Sunday, April 11, 2004

Iraq, land of rumours...

Secrets in Baghdad; people came from falluja (today), with a new story: they said "the mojahideen only destroyed the American vehicles and left, then a foreigner photographer came and offered some people who were standing there 200$ to burn the bodies and let him take the pictures..

Back to Iraq 3.0; This just in. Thanks go out to reader Odis, working in Baghdad, who has forwarded me a scanned flyer purportedly from Muqtada al-Sadr calling for an end to the fighting that has killed at least 42 Coalition troops and hundreds of Iraqis this week.
The translation is roughly as follows:
...(sentiments re authenticity with-held).

Wires; Tonight I got an email message from the commander of a battalion of US troops, somewhere near Tikrit, asking me to evaluate the Iraqi personality. He cut his message short because he thought that his position was being attacked by mortars. This is the reply that I sent him… (careful, wires).

Healing Iraq has many observations;
You can now clearly see what we call 'looting scouts' in every neighbourhood. They are easily recognised because they are strangers, often unkempt and ragged, and they look right and left in excitement, spreading all kinds of eerie rumours...

...I don't know about the situation in other areas of Baghdad, some bloggers are reporting that things are 'normal', however I'm afraid that the word 'normal' has lost any meaning it has in Iraq today...

...A whole year has passed now and I can't help but feel that we are back at the starting point again. The sense of an impending disaster, the ominous silence, the breakdown of most governmental facilities, the absence of any police or security forces, contradicting news reports, rumours everywhere, and a complete disruption in the flow of everyday life chores...

...It is the most foolish and selfish thing to say "pull the troops out", or "replace them with the UN or NATO". Someone has to see us through this mess. And on that, paradoxically, I have to agree. So long as there are US occupying forces in Iraq, there will be a a media spotlight on Iraq, and regardless of the factual certainty/uncertainty that accompanies this media coverage, at least it means Iraq does not slip off the radar. So, go on, out you go, trawl through what ever media resources you have and keep your eyes pinned on Iraq. If you hear silence, be very suspicious. It is strange but this whole weekend has had me comparing the politics of war to scenes of domestic violence. Do you remember the Tracy Chapman song?

Last night I heard the screaming
Loud voices behind the wall
Another sleepless night for me
Won't do no good to call
The police
Always come late
If they come at all

And when they arrive
They say they can't interfere
With domestic affairs
Between a man and his wife
And as they walk out the door
The tears well up in her eyes

Have you ever felt powerless while someone else suffers, and without knowing what else to do, turned a blind eye? Or, have you ever had a blind eye turned on you? No, I don't think soldiers and guns and tanks are ever the answer, and yes, I do wish they didn't even exist, and no, I will never ever ever support war. But I do agree with Zeyad, "Troops out Now" is a lame slogan and can't even begin to address what is going in Iraq and also in the rest of the world right now.

When I realised people were actually reading this blog I made an effort to be non judgemental and keep my own opinions out of this blog. But like it or not, freedom to express opinion has become a salient issue in this war. If you don't like it, feel free to comment - weblogs may be one of the last bastions of freedom of speech (In Iraq, and increasingly in western areas of the globe).

If I haven't curdled your blood yet, you might be interested in reading on. Reports from both bloggers in Iraq and other media sources seem to collude that things have quietened down. Some seem to feel that things could still boil over, but I am going to go out on a limb and say with totally unfounded guesswork that things may improve more then you'd expect.

Iraq and Iraqi's concludes with; It was a calm day I hope it will continue to calm down and all the hostages to be released.


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