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?


  • "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?"

    Of course :)But the question is WHEN???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:05 pm  

  • "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?"

    Hala, it would not. You said it, Iraq is now a SEA of sharks, big ones and small ones...There is no way you would float without being attacked!

    The problem lies with those who let the sharks in and pushed good people like you out, and continue to feed the sharks with the flesh and blood of the good people who refused to leave...


    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 8:57 pm  

  • I don't think that Iraq would ever need a Flip Flop Factory, Our Parliment is filled with "N3llan" I would be glad to send you the bunch.

    By Blogger Zappy Corleone, at 9:17 am  

  • And the millions are coming out of the US taxpayer's pockets, financed by loans from China. If I weren't already so enraged at the war itself, the so called "reconstruction" would put me over the edge.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:57 pm  

  • hala you always say what i wish so many other people were saying. another great post.

    and i see stores carrying jewelery from egypt and moroccan leather, so i really don't see why not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:11 pm  

  • zappy! Please take that insult back. Ni3il have much more benefits than the Parliament.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 pm  

  • And so is created another generation of Iraqis in exile who dream of the day they can return to rebuild their country!, when will this cycle end? I love the point about the Ni3lan!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 pm  

  • ni3lan are all over the place to be honest.. a few modern ones like to be seen on television wearing suits and surrounded by bodyguards, others pretend that they're made of original cow-leather and so appear in their dishdasha and 3gaal and shout 'deemoqratiya'.. hala, i think you'd be out of business if you open a flip-flop factory.. like Zappy said, they're in abundance..

    on a more serious note..

    Hala, people like you are very hard to find these days.. people would do anything to pay the mortgage, be it for their mansions in Detroit, London, Las Palmas or Amman.. there's always an excuse for exploiting people's tragedy.. I personally believe there is no end to this 'cycle', as Magda put it, until al Imam al Mehdi re-appears.. there's not a SINGLE iraqi politician or decision maker whom i believe or trust.. only a handful of religious leaders still have authority over me(i mean the ones unaffiliated to any politcal party.. so Muqtada and The Hakeem's aren't on my good list.. a word from any of the above-mentioned? stick it where the sun don't shine)

    I'm fed up. I really am. Only God knows how those living in Iraq, the victims of this black market - only He knows how they feel.

    Last but not least, a Gym wouldn't be feasible project either.. imagine this:

    Hala's Holmes Place! - Najaf, Hay il Ameer, next to Pachat Al Ameer.. you see? :P

    By Blogger Little Penguin, at 9:12 pm  

  • Great post. Sorry I have not been around much. I lost internet for almost two weeks.

    I hope this does not come accross rude, but I noticed a grammar issue.

    One dies for his or her beliefs or what he or she believes. You had wrote for what he believes. If you change it in the post you can delete the comment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 pm  

  • "All I dream of is going back to Baghdad, open a small gym; that would be for the heart."

    Dearest hala_s,

    That is one of my dreams too ; )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:19 pm  

  • "Our Parliment is filled with "N3llan""

    zappy so true indeed : )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:22 pm  

  • Zappy and Miraj!
    You could not have said it better! I so much agree!

    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 7:35 pm  

  • Hela, This is an excellent post...And so so true...Ive been there, and Ive seen the kind of people they send to supposedly "rebuild" the country...Some dont even have degrees...They are there just for the money...The only decent people that I met were actually the Iraqi expats who really believed in the cause, but were crushed to see the reality of it all...

    As for the principle, there is none...I know 2 of the very well known and very well off Iraqi families in london, literally multi billionares, who are eating like scavengers in their own country...They own construction companies and the jobs they do is beyond accpetable...They are milking money from the funds like anything, do they need it??? Nope, its just greed...And they flaunt it....what a shame...

    By Blogger neurotic_wife, at 5:15 pm  

  • So you are all against my ni3lan project, so be it, I will think of something else.
    and little penguin is even against the gym one!
    but Nadia is with me and we will open a gym together one day soon ok?
    neurotic wife; I am so glad to have you here, and I know exactly who you are talking about. and I wish it is only two families in the UK who are putting us in shame, I know of much more. So regretfully, we have ni3lan in here as well.
    Thank you all for being with me.

    PS: the heretical jew; thks for your tip.

    By Blogger hala_s, at 8:45 am  

  • I guess the problem with Iraq, then as now, is that the Iraqi people are so rotten and selfish that they will never risk anything for their country's future. Sad, but predicatable!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 pm  

  • oh of course, iraqis have never risked anything.

    gosh, blogs about the middle east sure attract some hateful people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:29 pm  

  • The one good thing about Iraqis though is that they are NOT self-haters...As for those who hate us...Well, they are many, they come in boots and they show up in blogs too!

    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 6:16 pm  

  • i just don't see why they would come here in the first place if they feel that way. but the very least they could do is not make crap up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:40 pm  

  • I with another Iraqi blogger friend think that those who attack us on our blogs are being paid for to do so. This is their job, digging in our blogs and make and making fun of what we feel or say. Pathetic they are!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:04 am  

  • why not stand-up a name all these corrupt Iraqi families by name so the rest of the world knows how rotten they are? Why continue to be silent and protect their name? I suggest you take it upon yourself to do what's best for Iraq and Iraqis living there. If need be, send a message to the following organization:

    Do something now so you may look back and say I made a difference!

    By Blogger Antar, at 7:35 pm  

  • antar
    Name them and shame them as they say.
    You are absolutely right.
    I don't think I can do that on the blog though.
    I did e-mail someone influential I know back home, about the integrity of women associations members and I did give her the name of the woman I met, that is all I could do.
    The other people I mentioned are not working underground, their trade and businesses are approved and encouraged by the Americans and the Iraqi government.
    The names of these people are circulated in here and even in Amman.
    The body you linked to is not the way though.
    The way is to have law and order.

    I still beleive there will come a day in Iraq where there will be no place for those parasites.

    By Blogger hala_s, at 9:50 am  

  • I echo Anon.#1,
    Of course but the question is when.
    zz's comment as well,

    hala_s, there is always, always always room for another flip-flop factory or gym. IF you do a decent business plan before your risk your money or someone else's.
    There is no easy way to earning honest money, you have to do your homework on the costs, and design and location of both flip flops and gyms.
    YOU HAVE alot of time IF you focus your energy and DO YOUR HOMEWORK

    Edo River rising.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:37 am  

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