madly in love with Iraq


The Media

Rain Rain Rain, the theme of this city; it’s all about rain.

When it gets to me, I remember this conversation with a friend I was supposed to meet one day; I phoned to cancel the appointment because it was pouring outside; my friend laughed at me and said “Listen, if you are planning to live in this country you better make a move, otherwise you will spend your life indoors”, I replied: but this is beyond the point, I checked the weather yesterday and they said it is going to be dry! He laughed again and said what do you think then? The weather man is misleading us? We live in an island, and it is just impossible to be accurate.

It suddenly hit me; I come from a country where the media lies all the time; to the extent that people don’t even trust them with the weather forecast!

It took me ages to clear myself from many inhibitions, such as speaking about Saddam over the phone, expressing my views freely, have faith in Newspapers and TV channels. I was astounded when I learned that no TV channel represents the government views! We are blessed with the BBC, and it is by large an independent entity.
No major incident will take over the TV screen; everything goes as planned.

On the 4th of November every year, we have Guy fawkes night, where fireworks fill the skies, and people usually gather in Parks to celebrate. I still laugh at a friend of my mother who phoned me once on that night and she was certain it was the Queen’s birthday!

The media in this time and age is the core of information and it is accessible to all.
Let alone the rule it played already in changing governments’ policies and the pressure it puts on politicians, it could build up or ruin someone’s career and future in seconds. It is probably the most feared power at the moment.

When it comes to Iraq though, there was an impact, it did not happen gradually.
We were hijacked for decades; imprisoned in the same circle;
We hear what the regime wanted us to hear, our mouths were shut and our actions were watched.

Free Media in Iraq is a double-edged sword, in a way it is the only tangible achievement since April 2003, on the other hand it became a tool to incite hate and revenge. This is normal in a normal society, but Iraq is so fragile at this minute, the effect could be anything.

Simple Iraqis have a mental loop, they listen to what they like to hear, freedom of speech in the new Iraq means imposing your ideas on others. One will never move forward if they don’t listen to what they don’t like to hear and accept it. After all there is no shoe fits for all.

What happened last week tells a lot, it might have brought the ordinary Iraqis together but for how long they can hold on? Has it really made any changes to the formation of a national-unity government?
Even if it did, it is not going to be genuine, it is going to be a struggle between contending power groups.

For some the agenda was “We are not joining the play, but we will ruin the playground” this did not help anyone then, on the contrary it helped building militias and generated anger and more distrust. Now their agenda is “We are joining the play, with conditions otherwise we will pursue ruining the playground”

For others the above was a boost to their morale and gave them a licence to kill.
I am not a political analyst, but today we have men in black, tomorrow we might get others in green or blue. We have parties fighting over power. The good intentions whatever they say or do are not real.

There is a major conflict of interests among all, and these interests represent selfish and self-centred bodies, nothing in it for us. None of the UIA,NAF,INL or KA could care less about Iraqis. These are people who care and only care about finding new ways to suck the country’s resources and sit on top watching us killing each other. They are targeting our security and our right to live and let live.

The winner is the one who will have the decency to step down and refuse to take part in the slaughtering.


The Love Hate relationship

I thought to myself why am I going to this place? I feel so down and this meeting will only agitate and distress me more. I am not mentally prepared for it today. A diversity of Iraqis put together, almost always we end up agreeing to disagree, if we are lucky, or a fight erupts causing embarrassment to the host.

In the end, I dragged myself and hit the road.

I went into a dark room; I thought what is going on? It is such a glorious sunny day outside! It took me few seconds to adjust and realise that there was a screen and someone was showing slides. I sat down and was taken by this woman architect speaking passionately about Samarra shrine, this invaluable heritage, how it was built and when, the values it holds to all Muslims around the world. When she finally finished, most of us were in tears. The architect was a Christian; the audience were a mixture of all sects and religions.

What happened next was extraordinary, the usual rivals sat together exchanging views, the eternal enemies prayed together and asked for God’s mercy on Iraqis.

Meanwhile I was recalling some clips from previous meetings; that man said; the Americans should leave and let us have our civil war; whoever wins rules. The other was really offended and answered back with another plan of letting the Shia take over and prove they are right or wrong for the next four years. Few old women who have their sons or relatives back home; were defending their presence in there; “they are fighting to build the new Iraq” (not sure about that), others (probably envious) replied that theirs will never go back to co-operate with the invaders.

The funny argument is always about intermarriages, someone would jokingly say all Sunnis are bad except my husband because he is married to me and I am a Shia! and vice versa. This could get really serious sometimes!

Probably our problem is that we are non-confrontational people, we go in circles in order not to say one direct word. We love giving different names instead of one clear definition.
Year after year I watched this matter accelerating and turn nasty. Some get aggressive for nothing, I sometimes feel ashamed when asked about what is the real difference between a Shia and a Sunni.

What shall I answer? Each is trying to prove a 1400 years old point of view?

Those past few days brought the awareness to how ugly a civil war could be.

On my way back home I thought of the first lesson we learned in History; “Divide and Rule” the policy practised in Iraq after the First World War.

Saddam excessively used the same policy until it reached our own households.

One way or another emphasis on sectarianism was there all the time, it took different shapes and forms, but it was there, a card in the hands of whoever ruled Iraq.

A six years old Iraqi kid knows exactly what the above means

Now, and for the first time in Iraq’s modern history we are facing each other.

However, each party is flirting one another and talking about brotherhood,
But once matters get tough, each put conditions and hides away and starts re-charging their followers with more hate and violence.

My friends and Family back home say people are protecting their areas by forming in groups to guard their properties and Mosques; on TV I watched how people are complying with the curfew by showing their readiness to suffer more and more if it will bring peace in the end.

The battle to avert a civil war has started, it reached our thresholds.

It is irrelevant who the enemy is anymore.

When I arrived home, I felt very proud and slept soundly.