06 January 2007

four years on

the following post made me want to cry.

By Baghdad Burning, 'End of Another Year'

You know your country is in trouble when:

1. The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.

2. Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.

3. The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.

4. The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.

5. An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.

6. Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.

7. For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.

8. Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.

9. People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.

A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted...

Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

i feel a need to apologize profusely to the iraqis, but i am not sure what i am apologizing for.. or what difference it would possibly make..

04 January 2007


two days ago i had lunch at a lebanese restaurant with sanjee, who had just come back from geneva. i cannot remember the last time i had felafel and baba ghanouj. george wassouf was playing in the background, and sanjee was talking about rumi. sigh. those two hours were bliss, stolent moments of another time.

since graduating in 2003, i have not been back to cairo. i really want to be back there, but i am waiting for a reason .. i simply cannot go back for a holiday, that would feel weird. what i mean (i think) is that i don't want to be a tourist there. i want to belong. i want to live there, be a part of the city as i once was. plus, many of my friends are no longer there, others come and go.

perhaps i should try to find some conference to attend : p

02 January 2007

saddam's death = victor's justice

before coming across some strange reactions to saddam's execution, i had no intention of blogging about the issue. i have no great insights to offer, but i at least know the difference between the icc and the world court. if persons unaware of this difference can make statements regarding saddam's death and the tragedy of iraq, i should be brave enough to blog. particularly since this blog was meant to aid me in articulating my thoughts.

yes, saddam's execution bothers me. yes, his farcical trial bothers me. what bothers me the most however, is that there are so many people who are not concerned by (or are unaware of) this.

if saddam's trial had truly been fair, he would not have been prosecuted for only the dujail massacre. if he had been prosecuted for all his crimes, including the destruction of the iraqi communist party and his invasion of iran, the terrible roles played by america, britain and other nations would have been revealed. saddam was a terrible dictator, but those who supported him are no better. genuine justice demands that all those involved in crimes are punished. and genuine justice is not the same as victor's justice.

i am astounded when i hear comments such as 'of course his trial was fair' or 'yes, there are other dictators who were not punished for their crimes, but anyway, it was saddam's time to die'. how can i argue with someone about saddam's sham trial when she is unaware of the principles of fair trial? and how can i argue with the notions of karma and fate?