Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Long View

You can always stop by Iraq the Model for the most thoughtful commentary in the Iraqi blogosphere and yesterday was no different. Mohammed takes the long view of the events from even before that day around three years ago when George Bush went to the United Nations and put Saddam Hussein and his Ba'athist circle of tyranny on notice in front of all the world's diplomats. It was, to be sure, unambiguous.
As it turned out, that would be the last time Saddam Hussein would rattle his saber. In a few months he would find himself hiding in the back seat of an unmarked car on his way out of Baghdad, eventually being pulled out of his spiderhole and punched in the face by an Iraqi-American named Samir, a guy whose family Saddam had ripped apart. But, as Mohammed details, pulling Saddam from his spiderhole is just one small element to the scene in the Middle East these days.
Troubles have spread from the Middle East to get on planes and hit targets in New York, and wore explosive belts to blow up trains in Madrid and London and some have even went as far as hitting targets Indonesia.

The reasons (and theories) that explain the spreading (or export) of these troubles may vary; some say that the West's policy toward Israel is what inflamed the situation.

Ironically, the same people who adopted this theory a few years ago now say that war in Iraqis the main reason.

But I do believe that dictatorships are the main reason; the Arab regimes didn't accept Israel as a neighbor, of course not because they care about the Palestinians and their interests as everyone knows how Palestinians are treated in Arab countries and how many thousands on them were killed in Jordan and Lebanon and perhaps Arabs killed more Palestinians than the Israelis did.

Obviously, Arab regimes and leaders didn't like Israel because it's a democratic state and its presence in the region can threaten their thrones.

Actually I think that Arabs who live inside Israel and the Joulan heights know this better than I do and I don't think they'd like to replace their Israeli passports with passports from any Arab country; they know the difference and even people living inside Arab countries began to see the difference after the revolution in communications and news flow.

In the last 50 years, Israelis went to the ballots more than ten times and 'faces' change there all the time while we are still facing the same faces that took over power thirty years ago.

What I wanted to say is that after the fall of Saddam, Arab regimes began to look at Iraqi as a second threat; as another emerging democratic project that must be foiled and stopped from growing.

So, the dramatic change that took place in Iraq was seen by the neighboring regimes and their terrorist allies as an imminent disaster; it hit their theory in the heart.
They were thinking that the US would not have the will or courage to attack but they discovered shortly after that the US was so determined to do the change and that's why their counter attack had to be a fierce one because it became a matter of existence to their regimes and their age-old ideology which they thought no one would dare to mess with.

Sadly enough, these regimes and terrorists were more prepared for the post-war phase than the US was and they the roles distributed and everyone knew his duties even before the fall of the statue.
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Last night on "NewsNight with Aaron Brown" there was a piece about an American soldier, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, who had been shot by terrorists in Iraq. The terrorists had filmed the shooting, but unfortunately for the terrorists the soldier had only been hit on his protective chest-plate and knocked down. The soldier immediately leapt up and joined the others in tracking down and capturing the terrorists. Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer even gave medical attention to the terrorists who had tried to kill him minutes before.

I guess it should be noted that we bloggers had covered the story a week ago. Iraqi Bloggers Central covered the story and included a link to the video a week ago on Saturday, July 16, 2005:
Over at Trey Jackson you can watch a video of a Muslim fanatic in Baghdad shooting an American soldier from seventy-five yards. The Muslim jihadi is repeating over and over "Allahu Akbar" as he pulls the trigger. The American soldier takes a bullet in the chest and goes down. He was, however, wearing a bullet-proof vest and he pops right back up and gets behind his Hummer.

The video that the Jihadis were taking goes black because the American soldiers locate the fricking idiots hiding in a van and wound the guy who had been chanting "Allahu Akbar."

The American soldier who was shot, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, it turns out, was a medic and he ended up treating the SCUMBAG who fired at him.

The video is very crisp and makes my blood run cold.

If you had trouble with the Trey Jackson link, try this one from Go Jack Army.
I'm pleased that NewsNight covered the story but the difference in timeliness between the MSM and the bloggers is noteworthy, don't you think?

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In Basra, Steven Vincent Hears an Echo from Graham Greene

Steven Vincent, our Man in Basra, continues to file some of the best up-close-and-personal reports from Iraq. Here we find Steven and his Iraqi friend Layla interviewing an American officer.
I'd wanted to introduce Layla to the Gary Cooper side of America, and I felt I'd succeeded. Instead of the evasive, over-subtle, windy Iraqi, fond of theory and abstraction, here was a to-the-point Yank, rolling up his sleeves with a can-do spirit of fair play and doing good. "I want to have a positive effect on this country's future," the Captain averred. "For example, whenever I learn of a contracting firm run by women, I put it at the top of my list for businesses I want to consider for future projects." I felt proud of my countryman; you couldn't ask for a more sincere guy.

Layla, however, flashed a tight, cynical smile. "How do you know," she began, "that the religious parties haven't put a woman's name on a company letterhead to win a bid? Maybe you are just funneling money to extremists posing as contractors." Pause. The Captain looked confused. "Religious parties? Extremists?"

Oh boy. Maa salaama Gary Cooper, as Layla and I gave our man a quick tutorial about the militant Shiites who have transformed once free-wheeling Basra into something resembling Savonarola's Florence. The Captain seemed taken aback, having, as most Westerners--especially the troops stationed here--little idea of what goes on in the city. "I'll have to take this into consideration..." scratching his head, "I certainly hope none of these contracts are going to the wrong people." Not for the first time, I felt I was living in a Graham Greene novel, this about about a U.S. soldier--call it The Naive American--who finds what works so well in Power Point presentations has unpredictable results when applied to realities of Iraq. Or is that the story of our whole attempt to liberate this nation?

Collecting himself, "But should we really get involved in choosing one political group over another?" the Captain countered. "I mean, I've always believed that we shouldn't project American values onto other cultures--that we should let them be. Who is to say we are right and they are wrong?"

And there it was, the familiar Cultural-Values-Are-Relative argument, surprising though it was to hear it from a military man. But that, too, I realized, was part of American Naiveté: the belief, evidently filtering down from ivy-league academia to Main Street, U.S.A., that our values are no better (and usually worse) than those of foreign nations; that we have no right to judge "the Other;" and that imposing our way of life on the world is the sure path to the bleak morality of Empire (cue the Darth Vader theme).

But Layla would have none of it. "No, believe me!" she exclaimed, sitting forward on her stool. "These religious parties are wrong! Look at them, their corruption, their incompetence, their stupidity! Look at the way they treat women! How can you say you cannot judge them? Why shouldn't your apply your own cultural values?"

It was a moment I wish every muddle-headed college kid and Western-civilization-hating leftist could have witnessed: an Air Force Captain quoting chapter and verse from the new American Gospel of Multiculturalism, only to have a flesh and blood representative of "the Other" declare that he was incorrect, that discriminations and judgment between cultures are possible--necessary--especially when it comes to the absolutely unacceptable way Middle Eastern Arabs treat women. And though Layla would not have pushed the point this far, I couldn't resist. "You know, Captain," I said, "sometimes American values are just--better."
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A short profile of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad for a book of photographs.
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, 1975. Ghaith studied architecture in Baghdad University and had never travelled outside Iraq until after the recent war. A deserter from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, Ghaith lived under ground in Baghdad for six years, changing his residence every few months to avoid detection and arrest.

He began making street photography in 2001 and determined to document conditions in Baghdad during the war. Arousing suspicion, he was arrested three days before the end of the war and, though he escaped by bribing his guards, he lost his cameras and all his film. The day after the fall of Baghdad, Ghaith satisfied an aching curiosity by walking into one of Saddam’s palaces, talking his way past American guards by claiming to be a foreign journalist.
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Bin Laden and the Radical-Chic of Muslim Rich Kids

David Ignatius looks at some of the demographic aspects of the Muslim terrorists.
When you read reports that the Muslim terrorists who bombed the London Underground may have gotten together for a pre-attack whitewater rafting trip in Wales, you realize that this is a very particular enemy -- and one that is recognizable to students of history.

This is the revolt of the privileged, Islamic version. They have risen so far, so fast in the dizzying culture of the West that they have become enraged, disoriented and vulnerable to manipulation. Their spiritual leader is a Saudi billionaire's son who grew up with big ideas and too much money. He created a new identity for himself as a jihad leader, carrying the banner of a pristine Islam from the days of the Prophet Muhammad. The zenith of his warped amalgam of ancient and modern was having holy warriors fly airplanes into skyscrapers.
...
What will stop this revolt of privileged Muslims? One possibility is that it will be checked by the same process that derailed the revolt of the rich kids in America after the 1960s -- namely, the counter-revolt of the poor kids. Poor Muslims simply can't afford the rebellion of their wealthy brethren, and the havoc it has brought to the House of Islam. For make no mistake: The people suffering from jihadism are mostly Muslims.

I can't imagine that the poor Egyptians who've been struggling to make a living in the resort towns around Sharm el-Sheikh are too happy this week. The jihadists who came bumping over the mountains to detonate last weekend's bombs may have been thinking of the 72 virgins that awaited them in heaven. But the Egyptian fellah is thinking about where he's going to get his next paycheck to feed his family.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Snooping through the Archives

I was snooping around Salam Pax's archives last night and found this one from last summer, August 12, 2004, when Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Uber-Ugly, Tooth-stained Fat Boy was rutting around Najaf. In this blog entry, Salam Pax responds to a blog entry by Riverbend.
In her latest post Riverbend writes:

So is this a part of the reconstruction effort promised to the Shi’a in the south of the country? Najaf is considered the holiest city in Iraq. It is visited by Shi’a from all over the world, and yet, during the last two days, it has seen a rain of bombs and shells from none other than the ‘saviors’ of the oppressed Shi’a- the Americans. So is this the ‘Sunni Triangle’ too? It’s déjà vu- corpses in the streets, people mourning their dead and dying and buildings up in flames. The images flash by on the television screen and it’s Falluja all over again. Twenty years from now who will be blamed for the mass graves being dug today?

Essentially I do agree with you, the deaths during the recent days are more than scary and worrying. It makes your heart ache to see what is happening in Najaf. Unacceptable. But I think you are not pointing your finger in the right direction. What is going on these days in Najaf, Baghdad, Basra and other Iraqi cities is not entirely the fault of the coalition.

I can’t understand why you don’t see the danger in the group of people calling themselves Mahdi’s Army and the Sadir followers and why it is important to show them the limits beyond which they are not going to be tolerated.

I am totally convinced that there is no good in them. Has there been any constructive suggestion by them other than demanding the end of occupation? Is calling the shrine of Imam Ali a holy of holiest and then putting snipers on top of it a sign of respect? Is

I don’t see this situation very comparable to the Falluja situation; to begin with this could be the start of something much worse. It could lead to a much bigger problem in the south and with Sadir’s influence in Basra the threat to the future of Iraq could be much bigger, they already are threatening to close down oil export operations in Basra. And with Iran backing him wait for them to demand the south’s secession.

Sorry Riverbend, I have to disagree with you there, it is not the Americans who should be blamed for turning Najaf into hell on this earth but rather Sadir’s people. And I hope, actually I am sure that you would never say that you see Sadir as a probable leader for Iraq and I don’t think his actions should be in any way be endorsed. You know very well that the day Sadir assumes power in this country you and I will have to think about spending the rest of our lives somewhere else.
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Hey, but what are you doing here?! Check in with SAM over at SANDMONKEY and check in with BIG PHARAOH every day!

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The "No to Terrorism" protests engineered by Big Pharaoh and Sandmonkey has been covered by the Guardian.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Big Pharaoh on NPR

Big Pharaoh was profiled on an NPR program by Eric Weiner. Take a listen.

Fayrouz discusses the situation down in Basra.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Presto-Change-o! From Comment to Blog Entry!

Last night I stopped by Vahal's Dear Baghdad and read what he called his last letter. Already several of our friends had offered their comments. Here are mine.

Vahal,

Blogging can be be difficult for any number of reasons. I know from gritty experience.

I really enjoyed your letters and I'll keep your blog up on my blogroll.

Fayrouz has a good suggestion, though. You just might need to take a break. Last summer when the Iraqi authorities intervened and let Muqtada Al-Sadr walk away free after he caused so many deaths, I simply couldn't stand it. I told my readers that if Muqty walks, I would shut my blog down.

Muqty walked; I shut down Iraqi Bloggers Central -- for around three months. Letting Muqty walk was like someone kicked me in the family jewels. I was disgusted with people who would let a phony like Muqty spit in their faces. I needed a vacation from Iraq REAL BAD -- and I happened to living in New York City! Yeah, I can't imagine how much I would need a vacation FROM Iraq if I were actually living there.

Then, with the election approaching, I started the blog up again and it's been humming along with the help of Mister Ghost. I still have a deep scar -- metaphor alert! -- from the kicking Muqty's release gave me.

But blogging about Iraq is tough because every day there are tragedies due to the terrorists in Iraq -- terrorists, not insurgents, as ITM has blogged about.

Blogging about Iraq is also tough because of the poor job of the major media outlets.

If it weren't for the Iraqi bloggers -- people like YOU, Vahal -- I would have NO IDEA about how diverse are the views of real Iraqis.

I can still remember reading those first blog entries by Zeyad and Omar, Mohammed, and Ali. My eyes popped open COMIC-BOOK STYLE and I felt like I had rubbed Aladdin's lamp and had a few wishes answered.

Zeyad, Omar, Mohammed, and Ali wrote such intelligent and passionate blog entries that my hand froze on my mouse and I wondered, "Holy Cow! Does anyone else know about these guys?"

BTW, the first commenter at ITM was Lisa, New York, who was the first one to say thanks to you for your blog.

Hi Lisa! Nice to see you again. Every now and then I see you on the comments pages. One of the old crew.

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Over the past few years my original irritation with the press has grown into a full-blown case of acute antipathy. Thank God -- as Glenn Reynolds reports -- that Aussie PM Howard knows how to put journalists in their place (they're currently renting cubicles under the HADES housing complex).

CAVEAT: I believe that many journalists -- perhaps even the majority -- are performing their daily reporting tasks with real professionalism. A good place to listen to journalists talking shop is to stop by Letters to Romenesko (hat tip: Derek Rose). But then we have journalists like Dan Rather who attempt to foist phony documents on the American public and turn a presidential election, ending with a tepid apology and a group of his peers later giving him an award for "excellence in journalism"?!

The hardest-working blogger examining the press right now is easily Antimedia. He shows us all what bringing an informed and critical eye to the media's daily output can do to correct the balance.

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

The In T View: Iraq The Model's Mohammed Fadhil: He's Got The Big Mo Going!



Dino at Home By AFD/DC - Please Click On The Image To Enlarge It



He's got the "Big Mo Going!"
Iraq The Model's Mohammed Fadhil is Burning up the Iraqi Blogosphere with his Lucid Insights into Iraq's Affairs, Terrorism, Politics, and the March to Democracy. Together with his Blogging Superstar Brother Omar, the two of them have established Iraq The Model as the Dominant Iraqi
Blog and a Must Read amongst the Millions of Blogs around the planet.

It's The In T View: Iraq The Model's Mohammed Fadhil: He's
Got The Big Mo Going!


The In T View By MG - Artwork By DC.

MG: So Mohammed, have you gone to the Mountain or has the Mountain come to you?

Mohammed: I think I was always on a date with the mountain and we were never far away from each other.

MG: What's the Status of Gay Rights in Iraq? Will there be a Gay Pride Parade in Baghdad anytime soon?

Mohammed: Actually religion and traditions don't give gays any rights and homosexuality is considered a sin and a perversion that is against nature. However, some Islamic recent fatwas justified sex-change overriding what's considered a controversial issue in many other places. A gay pride parade will take probably
a light-year to happen; I know that light-years are used to measure distances but I couldn't find any other unit to measure the time needed here!

MG: And is the Moslem World ready for a Lesbian Film Festival?

Mohammed: Again, a light-year will pass before this happens!


MG: Mohammed, like many Iraqis these days, you've seen Death Up Close and Personal. Do the Images Haunt your Thoughts for a while? Do you say a silent Prayer, thankful that you're still alive?

Mohammed: I always expected an unnatural death, and I'm really afraid of a natural one; that's the last way I want my life to end in.

MG: Your first name is a pretty common one in the Middle East. Do you ever find yourself in a crowded room responding when someone calls out "Hey Mohammed!" and then thirty people named Mohammed say, "Hi Abdullah?"

Mohammed: This happened quite a lot of times and because one of my friends has the same last name too, our friends decided to call us the "short" and the "tall". I was the short guy of course as the other guy was a basket ball player. It wasn't fair
at all.

MG: Mohammed, What's your Favorite Snack Food, and don't say Pringles, or we end the In T View, right here?

Mohammed: I like nuts, especially almonds but I have to say that I like Pringles too! (MG Says: Noooo, Pringles, the Devil's Snack Food!)

MG: So Mohammed, what's a Real Good Meal to you?

Mohammed: The best meal would be one I make with friends on a picnic. Nothing can be as good as a meal you cook with bunch of close friends.

MG: Have you ever had Fried Clams?

Mohammed: I have no idea what that is but I like "Maskoof" and the most delicious maskoof (fish barbequed in a special way) is Shabbout which is a kind of fish that lives in the Tigris. (MG Says: Mohammed hasn't experienced true culinary delight until he's tried fried clams, and not just those skimpy neck portions, but the full belly and all!)

MG: Mohammed, you're a very good Diarist. I noticed that from reading the excerpts at Iraq the Model of your War Diaries. Have you kept a Diary throughout your life and how did you keep it hidden from other family members?

Mohammed: I have always kept a diary and they were in several notebooks but I had a tradition that after each 'love story' I would give the part of my diaries to the woman I was in love with because she's the owner of that part of time. Except for the war time and the year before that because that time was mine alone. I still keep my drawers locked when I'm out. I have stopped writing diaries after April 15, 2003 but the blog has been a good alternative as I can write anything I like on it.

MG: Mohammed, why are you still single?

Mohammed: Who told you that I'm single? Don't believe everything being said on ITM! There has been always a woman occupying my heart but we in Iraq are used to say "single" to describe anyone who's not married and we don't consider someone in a relationship as "engaged" or "occupied". I do plan to start a family, but right now I don't think there's a woman who can tolerate me with all my crazy busy days.

MG: Mohammed, if you had your choice of spending your last $10 dollars American on either Birth Control or Beer, what would you choose?

Mohammed: Is there any red wine on the menu?

MG: Let's talk about a difficult period in your life, about six or seven years back, when you "refused to serve in Saddam's army" and gave up your job. What were your thoughts at the time? Did your actions endanger the other members of the Fadhil Family? Were you scared? Did you go into hiding? Did you think of Leaving Iraq?

Mohammed: I told my family and friends that I decided to not serve in the military because God would not like to see me do that service. I wouldn't be part of an army that oppresses people and harms innocents. They thought I wasn't serious about it because being a runaway meant being paralyzed and being chased
by Ba'athists and military police everywhere, let alone losing one's job. At Saddam's time every Iraqi male was asked for military service documents in all kinds of work and in every government office even if that was something like marriage or buying a car or making any kind of business with any government department.

But I made the decision a long time before I had to face the situation on the day when I was called to do the service. Of course my family didn't want to have their home raided in the middle of the night and have to deal with a gang of bad guys
and this had actually happened once when someone from the neighborhood reported my brother Ali to the Ba'athists and they sent the military police to our home but fortunately he wasn't there and my father solved it temporarily by signing a commitment to turn him in when he returns home.

Living in a moment of fear was what we have chosen for our home but the family showed a lot of understanding and I'm thankful for that. I even tried once to flee from Iraq with a forged passport but the guy who was arranging the process got arrested and I lost a lot of money as I paid half of the cost in advance. Yes, I was scared during the 1st year and I was carrying a lot of worries while walking in the street and I limited my movement to a great \extent and I spent long times at home.

Later I gradually learnt how to walk in the street and look confident when I walk through checkpoints by changing the expressions on my face to look fearless (military police target guys who look weak and it really was an "eyes" challenge and bluffing skills were of great importance). didn't disappear and decided that I should resume my "normal" movement but I couldn't get out of Baghdad because it's almost impossible
to get through all the checkpoints without being discovered. Anyway, this era was a good chance for reading many books.

MG: A Giant Monorail all across Baghdad: Yes or No?

Mohammed: No.

MG: What Book that you've read, has had the Most Influence on your Life?

Mohammed: "the ridicule of the human mind" from the brilliant Ali Al-Wardi. That book taught me how tolerate others' opinions and look at the other side of the image and respect pluralism.That book changed many things in me; I was 23, ambitious and reckless but the book helped build a rather moderate personality and give myself some time to think and…rethink.


MG: Mohammed, we don't know too much about Mom and Pop Fadhil. What are they really like? What's special about your parents? And are they proud of their three sons, two of them dentists and the other one a doctor?

Mohammed: I have great parents; my father is a retired officer since 1990 and my mother is a retired teacher since 1990 too. We were raised and still living middle class more or less but my parents were trying hard to provide us with everything we
needed and I remember when we were kids, we always had toys and stuff before our friends did.

They're both 63 now. I'm really grateful for that they encouraged us to read and love reading. My father is fond of his library which he updates continuously and he encouraged me to build my own library. He never told us what to read and gave us full freedom in choosing what we read and this is something pretty rare in a protective oriental society. I also remember that my mother used to bring us stories when
we were kids and she always brought us new stories every other while and here where the family love for reading started; every one of us has his own library. And yes, they're proud of us!

MG: And what about your Grandparents? Are any of them still living?

Mohammed: Unfortunately, none of them is still alive and the only grandparent I got to see was my father's father who I had a special relationship with and I respected him a lot. He was an illiterate farmer but he didn't let that reflect on his children and he insisted that they get their chance to get decent education and actually most of them were able to get college degrees. He died in 1996 and I was very sad then as his death also coincided with other failures I faced on the personal level.

MG: When you were growing up, did your Grandfather sit you down on his knee and say, "Mo, when I was your age, I was racing Camels Bareback with the Bedouins and fighting the Nazis with my Bare Hands?

Mohammed: He didn't fight the Nazis or anyone else; he lived far in his farm but he did hate the Ba'ath party. He had enormous love for palm trees and I inherited that love from him; we have 8 palm trees in our garden and I'm the one taking full
care of them. I hope that one day palm trees fill the Iraqi desert; it's a tough tree that has a special kind of pride; it has very long roots and can reach water no matter how deep it was and it doesn't wait for someone to bring the water. I
remember my grandfather once while he was planting a young palm tree; he felt that I was thinking like "it's going to take at least 10 years before this small tree grows dates and probably he won't be alive by then" and I remember him answering my
unvoiced thought by the old Iraqi saying "they planted, we ate and we shall plant so that they will eat". I learned the lesson well.

MG: And speaking of the Bedouins, when you were on Vaccination Duty, you got to meet them scattered about in the Iraqi Desert. How was that Experience for you?

Mohammed: It was an interesting experience actually, when a Bedouin sees you from far away (they have very sharp eyes by the way) he would pick up his rifle and stand on guard so we stop at a reasonable distance from his place and identify ourselves and once Bedouins realizethat we're doctors they rush to welcome us and offer us water as they know that we must be thirsty from the long ride through the desert. They're generous people and they'd insist to invite you for a meal with them.
They've begun to understand the importance of vaccinations but they're still suspicious about strangers as they are used to live away from towns and their contacts with town people are very rare.

In general they don't have IDs and they don't register themselves on population charts and in some cases one of them would come to the town hall to register his marriage and get IDs for himself, his wife and his six children! And they usually don't do that unless they need such documents urgently. They don't settle in one place for a long time and they move in the western and south western desert with
their cattle following grass and water so we find ourselves running after them from place to another. Anyway, their way of living and their appreciation for freedom are impressive and I think it'd be an adventure to try their way of life for a while.

MG: So, how did you decide to become a Dentist?

Mohammed: I first went to the College of Medicine but the study was too tough for me and I didn't succeed at it so I decided to move to the College of Dentistry as an easier alternative that keeps me in the field of treating people. I frankly didn't like it in the 1st two years but when I treated my 1st patient in 4th year I started to love the career and I still get a great feeling of happiness when I finish treating any patient successfully.

MG: What is it like being a Dentist in a Small Village like Samawa as opposed to a Big City like Baghdad?

Mohammed: Life in the village is fun and boring at the same time; the human nature out there and the uncomplicated way of life is charming and being a dentist in a small community makes you feel special and that satisfies one's ego! As to social activities, they cannot be compared with the situation in Baghdad. Another thing is that before Internet entered the village I felt much more comfy because being there gave me a chance to stay away from the noise of the city, news and Internet work so it's a time for me alone but after the Internet reached the village things changed and I felt like I lost the privacy I enjoyed in my small island.

MG: Mohammed, are you the Sexiest of the Fadhil Brothers? Do you have the Best Rap with the Iraqi Hotties or even the Non-Iraqi Hotties?

Mohammed: Some women say so but not all of them. I guess women are the same regardless of place and what they like in a man doesn't change from one country to another. And yes, I left a good impression among Iraqi and non-Iraqi women. LOL

MG: Mohammed, a Little Birdy told me that Some Insane Male Liberal Types Pretending to be Women have Targeted Various Iraqi Bloggers with Proposals of Marriage in order to entrap the Iraqi Bloggers and learn if they've been funded by the U.S Government or Organizations, and whether the Iraqi Bloggers are actually based in Iraq. Has this happened to you?

Mohammed: It's sick (if true) and No, it never happened to me.

MG: Mohammed, Omar mentioned that it was your idea to name the Blog: Iraq The Model". Why did you choose that Title as opposed to something like: "Iraq: Who's Your Daddy, Mideast" or "Iraq:
Well, Hey It's A Start" or "Iraq: Three Mercedes For Every Household?"

Mohammed: I believe that Iraq IS a model for other nations, the world is about to witness dramatic changes and despite the tactical/technical mistakes committed by some of the involved parties, we're still building a new model in the Middle East and I don't think it's going to take too long before others start regarding Iraq as a model that's worth following.

I also believe that the sacrifices associated with the Iraqi experiment on the way to the future will make similar future changes in the region require less sacrifices. We're drawing a path for our neighbors which may not look tempting at the moment but with time I'm sure they'll consider taking that path.

MG: Do you have any Blogs you like to read and can Recommend?

Mohammed: I usually read from the blogroll we have on the side bar and I especially enjoy reading the new Iraqi blogs that are written in Arabic; they have posts of very good quality and reading them keeps me in touch with the various parts of my country.

MG: Mohammed, We have to talk a bit about a Terse Subject: "Spirit Of America" (SOA). Whose idea was the Arabic Blogging Tool, and was it necessary?

Mohammed: I think this is a good question because many people are questioning the significance of such a tool. Actually the answer is quite simple; this tool is the only blogging service that has an exclusively Arabic interface and it's basically designed for Arabic users who know no English at all (and they're so many). Actually I've met many Iraqi thinkers and authors who don't know English but their writings in Arabic are excellent and such people are the target of this tool. Moreover, the tool allows users to upload images, audio and video files with extremely simple steps. Anyway, I guess what testifies for this tool is the magnitude of utilization; so far, more than 500 accounts were opened from Iraq and other countries and this number exceeds the total number of Arabic blogs using all other blog services like Blogspot or Typed!

MG: Let's talk about Your Political Candidacy in the recent Iraqi Election with the Iraqi Pro Democracy Party. What was your involvement in the formation of the Pro Democracy Party? What Factors Mitigated Against/Prevented your Party and its Candidates from gaining a seat in the Iraqi Legislature? What was it like campaigning? And is Politics in your Blood now, and will you be Running for Office again?

Mohammed: Our party was formed immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime and like many other new parties, our party was the result of long discussions and thinking that took place long before March 2003. During the 1st elections in Iraq, I was the secretary of the party and our party included a good number of intellectuals (mainly my generation) and they all believe in a free, democratic, secular and federal Iraq where all citizens are equal in rights and duties. We didn't expect much in these elections and our main goal wasparticipation to prove to the world that Iraq
is ready for a serious political process. We had more than a hundred parties and more than 7200 candidates taking part in the elections and that was great. Only 10% of those parties won seats in the assembly and those were parties with long history and good experience and actually some parties proposed an alliance with our party but
we refused these offers and I think that was a mistake.

Now we're considering the idea again and contacts are underway for the next round of elections and we're looking forward to forming an alliance that can really compete with other big parties. Actually I still see our results in the elections as positive
results because we were able to get 1600 votes (same result of the National emocratic party, led by Nasir Chadarchi, a former GC member and a famous political figure) in spite of the rare resources we had for campaigning and the short time we had to
prepare an electoral campaign.In my opinion, it wasn't a fair competition but we're looking forward for the future. We were traveling from one province to another and our volunteers were hanging posters and signs in the streets; it was a crazy time
with tons of e mails and phone calls to the supporters and friends.

It was a very tough mission amid many threats from the terrorists to everyone taking part in the elections but I'm very happy I had that experience.We weren't afraid and we challenged terror and I believe the elections were a victory for Iraq as a whole. I honestly wasn't concerned about our party's results as much as I was concerned about the process as a whole. I cried when I watched the crowds lining up for the ballots and voting for Iraq. It was a very special day in my entire life and no words can really describe what the feelings were.

MG: Mohammed, Do you still visit your Garden each day to have Tea? Is it a Very Relaxing Experience, or are the Damn Mosquitoes always water skiing in your cup?

Mohammed: Yes, I still sit in the garden every afternoon in the shade of my two favorite palms. It's there where most of the ideas are born in my mind and I usually use this time to think about the current day and about tomorrow.

MG: Mohammed, I sense the Iraqis are a Fun Bunch of People who like to Smoke, Drink, Chase Broads, and Drive Fast like the rest of us. Is this perception an accurate one?

Mohammed: It's not far from accurate but I personally hate speeding and my friends call me the "old man" because of the way I hold the steering wheel when I drive!

MG: Thanks Very Much, Mohammed, for a Nice Interview, and Final Question: Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?

Mohammed: Absolutely, and that's how I learned how to walk through walls.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Return of the AYS-Man

AYS has returned to blogging, it seems, because his anger and frustration with Muslim fanatics had finally reached a boiling point.
I just want to discuss why the suicide attacks always done by Muslims? Have you ever heard a Christian or someone from any other religion bombed him/herself? NO...

So there is a big wrong in this religion itself. Wrong in its ‘holy book’ and in the Hadiths (sayings of Mohammed) which are the base of terror nowadays because some of Islamic sects follow what the hadiths say literally and apply it to ‘raise the banner of Islam’.
*

Over at Trey Jackson you can watch a video of a Muslim fanatic in Baghdad shooting an American soldier from seventy-five yards. The Muslim jihadi is repeating over and over "Allahu Akbar" as he pulls the trigger. The American soldier takes a bullet in the chest and goes down. He was, however, wearing a bullet-proof vest and he pops right back up and gets behind his Hummer.

The video that the Jihadis were taking goes black because the American soldiers locate the fricking idiots hiding in a van and wound the guy who had been chanting "Allahu Akbar."

The American soldier who was shot, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, it turns out, was a medic and he ended up treating the SCUMBAG who fired at him.

The video is very crisp and makes my blood run cold.

If you had trouble with the Trey Jackson link, try this one from Go Jack Army.

*

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What Faiza Jarrar Learned from Her Summer Vacation to America

Faiza Jarrar spent around a month this summer attending a "peacebuilding" workshop at a college in Vermont. She then traveled to Boston, New York, and Washington. What did she learn?
America lives in a semi-dictatorship condition now…
What difference between that, and Iraq, at the time of Saddam Hussein?
Gee, I didn't know that I live in a "semi-dictatorship." Over two hundred years ago, in 1789, the United States of America had its first presidential election in which George Washington defeated John Adams by an electoral college vote of 69 to 34. Since then, every four years Americans have voted for president, even in 1860 and 1864. The United States is the world's longest-lasting democracy, and in 2008 we will have another presidential election. Hey, but Faiza says we live in a "semi-dictatorship" and who are we to argue with her?
In America, I saw a majority of people who are crushed, not comfortable…

I learned that they do not study the history of other nations in their schools, nor their geography, and know nothing about other religions… their information usually comes from the Media, and that media is usually directed, owned by a number of wealthy people, the owners of the big, beneficiary companies…meaning; they deliver the news to the people according to their moods, explaining things according to their private, narrow, visions….
It looks like the Indymedia folks have thoroughly brainwashed our dear Faiza. If she could walk the streets of Boston, New York, and Washington and misconstrue the bustling of Americans as being indicative of a "crushed" people, then anything is possible in Faiza Jarrar's febrile imagination.

*

Ali Fadhil has posted another of his excellent Q&A blog entries.
2nd Lieutenant Jarred Fishman said:

I am now back from US Air Force training where I became an officer. My question is: what is the attitude towards the ING and the IP and the Special Forces? Do the public support them? are they effective at all? Do Iraqis know that the American populace supports them and wants them to be free and have good and peaceful lives? Stay safe!!

Thanks for your kindness and congratulations on your graduation!
The ING and the IP are generally supported by She'at and Kurds and resented by Sunnis, that's generally. I believe they're getting more effective but still some of them are very rude and behave just like Saddam's thugs at times and it gives a really bad image that affects all the ING in the minds of people who already don't trust them and even in the eyes of those who do support them. As I was typing here in an Internet café a patrol of ING was passing the road in front of us a few minutes ago. One of the soldiers fired his AK47 in the air for absolutely no reason, and this happens a lot. I looked at the soldier and he was actually laughing!! It's all because of the unlimited authority they're given to combat terrorists. I think that the major parties are using terrorism as just an excuse sometimes to further strengthen their grip on power. I still have faith that Iraqis won't let that happen again and I have seen many good signs of that.

I think many Iraqis know that Americans support them but not most and there's still a lot that Iraqis don't know. I feel lucky because I have this blog and because I can read English as it has shown me things I could never have known through our media. I never imagined Americans support and care about Iraqis this much before I started blogging. I thought they did but not this much and I feel I know Americans much more now and love them much more as well. More Iraqis need to see what I and other luckier Iraqis have and are seeing.

*

Niki Akhavan (Jarrar) evidently wants me dead. Enjoy this walk in the graveyard and visit my TOMBSTONE.

And could you please be so kind as to leave a few comments.

JEFFREY STALKER R.I.P.

*

Michael Yon, our fearless freelancer in Iraq, reports from his travels with a Big Dog, Command Sergeant Major Mellinger.
The Special Forces soldiers at Balad talked frankly about the pace of progress and challenges they face with training the new Iraqi forces. They recounted that many Iraqi soldiers and police officers are apparently losing much of their salaries to corrupt superiors who skim the payroll, leaving the soldiers and police to steal from civilians. This can be attributed to culture and custom and it's bound to disturb many people in the west. But the Special Forces soldiers take it in stride. I've learned to gauge the relative corruption of places by the cleanliness of their drinking and bathing water. The water is not clean here. The water is scarce yet free, and since it's free, people waste it. In the human world, there are but small islands of relative-justice. There's no place like home, no place like home, no place like home.
*

Marc Lynch, over at Abu Aadvark, takes a look at the coverage in the Middle East of the suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed so many children. Lynch is an American academic who reads Arabic and has written extensively on media in the Middle East.

You should also stop by Fayrouz's blog and read her entry on the same subject and the interesting comments that she has gathered from people stopping by.

*

Vahal Abdulrahman reflects on the situation in Iraq after reading Azar Nafisi's sobering Reading Lolita in Tehran.

*

Monday, July 11, 2005

The In T View: Live From Mosul, It's Free Writer



Rocks - MG




From a Secret Location somewhere in War Torn
Mosul, Iraqi Blogger, Free Writer informs the world -- through his appropriately named Blog: A Free Writer -- of Life within the City under Siege,
as well as his Hopes, Fears, Dreams, and Thoughts about a New Iraq.

It's The In T View: Live From Mosul, It's Free Writer
Interview & Artwork By Mister Ghost

MG: Hello Free Writer, How is Life Treating you these Days?

Free Writer: Well life is going on but not good as we presumed, so don’t be astonished to see me frustrated most of the time.

MG: Free Writer, What is your Favorite Movie and Why?

Free Writer: Lord of the Rings. I like Lord of the Rings -Part One- because I wish to live in an
imagining magic world just like any little child in green fields and flowers, with too much fun.


MG: What is your Favorite Food?

Free Writer: Too much vegetables, seeds and fruits with a small quantity of meat.


MG: Free Writer, if you were involved in an Eating Contest with ITM's Omar Fadhil And Fellow Mosellian Blogger Najma, who would win? I think Najma Would Win, I hear the Little Lady can really Pack On the Pounds, Like a Sumo Wrestler who hasn't eaten for a week.

Free Writer: I don’t know both of them in fact; if you are serious, I can’t judge that.


MG: If the Automobile Genie popped by your residence and said to you, "Free Writer, I grant you the wish of any Car in the world of your Choosing - Make Your Choice!" What vehicle would you pick, Free Writer?

Free Writer: Problem, I don’t know how to drive a car, I prefer a bicycle.


MG: Free Writer, the Biggest Problem in Iraq at the moment is?

Free Writer: Feeling less secure every where, loss of education, unknown future.


MG: Are you Happy the U.S. invaded Iraq and removed Saddam and the Baathists, or was life better back then?

Free Writer: Every one in Iraq was happy to remove that man, and the new government must do the best for improving Iraqi lives' conditions to prevent others (like you of course ) from asking such a silly question.


MG: Do you have a Big Family or Come from a Large Family?

Free Writer: Medium for both.


MG: If you have Children, do you watch The Simpsons with them?

Free Writer: Who is Simpsons?


MG: What is your Hope for the Children of Iraq?

Free Writer: To get a better future than us, and to live just like other children in the modern world, well educated, eat and sleep well, to play and have fun, to know nothing about violence, and to stay free in life.


MG: Tell me something about your Mother: What was or is Special about Her?

Free Writer: A loyal and hard working lady for her family.


MG: Should they open up a Disneyland in Baghdad?

Free Writer: Not during my life!! First, we need electricity to make it run.


MG: Would you ever want to get a Pet Komodo Dragon, feed it Pringles, and Take it for Strolls around Mosul?

Free Writer: Is it a domestic animals or what?? I love only singing birds.


Mosul - War Zone:

MG: ~ Free Writer, you live in Mosul, a
City Under Siege: What is that like?

Free Writer: Always frightened, from explosions, kidnapping, random fire, terrorist actions and all other bad things in your
nightmares, and you have to go to sleep at 9 PM
on the roof because we have no electricity to
see TV. Or running computer or to sleep in cold environment.

MG: ~ Have you or any of your family members had any encounters with the Terrorists/Insurgents?

Free Writer: Thanks God.. Not yet, I want
to stay in one piece.


MG: ~ What Precautions do You or your Family Members take to keep away From Danger?

Free Writer: Keeping doors locked, looking around and suspecting any strange movements or when seeing strangers


MG: ~ Do you ever get use to the Sound of Explosions?

Free Writer: All Iraqi’s get use to the
ugly sound of explosion from 30 years ago and
till now.


MG: ~ Have you Lost Trust in your Neighbors, worried that they might be Insurgent Supporters or Sympathizers?

Free Writer: No


MG: ~ What was Mosul like before the War?

Free Writer: It was safe, clean, and people were keeping in touch together.


MG: ~ What is Mosul like Now?

Free Writer: Not safe, Dirty, curfew prevented us from seeing friends and relatives.


MG: How did you become Interested in Blogging and how did your Blog: A Free Writer comes about?

Free Writer: It’s happened by chance and
I want to show that we are a free people, that we love peace and we want to have a developed civil society, with a good economy that keeps dignity
for every one in Iraq equally.


MG: Besides your own Blog, are there other Blogs you like to Read and can Recommend?

Free Writer: I like reading all Iraqi blogs inside and outside Iraq .


MG: If People want to make a Donation to either You, your Blog, or the Charitable Endeavors you work on, how do they go about it?

Free Writer: My intention is to help
others before myself, and I wish I have enough
money to help each one in need in Iraq, especially little kids. (MG Says: Free Writer is being very
modest. If you want to make a donation, you can
do so by clicking on the PayPal Button at his
Blog.)


MG: And Speaking of those Charitable Endeavors, can you tell us a little Something
about your Help for Iraqi Orphans, your Computer
Aid for Needy Iraqi Students, and the Thalassemia Society of Ninavah?

Free Writer: One time I donate for orphan Christians, 12 kids through a friend, and I am working on a summer project for teaching 6 students in a group about computer & internet, and trying my best to let the world know about children in Mosul suffering blood diseases like Cancer and Thalassemia, but donations for these patients will not help more than providing a free treatment outside Iraq. Also I start gathering information about any social problems in society and try to
blog about them for getting any possible assistance.


MG: What Book that you've read, has had
the most influence on your Life?

Free Writer: Most of Colin Wilson books


MG: What Does God or Allah mean to You?

Free Writer: Allah is every thing good
you see in life.


MG: Free Writer, What Does Love mean to
You?

Free Writer: A Nobel emotional system,
if we preserve it well, we can get a better human relations around the world.


MG: If you could hop on a Time Machine
and go back in Time to any Historical or
Prehistoric Era or Place, where would you go?

Free Writer: 200 hundred years back is
enough for me, when life was pure and simple.


MG: If you could give a Speech about
Iraq to the UN General Assembly, what would
you talk about?

Free Writer: Many things in my mind, I don’t have time to mention it now.


MG: What is your Favorite Place in Iraq
to Visit?

Free Writer: I can’t remember!!


MG: If you had the opportunity to come to
the United States, is there any Specific Place, City, or State you'd like to visit?

Free Writer: Cities with a nice parks and gardens, and a great landscapes.


MG: Thanks Very Much, Free Writer, for a
Nice Interview, and Final Question: Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?

Free Writer: I guess it happened when I
was 8 years old. The ghost I had seen was an
old man,semi-transparent in pure white, going downstairs in silence.(sure not dreaming)...!!
My question to you : Is Casper your relative
or just a friend?


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Forget the Hurricane, Check out this Avalanche!

During Saddam Hussein's long dictatorial rule, medical professionals in Iraq, unable to order new textbooks and journals from outside the country, relied on photocopies from old books still inside the country. Michael Yon takes a look at the changing situation today and what American health professionals are doing to help their Iraqi colleagues.
The successful bondage of man depends, at least in part, on equal measures of ignorance and intimidation. These are the twin towers of both tyranny and terrorism. Controlling access to information constrains the power of ideas, allowing a climate of confusion and fear to rise in the vacuum. In fields such as science and medicine, ongoing access to developing ideas and emerging technologies is essential to maintaining a capacity to deliver health care and to harness the power of unfolding developments.

In most instances, it would be oxymoronic to insert the name of Saddam Hussein in a sentence which also contained the phrase “the greater good.” Under his regime, access to information vital to medicine was constricted to the point of atrophy. The danger grows over time; the quality of health care diminishes immediately, while the capacity to educate the next generation of doctors, nurses and allied health care professionals is seriously compromised.

Poverty is not the basic problem in Iraq. A helicopter flight over cities and villages reveals thousands of satellite dishes, thousands of automobiles driving about, and power-lines crisscrossing the country. The people are starved, however, but the commodity for which they hunger is knowledge and information, particularly the kind that comes unfiltered. Yet many of the terrorists who make the misery they later feed on, wish to cut ties to the outside world.
The American military medical teams set up a system in which Americans could donate any books related to medicine, quickly connecting the book drive to the internet.
As word spread on the internet, the chatter triggered an avalanche of donations. A retiring plastic surgeon in Texas donated his professional library of texts and specialty journals. Students at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City donated over 2,000 texts. A senior medical student at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine, took the idea and advanced it another step among his peers and faculty by using flyers and e-mail. His group accumulated nearly 4,000 texts and journals. Elsevier, an international medical and scientific publisher, donated packaging and postal costs. Evidence of the growing momentum was seen in the donation of 1,000 copies each of Scientific American Medicine and ACS Surgery from Medscape Publishers. This one collection of new texts weighed 17,600 pounds and had a retail value of $429,000. The magnitude of this donation was leveraged to rachet up the credibility and visibility of the project, culminating when Merck Canada donated five pallets of medical and scientific journals.
...
Cartons and pallets arrived in ever larger quantities, while other shipments were too costly to send, creating a log jam. The daunting logistics could have spelled the end, and just as quickly as the initial Internet solicitations had gone out, the organizers could have pled “NO MORE BOOKS PLEASE.”

But this was not to be. Indeed, this is an instance where the bureaucracy of the U.S. Military paid dividends for the greater good. No organization in the world moves heavy loads about the earth—-into combat and disaster areas-—as efficiently as the U.S. military. Working with the Army, the Air Force cleared these large donations to be included as Space A cargo (space available) on military flights.

As the donor base grew, so did the list of persons willing to distribute texts, journals and related items in other parts of Iraq. When the donations to Tikrit began to saturate the capacity, other medical officers stepped up and began distributing materials across wider areas of Iraq.

You will never hear about something like this from any of the Jarrars. They are content to scam money from Americans while at the same time calling for the death of American soldiers.

*

Steven Vincent, still in Basra (Good God, how long has it been?!), travels with some of the local soldiers, many of whom are Sadrists, he discovers. One of the soldiers, a "rangy, smart-alecky kid with an Eddie Haskell smirk," calls Muqtada Al-Sadr a "great man."
Back in the concrete blockhouse, Eddie Haskell had evidently decided to add to his day's busy agenda an effort to irritate the American journalist. "Amirka muu zayna," he informed me. ("American no good.") Not once, or twice, but like one of the flies buzzing around the station, he wouldn't stop, giggling "Amrika muu zayna, Amrika muu zayna," glancing at his buddies for their nods and approbation. He continued to relate this insight as we trudged back to the motorboat, me smiling & shrugging & adopting the typically American toleration of criticism--hey, you want to attack my country, well, gee, okay, I guess we somehow deserve it...Just as we were boarding the vessel, however, Eddie grabbed my arm and, smirking and snorting, shoved his cell phone in my face, where prominently displayed on its call screen was a mini-image of...the Twin Towers burning. "Zayn?" he snickered.
Vincent, however, gets his revenge.

*

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Al-Qaeda Attacks in London

I have been to London many times and have walked its beautiful, tranquil parks and strolled down its crisp streets. The British have been our friends for a long time and the British and Americans have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the toughest fights of our lives, as in World War I and II. Today, the British and Americans are standing together in another fight, this one against fanatical Islamic terrorists.

As we have in the past, together we will prevail.

*

Ahmad, our friend who runs the blog Iraqi Expat, reports from London:
Today's attacks must - and they will - strengthen our commitment to defeat this barbaric hateful terrorism. We will not bow - I will never bow - to these despicable terrorists, even if my life depends on it. What happened to London today was an outrageous evil act by shameless criminals who, sadly, call themselves Muslims. Today, my family and I are ashamed of being Muslims.
...
Fortunately I am fine, and so is my family and most of the people I know in London who I was able to reach either by SMS or phone. My uncle, who is a doctor, escaped one of the attacks by luck while on his way to the hospital; he called us and told us that he's fine and busy with casualties.
...
God bless the brave people of London who helped so efficiently, professionally and courageously the victims and those involved in these barbaric attacks, my heart goes out to all of you and to all those involved.
*

Norman Geras of Normblog has a list of whom the Islamic terrorists have targeted so far.
1. They attack Red Cross personnel.

2. They murder people working for the UN.

3. They kidnap and kill care workers.

4. They bomb holiday-makers, in nightclubs.

5. They blow up people travelling on trains - civilians.

6. They target people on buses - civilians.

7. They take civilian hostages.

8. They decapitate them.

9. They murder trade unionists.

10. They kidnap diplomats.

11. They kill people for being... barbers.

12. They fly aircraft full of civilians into skyscrapers where people are at work.

13. They take schoolchildren hostage and murder them.

14. They bomb synagogues.

15. They kill people shopping in a market.

16. They kill people queuing at a medical clinic.

17. They murder children in Baghdad.

18. They murder people on their way to work in London.

(And what have I forgotten?)

They are the enemies of democracy and the enemies of all humankind. They must be fought till they have been defeated.

*

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The In T View: Ahmad From Iraqi Expat



Blue Faces - MG


The Straight-Shooting Ahmad of the Very Fine Iraqi Expat Blog was exiled like many others from Iraq by the Abhorent Policies of Saddam and the Baathists, and now makes his home in a Secret Location
somewhere in London, England, where he
forthrightly Comments on events of Iraq,
the Middle East, his new Homeland, and the
World, sharing his Expatriate Perspective,
as only an Expat truly can.

It's The In T View: Ahmad From Iraqi Expat

Interview by MG; Art by MG/DC


MG: Ahmad, Ahmad, Ahmad, How is the
Ground shaking beneath your feet or How
are You?

Ahmad: Not too bad, MG. My luck is changing at the moment, to the better, so I can't complain and I'm keeping my fingers crossed :)


MG: Ahmad, Is Islam a Death Cult? Do you think that Non Muslims could interpret it that
way, what with all the Terrorism, Subjugation,
Honor Killings, Dictatorships, Repression of
Rights, Female Genital Mutilations, Internecine
Battles Between Various Sects of Islam, and a Generous Population of Radical Islamicists who
want to destroy the West and those of Us who
live in it?

Ahmad: I think it is more like a sick cult rather than a death cult. At least that's how I would interpret it if I didn't know better, or if I didn't believe. However, since I believe, I can say that Muslims and Middle Easterners are the problem and not Islam; nonetheless, Islam must be reformed, it must evolve. There are too many reasons for this sickness like backward thinking, fear of progressiveness, oppression, tribal traditions, being self-absorbed, etc. Muslims claims that Islam is a religion of love, peace and humanity; yet the most pathetic and disgraceful donations for the tsunami victims, many of whom where Muslims, came from oil-rich Muslim country!


MG: What's your Favorite TV Show of all
time and why?

Ahmad: It's got to be 24. It's great, intense, gripping and highly addictive. Once I start watching it, I can't stop. And the best part is when the sick fanatics lose and Bauer saves the day :) Friends is a close second!


MG: Ahmed, have you ever watched Gilligan's Island? If so, do you think something was going on between the Skipper and Gilligan? Do you think the Skipper called Gilligan "Little Buddy" with much
too much fondness? And why weren't the Skipper and Gilligan shacking up with Ginger and Mary Ann, two single, beautiful, desirous, probably lonely women?

Ahmad: No, never watched it, never heard of it!


MG: Do you have a Favorite Brand of
Breakfast Cereal? I love Blueberry Morning
myself.

Ahmad: Honey Nut Shredded Wheat.


MG: What was the Best Birthday Present you ever received?

Ahmad: This is a tough one, MG! I am gonna have to pass.


MG: Ahmad, tell me about your Parents?
What's special about them, and what's your Fondest Memory of your Mother?

Ahmad: Well, they are very loving and caring parents, and I've been fortunate to have be brought up be well educated, well respected, adorable parents who supported me through tough times. My mother is a fantastic and brave woman who were able to work and raise five children at the same time.

MG: Is your Mom a Good Cook? What Iraqi
Meal or Dessert that she made or makes, causes
you to go absolutely Ga-Ga over it?

Ahmad: A good cook? No, she is a great cook. Her food is delicious and everyone who tried her food can confirm this :) Teman Bagala (fava beans' rice is rice cooked with fava beans and dill, and eaten with lamb meat or chicken) is my favorite dish.

MG: Ahmad, why are Iraqi Men considered
the Best Lovers in the Middle East? What makes
you Iraqi Men such Funky Sex Machines?

Ahmad: Probably because we ARE the best :) We are fun, romantic and passionate, yet dominant and want to please; what more do women want?

MG: Have you been Lucky or Unlucky in Love?

Ahmad: Both! Lucky, because I loved and been loved; unlucky, because it didn't work out!

MG: Ahmad: Brush With Greatness: Who's
the Most Famous Person you've ever encountered?

Ahmad: Sadly, Saddam is the most famous person I encountered! It happened more than once actually; but I will tell you about this specific one. I was about 8 or 9 years old with my older brother in the Hunting Club in Al Mansoor. My brother and his friends went to watch a movie in the outdoor cinema of the club and I went to join them; but I didn't find a chair! So, I searched the cinema to find an empty chair to take and I found a table at the back of the cinema with many empty chairs and only one person sitting at the table. It was dark, so I went to the person and asked if I can take one of the chairs; but the man asked me why don't I sit there with him on the table. I answered by saying I want to go and sit with my brother, and he said, bring your brother and sit here with me. This conversation kept going for couple of minutes, before I realised that this man's voice is familiar! I looked around and I saw dozen or more bodyguards standing behind him. I looked at the sitting man again, and I realised that it was Saddam. At that point he was saying take the chair, but I interrupted him and said no thanks and ran away. I sat on the floor next to my brother and I didn't speak a word until I got home later that night, when I told my brother what happened.

MG: You have a lot to say about the
Arab Press, most of it Bad. So, what is the
Problem with the Arab Media?

Ahmad: Oh man, the Arab media is as messed up as the Arabs themselves. Maybe the media is even more messed up because either it is controlled by some backward thinking dictator or some backward thinking agenda. The lack of logic in the Arab media and the people they bring to their shows is astonishing. It makes you think that these people are happy with the way things are or were. It never cease to amaze me how shameless some people are when they defend or praise the actions and words of dictators or backward thinking Muslims and Imams. It is a big problem, MG. For us to move forward, the media has to evolve; because it is an important tool in enlightening people and educating them.

MG: Jihad TV... Al Jazeera is coming to
the United States, Ahmad. Should it be Banned or does Freedom of the Press hold sway?

Ahmad: Banned and shut down. Freedom of press and freedom of speech must never be free enough to incite violence and promote terror. There is a fine difference between freedom and chaos, that difference is defined by responsibility, accountability and rule of law. I can't go and advocate killing because I am free to say what I like to say, can I?

MG: How did you become interested in Blogging, and how did your Blog: Iraqi Expat
come about?

Ahmad: I have read many Iraqi blogs since Salam Pax, and at some point I decide to start a blog to write my opinion because of the negative/backward views that I was reading and hearing everywhere.

MG: Besides your Fine Blog, what other
Blogs do you Read and can Recommend?

Ahmad: Thanks for calling my blog a fine blog :) I read many Iraqi, Arabic and international blogs; mostly I like ITM, Ali Fayrouz, NIW, Akbar, Sami, Sandmonkey, Big Pharaoh, Nadz, Amarji, Tony , Athena, Karfan, and many others.

MG: Who's your favorite Iraqi Blogger?

Ahmad: That's a tough one since many of them are my favorite; but I will say the ITM brothers.

MG: Ahmad, Are you a fan of the original
Star Trek, the one with Mister Spock the Vulcan?
He used to perform Mind Melds on other sentinent beings, allowing him access to their innermost thoughts. Would you yourself like to perform a
Mind Meld on Sexy Iraqi Blogger Riverbend?

Ahmad: Hahaha... LOL. I am not a fan of Star Trek; but if I can read someone's inner most thoughts it wouldn't be riverbend for two reasons: 1. Because she is a classic case of Baath intoxication and you don't need to read her thoughts to know how she thinks, if you know what I mean! 2. Why would I waste such a gift on someone like riverbend? I would want to read the thoughts of the women I making love to, to give her what she wants the second she thinks of it ;)

MG: Ahmad, if you got in to a Fight with
Sam from Hammorabi, who would Win? You know that
Sam is a Crafty Old Guy. He knows the Famous Baghdadi Death Grip, so you better watch out.

Ahmad: So, he knows the death grip that I spent 18 months formulating and perfecting? Interesting!

MG: Ahmad, What goes Up, must come Down.
True or False?

Ahmad: True.

MG: Ahmad, Do you ever take a look at the Moon and want to carve your name there in Giant Letters, so it can be seen from the Earth?

Ahmad: Did you get the impression that I have narcissistic personality disorder? Saddam did, not me! In the 80s, one of Saddam's bootlickers suggested to Saddam that they should create a giant golden statue of Saddam to orbit in space! Can you imagine how crazy some people are? Of course he was rewarded by Saddam for his creative thinking!

MG: Ahmad, What's the Greatest Feeling in
the World to you?

Ahmad: Love.



ride outside the box AFD - DC



MG: Ahmad, Tell Me something about the Iraqi Expatriate experience:

Ahmad: I have wrote about Iraqi expats in general.

MG: ~ How did you get from Point A in Iraq to Point B in England?

Ahmad: It wasn't easy; but I was luckier than many. I left Iraq with forged document because I was banned from leaving the country; I wasn't banned personally, but I was banned because of my profession. When I left Baghdad I was very sad and I almost cried; but I was also extremely afraid and nervous until I passed the Iraqi borders. Anyway, I stayed in Jordan for over a year until the British gave me a visa. So I must say that I didn't have it as bad as many others, including my friends.

MG: ~ Who or What forced your family and you to leave Iraq?

Ahmad: The situation forced us to run away from danger, from the brutality of the regime, from the place where we were suppose to be safe at, from home. We left because we can no longer tolerate being at risk and we lost hope. One of the thing that Iraqis who didn't leave don't know is that leaving Iraq is one of the hardest decisions in life because it is a decision of hope, uncertainty and hardship. Many Iraqis lost their life or got imprisoned while trying to reach a safe haven.

MG: ~ What was it Like to Live in a Culture of Fear?

Ahmad: Very hard. Hard because you are not only suppose to not criticise, but you are suppose to praise what you hate with passion. It is hard because you are living in a big lie and you can't talk about it; you can trust no one. On top of that, and even if you are compliant, you might get into trouble or get killed at any moment without any reasons. For example, Omar Sabawi, Saddam's nephew was driving in al Arasat when he started looking and flirting with some girls in a car. That car was being driven by the girls brother, and their mother was with them. When the brother noticed, he drove away and didn't give way to Omar. Omar and his bodyguards stopped the car and wanted to kill the brother. The mother pleaded for her son's life, she dropped on her knees in the street and kissed Omar's shoe to save her son's life; finally Omar agreed to save her son's life if the son is willing to close his eyes and open his mouth so that Omar can spit in his mouth. The mother begged her son to accept, and he did. When the son closed his eyes and opened his mouth, Omar put the gun in the son's mouth and killed him. Omar and the bodyguards drove away and people in the street where standing by watching but can do nothing to stop it.

MG: ~ Was it a Hard Adaption for you to
live in a Foreign Country?

Ahmad: For me it wasn't too hard, because I opened my mind and my eyes and realised that I have been living in a prison and should try to understand the world from a different perspective. So I worked on the basis that what I knew before wasn't necessary right, and should try to reason it according to what I know today; and that I didn't - and still - don't know everything.

MG: ~ And what were some of the difficulties you faced in your new Homeland?

Ahmad: The main difficulty is my residency. I have been badly advised, represented, and have made some mistakes in the process, which resulted in a long fight with the home office. It is almost settled now.

MG: Ahmad, there seems to be some Jealousy, perhaps Envy, and even Anger directed towards
Iraqi Expats, from those Iraqis who never left
Iraq. Why is that?

Ahmad: I don't know, shouldn't you ask them that? :) Maybe because we didn't have it as bad as they did, maybe because we ran away, maybe because we changed our fortune. I am not sure why if any, but I think a combination of all, plus the Arab/Iraqi nature of being envious!

MG: Is there a Locale in Iraq that holds
a Special Place in your Heart for you, or just
a spot in Iraq that's special to you?

Ahmad: Many. Too many. Ah, home, Baghdad Medical College, Baghdad College, many spot in al Mansoor district, do you want more?

MG: Ahmad, Do you have a Favorite Color
of Nail Polish you like to see on a Woman's
Toes? I like Red myself, but everyone's different.

Ahmad: Sexy Red!

MG: Ahmad, Are you at Liberty to discuss
the Famous Iraqi Curse of the Hairy Toes?

Ahmad: Hairy toes? Man, that is a curse;
I am glad I don't have to worry about this.

MG: Thanks for a Very Nice Interview,
Ahmad, and Final Question:Have you ever Seen a Ghost?

Ahmad: Thanks MG. No I haven't, but I've
been interviewed by one ;)


Friday, July 01, 2005

Free Writer: Five Minutes Alone In A Cell With Saddam



Art of Oil - MG


So, what would you do Free Writer, just Saddam and you alone in his cell? Would you kill him? Strike out at him? Ask him for explanation of his actions? Spit on him? Demand an apology? What would you do?

Mister Ghost,

I will just ask him this question asking him to
reply on it:

IF you look back to the past years, do you feel
sorry for yourself or for your people for what's happened as a result ? And if you can go back in time would you accept the idea that you repented
and change your manners? Or you think that you
was right and others were mistaken ?

That is all but I will insist on him to have a
straight answer.


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