madly in love with Iraq


Is it really a teething problem?

When I miss home I go and sit in the steam room, the heat reminds me of the scorching summer of Baghdad and brings back all the memories, the ones I want to wipe off and the ones I want to cherish.

The heat contributed a lot to our hot temper, nervousness, anger; restlessness and finally the uniquely genuine warmth.

What this country has been through is unique as well. Fear, scepticism, aggression and defeat are all built in inside our souls.

Yet our warmth kept us going, our undeclared love to each other survived through decades. Most Iraqis were born and brought up and probably got married in the same house or at least stayed in the same area. You have strong relations with your neighbours, your local newsagent and kebab shop for generations.
If you are looking for someone; you can ask anyone in the street and they will show you the way. For a post man, your name in the envelope is enough to get your mail delivered. We take care of old people in the neighbourhood, I still remember an old man who used to live by himself, and for years until he passed away, all families in the street prepared his meals in turn, and took care of all his needs.
The idea of a visitor knocking on my door unexpectedly is one of the most things I miss, along with the extensive greetings and courteous terms we were brought up to practise, which really doesn’t mean anything around here.

People invest in their children’s education, and I mean all from the dustman to the top scientist. Deprivation was rather a stimulant for all to read and search and find means to maintain and repair everything in their household during the sanctions and even before. I cannot really recall a day without something essential missing from the shops. We were always manipulated and cornered somehow. When we go shopping, we used to buy so much as if there will be no tomorrow. We spent a life time running merely just to survive. All people around the world run and run but at the end of the day there is a reward, a nice holiday, a pleasure of some sort.
I was banned by my family from going to the local club because suddenly Uday started going there. Then I stopped going out with other girls to certain places to have a meal, because it was full of intelligence men and so on.

On a bigger scale, we were also deprived from our country’s wealth, our basic rights to achieve in our chosen career or higher education, unless we prove a specific loyalty. I worked in the government sector for one year and a half and was transferred four times because I did not fit in the Baath criteria, and originally come from a black listed family from the south.

Our destinies were played with from socialism to capitalism to tribalism or Islamism; all depended on Saddam moods.

People are fighting now to prove who was more oppressed under the regime.
I think all decent and honest Iraqis were.

It is true that some sects suffered more. But at the end of the day this was a general strategy and it was applied even on the closest aides of Saddam, when his disturbed mind gave him orders to kill and destroy.

When the 2003 invasion took place, I had mixed feelings, I was scared because every single person from my immediate family is there, and then I thought is it possible that our interests suddenly met with the Americans? Are we really going to wake up from our nightmare?

War means death and destruction that is for sure, but is it going to be our last one?
I wanted to believe this myth.

When I finally heard from my family by mid April 2003, they were not bothered to speak about what happened rather than what is going to happen. The long awaited freedom is finally there. My mother felt sorry for the people who died before witnessing this glorious day!

The rest we all know. By the time Iraqis pulled themselves together and started to read newspapers and watch what was going on in the world around them. The country was being ripped off by the Coalition Provisional Authority and the people they employed, the borders were left widely open, and the army was disbanded without any alternative.

Three years have passed by only to find out that even our functioning services started to fall apart. Our health system which was the envy of all countries of the region was destroyed; highly specialised doctors were replaced by stupid mentors and unqualified people and so on.

None of our neighbours want to see a stable Iraq. They are all playing the Iraqi card; for Iran to go ahead with the nuclear project in return of keeping their hands off Iraq,

For the Syrian to stop the terrorists flow, Americans has to cease their threats and interference.
Saudis want to export their maniacs across the borders, Kuwaitis want to revenge.

Israelis behaving like a possessive lover lobbying constantly to be the one and only in America’s heart, and have no intention of letting any country in the Middle East rise up.

The majority of Iraqis are jobless and hopeless, they are soft targets, easily provoked and deluded. The voice of reason is very low, because nothing relates to reason anymore. It is a matter of life or death which you have to face every second.

Iraq has become like a sinking ship, we try to close one hole, only to find out there is another one. The rats have done their business.

Many around here still think it is a teething problem. It looks to me the teeth have long come out and start to bite….I wish I am wrong.