madly in love with Iraq


You and us!

She attacked me without mercy as if I was a member of Maliki’s government.
“You suffered a lot, all of you so why are you taking it on others? Corpses of our people are being thrown daily in garbage bins or found floating in rivers, and we don’t even dare to collect them from the morgue. Not only that, but your esteemed government has struck a deal with the Syrians to kick all of our people back to Iraq to slaughter them”.

For a minute I couldn’t absorb what she really meant…but then it hit me.

My brain was running fast trying to capture the best reply as I sensed no room in that conversation for Iraqis as Iraqis, there was a lot of you and us.
I could see it clearly in her eyes. She demanded a confession and a confirmation from me to the horror the Shia have brought to Mesopotamia!

I decided not to answer back and switched to jokes about Al Mahdi army to ease the tension in an effort to reassure her that I don’t agree to what is going on.

And when I stupidly-trying to be funny- said to my friend that he has to pay the fifth (which is a Shia practice; an annual payment due to their clerics), she snapped angrily “We don’t pay the fifth, we pay Zakat”. And that was the knockout blow which brought the whole conversation to a halt!

This incident reminded me of an Iraqi Jewish lady I met a while ago.
She told me of her fear and confusion back in 1967 when she was a high school student in Baghdad, and how during the infamous Arab-Israeli war(The Setback of the 5th of June), all her friends turned their backs and refused to talk to her.

On my way back I felt very hurt and what worried me more was taking it personally.
Why would I feel like this? Why something which has no prominence in my identity suddenly took over? By the time I entered my house all I felt was shame.

It is terrifying this cancer that is creeping to get hold of us all.

Suddenly we became touchy about this subject, even among intellects.
Without knowing we are building a case against each other.

You read about and meet with nostalgic Iraqis who are yearning for the Iraq they had once before, the Iraq they barely knew, or to be precise they did not want to know.

Are we yearning for or crying over the sanctions? Wars? Injustice?
Is this the most of our expectations; to get back to what we had before? And especially now and after all we’ve been through?

Many people are puzzled by how contradictory our attitude is to the tolerant, loving and educated people we claim to be.

What they don’t know though is that when you are socially, economically and politically subjugated you can easily be turned to a complete backward and limited person. And it stays with you for a long time.
I will never believe that religion and ethnicity by themselves are able to command bloodshed.

Iraqis in here have brought their legacy with them. It is sad but true.
Undermining each other pains is the game now a day.

We are sandwiched between Saudis lamenting sectarianism and the Shia threat, and Iranians raging war against America and Israel.

Instead of finding a united cause to bring us together we became up for grabs for all.

We in here have a verbal war and back home an armed one.

No one knows the face of Iraq when the dust settles, but I know that most of us have failed in the most important test….the test of Love.