madly in love with Iraq



“We are not living in an era where principles stand out or count”

How could she say that? I was really baffled by her statement.
Since when principles were related to time and place; they either exist or not.

An Iraqi I have known for years was trying to justify her sudden wealth and the obvious changes to her financial status in a small city like Amman.
No one asked her anything, she was just bugged without being prompted.

Later I learned that her husband made over a million dollar sub-contracting in Iraq in less than a year! “Sub-contracting for what?” I asked. “Imaginary projects and useless ventures, this is how they make money these days in Iraq if you have the right connections inside the Green zone.”

I wondered what her late father would say on this. He spent his life fighting for his beliefs and ended up dead in a cell back in the eighties.

Those are the small sharks I was told. The big ones don’t even enter Iraq.
One of the ex-patriots I came across recruits Iraqis from all over the world except from inside Iraq of course to join the re-building of Iraq project.
The amount of money those people are making is beyond belief.

Isn’t it a mystery that nothing absolutely nothing effective has been achieved on the ground as yet?

One friend told me “As much as I want to be inside the country and do anything instead of leaving it to scavengers, I had to refuse the job. When I put the money I’m going to make and Iraq’s interest on the scale, the money weighed much more!”

While in Amman, I went with my mother to visit friends of hers. I remember them very well from Baghdad, they were never poor but also educated and to a certain extent liberals;
The son is now a tycoon.
I asked him what he does. “General trading” he answered. He spoke for a long time about future businesses and expanding more and more, but I couldn’t put a finger on the real trade.

There seems to be a lot of opportunists in the times of lawlessness, that is understandable, but principled and ethical people falling in the same drain makes you wonder.
People change and adjust I am all with that, but a 180 degree diversion?

I was more baffled by another who currently lives and works in Iraq and was on a short break again in Amman.
In high school she was the head of the so -called student union, in other words the top Baathist around and she used to terrorize us with her threats and extreme ideas.

I still remember one day when all the girls refused to take a vaccination at school of what apparently was against tetanus, but there were rumours it was to stimulate ovulation in one of Saddam’s campaign to increase birth!
She stood shouting at us and clearly said “Whoever dares to refuse taking the jab will be considered a traitor and actively acting against the Baath party and Saddam”.

The whole school queued up like a herd offering our arms for the injections with gratitude!

She is now working in a well known woman association and she explained her role as teaching the Iraqi women what democracy is all about!

I felt the danger and the destruction inflicted by those is by no means less than the bloody militia’s who are tearing Iraq apart.

Where would my dream fit among the reality of those people I met with?

The truth is I couldn’t spell it out. I thought I would meet a group of enthusiasts dreaming like me of making Iraq a better place, not a bunch of chameleons who change their colours whenever an opportunity arises.

All I dream of is going back to Baghdad, open a small gym; that would be for the heart.
And for the pocket, I thought a small fancy flip flops factory in a village will do! As these are very expensive and been in the fashion for years in here, it would be feasible exporting them to the UK.

And now that everyone knows my plans; do you think there will a day when I can buy a flip flop made in Iraq in one of the High streets of London?