Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Personal and the Political

For those of you like me who are following Shaggy's blog, in his latest entry -- "Prostate's Good" -- we learn that Shaggy went to visit a doctor for his "leaking" penis. I guess it doesn't get any more personal than that, right? And, of course, Shaggy's Dad is still trying to hook him up with a wife:
Later this evening, my dad took me to that 'lady of society' that I've mentioned before. She had found me a 'suitable' woman and we were all invited at her house. The girl was not especially pretty and certainly didn't know how to do her hair nor how to dress in this century. I spoke to the lady outside and told her that she looks a bit heavy to which she responded with you can't have it all good to which I replied that I worry about my back. It went pretty well, dad kept his cool for once and didn't bring up the 'marriage' subject out loud. The evening passed and I didn't exchange a single word with her, but I still had fun conversing with everyone else present.
Right now Shaggs isn't having too much luck finding a suitable wife; we here at IBC hope his fortune changes soon.

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Meanwhile, on the political side, Eye Raki has posted an entry -- "Newton's Third Law" -- on the Hakim family, traditional Iraqi political heavyweights, and its struggles with the newcomer Maliki:
Although SIIC feels defeated and let down by the people they also feel betrayed by Maliki. The only consistent thing I have heard from SIIC so far is the sense of betrayal. They believe it was Hakim who made Maliki into what he is today. Without Hakims support and defence Maliki would have just been another Da'wa member. Maybe one day a Minister. Or so they say.

It is not just the ascent to power that they argue was down to Hakim and SIIC, but also his stay in power. Hakim gave Maliki his unconditional support in the fight against the Sadrists in 2008. Ex-Badr militiamen played a role in helping the IA tear apart the Mehdi Army. Maliki should owe his very existence and survival to Hakim. Although these claims are far fetched (the Sunnis and Kurds played the biggest hand in making sure Ja'fari stood down and Hakim was not the only supporter of Maliki in his war with Sadr) the result remains the same. Hakim helps Maliki defeat Sadr. Maliki trumps Hakim in the elections. Maliki allies with Sadr. Hakim, who is already isolated, now feels betrayed.
This quote is just a teaser, of course. I recommend reading the entire entry. Eye Raki points out that something really has changed in Iraq since 2003:
Anyone going through the check-list could easily tell that Hakim beats Maliki where it matters. Except of course in something which is a new phenomenon in Iraq. The ballot.
While the Iraqi blogosphere is at a low point in both production and quality of posts, there are still a few bloggers like Shaggy and Eye Raki pounding out new entries, covering both the personal and the political, to keep the community from completely flatlining. We tip our hats to them.

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One Iraqi who has continued to blog regularly is Iraq Pundit, one of the first-wave bloggers whose focus has been media coverage of events in Iraq. The last two days he has been following the news reports on the fighting and arrest of Adel Mashadani in the Fadhil neighborhood of Baghdad. Yesterday Iraq Pundit opened his entry -- "Viva the Revolution!" -- with tongue placed firmly in cheek:
Good day and welcome to the Iraq news restaurant. I'll be your waiter, and here are our specials today. We are featuring a clash in the Fadhil neighbourhood of Baghdad. Choices from the menu include an "uprising," a "rebellion," a "fall" of the Awakening, a return of al-Qaeda, and an uprising that challenged the Iraqi government's authority and its efforts to pacify the [not just Fadhil but the entire] capital.
In today's entry -- "Calm Returns After Clashes" -- Iraq Pundit takes a look at the follow-up reports on Fadhil, including Juan Cole's usual muddled dithering.

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And back to the personal. Today, in an entry called "Lovely Lies," Sami (Skies) interpolates personal stories into an Iraqi song. Here is one of the stories from his childhood:
It was war and we moved to a new place to live for a while. I befriended him from the first day when I saw him playing chess alone. He was so sensitive and he never saw Baghdad. I missed my Baghdad so I started lying. I told him that every three or four of our neighbors run a musical rock band and that I have a band with 2 other boys and that I was the keyboard player and the singer. I even claimed to him that I am a professional guitar player. He was a boy from a village, and he was so polite. He took me once to his brother's house and he came with a guitar. He sat on the floor and played a sad piece of Spanish music. Something like "Malaga". Then he taught me to play it. How wise he was. How polite. The next day I didn't stop telling my legendary tales. What a spoilt kid I was.

I wonder what he is doing now.
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