Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Friday, December 26, 2003
You really should go read what she writes. try to imagining a nasal whine and words thrown at you at machine gun speed, it will help visualize how Faiza would talk to you. There was a time when I spent more time in Raed's house than at my parents and Faiza is almost like one of my mom's sisters to me. She has a very evolved sense of rightousness, you better have a good explantion for your actions, you would get a lecture otherwise. and please tip the translator, ahem ahem.
The day before yesterday a mine exploded in the Jamia underpass, three Iraqis died and the road was blocked for a number of hours. Does al-Iraqia report? Of course it doesn’t. Today me an my cousins went to get sandwiches from Harthiya street, all the talk in the fast food place was about an explosion just an hour earlier, as we drive away we see a Humvee in the middle of the road, we have to turn back the street is blocked because of the mentioned explosion, The ministry of oil was attacked, SOMO (the sales department in the Ministry of Oil) had a car bomb put in front of it. Does al-Iraqia report? No it doesn’t. The editors there don’t seem to get it, for the foreign media it might be easy to hide part of the picture because their viewers don’t live here. But for Iraqia, turning itself into the good news channel only makes it lose any hope of credibility. Think of it, they don’t have it to lose it. The other day my uncle, after taking a bottle of nice Lebanese wine I bought for myself, gave me a summary of the policies of various arab media organizations from his point of view.
Want the good news only? Read al-sabah, the lovey-dovey-oh-no-problem-in-this-world paper sponsored by the coalition.
Want the horrible, disturbing version of the news? Read azzaman, news of deaths and assassinations galore.
Want to get your blood pressure up? Watch the arab news networks.
He, and so do we, read all of them. Somewhere in that mess is what is really happening but you need to read the whole lot. Oh and here is the link to our THIRD film for newsnight.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
I mean .. Don't freak out!
anyone can translate whatever he wants
anyone can say whatever he wants
I mean .. unless its pro-saddam or anti-bush or pro-terrorism or ..
Explosions didn't stop yesterday, nothing new, but .. mmm.. did anyone else hear the sirens? or was it just another nightmare?
usually my nightmares have either Italian girls dumping me, or American soldiers stopping me on check points. But this one was really genuine.
After investigating Abu-Hasan (the night guard), unfortunately it appeared NOT to be a nightmare
(ouch! .. I just started to trust my imagination again)
FREAK OUT NOW
sirens explosions sirens explosions sirens explosions
weeo booom bom bom weeo wouou bmbm
Fairy tale of the day?
I met a Santa Claus with plastic face and dirty-soldier-shoes at the convention center, I went there with Hamsa and Jo to register(?) Emaar and the red-plastic-face decided to attack us and say "Muarreeeeeeeeeee Christmaaaaaasssss"
"mmmm .. What?" is all that i could say.
sirens explosions sirens explosions sirens Xmas
A certain site Raed has linked to, a site we do not aprove of neither support ideologically, has translated the last blog I and Raed wrote and decided to use it as proof of certain weapons used in a recent incident. Neither I nor Raed are weapons experts and we have not been asked for permission by the person who translated to arabic or the persons who operate that site. We have nothing to do with them. I would even say it is regretable that we are quoted on that site.
We went thru this talk yesterday, me and raed, and were not sure whether to link to it or not, and this is what came out of it.
I repeat, we don't know them and I don't think they would like us if they met us. Now please don't plant a bomb at our door, let's keep this civil.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
You kind of listen carefully for a while wondering whether it will come closer or not. Thankfully it is only the sound of helicopters going by that gets closer.
Everyone looked very moody and grumpy, Khaled was having problems with uni_girls, Majed was studying for his religion examination, mom was typing more and more diaries on her PC, and my father was reading something.
The boom boom boom thing happened at midnight, and no one had enough energy even to wonder what was happening, but the breaking news at Al-Jazeera tv said American fighters were bombing AdDora, where one of my uncles lives.
My father decided to call them and see what happened, but they were sleeping! my cousin said: "they are using cluster bombs, and we can hear the sound of a 57 (an Iraqi anti-craft gun) shooting back, but everyone here is sleeping"
What?? where did the 57 come back from!!
Today some street fighting happened at AdDora too. Naseem - the guy working in the internet cafe` - was telling me about Fedayeen attacking American troops, "there were dozens of them", and he added with a smile "I'm sure it was a 57 yesterday"
Sometimes I feel completely lost, I can't see the whole picture.
No one can say what is going on.
Reema, the young sister of Hamsa, was telling me about the demonstrations happening in her college. "Some of them were pro-Saddam, others were anti-Saddam. But an hour later it started being more complicated, stupid people were shouting strange things about Shi'aa and Sunna"
What Shi'aa?? What Sunna!!
That doesn't sound very funny!
Tara emailed me form Canada, she's coming back to Baghdad in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if my offer of exchanging-worlds would really work.
I can't see myself having a "normal" life.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
More Iraqis online than you would have thought eh? S/He calls the family in baghdad blog a [Blog Sitcom]. I have just translated Faiza's (the mom) post and sent it to raed but until it is posted on the site I know Faiza will not mind having the translation here. Take it away Faiza
it is five in the evening.and there is more
Electricity just came back, it has been off since five in the morning. I wonder always how families who do not own an electricity generator or have a subscription with a neighborhood one manage washing their clothes or heating their houses since the alternatives are also scarce in the markets. Kerosene and cooking gas are almost totally unavailable on the market and if you find them they are expansive. And when it comes to gasoline, the lines in front of gas stations are so long they go on for kilometers and are amazing and funny.
Life feels harsh and gloomy. Before the war we were for years under sanctions and we got used slowly to the situation. How to survive and manage in our reality. And although we were cut off from the rest of the world (no sat TV, no communication and no internet) everything was banned, prohibited or very regulated, but we were happier than we are now.
I do not know exactly why, but we were like a family living its troubles and secrets, the good ones and the bad ones, in a house that had closed doors and windows. The people abroad would wonder about us, some like us some hate us but we didn’t care much because like many other people each one of us was living his life with its infinite details and sorrows, and having ambitions for a better tomorrow.
And Today, the doors have been pulled out, noise and chaos rule the big house and the people who live in are killing each other, they are stealing from each other and hurting each other. I ask myself where did all this hate hide for so long?
And then a lot of strangers came, looking at us, a few want to help but many more want harm for their own announced or hidden reasons. It doesn’t matter, the result stays the same.
How do I start my day? I driver comes to drive me to my work place since I was denied the driving of my own car, it stands there covered in the garage since almost 6 months because of all the incidents.
On my way I go thru the airport highway where all the trees have been cut down for fear of people hiding amongst them attacking the American forces the road looks sad and deserted now, then suddenly speeding convoys of Humvees go by the end of the convoy is an open car with American soldiers standing pointing their rifles at our civilian cars, afraid of a terrorist act!
I tell the driver to slow down and to try to stay away from them as good as he can, just so that we do not become the victims of a stray bullet coming out of the gun of a soldier who came to liberate Iraq
The all-new Iraqi Police in their ham fisted ways have already managed to kill a guy selling gasoline. Idiots you are supposed to stop them selling gasoline not stop them breathing, they shot him dead, bang bang, just like that and all he did was sell gasoline on the side of the street. Oh god how criminal, he should have ran to a Fundi sheikh and get paid for throwing hangrenades in the streets. New Iraqi Police indeed.
We are off the subject; I CAN NOT see any sense in the new gasoline rules, none at all. It is so ironic that after filling our heads with " you are a rich nation, lotsa oil and shit" talk we have to import gasoline, there is even gasoline coming in from fucking Jordan. Jordan, for fuck's sake, is D.R.Y. we used to give them oil for free and now we have to buy it back. The lord does surely move in mysterious ways, specially when he has the american administration next to him. hmmm, I am rambling....maybe should check my temperature. Since I am confined to my mom's I sit watching the News on the Iraqi TV channel. [al-Iraqia] lives in La La Land, the reporters and anchors smile at each other idiotically like they are on some super-nice drug, the footage they show has nothing to do with the news they are reading. The one bit of news which did get my attention was that the Iraqi Police caught three poeple trying to sell forged Iraqi currency, new 25,000 dinar bills. The ones we were told were impossible to forge. I am glad that not too many Iraqis watch that channel because we would have had the same panic we had after the war when al-Jazeera reported that there are tons of forged 10,000 dinar bills circulating.
Highlight of al-Iraqia's broadcast this morning was the Haj Lottery, the pilgrimage to Mecca is soon and in baghdad alone 40,000 have applied to go but only 7,000 are going to be given permits by the Saudis (it will be a total of 30,000 pilgrims from all of Iraq). even al-Jaafari, a GC member whom I respect a lot, was there overseeing this all important lottery. Today's weather report: Rain, Cold, Wet, Gray, Mud puddles, cars spraying dirty water on you when you walk, people looking grumpy because they can't find kerosene to work the heaters nor is there enough electricity to keep houses warm. Mmmmmmm, much better than sunny yesterday.
Monday, December 22, 2003
We went to an expensive restaurant, food was ok but their wine was very bad, it tasted like vinegar. So I did a small "drama queen" thing and they opened a new bottle of vino rosso for us.
In fact the interesting thing happened before we went to lunch, I went to pick Hamsa from her place and told her that we need to get some petrol for the car first.
She called her father, and the old man came with us to his relative's house, just near by. We knocked the door,
Abu-Hamsa said: we want some petrol
and immediately everyone started acting in a very professional way, the son came outside and led us to the back door, the daughter went to watch the street, and the father came with 30 liters of petrol, looked as her son and daughter and gave them instructions: keep your eyes opened.
I mean! it looked so funny! just if I was buying drugs or something.
"don't give me the money now .. later .. later".
later .. I gave him 15,000 ID and disappeared.
Fun fact: I would have paid 600 ID to get the same "stuff" before the war.
But the man at least gave us "clean stuff", last time I had a problem for a couple of days because of the petrol mixed with I_don't_know_what..
umm.. did u receive that email telling us "your blog is #1 this week in Blogger Forum's weekly Top Ten list". Jo says I'm the biggest "ego freak" she has ever met.
Listen, I must find a new house before the end of the month. Maybe Jo will keep on being my house-mate. (poor girl)
Do u want to start our "raed vs pax" pub or not? we can start having a pub in the same house I'm living in.
call me if u didn't die today
too concerned with my own miseries to care about the miseries in the world around me, sorry. The little cartoon on the left of this page made me laugh, it's the Guardian Unlimited Blogging software review thingy. The reviwer isn't exactly a Blogger fan.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
maybe not that bad ..
He was giving us a classic piece of Arabic speech making, but it sounded more rhythmic than usual.
"Arabs" he said "proved they cannot be trusted"
cool man! go on!
"If we take a look at what happened in Iraq, who was responsible for the entire game? who destroyed Iraq? HIS NEIGHBORS .. they were the spear head"
Didn't everyone enjoy the "spear head" part?
"Why do you think we started these weapons programmes in the first place? do u believe they were for us? for Libya? Naaaah.. they were for the Arabs.. we wanted to defend them" ..
umm?? so?? what happened now dude?
"but now .. you know .. we prefer to think about our country, and about our AFRICAN neighbors"
So Africa is the new trend.
And .. it seems that all other missiles were there to defend Arabs, that's the only reason why Gaddafi and his son decided to destroy them all.
The wisdom of the day?
Cut your nails before we cut off your hands
Thursday, December 18, 2003
THE FIRST MASK:
The Iraqi translator, coming to a secondary school at AlAmryya to help "them" arrest students. Students don't have the right to go on demonstrations.
Americans came with pictures of pupils, a list of their names, and arrested them FROM THEIR CLASSES. The headmaster couldn't speak a word.
THE SECOND MASK:
The Iraqi Fedayi (one of the fedyeen) running after journalists on one of the demonstrations that happened at Adamyya in Baghdad, preventing anyone from taking pictures of people marching there ...
He shot one of my friends .. Wasif .. in his foot.
Too many things happening the last couple of days, it looks that the capture of Saddam started something.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Fun Fact 1: Salam decided to delete my last entry about Saddam because it was "politically incorrect", with bad taste too
Fun Fact 2: I will change the site's title to :
RAED vs SALAM
:") whatever ..
THREE to TEN years behind bars, is what I'll get if "they" got me buying petrol from the "black market"!!!!
I was reading this arabic leaflet (full of grammar mistakes) printed and distributed last week with my eyes opened .. opened very much .. this much >>> OO
YEARS? not DAYS?
Ladies and gentlemen , you either wait for 6 hours in the gas station queue, wondering how to keep theifs and bullets away from your cars, or you'll enjoy our prisons of freedom for the rest of your life.
HOW DARE YOU BUY PETROL FROM THE MASS DISTRACTION MARKET ??
Other unemployed free people, you either stop drinking and selling petrol or you'll be considered as "criminals", and the new Iraqi courts will put you in freedom cells; comfortable beds with free breakfast.
Monday, December 15, 2003
at first I couldn't believe it when I heard it, I got too excited when they reported that the vice president Izat Ibrahim was arrested and then it turned out to be nothing, so my reaction was "yeah right". but the images on TV left no chance to doubt. He looked like a tramp getting a physical and for some reason you expected him to bite that soldier's finger a la Hanibal Lecter. But he just sat there. There was another moment when the GC members were describing their meeting with Saddam and told the journalists about the deriding remarks he made when they asked him about the Sadir's assasination and the mass graves, he sounded like he has totally lost it.
I want a fully functioning Saddam who will sit on a chair in front of a TV camera for 10 hours everyday and tells us what exactly happened the last 30 years. I do not care about the fair trial thing Amnesty Int. is worried about and I don'r really care much about the fact that the Iraqi judges might not be fullt qualified, we all know he should rot in hell. but what I do care about is that he gets a public trial because I want to hear all the untold stories
Thursday, December 11, 2003
The scary DVD blog finally is on the G2 pages, here it is:
In the looters' market, a DVD singing the praises of the so-called resistance is selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha
Sunday, December 07, 2003
More dirt on the issue. I didn’t exactly dig that out it just fell into my lap.
The Census thing was being discussed since August at the Census Bureau, talk about budgets and possible donations from Japan were on the table for a very long time. The Census Bureau got to a point where it was organizing meetings with neighborhood councils to discuss the details of the whole thing. and someone from the Census Bureau says that the papers have been on the GC’s desks from October. I kind of wonder what important issues was the GC pondering so that they have not seen the stack of paper labeled [Census Bureau]? Boys this is a bit embarrassing, it is ot just a nice place to have lunch in. You are supposed to do some governing beside securing CPA deals for your relatives.
I was only complaining about the tragedy that is this government where no one knows what is going on when a friendly gentleman informed me that they must have known because it has been submitted to the GC two months ago and there have been many discussions about the budgeting. So what happened I wonder? And why did anyone allow the situation to get to a point where the NY Times puts up a headline saying *US* REJECTS IRAQI PLAN, not a very nice combination of words you will have to agree, it has [US] and [rejects] and [Iraqi] one after the other, it kind of rubs in the point that it is not really our decision even if we would like it to be.
What is even funnier is that the same gentleman told me that just today the Census Bureau is still having meetings concerning the polling, business as usual, who cares if the GC acts surprised. Maybe, oh god dare I say it, who cares what the GC decides it is the US who will accept or reject.
Dear GC members just for once, just one single time, surprise me and act as if you are on top of things. My father *did* tell me that it is not the GC whom I should be looking at but rather the ministers; they are a very experienced group of people who have done very little wrong until now, something you can not really say about the GC because they have not done much.
It was my third attempt to go thru that “comic book”, I tried once right after I bought it but it made me wince, this time I went thru it in one single go. It is a beautiful book.
I had the urge to start translating it and throwing copies of it on the streets of Baghdad. Why can’t we learn from other people’s mistakes? Riverbend, how can I get a copy to you? As usual I am living in my headphones most of the time, at the moment I am at [Never, Never, Land], I can’t get Reign out of my head.
Friday, December 05, 2003
I found G. he sent me an email saying that he is living with the Guardian people (???) in baghdad and that I should give him a "fucken" call.
G. what are you doing with the Guardian when you are supposed to be working with the NYT ? Diana linked to this article, I don't always read Friedmann but she linked = I read.
God and Man in Baghdad
My favorite line is this
Thursday, December 04, 2003
I just read yesterday in the "official Iraqi Newspaper" i.e. the coalition funded Iraqi Media Network thing that they have abudget allocated for the census, funny that they say the americans have rejected it now. I am sure they have someone reading the Iraqi papers so how could they allow this to get to press. A few months ago an american press officer at the Governing Council's office was telling a reporter that they do excercise some "information control" so what happened, their control got leaky or what?
besides what is wrong with a census, we do need to now a rough estimate of how many poeple would vote and what sort of ethnic and religious precentages we have. The Governing Council says that it never saw the porposal by the census bureau
"The Census Bureau said it had delivered the plan to the Governing Council on Nov. 1, but apparently it was lost in the bureaucracy."hmm very promising, now we find out the government doesn't know what its offices are doing.
These neighbourhood generators are our main source of electricity since the baghdad grid is really not reliable and has been getting worse, so generator owners are twisting our arms now. and it is not like you can switch from one provider to another, you are lucky if you have someone in your neighborhood who has a really big one and decides to sell electricity. In some areas poeple saw ythais as a business oppertunity, get a huge generator and make lots of money because on average you get more electricity from them than from the national grid.
The reason behind the raise in prices is the price and availabity of fuel, and you can't really argue with him. Everyone who owns a car has to either spend the night in his car queuing up in front of a gas station or buy very expensive gas, which is probably cut with anything from water to diesel, on the black market. The other thing is that kerosene which is the fuel most iraqi homes use for heating is also getting more expensive and harder to get. so these days whenver we hear the dingdingding of the kerosene guy (it is a a barrel tank pulled by a horse thing) we start running out to make sure he stops, and you have to be nice to Mr. Kerosene delivery otherwise he will not come next time.
The extra containers we bought for fuel srorage during the war have been very usefull. Just looked at Unqualified Offerings he has linked to lots of charts and numbers about the electricity situation in Iraq.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
I bought the scary CD *this is a [Where is Raed] special announcement*
We are temporarily changing the title of the blog because we have lost G.
If you have seen him please tell Raed or Salam Pax where you saw him and the exact color of his beard on the day of the sighting, thank you. end of test
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Camels look really ugly .. they have big lips .. huge lips .. so when they try to smile (just to say hi to you) they look like someone with the "duhhh" expression on his face
One of the restless questions in my head is about camels, why are camels related to Arabs in the western media? (besides the question of why my italiana girlfriend dumped me, this camel thing is really annoying me)
I mean .. it's just like me having an image in my mind about canadians and penguin .. Hey! are you really Canadian? Cool! Do you have a penguin in your bedroom? Do you eat them?
Media .. media .. it can easily put images and ideas in anyone's head. Its like the endless crisis of searching for the "truth". Isn't everything just relative? you have two people coming back from Samerra, one telling you about the blood shed that happened .. "dozens of civilians were killed there! for god's sake! blah blah" and the other with his version of the story "naah .. nothing happened, it was a usual ambush and soldiers freaked out and shot eight people, two were Iranian tourists" .. go to BBC and CNN and you find the first story, go to AlJazeera and you'll read the second one .. with details! they sound like two parallel universes!
at the time of AlKindi it was a bit easier to speak about truth .. "We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples. For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than truth itself." Maybe life was better before everyone started listening to NEWS .. brrrr
Monday, December 01, 2003
I mean .. how can he just come back like this?
Electricity is still on strike, we didn't have neither electricity nor matches for yesterday's night, and we kept on calling Abo Husien the guard to lend us his lighter every couple of hours .. poor man.
This problem with services is really strange; even other basic stuff here, like petrol and other oil derivatives, are not easy to find. Cars either wait in a long - long queue for hours to get some liters of petrol, or just buy some from the "black" market. The only difference between Baghdad's black market and other cities markets that you don't really have the option of going to the "white" market here :") or whatever it's called. I mean .. besides the socializing opportunity that everyone standing in the queue gets, it's not worth it to spend hours of your life pushing your car (because no one leaves his car's engine on for all of that time) and waiting for a thief to rob you or something. Or maybe it's just our new government's plan for building bridges between the different ethnic groups of the Iraqi people, yes yes! maybe they'll change the name of all gas stations to "social blenders" .. whatever ..
Ummm .. one last thing ..
What the hell does "Support Democracy in Iraq" mean? you know what I'm talking about .. the small logo on your left hand <<<<<
Who is exactly the one supposed to support the Iraqo-demo-cracy thing?? Surprise me! I mean .. Shoot me!
and last night this happened
The most amusing thing about his visit was watching Chalabi and Talabani jumping up and down at the airport, cheering and clapping as Bush made the rounds. Muwafaq Al-Rubai'i, also a member of the Governing Council, was just embarrassing- he was standing on tiptoe and clapping like a 5-year-old watching a circus clown.That was such an embaressing sight, I couldn't believe it, and the way Bush gave them a sideway glance........ I mean they are supposed to be heads of state. Maybe next time we give them cheerleaders uniforms and make them do a little dance.
It is good to know that I wasn't alone cringing as I watched that
Today's taxi driver had a tape with songs praising the work of "the brothers" in Falluja. I sat there stiff wondering if I should just open the door and jump, in the end I did get myself together to ask him what that was and he was happy to tell me who it was and where to get a copy of anti-american pop songs.
Well, they are not really pop songs they were sung like Thikir, which is supposed to be this sung poetry parising Allah and stuff, but listening to stuff praising the people in Falluja for their bravery in defending the faith and praying for each dead Fallujan to be replaced by 2000 is a bit too much.
The dilemma now ofcourse is should I go buy a copy of that tape or not? anyway if I made the decision to buy one the "highlights" of that tasteless thing will be translated and posted here. How do you like that for a new developemnet? look at the Iraqi top ten music chart to get a feel for the sentiments in Iraq. Is it going to be Justin Timberlake? or Scary Sabbah with his greatest anti-coalition hits?
I know. It is not funny. If you have a better internet connection than my lousy dial-up you might want be interested in taking a look at this.