Saturday, May 28, 2005

Good evening
After I put my last post about Conrad and his book
I have received many emails, most of them were positive, and supporting, little of them were from angry, who were soooo proud of their selves and their mentality
One of them said about that novel it was the bad one!
And the other said thank us who make you read books and travel
Poor shallow people, I really pity them, they are still living in the old concept that they ARE the leaders of humanity
And they sent the sun for Iraq after their great war , bringing light and knowledge for poor Iraqis..
These kind of people, will be defeated one day..
Sooner on later, they will go out of existence
And there will be peace and freedom for all nations from these sick minded bugs!
wish you all a nice day

Friday, May 27, 2005

Saturday, May 21 st, 2005
Sometimes, similar events occur simultaneously, evoking one question.
I was reading an old, but very famous novel in the west, the author is Josef Conrad, (a British from a Polish origin), the novel's title is "the Heart of Darkness", published in 1899. In it he talks about the White Man's mentality towards other civilizations, especially in the colonies. The novel talks about Africa, and the British occupation there; the men who went under the slogans: we carry mercy, science, knowledge, and civilizations to ignorant nations. While they were ransacking the wealth of these miserable countries, leaving them in swamps of hunger, diseases, ignorance, and darkness…mercilessly…without science, or progress.
And this is the mission of capitalism, or imperialism, that sucks the blood of the poor nations, looking at them with contempt, while announcing their official mission to the world to be: the cause of bringing progress, science, and mercy to these countries?
That was Conrad's notion in the novel.
Hummm. Doesn't this talk seem familiar to us?
Especially we in Iraq?
We, whom war was waged against us, for reasons of salvation and mercy against the unjust tyrant, to bring democracy and progress to us??
Conrad portrayed this case with rare honesty… how did he escape the heritage of that western mentality?
I think this is the characteristic of the smart artist, how he sees things in an abstract way, without lying, or falsification.
Conrad says, by the speech of his major character in the novel: (…in his argument, he started by the notion that we -the white people- taking off from the point of progress we reached, should appear to them – the savages- in the guise of supernatural creatures, we must take them by force, like the force of the gods… and thus, by the simple applying of our determination, we can create an invincible power….
The speech was wonderful, it made me experience an imaginary greatness, ruled by a majestic tendency…it made me intoxicate with fervor, this was the power of the unbeatable rhetoric…the power of words, noble, flaming words…..).
As for me, I say that this reminds me of the leaders of the present American administration, in their noble, flaming, fluent speeches.
Of course, this enthusiastic man, who gave this fluent speech in the novel, came under the cover of mercy, science, and progress to Africa, but he spent his life trading secretly in Ivory, making his fortune from that trade, while putting the skulls of African men on the fence of his house, whom he calls: the rebellions!
If I could have read this novel ten years ago, perhaps it wouldn't have meant a thing to me…but after the war on Iraq, facing the west and its mentality face to face…I understood Conrad more now….and I see the same mentality is still there…
And as Kipling said, (a British writer with Conrad), his famous parable: the East is east, and the West is west, but they won't meet… as for Conrad, it is as if he said in his novel: Yes, they would meet, but in an ugly way, in an un-fair relation, where there is exploitation, and fortune plundering.
Or, a relation of master and slave….
Did this equation change, while we are in the 21 st century?
Then, I saw the movie of " Lawrence of Arabia" on an Arabic satellite channel yesterday… in it I saw the same sick western mentality, that wants to "market" the idea that the white man came to free the ignorant, bringing them from darkness to light…
I have previously read the famous Lawrence diary : The Seven Columns of Wisdom, in Baghdad. I wrote a post about it, several months ago… in it I said he was an honest man, who loved Arabs and helped them in their revolution against the Ottoman rule, but he felt ashamed by the British administration for letting him down, fooling the Arabs, giving them a lip-spoken promise of independence, after the fall of the Ottoman state, and the end of World War I, then retracting back from their promises, occupying the Arab states, without giving them independence.
The question is: Don't they fell ashamed from these behaviors? How would a person have credibility while being a lire, and a promise – denier?
Would they see it as smartness, and intelligence? We see this as a big defect, and a trait of respectable men.
And today, when I hear one of the western leaders talking about morals, principals, and human rights, I smile.
How could these people be believed? How do they change their skins so fast?
I do not know…
Anyway, the movie is old, perhaps I have seen it as a young girl, and believed what's in it, as others would. But yesterday, I sat, amazed, as I watched it…
There were countless lies in it… and the sad thing was, that Omar Sheriff had an important role in it, how did he agree for the film to be presented in this dishonest way about the Arabs? Was he perhaps facing two choices: either to bear principals and refuse to act, unless the false details in the film would be changed, or to forget the principles, for the sake of becoming an international actor.
Would he get such a chance again?
And obviously he chose fame and money, in stead of arguments, patriotism, and correcting the vision of the director or the producer in the film.
In the real diaries of Lawrence, he speaks truthfully about the Arabs; their manners, their good treatment of others, their patriotism, and honesty… I could not smell a scent of contempt or scorn in it. He spoke of constant meetings between Prince Faisal and his father, Al-Shareef Al-Hussein bin Ali, and Prince Abdullah Bin Al-Hussein, and other Arab leaders at the time. Then there were his meetings with nationalist men, Iraqis and Syrians, most of whom left the Turkish army and had fighting skills, intelligence, and national ambitions to be independent from Turkey, they discussed many plans to work together, asking Lawrence to provide them with weapons from Britain, and the men were ready….
But the movie showed Lawrence to be the only hero, and the axis of every thing.
In the movie, people get killed for drinking water from the well of some tribe…and that is not true.
The tribes in the desert usually honor the stranger, and give him the right of hospitality for three days, not kill him for drinking water while passing by! The Bedouins (or Nomads) had rules we all know, about using water, fire, and grass, for cattle pasturing. All of these are common, used by everyone without monopoly…
Then, the talk about Al-Huwaita'at Tribe, and its leader…Ouda Bu Tayeeh. They portrayed him as a bandit thieve, without principals, looking only for material gains, not caring to fight the Ottoman occupation, but thinking about the golden coins that shall be paid to him.
I asked my Jordanian friend, whose family comes from the "Rum" valley, where the events of the movie took place, about their customs about water and wells, and about Ouda Bu Tayeeh's reputation in Jordan. She said: Do not believe this movie, it is all lies, Bu Tayeeh has a clean reputation; he was a generous, patriotic man…and everybody respects him, and his tribe.
So, I went back once more to the point of Mentality. When the producer or the director read Lawrence's book, about his experience in the Arabian Peninsula, they understood the story according to their mentality, so they manufactured the movie within this ridicules vision, far away from truth and reality.
In a scene in the movie: during their march in the desert towards Aqaba, they lost a man, and refused to go back for him, but Lawrence, stubborn against them, went back alone, facing all dangers, and returned with him. This is to portray the Arabs as cruel, who do not know mercy… and stupid, surrendering to a non-negotiable fate, meaning: that their brains are idle, not able to discuss, or try to change…. While the white man, the European, knows mercy, and rationality in handling matters.
And when a Turkish air raid takes place on the tents camp, and the tribe's dwellings, Prince Faisal rides his horse, raises his sward, and yells in the face of the airplane, as if wanting to fight it by sward. Is this possible?
Are we that much naïve and fools?
Then, in another scene, Prince Faisal talks to the American journalist in the movie, saying: we had many casualties, because we do not carry the wounded with us, we kill them as we leave the battle field, because between us and the Ottomans there is no application of the Geneva Treaties of war prisoners.
What brought the Geneva Treaties here?
These days I read in a book about the international law, human rights, and the Geneva Treaties, that were formed finally, and approved in 1949, that talks about protecting the wounded in the battle fields…oh, yes, the beginning was in the Geneva conference in 1864, in Switzerland, but it was not approved, nor was observed until 1949, meaning; after World War II. While the events of the movie took place between the years: 1916-1918, (during World War I). And, at the end of the movie, they reached Damascus, and the Arab leaders fought among themselves, (Prince Ali, and Ouda Bu Tayeeh, the leader of Al-Huwaita'at Tribe), about distributing the possessions and prerogatives in Syria, and Lawrence shouted at them: Do not say this and that, say we are Arabs…
Ha,ha,ha…why are stories told upside down?
While our history, and our ancestors told us that Britain divided us, to conquer us?
Didn't the present occupation forces divide Iraq, since the first months when they entered it, in 2003, into Sunni Arabs, Shia'at Arabs, and Kurds?
While we, all our lives, identified our selves as Iraqis?
Then, when we travel outside Iraq, people began asking us, for the first time, this silly question: are you Sunnis, or Shia'ats? Arabs, or Kurds?
Who did this to us??
This is live history, we live in it since Baghdad fell…we weren't told that by books or movies…
A live history we live through, and still taste its bitterness everyday….
I doubt that the silly, negative remarks against the Arabs were written by Lawrence in his diaries, for I couldn't detect any smell of the superiority mentality in him, when I read his book more than once, that was devised by the movie's producer, or director, as a form of breaking boredom, and adding a special magic, the western way...
Translated by May/Baghdad.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Friday, May 20 th, 2005
Good morning….
News from Baghdad are still annoying and worrying, without settlement, or an apparent security improvement that makes us say that at last there is a new phase approaching…
The only new thing is that some Sunni leaders held a news conference two days ago, in which they accused some Shia'ats parties, who entered Iraq after the regime fell, saying they were responsible for a part of the assassinations and eliminations campaign in the Iraqi street, for more than two years…
The mentioned Shia'at party denied its relation to the subject…and the argument still goes on…
Some people see this as a bad step towards the worst in the general conditions of Iraq, but I see it as a positive step; for everyone to stand up and talk publicly…
As long as they do not sit down for an open, national dialogue, I mean, as long as their mental and emotional abilities hasn’t risen yet above selfishness and narrow interests, to think about Iraq, its people, and their fate, then let them quarrel publicly, accusing each other, and let the people watch… we want to see the truth at last, we want frankness and clearness; who is responsible for the assassinations campaign of scientists, doctors, clergy men, and general directors, (who are not necessarily former Bathists or symbols of the former regime). – (Oh, how much I hate these vicious expressions that were inserted by force as official terms for things in the new Iraq). There are a lot of victims who were independent men who had no black history.
Who has a hand, and an interest to assassinate them? This is how we always wondered, for more than two years now, without hearing an official answer from any one, whomever.
And now, the accusations appeared, well, then, this is a positive sign, and the accused is required to answer by "Yes", or "No"… instead of addressing some illusionary ghosts like Al-Zarqawi, for some people say he is just a lie, who doesn't exist, his kin know nothing of him, saying perhaps he died, a long time ago….
The party sides, and the others who dwell now in the Iraqi field, should clear their positions publicly on the issue of national reconciliation, and national unity. Everyone who posses their brains during this miserable chaos, know and clearly see that national reconciliation is a necessity, "it's a must", as they say.
And in coming periods, in months, or years, they shall admit it is the correct, rational path, the mature way to build a new unified, democratic Iraq, and whoever tries to play up this card, or jump over it…is a looser, no doubt…and a short sighted fool, as well!
I wish the accusations period would end up leading to the phase of sitting down at one table, and talking, face to face, looking for an answer to the question: if it weren't us who were fighting, and assassinating each other, then who was it? Is it someone from inside? Is it someone from outside?
If we are honest nationalists, and our hands are clean, unstained with Iraqi blood, then let's look for whoever is killing the Iraqis, and tearing at their unity, to expose and punish him.
Is this possible? Or am I speaking an incoherent language, and all around me the others are shouting with high voices, like a mob in sports event, or a battle, whose minds are obscured behind the lust of killing, hate, anger, violence, and intolerance, for one faction against another?
One day they will calm down, after this demonic spirit is quenched inside them, and then, they might have regrets, or not. When they look at the devastation and losses around them, which they contributed in achieving, one way or another, while they were unaware, blinded by mean, demonic whims… blinding their hearts, and eyes.
I wish this devilish, vicious spirit that has landed in Iraq would vanish, like it has landed in other countries, bringing only destruction, devastation, and painful memories, which were documented in countless books. You read about it, feeling your heart squeezed, and your eyes watering, suffering for humans, and how much follies they commit, while in an animalistic, inhuman state, when they might kill, rape, and destroy all around them, no matter if the victim was a child or an old man, a woman or a man…when all standards would vanish, and be absent, and the language of mind would fall….Killings according to identity cards on traitorous roadblocks, driving away of families, destruction of towns and villages, mass killings for various reasons, mistreated prisoners, their human pride insulted, and a lot more atrocities, for which the brow of humanity would sweat. Like what happened in the Lebanese civil war, the Bosnia-Herzegovina war, and the Rwanda war… and many more wars before those, filling the history books, shaming the human memory; the American civil war, the Spanish civil war, and the wars between the European countries, for tens of years, in dark centuries.
And the question is: Why wouldn't Man learn, and comprehend the lesson?
Why there is always someone who repeats the same follies, so innocent souls would be lost, bringing devastation and destruction instead of peace, prosperity, and security?
I do not know who has the answer, who has the responsibility. And who has the decision.
Translated by May/Baghdad.

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