The Doctor spoke about cases of violence against women, its damaging effects upon their personalities, and upon society… then the girl responsible for that Society Branch said she would show some slides next week, pictures of women who were violently treated by their families. She said she is preparing for a symposium bout the discrimination by mothers against children, and some other painful, realistic stories… and a family whose crippled daughter burned herself, because she couldn’t face their sarcasm…Most of the attendants left…I approached the remaining ladies and the Doctor who gave the speech, and said: I have some comments, if you please…She said: Be our guest….I said: Who decides the program of the lectures? And who steers them in this direction??They said: We do, what's wrong with it?I said: These programs are suitable for a society living in normal conditions, and in peace, like the societies of America or Europe… like an Operah show, and her weird stories. But our society is torn apart, just out of war….the lectures are supposed to be aimed at keeping the Iraqi family bound, not to show painful, provoking cases. Displaying the pictures of violence is a provocation to violence…. They said: We want to make the women more aware.I said: A woman should not leave here feeling provoked against her husband and family, she should be made aware by another way…without altering priorities… and I took the pen and wrote on the board: ( The Most important thing is to keep the family's unity). They shouted to my face: How? Give us your ideas; we do not want some general speech… I said, All right, in the next lecture I will give you ideas.
On my way home I kept thinking about the answer…Yes, I found it….Lecturing women about things like-How to raise your children affectionately, without violence…How to treat your retarded or crippled child …and How to raise your children without discriminating between them…These are slogans of loving tenderness to unite the family…not aggressive slogans which make enemies out of family members…. I will present them in next week's meeting…by the will of GOD.
I find that the Iraqi family is in need of someone to take its hand to a better tomorrow…someone to help in solving the daily problems, especially economic problems…some societies that would help families to establish small business projects, to earn some daily bread, instead of letting their members become an easy target for crimes and theft…I think that these are the societies we need now…On some coming stage we will need societies that concerns itself with democracy and the political process, but now I see these as one-eyed societies….looking for democracy and political freedom, but does not see a catastrophe called Occupation….how could some people enjoy democracy and political freedom, while occupied by foreign forces??? How come??This is a contradicting equation, someone here is laughing at himself…or on people.There are clashes in Iraqi cities, civilians falling dead and wounded, houses, mosques, and commercial shops demolished, and some aggressive policy in dealing with opposition and opponents…then comes some American society talking about democracy, and giving lectures to Iraqis…Where is Democracy? What have we seen of it??We saw deeds very much like those of Saddam Hussein, more cruelty, and more repression against opponents.And the man didn't even speak about democracy; he was a clear, pure dictator…But America wears all masks and faces…and takes them off at will…Violence and blood mingles everyday with words like democracy and freedom….Some fiasco is being played here everyday…it makes humanity ashamed.
We all remember how Hussein Kamel bombarded the Imam Hussein shrine with artillery fire, after the upsurge in the south, 1991. He addressed Him, jeeringly: You are Hussein, and I am Hussein…After that he fled from Iraq, had a conflict with Saddam Hussein, contacted America, and gave them information about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction, thinking America will reward him… But he returned to Iraq in a mysterious way… Uday killed him, demolished the house over his head, and stood over his corpse with his shoes, stepping over his head.The Iraqis were saddened by the ugliness of these acts, but they said, and still say, This is the consequence of bombing the shrines of the Prophet's Kin, and making fun of them.And today America is bombing the Imam Ali shrine, unaware of what she is doing….Days will be between us…and as we saw the tragic end of Hussein Kamel, we will see the end of whoever behaves like him…..
Sorrows are aplenty, and speech is long…. But what good would it do??Bush and Kerry are quarrelling these days about the story of the phony violet medal of Kerry's since the Vietnam War… each is heaping accusations upon the other…Not a proper conduct of presidents of a super power at all…behaving like little children, each exposing the other in front of people…And the American people are divided among themselves…Here, we no longer care who wins…for it will be the same, the future of Iraq is dark.Even if Bush wins, he will be gone for good in four years time, and perhaps Kerry will come, and he doesn't have a clear vision of anything…The American people, and the whole of America's future is threatened between Bush, his war on Iraq, and his being a religious conservative…and between Kerry, and the Liberal slogans, without religion, nor restrictions of any kind… But Bush, in spite of being religious, was mercilessly cruel, for that who has a religion does not wage wars, killing, and spilling blood…Actually, both choices are bitter…. And this is a painful crisis, a country of 350 million people, and only two contradicting candidates.I do not know, but I feel that what will come will be painful…Iraq is occupied by a country filled with problems and crises…How are we to manage our affaires, and how will our future be?I do not know…we are in the middle of an eddy…inside of which there is another eddy… Who will save us? America itself is in need of that who saves her from what she is in……..
I wish to visit America, and meet the American people in open symposiums and free-spoken discussions. I want them to know the truth of what is happening here since Baghdad fell…I want them to know the truth from lies… I do not want to take part in election campaigns against Bush, or with Kerry… I have nothing to do with these tricks…I do not like it. But I want to help the American people open their eyes from their slumber…exactly as I want to help the Iraqi people to get up, and rebuild their lives all over again…Long live the people, down with governments….
Translated by May \ Baghdad.

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