madly in love with Iraq

10.12.06

The illusion

My early days in College in London were terrible. A complete lack of confidence, I kept a low profile in the class, I wouldn’t answer a question even if I was 100% sure of the answer. I was taken by my out spoken colleagues and their easy going attitude. I thought to myself “Where are you from the Brits you lousy Iraqi woman”.

Even my high grades later on did not lift me up. I thought I was studying like a donkey day and night and that was the least I could get.

I used to send 30 CV’s per day applying for jobs. And I joined more than four recruitment agencies.

It took me a while to get a job, and the bad recession in the late nineties did not help.

However, my life story wouldn’t be of interest to anyone, I don’t think, but what I discovered through my journey might be.

Common sense and practicality let alone dirtying my hands in everything were the qualities that kept me going, and left a good impression wherever I worked. Not my degree or qualifications, definitely not.

Mind you, these are the qualities of most Iraqis, I brought them with me, and somehow they are built-in I cannot change them even if I want to.
I still fix the photocopier at work instead of waiting for the engineer to come over, a skill I learned back home.

In the streets of Baghdad the first thing you notice is the old Japanese cars which are still running in Iraq today after more than 30 years of their make. My people invented parts and created methods to keep them going under the sanctions.
And do they admit it? No. They still think the credit goes to the Japanese. They opened shops to sew torn tires with wires and put them back on the road. The same goes for air-conditioning and air-coolers motors and so on.
Because of the hard life and the insecurity we went through all our lives we became harder than life itself.

The set backs though are many as well; being tough is not a virtue all the time.

We have this strong belief that people in the first World think better, understand more and consequently know exactly what they are doing!

It strikes me how some very educated and reasonable Iraqis still say “We believe that America is holding all the strings, and once they decide it is over, everything will fall into place”.

Even when they admit the total failure and the unquestionable disaster, even when they genuinely believe that America and its allies are the main cause of the daily killings; they still have hope in the Almighty advanced first World.

Say Iran or Syria in any Iraqi circle and you can immediately feel the electrified vibes.
“Those criminals, they ruined our country, they sent their fighters and intelligence inside Iraq and caused these miseries”.

Of course they would. They have the right to defend their existence; otherwise they will be the next on the list. They are part of the axis of evil or am I mistaken?

But Saudis and Kuwaitis are not mentioned in our bloody story, although they are financing the destruction of Iraq.
It suits America to say Hizballah is training the Mehdi army now, and I am not here to confirm or refute, but I am emphasizing on the timing.

It took America more than a year to admit the Iranian militia’s involvement in south Iraq.
Even when they say the truth, you have to question the intention behind it.

I call the above diplomacy. The same diplomacy that Col. Gathafi of Libya used and became an angel overnight and is free now to slaughter as many people as he wants.

The long years of tyranny, wars, sanctions and the current civil war taught us a lot about how to survive, but it did not teach us one bit about how to live.

Democracy means; the ability to accept being ruled by your opponent, we couldn’t handle this so far. What we did was voting for a bunch of antagonists, and we are no better as people, we are dealing with each other on the same basis.

We’ve been very clever in identifying our enemies inside and outside the country, but how to deal with them is the question.

Should we listen to the first World diagnosis? Fight fiercely with each other? Hate and despise whoever was the cause from our neighbours?

The first World has admitted defeat and the ball is in our court to rectify the mess.

At this stage nothing but diplomacy will turn our enemies to allies.

I wish I could say love can sort out our problems, but unfortunately diplomacy was never about love, it was always about tactics.

18 Comments:

  • Amazing post Hala!
    I know you lived so many years in UK but the way you think makes me feel you never left Iraq.

    By Anonymous miraj, at 11:01 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger nadia n, at 12:35 am  

  • yeah, i don't have much to add to your post overall but the first half reminds me of why iraqis are some of my favourite people ( maybe along with moroccans) and i'm not just bullshitting when i say that, there's a humility there that i think a lot of peoples could really learn from.

    truth though, nobody ever talks about saudi or jordan or kuwait. i wonder why.

    By Blogger nadia n, at 12:38 am  

  • Very good, Hala. I like your analysis of the situation. You speak the truth when you mention the timing of various announcements, and its clear that political advantage is sought more than finding a genuine solution to problems.

    By Blogger Bruno, at 6:53 am  

  • Hala, well written, my compliments. I agree with you on the concept that the ball is in our field now, especially after the only super power in the world admitted defeat in their war in Iraq.

    However, we need to know the right tactics on how to use that ball in order to reach the target and score the first wining goal.

    Will people like Maliki, Hakeem, Muqtada (habeebi), Faidhi, jeboory, al dhari...etc be the obstacle? yes, they are already pausing as the biggest hindering from making the Iraqis attend to their future the right way.

    Am I sounding like promoting a coup or what?? not to that extent, but there are people on the top of the political pyrimad of power in Iraq, who are messing with the fate of a civilazation.

    If Iraqis said no, and begin cleaning up the mess in the country caused by the Americans and the current Iraqi governement, no one will dare to say a word. Every country will (the surrounding countries and even these which will be built on the moon) will listen to the Iraqis, if you know what I mean.

    I wish that day will come! I really pray for that

    Problems in Iraq can only be solved by the Iraqis themselves. No one else from outside. They did overthrow the rat of tikrit, but look what they did because partially they don't have knowledge about Iraq and the Iraqis.

    Again, good writing, Hala

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:18 pm  

  • Brilliant post. We do have a great deal of potentials, but we cannot bring ourselves to admitting it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 pm  

  • Mixmax

    I am not going to defend any politician here. But we must all understand that our government hands are completely tied up. There are good people who want to do a lot, but we don't usually see them on TV.
    Once the Americans loosen their grip, things will have to change. The reprimanding game the Americans do every now and then is all propaganda.
    We will not need a coup to get rid of those faces, they will fall once they are not up to their responsibilites. They are part of the trial and error the American set to taste the water.
    However what we really miss is a commander. As much as I don't believe in this concept, but our social structure requires a person we all respect and believe.
    When I watched Nasrallah's speech last week, I couldn't but feel the aura of respect and love surrounding him. And on top of that he is a top diplomat.
    I wish some of the stupid arrogant men in command we have could take some lessons from him.

    By Blogger hala_s, at 10:49 am  

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    By Blogger nadia n, at 4:08 pm  

  • hala i think you might like this blog
    http://anecdotesfromabananarepublic.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger nadia n, at 4:10 pm  

  • Hala,
    Your words are SO true:
    "Mind you, these are the qualities of most Iraqis, I brought them with me, and somehow they are built-in I cannot change them even if I want to. I still fix the photocopier at work instead of waiting for the engineer to come over, a skill I learned back home."
    EVERY Iraqi I know...does just that! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:14 pm  

  • hala

    I wish you someone like nasrallah in Iraq. Perhaps al Hakim might be the one?

    By Anonymous ella, at 7:40 am  

  • Yes ella thank you, and I wish you have people like bush&co over and over again to drag more and more of your young men and women to hell.
    Al Hakim wouldn't do sorry to disappoint you.
    You know what your problem is? you never get the point, you twist words to satisfy your agenda.
    Nice to have you around again.

    By Blogger hala_s, at 9:19 am  

  • I don't want to rain on the "we told you so" parade, BUT...

    Do you not see all the contradictions in your post, Hala? I'm not going to go through and dissect every one of them, you're obviously a very intelligent woman, and you could spot them for yourself if you look. I'm just going to mention one:

    Even when they admit the total failure and the unquestionable disaster, even when they genuinely believe that America and its allies are the main cause of the daily killings; they still have hope in the Almighty advanced first World.

    Of course, if Iraqis think the US caused all the problems, then they also must believe that only the US can fix the problems. So it makes perfect sense for Iraqis to A) complain about what the US is responsible for causing and B) Expect the US to stop causing problems, and fix everything

    Neither one of those things is true. As you point out in other places in your post. But the way you wrote this paragraph, you imply it's perfectly logical for Iraqis to blame everything on America, but you also imply it's NOT logical for those same Iraqis who think America caused the problems, to believe that America can fix the problems it caused.

    It makes perfect sense to me. Any Iraqi who thinks the US has caused all the strife, must also believe that the US can end it.

    And that's a false hope. Because it's a false premise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 am  

  • It took America more than a year to admit the Iranian militia’s involvement in south Iraq.
    Even when they say the truth, you have to question the intention behind it.


    Where is this coming from? I've been reading Iraqi blogs for two years, and that whole time I've been seeing Americans complaining about Iranian influence in Iraq, and I've been watching Iraqi bloggers call us idiots and telling us we didn't understand what was going on in Iraq at all.

    If you challenge what I just said, I will be happy to go through archives and provide examples. Some of the Iraqi bloggers who were denying the Iranian influence are your commenters and readers.

    I understand your bitterness, Hala, and your wish to say "I told you so" - but Americans are not the only ones who deserve a little of that medicine!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:09 am  

  • And one more comment before I run away and hide! :P

    If Bruno (and some Iraqi bloggers) are correct in their claims that the US has wanted to cause all the strife from the beginning as part of a "divide & conquer" strategy (you did say divide & conquer, right, Bruno?) then what's going on in Iraq right now can't be described as "total failure and the unquestionable disaster" or anything like it.

    It's an unprecedented success. A stunning victory. The US has accomplished more than it could have ever dreamed possible. Iranian backed shia extremists are butchering Al Qaeda (and Saudi) backed Sunni extremists. By the thousand. And they are killing each other (instead of us) in Iraq, instead of HERE.

    It doesn't get any better than that, for America. If one believes that scenario. But nobody does. Not even you, Bruno. I can see that smug look on your face from here. You wouldn't be so happy about America's failure in Iraq, if you actually believed that "divide & conquer" nonsense you've been spouting. Because America wouldn't have failed, if that was American strategy. America would have succeeded. Smashingly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 am  

  • HELLO,programmer caring
    Hello everybody
    I'll start answering you American
    I was in Iraq all that time, you want to describe us like simple people believe in silly things, well , yes we believe in Allah, however, we don't believe that your goverment can fix anything, some of us do, but not everybody,do you know why?
    because we have seen how confuse your leaders are in many situatons, your defence minister had to quid and your forces have lost 3000 of them since the war, how can it make sense to you to believe that who causes a problem can fix it, let's try:today I'm asking you to fire your self and then try to fix the situation, well I don't want you to die, let's fire your house and then try to fix the situation, I think it would make no sense.
    second thing: yes I was there, it took American one year befor talking about the Iranian role in the southern part of Iraq,exactly with the problem of AL-Sader in April 2004, befor that America had send the British Embassedr in Iran to ask the former AL-Hakeem to come to IRAQ, this was in April 2003, I want to ask you not to be so glad I agree that all the victims are Iraqis but there 3000 American criminals were killed who killed them "friendly fire".
    I'm not sure if there was an American strategy to cause this choas in my country, but I'm quite sure that they caused the loating and they helped in it moreover they stole many antient pieces from our national museum, You're wrong that we don't wish you to lose this battel, no one in Iraq is greatful for the Americans anymore, go to Baghdad and ask people there, I was there not so far, people hate the Americans, not now , hateredness had started soon after the war, when suddenly your forces turned into beasts ready to fire anybody who just try to crossover them in the street,
    I know that it's not going well in my country, but, we have a civilisaton longes thousad=nds of years, we will be fine I'm sure we will, but becareful when we will.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:20 am  

  • Most of your post looked like bigotry, to me. I'm asking again... why do you want to live in Britain? You obviously don't like the British! I don't either, but I don't choose to live in a country where I loathe the people. You know what I'm talking about? And please don't move to the US.


    Beglaubigte Übersetzungen
    learn something useful

    By Blogger mewmewmew, at 3:53 pm  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 am  

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