Friday, March 25, 2005

Dear Faiza,
Two years ago the thought of impending war made me ill. No one here seemed to care. My brother and a few others, yes, but most just thought I was crazy to be so upset.
Now, very few Americans seem happy about the war. Many of my customers--I teach and sell pianos and organs-- have sons in Iraq or just returned from Iraq or going to Iraq. Many going are middle aged--40s and 50s.
One customer--who went to George Bush's Inauguration, so she is a Republican-- said her 70 year old husband received a letter from the government requesting that he go to Iraq to train policemen. Her husband is a retired policeman. When they look for 70 year old men, the war is not so popular. But will it ever end? What will be left of Iraq? the people? the land? American democracy? Ignorance is everywhere.
The US had an election, it was all legal, George Bush won.
I just spoke to a customer-- the husband is Palestinian and they are moving to Canada. They have lost hope.
Some days, I have hope for peace--from individual people --then the government and the media whip up emotions and everyone is a "terrorist" that needs to be killed.

Ignorance is the villian and the worst ignorance is not just in the head, but a closed heart. A child is ignorant because he does not know; adults are ignorant because they refuse to know.
Pray for Peace.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Monday, March 21, 2005
Good evening…
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq.
I remembered the first moments of air raids on Baghdad, in the dawn of the 20th of March, 2003. These moments are still alive in memory. And I wondered how the time passed, the longest and heaviest two years in my life.
Many events happened, that I can’t believe they were only two years.
The years usually pass quickly…. But it seems that the hard times seem longer, and slower, than the happy times.
In many countries around the world yesterday, there were protestations and demonstrations against the war on Iraq. There were reports in magazines, newspapers, and satellite channels in many countries.
As for Iraq itself, well, it is living in some other mazes…
The new government is still not formed yet, because there are some disagreements between the men of the election’s victorious lists, over the details, (and as the saying goes: the devil resides in details).
There is the conflict about Karkook, the oil in it, and who shall take charge of the oil income there, (everybody is fighting about her,
As if it was the hen that lays the golden eggs!).
Iraq is witnessing demonstrations against Jordan, the Jordanian flag was burned in Baghdad, and many other cities in the south, and the council was withdrawn from the embassy, to Amman, in fear for his life.
An extraordinary matter??
Were is the logic in all these behaviors?? We destroy our relations with our neighbors, with whom we had strong connections for centuries, why? And In this particular timing??
The media is showing pictures of angry Iraqis burning the flag, holding banners bearing hostile, very impolite words. As if this is a campaign full of hate, to escalate the situation, since when did all this hate accumulate?
In just one week??
To whose benefit are these actions, without wisdom, or logic??
And who leads them??
There is an illogical story about the martyrdom of a Jordanian young man, whose parents didn’t really understand whether he really died, or is he still alive.
Did he really blow himself up, or died as a victim of an explosion?
The story does not bear any material evidence… but, there is someone who wants to invest it to escalate the hate against some people…
Why? No one knows…
Why didn’t the media film a demonstration against the occupation, for example, or against the unemployment, the lack of security, or the administrative corruption… for two years?
Are the Iraqis satisfied with everything in their lives, and only Jordan became a priority in their problem list, so they directed animosity against her?
Then again, we have suffered two years of bombings, and suicidal attackers from all nationalities, so why was the situation escalated now, directing people’s attention, inside and abroad, to this case?
There are some religious leaders, who entered Iraq after the war, they have militias, and they are capable of moving these militias in demonstrations, concerning some specific agenda, which is perhaps the furthest from the Iraqi people’s benefit, but they want to give the world the impression that those are the representatives of the whole people’s opinion, or the majority of it.
Are these political follies, or political meanness?
GOD only knows their aims.
I feel sad and hurt when I see the ignorance of our people…
Ignorant people… or allows an ignorant faction to take the lead in the media, as if they represent the majority’s opinion.
And in the truth of the matter, most Iraqis are wondering: what is this? Why is this happening?
Now I can understand why the world despises our people…
Because there is an internal media first, then abroad, which is active in conveying these ugly pictures about us….
Those ignorants themselves are the same who clapped for Saddam Hussein for 30 years…giving the world the impression that we are an ignorant, coward, two faced people…
Now, and after the war, the likes of them ran, plundering the palaces and the vases. Huh, Huh, Huh. I can not forget the story of the comic vases, then they robbed the banks, and stole people’s lives and possessions after the plundering play was over, those same people now, or at least people of the same perceptions, stand before the cameras, happy as if they were heroes, burning the flags and stepping on them, as if this would solve all the un-solvable problems of Iraq….
They have no minds…….
The minds were absent, there were non but cattle, shouting, deforming our image…… deforming our voices… because they monopolized the screen, as if saying: those are the Iraqis….
But the truth is, the Iraqis are innocent of what is happening….
The intelligent, peaceful Iraqis, patient against harm… who do not speak…but pull themselves away from this propaganda, and these silly, comedy plays. They remain away from the screen, in respect to themselves, and in fear at the same time…
And I see, we all see with our eyes, how the process of misleading the people is carried out, the losing of priorities, getting people busy with petty subjects, fighting imaginary enemies….
This is what is happening in Iraq now…a lesson to us all, so our eyes would be open, to see how the people’s fate and future are being played with, losing their priorities, using the petty, ignorant factions, to become the instruments of achieving vicious plans….
And we all are watching, stunned: what is happening in Iraq? Where is it going to?
There were supposed to be elections, then the formation of a new government, a parliament, the start to write a new constitution, controlling security and the administrative corruption, solving the unemployment problems, repairing the smashed economy, and infrastructure…….and an endless list of demands, to reestablish life in the torn body of the country…
But look…what the new leaderships that came to Iraq are doing? Where are they dragging the people? How are they handling the situations???
GOD only knows what awaits Iraq, a dark future, if it remains under the leadership of these amazing mentalities, who live in the middle ages, full of hate, and darkness….
Iraq, along with many Arab States, needs new leaderships, with new minds, and new visions…so we could lift up our heads, and talk to the world, with a clear, cultural, understandable language…. Not a language of the lying mob…
When our governments stop using and investing the mob, who are like cattle without minds, without thoughts, merely walking everyday behind a different Shepard, like Ali Bin Abi Talib says, Peace be upon him.
When our governments stop treating us like mindless idiots…wanting to drag us to places far- off from the mind, or the common benefit. For they would be laughing at themselves, not realizing that people are no longer fools…
The world has become a small village…communications are continuous between nations… it is no longer possible to hide something, or trick people to see it as something else….
The world is moving forwards…. And only an idiot leader would think he can stop time…
Saddam Hussein used to prohibit the use of satellite, mobile phone, and the internet… for Iraqis, thinking this would give him the ability to remain forever…
No one stays forever, my dear… except GOD, the Creator of people…and all else will pass on.
If Saddam Hussein was more democratic…his regime wouldn’t have fallen so easily…he would have found some defenders among Iraqis.
Democracy is a healthy system for both sides… people and governments. Real democracy builds a correct relation, opening an account of trust and respect between people and the government. But dictatorship, or a false, deformed democracy, opens an account full of cheating, lying, and injustice, between people and governments…
So, governments would fall, sooner or latter, with nobody feeling sorry for them…let them go to hell.
My heart is sad for what is happening in Iraq, and many other Arab states… our history is full of torture, dictatorship, and abuse… people inherited fear, generation after generation…exactly just like the nations in the west inherit freedom, generation after generation…
I read the old Arabic history, and wonder: since when these nations are sinking under fear and injustice??
Since the Umayyad state, then the Abbasid, the moguls, Ottomans, the British and French colonization, the national, unjust, tyrant governments? Why??
Are we dumb nations, allowing something like this to happen, by our will? Or is it that GOD cursed us with lying, cruel leaders, whenever one of them left, another would come, more cruel, and more of a liar?
I do not know… I do not want to lose hope in these people… there must come a day when they would wake up from their slumber…and stop this comedy in its tracks…the comedy of accepting tyrant, unjust rulers, clapping for them on TV. Screens, while the hearts hated them.
This nation needs a moment of truth with its self, to become free from what she is sinking under; slavery, surrender, and stupid ness.
It is about time that Iraq should be free of the ruler worship mentality, believing all his stories, even if they were made up. That who broke down the idol, should not go back to worship another… That who brakes down the idols… should open his eyes well, and wouldn’t agree to play the role of the fool again…. Shouldn’t agree at all…if he respects himself…if he wanted to build a shiny, true future for his country, and his children.
Iraqis must wake up, and not allow the dark history to repeat itself all over again.
Goodbye foolishness, and ignorance…goodbye lying, cheating, and injustice, this is the required motto for Iraqis, in the coming stage, so they would be able to change the stupid, foolish minds, in which we sank, for long, dark decades of time……
Isn’t it enough, what we have seen, and endured? Are we going to push ourselves in a new, dark tunnel, all over again? Aren’t we fit to be like other nations, who live freely, peacefully, on earth, nations who wake and sleep to the tunes of freedom, while we got used to wake and sleep to the tunes of fear, and slavery.
People make their own fates…
When shall we decide this??
And when shall we start achieving it?
I wish I had the answer….
Translated by May/ Baghdad.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Good evening…
The weather in Baghdad and Amman is similar these days… heavy rainfall, then, a bright summer sun, then back to winter and cold. The weather is in a turning mood. Like a person going through one phase of age to another, different one. This is what the weather does, moving from winter to spring….as if universe is ruled by the same laws, for the weather, planets, and creatures…. change and transformation… are characteristics that remain with everybody, as long as they are alive.
Only GOD is constant, without changes….
The news from Baghdad is still not happy. There are still some car explosions, occurring every now and then, by trapped cars in front of mosques or hospitals, killing Iraqi civilians.
These are operations carries out by criminals, who have nothing to do with Islam, nor the love of Iraq, and GOD will reveal them all one day.
Those people are nothing but the enemies of Iraq, and Islam, to deform their image, and destroy then more and more.
The parties who won the elections, (the Shia’at’s, Kurds. And Sunnies) are still in conflict, and hasn’t reached any agreement yet. I do hope these wouldn’t be conflicts to gain some faction’s narrow material benefits. Iraq is going through a difficult phase, and the mentality of the narrow, self benefit should be passed, for the interest of Iraq comes first, its security, independence, and settling are the priorities now, and all else are worthy of postponement, until other circumstances.
Then, there is the news of tensions in the relations with Jordan, because of a mysterious, non-comprehensible story, about the death of a Jordanian young man in Iraq, in mysterious circumstances; some say he was a martyr in an operation against the occupation soldiers, while some say he blew up a trapped car, killing Iraqi civilians. I see that the story carries the marks of someone who wants to disfigure the relations between Iraq and Jordan, opening a new door of intrigue. Isn’t it enough, what we are going through?
There was also the news of punishing some American soldiers, for killing Iraqi civilians, by throwing them into the river, so they drowned, or were shot dead, merely for violating the curfew, for instance.
How many innocent Iraqis went as the victims of the follies, and rushing behavior of American soldiers, for two years, till now?
But the equation of the matter always looks like this: This is an American soldier, so, he is above questioning, and this victim is an Iraqi? Huh…who cares?? If the victim was an American soldier, the media would have talked about his sad family, and their noble feelings, crushed by their son’s death; they would have spoken about his noble manners, his friends who would miss him, his piano, or bass, on which he used to play. They would have shown his picture, along with his mother, crying…..
But for the Iraqi? Hummmm. He might as well be just a petty creature, worthless, nameless, without a picture of him to show, or a crying mother. Nothing… who would suppose he had a family, friends, a music instrument to play, a basket ball or football team, in which he was a player??
The media is leading this war, before the tank, and the artillery.
The media is still working…and deforming as they wish.
Who owns these media?? Who directs them??
Who pays them??
Perhaps the people in the west know the answer better than I do……
Yesterday noon, as was going home, I saw a flower shop… there were some beautiful, seasonal flowers, just opening their blossoms…
I bought a colorful bouquet, with many kinds…and two sunflowers, oh, how much I love them! Their faces shine, as if smiling to the sun, and life…
I put the bouquet in my lap, as I took a taxi. I looked at it, wondering: Is there something more beautiful than flowers?
Memory took me back long years ago, as I looked into the faces of my sons, when they were babies, as I carried them in my arms, and gazed into their faces, as every mother would, smiling, telling myself: Blessed be GOD, the Best of Creators.
Then, yesterday, I wondered in my mind: GOD the GREAT Created these beautiful things, and Created criminals, and monsters?
Great Creator. He is the Master of decision, and I do not always understand His Wisdom.
I sometimes wish this earth had only beautiful flowers, innocent children, and good people.
Then, I consider again: This is earth, not heaven!
I am now reading a book I bought in a bookstore in the U.A E., (thanks to the friend who showed it to me). The book is called:” The seven habits of highly effective people”, written by “Stephen Covey”.
The book is amazing…it kept me glued to it, pulling me out of my business, just like when you meet some amazing person in your life, so you would stand still, listening to him, abandoning everything in your hands.
This is what I did, when I started reading this book.
Well, it seems like an entry into the western mentality in life, and business, the relations between people; (family, friends, and business colleagues). But I see it as the evidence of the similarity of people, in every spot on this planet.
I see the same mentality in the creative people in our country, as few as they are, and the book also says they are few, in the west! Otherwise, the author wouldn’t have been so famous. Because he speaks with the mind of a person who walked through the trials of life, collecting experience, (in most cases, he gave examples from life to explain some point he mentioned).
I said to one of my friends here: If I didn’t find this book, I would have written one like it, perhaps in some ten years time. Ha,Ha,Ha.
Most of the time, I nodded my head while I was reading… how honest he is, and how real?
The author divides the life of a human on his way to maturity into 3 phases: first- depending on the others, then, depending on one’s self, then, lastly, supporting the others.
A human lives the first phase while young, weak, and without experience. Then comes the second one, which is important in my view, and only a few people could pass it through, and make use of it, so they can join in the last phase. The people who take the lead in the last phase are those who were successful in the second, undoubtedly, because they are the most brave, and able to carry the responsibility.
The author says; there are differences between people, according to their mental view to life, and what their reactions would be to those views. Some would sink into the circle of distress, becoming negative, and hesitant, others would be brave, bold, and with a clear influencing circle.
The difference between them would be that the negative would wait for outside factors to push him to do a good act. While the second, who believes in the spirit of initiative, who believes that change comes from inside of us, pushing us to the outside, aiding us in change, and reforming the defects of our lives.
The author sees a necessity for each of us to own a clear vision about one’s life, future, and the path he shall take, calling this (the mission of life), for people, and institutions. Meaning, for example: I want to be a good, successful mother, bringing up my children to become useful people, to serve their society, and be happy with their relation with me, for I would be their friend, when they would grow older, a faithful wife to my husband, a faithful friend to my friends, a helpful, supporting sister to my brothers and sisters, when in need, an understanding manager for my employees, and, a creature who has faith in GOD, obedient to HIM as much as I can, offering help to every weak person, and in need. My mission now is to help Iraqis to pass this difficult stage, and I shall study all that would be useful to me, in re-building the after-war society, transforming the country from the state of chaos and fighting, to the state of peace, making every possible effort to achieve this.
This, for example, is the mission of my life.
I know it is a difficult task, and one we can not handle, perhaps in a long period of life, and experiences, the mission of life becomes more clear. And I know that a lot of people live without a mission in life. They would live and die without knowing why they came, and where are they going?
It is really something sad….
But I see this as something justified in nations who live under ignorance, backwardness, and injustice for tens, or perhaps hundreds of years, until they have lost the meaning of life…and its mission.
But I do see it strange, that some people in the west live without a life’s mission?
What made them lose their path? The loss of religion, values, or the right teachings in their lives? I don’t know…
I used to think that freedom alone is good enough for people to live happy. But I discovered that not all people are happy, in countries full of freedom.
And in countries such as the ones we live in… the smart, positive person would live threatened…facing some choices… either he would collide with the state, in some stage of his life, and they would hurt him, or he might work for them, becoming a petty loud speaker, or, he might pull himself away from the social and political life, and live with his dignity, as we used to do in the times of Saddam Hussein. Or, he might immigrate to the west, to work and live with dignity, finding someone to adopt and respect him.
The book I am talking about today made me convinced that Man can not live without values. Even the western societies, who separated religion from the state, went back again and re-established the same values religion talked about. Truthfulness, sincerity, love, mercy, building confidence, honesty, and removing oneself from hypocrisy, and other positive aspects, became the daily life vocabulary between people, in their relations with families, work, neighbors, and others. While we were societies ruled clearly by religion, so, what was the difference?
Aren’t the scales unified? Isn’t cheating the same, here and there? Isn’t being unfaithful in marriage the same? Isn’t our love of our children, our anxiety to bring them up well, and protect them from corruption the same, here and there?
So, what is the difference, then??
Perhaps the difference is that Man there chooses to be free, without hypocrisy, choosing all the good values by his choice. And in the states where religion is a basic factor in evaluating people, hypocrisy moves in, to the pity, and deforms the beauty, honesty, and spontaneity of things.
Why did religion come to be? It is supposed to have come so that Man would become more free of fear, from having to refer to hypocrisy, (fear is from GOD alone, not from the creatures), so he would make his acts better, in front of people, and in secret, and not merely in front of people, thus becoming a hypocrite.
The defect is not in religion, but in the people, and how they implement the instructions of religion.
Today, the most important items became about keeping the rituals, (fasting, praying, the Hajj-making the pilgrimage-, and others), but the spirit of religion was lost, in many cases, like having mercy to one another, pure loving, helping the weak, standing in the face of the unjust, honesty, sincerity, and planting confidence.
People (in our Islamic societies) became deformed, keeping up religion in their houses; praying, fasting, memorizing Quran, while in their trading, and other daily dealings, they might perhaps forget religion, or omit it. That who has the ability would marry two, three, or four women, and also open up companies as much as the wives, no longer thinking much about what calamities are facing Islam, and the accusations against it, that it is a religion of terror and killing, as if that man’s motto in life is : why should I care? The important thing is My self….
People became afraid to go into these subjects, preferring their closed, personal lives, instead of wading into useless arguments. People are turning towards being negative and selfish, and fearful….as if they do not see, nor hear, nor talk. And these are the characteristics of crushed nations, whose will-power was taken away, and nobody respects their opinions. Religion has nothing to do with the matter….so it wouldn’t be said that these nations moved backwards because of religion’s influence upon them.
People here, in the Islamic countries are under pressure from their governments so they wouldn’t talk more than a permitted line. You are permitted to dance, sing, buy or sell, pray in your house, or marry four times; these are permitted, but, do not interfere in politics, or the performance of the governments, that is prohibited.
The governments here are under pressure from the west, especially from America, to stop people from expressing their anger, for example, against what is happening in Iraq or Palestine….. That is forbidden talk. And this created a big gap between most people and the Arabic/Islamic governments.
People have different opinions from those of the governments. And America is pushing the governments, so the governments would push the people to keep them silent, without objections.
A few weeks ago, I saw a program on an Arabic satellite channel, (the Abu Dhabi channel), talking about the contradiction in the relations between the Arabic nations and their governments, with the United States. Then, there was some voting in some countries (Egypt, Morocco, Turkey), that revealed (for example, in Egypt, 81%), a majority of people against America, hating the American administration, and how it handled the Middle-East cases, its support of Israel against the Arabs, its war on Iraq, its pressure upon the Arabic governments to prevent democracy from being achieved in the Arabic countries, so, no government-opposing vice would be heard. And on the same time, the governments of those people enjoy strong relations with the American administration.
The people themselves say that they do not hate the American people, nor their culture, so, they wouldn’t mind sending their children to study, or work there, but, the people have feelings of anger and resent against the American administration, (and I do not think this means only the present administration, for all the former administrations behaved the same way, for tens of years).
Really, it is a sad thing…..
The American administration talks about the democracy they want to deploy in the Middle East, but this seems to come in special measurements, designed and carried out by the American administration’s tailor, so, the Arabic governments should wear it, while the Arabic people are angry, and unsatisfied…
When will the voices of the angry get out, to be heard by the whole world?
And on the same time, the American administration is carrying out an unjust campaign against the Arabs, and against Islam, deforming their picture through the different media means, (Newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV.). Putting pressure aiming in the direction of separating religion from the state.
Isn't this an intrusion, compulsion, and dictation? Each nation has its culture, history, and way of life. Is everyone supposed to wear the American dress, to get approval? Should we change ourselves, so America would approve of us, to open the doors of dialogue, and extend the bridges?
These are strange conducts, as further as can be from democracy. I do not know who invents them?
The way is: give up your identity, religion, history, culture, and I shall recognize your existence, and approve of you!!
Is this a way of dialogue between nations? Or is it a new type of tyranny, and monopolization?
That who lives in the Middle East countries sees the picture like this… but for those who live in the west, GOD only knows how the picture reaches them. And if the way of dealing goes on like this, there won't be peace among nations… one party is arrogant, thinking himself on the right side, another party is trying to explain his view point, and the first party wouldn't listen to the first. We call this a dialogue among deaf people. Useless….. a blocked dialogue.
Next week, the Friday prayers shall be held in a mosque in New York, the Friday sermon, then leading the prayers shall be by a Muslim American woman, a professor in religious and philosophical studies, in the Virginia University. Men and women shall be present in the prayers.
The situation is new, and confusing to the Muslims, for usually the prayers are led by a man, and I think a woman is allowed to lead the prayers for women only. But this is anew situation.
I shall be asked: What do you think?
And I smile and say: if this would have happened in the Muslim countries, we would have discussed it as a special issue for Muslims, but in the western countries, I do not know…
The story has other justifications…away from religion, and endeavor.
The subject wants to evoke conflicts, and endless discussions, about women, and women's rights… and playing with words.
I do not like getting into such debates, right in its face, but rotten in its core.
Here, silence would be the best answer.
Translated by May/ Baghdad.

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