madly in love with Iraq


Again on the train

Getting home from work last night was disastrous; I couldn’t get into any train. Trains kept on arriving to the platform packed with football fans heading to Wembley stadium. The kick off was at 8:00pm, England vs. Croatia.

When I finally managed to climb into one, I was squashed between the Brits and the Eastern Europeans; both screaming their heads off cheering their respective teams and desperately trying to overrule inside the train.

Policemen were on alert and I could see quite a few of them in every station we passed on the way.
The whole atmosphere felt a bit hostile, many people were already drunk and were arguing about a match that has not started yet.

It was a bit scary for me, but at the same time a nice change to the expressionless faces I meet on my daily journeys including my own…

London is full of emigrants who mostly came over to stay, but lately jobseekers from poorer European countries joined in. The majority of the latter are here to make money and go back home, but in the meanwhile they are here and they are bringing their culture, habits, problems, and certainly their own football supporters.

I remembered the experience of having nearly three million Egyptians in the eighties working in Iraq. People were so resentful of them although they are Muslims and Arabs, for a simple reason and that is that they enjoyed more rights than us Iraqis.

I think the Brits would have the same feelings towards emigrants if they were to pay fewer taxes than they do.

“A rainbow society” that is what the anti-racial enthusiasts call the UK.
Or “An open market for all” as the government defends its policy of allowing foreigners in; “This work force boosts our economy and the benefits gained outdo all the mischief if any”.

Others find this combination “A recipe to kill” too many conflicting cultures, too many strange ethics and religions to cope with. Too much money is spent to accommodate their demands, even some laws and regulations had to be changed to fit their needs.

No grudges though, I am yet to meet someone who cries over the past or the good old days.
Old people might do but only because they are getting older, but mostly everyone believe in the natural social and economical progression in the society and accept the consequences whether good or bad.

In contrast we Arabs in general and Iraqis in particular trust the past more than the future.

It is only us who constantly look back and glorify the past. People now yearn for Saddam’s time and during his time they used to long for the sixties and in the sixties they wished the monarchy would rise again and so on.

Probably some would say it is unfair to put the blame on people when they are governed by brutal dictatorships and subjected to a lot of unjustness.

But I have become to believe that we Arabs are always afraid of losing our traditions and we grab in them blindly. Arabs don’t accept any criticism when it comes to religion or even sect. The majority of us live in cocoons even when we leave our countries.

We spend a life time struggling between what is forbidden (religion) and what is acceptable and not acceptable (tradition) and we end up losing on both.

We want to change but under our own conditions and changes are in most of the times unconditional.

However, and although I sincerely believe that people are the same all over the world, and their reactions and behaviour depend on how fairly they are treated, but unfortunately we are so used to being oppressed that we cannot function properly even when we taste freedom.

As Londoners cried all night over what they called a “disgraceful loss” of a very important match, they woke up the next morning and pinpointed the reason!
“We need home grown talents to rescue our national game”.

I thought of home, I thought of how long it would take to grow new Iraqis, how long it would take to demolish the concrete barriers between our areas, how long it would take to reinstate trust and love and most importantly how long it would take to reach enlightenment.