Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Saturday, June 18th, 2005
Good evening…
We left the institute this morning, saying good bye to each other without tears…
Those were happy days that we lived here together, as if we were one family…
I said to my friend "Janet", my room mate, an American; if we were here to study various subjects, like any other university students, we would have behaved individually, without commitment to the others, but as we sat together in the class rooms, dividing ourselves to various groups everyday… we learned the dialogue, understanding, comprehending the other… and respecting him, and because we studied "Peace Building", we were united by one goal, one dream, and that, perhaps, is the reason of our feeling that we became one family…..
I was tired throughout the evening, we were all tired from three weeks of lessons, listening, and dialogue…
From one point, we were happy to return home to our countries, and from the other point, we were sorry to leave each other, especially my women friends… I loved them all; Africans, Philippines, Japanese, Ethiopians, Europeans, Asians, and even Americans… we had a lot in common, despite the different cultures, but the atmosphere was friendly and healthy between us all.
We tried to exchange gifts among us, as much as we could, to keep the memories, and as I didn't have enough for all, I gave the priority to the women, not the men, then to some of our teachers, men and women…
I also took some free gifts, or bought African and Asian products, because it belonged to charitable societies. I gave my friends pieces of Iraqi real leather, on which there is the map of Iraq, the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, and the ancient Iraqi relics, of the different civilizations that once lived on Iraqi soil….
I said to them: Always remember Iraq…and pray for peace to reside in it.
I am now on a train, on my way to Washington, DC, to meet my friend "Mary", to arrange a schedule for meeting Anti- war on Iraq groups, governmental, and non- governmental, for me to explain what is going on in Iraq for two years now, so they could understand the truth there, other than what they hear daily from the poisonous Media.
Yesterday, our teacher, Mr. Gavin, a Britain from South Africa, drew a square on the board, inside of that square there were 10 longitudinal squares, and 10 squares on the width, saying: This means $ 1 Trillion spent annual on Armies budget, and wars in the world… (Trillion means 6- Zero digits in front of the million…).
The American government alone spends around 47% of this amount on its army, scattered around the world, (meaning, about 50%). The rest is spent by the European, Asian, African countries, and others…
And Mr. Gavin said: only 6 squares of these little ones, (and there were 100 small squares), are spent on aid, and the development of poor countries annually.
So, do you imagine if we spent all that money to improve the conditions of nations, how would earth become?
We stood, staring at the diagram, and wondered: How do we change the equation? How do we draw money and influence from the hands of the factions that manufacture weapons, and wage wars, and put it into the hands of those who build peace on earth??
We laughed a lot, as we listened to the suggestions… but we were sure that this was the responsibility of all of us …. the responsibility of all people to stand up and put a limit in front of those villains who destroyed earth, and filled it with darkness, violence, fear, and blood….
The first step: Raising up the awareness and attention levels in people, for what is happening around them…
And secondly: In all countries, there will be strong social civil movements, to extend helping hands to change, to achieve peace on earth…
At night, I told "Janet", before I fell a sleep: In our Holy Quran, we have a verse that says: …. (And my virtuous followers shall inherit the earth…).
And she said: we have something like that in the bible….
I said: The hearts of the faithful are alike, their GOD is One, and they want peace on earth… and all who use religion to evoke hatred among people is a wicked liar… everyone who says; this is a Muslim, Christian, or a Jew, wanting to turn them into enemies is a wicked liar…..
Isn't it about time for people to open their eyes and be aware??
We spent the last week in different groups… ours chose the subject of "Peace Building and Society Development". In the first class we spoke generally about different meanings of vocabularies like: society, freedom, and development… then we decided, with the teacher, to draw a model of a small society which lives in a state of conflict, indicating all the factors that are influencing it, internally, and externally, then, to think how to develop that society, and what would the meaning of the word "develop" mean to the people of that place?
A colleague from Afghanistan came along with a suggestion to talk about an Afghani village, taking it as a case study. We started drawing on big, blank papers joined together on the floor; we drew the villagers, men, women, and children, then, the sheep, trees, and pastures, then the small shops, the main street in the village, the bridge, fallen since the war, the river crossing through the village, the village mosque, and the government representative's house, who lives far, and we drew that a big, distinguished house, away from those of the villagers.
Then we drew the oil wells in Afghanistan, and the American military base near the village, Pakistan as an influential neighbor, Russia as a neighboring country who used to occupy Afghanistan, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict issue which influences the people's attitude towards the American government, and its military forces here, around the village…
There were some rebels who perform raids against the American base, and hide in the mountains around town, aided secretly by the villagers, because they sympathize with them; people refuse to deal with the occupation forces, because they suffer from them; unjust reports against them, raids, and humiliating arrests of the men in the village. The Afghani National Guard's men collaborate with the occupation forces in arresting people, and torturing them. People hate them…
And people refuse to deal with any non-governmental organization that enters the village, the rebels threaten them with death if they dealt with these organizations or the American army, and people are stuck in the middle, between the rebels and the occupation….
Hummm….doesn't this seem like a similar story to what is happening in Iraq?
So… we want to know who the rebels are, and what are their demands?
The Afghani participant said: I work for the (USAID) organization, and I cannot enter the village for fear of my life, so, I sleep in the military base if I go there… The village has no school or medical center since the days of Taliban, there is no electricity, but only small, scattered generators. People in the village live by the products of their agricultural lands, and if they needed anything, they went to the nearby town to buy it. There is a radio broadcasting station, transmitting from the capital, by the government, and of course, not all agree to what it says…
The nearest medical center is 6 hours off the village, by car. Some villagers have cars. Children do not go to school. Women do not go out of the house, not even for shopping, it is forbidden.
The planting of Hashish (drugs) is common in the country.
No school or medical center since the days of Taliban, when they intensified the idea that learning is forbidden, and going to the doctor is not necessary, for GOD is the One who heals, giving life, and death.
The rebels come from the school, (madrasa), inside Pakistan, which was established since the times of the Soviet Union fighting, when the later used to occupy Afghanistan… these schools were financed by the United States government, and some of the Islamic governments, which helped Bin Laden to go to Afghanistan, making him a religious hero to fight the infidel communists … there was a strong campaign in many Arabic countries, supported by governments, this campaign was led by the clergy in those countries, in cooperation with the governments, they waged the campaign of Jihad (struggle) against the enemy in Afghanistan, brain washing the minds of thousands of Arab young men, pushing them to go there, (at the beginning of the 1980s), paying for the fees of their transports, study, and arms training in camps belonging to those religious schools that teach Jihad.
What is Jihad, according to these schools?
It is fighting the non-Muslim only, training to kill them.
Those young men, whether Afghani or Pakistani Muslims, they do not understand what the Holy Quran says, but read it only, not understanding the meanings, and their teachers instruct them that killing the non-Muslim is your sure way to heaven.
Of course, then the enemy was an infidel communist, who do not admit to religion, so, the story is reasonable; kill your infidel enemy, and not only an infidel, but an occupier…
So, those young men, young in age, experience, knowledge, and education, were exploited, forming an effective weapon to push out the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan…
But the problem is that those schools are still there, giving the same lessons, spreading the same poisons in to the minds of simple people, telling them that Islam is a religion of violence, killing, and terror against all non-Muslims…without understanding the Quran, and what's in it, of a great humanitarian message, of peace, and love.
How come that we, Arab Muslims, have lived since thousands of years with Christians and other religions, in our countries in peace, without violence?
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict isn't religious, but they tried to put it in the guise of religion. (Muhammad was Arabic, living in our land, the books talking about him are many, clear and comprehensible.
The Holy Quran is Arabic, and comprehensible.
Why weren't we terrorists all our lives? Why was a deformed picture of Islam sent there? Why did the American government support manufacturing that deformed picture? Why was that picture used in the Media, so that whenever the word "Islam" comes into the news broadcast, we hear words like "extremist" or "fundamental" with it? As our British teacher…..from South Africa says?
Why weren't we, the Arabs, with the message of Muhammad living among us, implemented in our lives, the sample of Muslims in the Media?
Why was Islam deformed, making it the enemy No.1 after the fall of communism?
Why do we see, since 1990, that most conflicts in the world have an Islamic party? And it wasn't like that before the fall of communism?
Even the war between Iraq and Iran, two Muslim countries, started by the devising and encouragement of the American government to Saddam Hussein.
Even the backwards government of Taliban, that deformed Islam, assumed power in Afghanistan by the support of the American government.
Do the people are stupid??
When people come to our countries, they find out the amount of peace in the hearts of Muslims, and the amount of mercy. The Arab and Islamic people still honor the guest, respecting and welcoming, even if he was a citizen of a western country whose government is an enemy, and their history is full of injustice against us…
But Al-Zarqawi and Bin Laden are the deforming children of Islam… they are the children of the American government; she produced them, raised them, and then turned them into bombs, planting corruption, destruction, and evil, in the name of Islam….
Islam is innocent of all that….
And one day, the truth shall be revealed to all…..
After all this, I started to believe that one of the priorities of the nationalist tasks in Iraq now, is to expose the truth of the existence of those deformers, then throwing them out of Iraq, immediately…if they truly exist…
The Iraqi arena is very clear without them…we know exactly that our only enemy is that occupation, and it should be turned out of the country by any possible means, Al-Qida'a has nothing to do with us, if they killed the occupiers because they are infidels, that is their concern, with which we have no connection….
We resist the occupation because it is hateful, wanting to rob us of our freedom, wealth, and our independence, and religion has no connection here….
Resisting the occupation and throwing it out of the country is a legitimate right of all nations on earth…
And the story of Al-Zarqawi and Al-Qida'a in Iraq were invented only to take away that right from our hands.
For many days I remained annoyed by the picture I saw of Afghanistan, and the people there…someone delivered the wrong message about Islam to them there.
We are Muslims, the followers of Muhammad, and to us learning is a right and a duty upon every Muslim, man and woman.
Going to doctors is necessary, taking medicine with our faith in GOD, and His WILL…
Women learn, work, and go out to markets, in the normal limits that are neither overmuch, or reckless.
Dealing in drugs is forbidden in Islam; planting it, marketing, or using it…
Everything there is upside down, and deformed… I got a headache, and bewilderment…
These people need someone to go there, to them, and teach them the true Islam that we know, as we learned it from our fathers and grandfathers, and mothers, the Islam that we read in Quran, and the Arabic books of the Prophet's speeches.
I wonder what is happening to the world?
I used to think there is a misunderstanding about Islam…
But I discovered that there is another Islam, one that was invented there…in that "Wonder madrasa", totally different from the one we know…
I don't know… should I laugh, or cry??
I don't know… how do the beautiful things get distorted… and trampled under feet?
I don't know what a lying, falsified world is surrounding us, in which we live?
I only fear for the coming generations…always thinking of ways to get a shiny future for those generations?
Time is passing on, now it is 6:30 PM…
We are standing in the New York train station.
The passengers who were sitting by me got off the train…I talked a lot with them, told them I am from Iraq, they were nice and friendly, told me they were Jews, that Abraham the Prophet used to live in Iraq.
Yes, I said, he is the grandfather of the Arabs and the Jews.
They said: So, we are cousins!
Our religious habits are similar, and we respect all Prophets….
They kept talking to me, asking me from time to time if I needed any help, or assistance, or if I want to go to have tea in the cafeteria… I was happy with their company…they asked about my children, their ages, and what do they study…
Then, they got ready to get down in New York, telling me in Arabic: Al-Sallamu Alaykum, (Peace Be upon You).
I laughed and said: Ma'aa Al-Salamma! (Go in Safety!).
A little while ago, another passenger passed in front of me, a very old man who was listening to our dialogue…he smiled as he carried his bag and moved away: Al-haaa'amdu Lilaah (Thank GOG), (he said it very laboriously in Arabic), and I took it he was trying to say Good bye, or something like that….
I laughed and said: Ma'aa Al-Salamma! (Go in Safety!).
The ticket inspector came, and asked: Hello, to Washington?
I said: yes. I took out the ticket out of my handbag, but she said: no need, dear, I believe you.
I see that people almost everywhere love peace, friendliness, and courtesy… but there are some who want to plant hatred among us….
Listen to this, there was a funny scene: A woman stood up and said: Please, I lost my purse, and I need money to get back home with my son, and so on…
That was a common story in Baghdad, we hear it often, some times we believe it, and some times we think them swindlers…
I found some people here busy, reading magazines, not responding…while others stood up and gave her something… I called her and gave her some money, and she said something like: Bless Jesus! And moved on to more people who gave her….
I can't tell if she was honest, or a con? GOD only knows…
Ha,ha,ha … Funny, how much people are alike?
There were some women sitting on the front seats, talking and laughing in a loud voice, like this…HA…HA…HA…
They seemed happy…. Living happy moments, without worries, without the house, the husband, or the children…like all the women of the world…the same feelings…and the same behaviors.
There was an old man who roamed the place for two hours now, seeming to have lost his place, and his luggage. I think he was a senile old man….the inspector took his hand to help him, but he went back to walk along the seats, like a distracted man.
I wonder where his family and children are? I feel sorry for him…….
There were some young women sitting behind me, leafing through a fashion magazine, and babbling in a non-English language.
And behind me there was a woman who has been talking on her cellular phone for over an hour now, in a broken English language, perhaps she is from East Asia…
There was also an old woman who was sitting on the seat near the toilet door, I went to wait there, and she asked me, and found out my life history after 10 minutes, she said after reading the pamphlets of the institute where I was: It is an excellent institute, and that was a happy opportunity when I got acquainted with you, my dear, we are all the children of One GOD, we are all brothers and sisters….
Hummm… these people are always supporting my philosophical theory.
Peace shall come upon earth, build by all the people like those, in Iraq, and in other countries… those are the peace builders by nature.
Peace is the only choice for the people of earth, but there should be no peace without justice. We do not want turning, twisting, lies, speeches, and empty words; there is no peace without justice…..
That was the most important point we learned in the institute during the 3- weeks.
Thank GOD, Who sent me here to learn, and open my eyes…
Peace be upon you all...............
Translated by May/Baghdad.

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