Monday, September 26, 2005

Jaafari’s government is soon coming to an end. And I wonder what he tells himself at night just before he goes to sleep? I wonder if he looks at the news in the morning and thinks to himself ‘god I’ve done a lousy job’?

Things have reached another record low, whole districts in Baghdad are under the insurgent’s control and the promises the Shia Coalition came to power with, the promise of security and stability are now as tattered as their posters that are still glued to the walls from the last elections. New posters of smiling political clerics are also up but these smiling faces look down at us like they are amused at the joke of a government they have created.

Districts like Ameriyah have become Jihadi Central. After they blew up all the clothes shops there they started blowing up grocery shops and now they have moved on to shops selling watches. Very symbolic isn’t it? Time stops HERE.

A couple of weeks ago I told you about my mother’s cousin who was abducted and held for ransom. He was released around a week ago. His advice for my mother’s family was: change your name. He talks about a highly organized group of Sunni extremists with lists of names, some to kill, some to squeeze for money. He came out a deeply shaken man, he is convinced this is sectarian war. His abductors were a group of young, very devout Sunni Muslims who see this as Jihad. They have people who provide them with information and names and these youngsters do the dirty work. He was lucky that he was deemed as good only for money, that’s what saved his neck. A number of men who were held captive with him were killed he only got beaten up.
When they let him go his abductor told him that he can walk tall now, he has contributed to the Holy Jihad. That he has nothing to fear from them any more, his name is off the list.

He lives in Ameriyah and is Shia. He is thinking of moving to another district because that area has become too Sunni. Are we going to start putting up concrete walls between Baghdadi districts now?

One of my uncles lives that district as well; a week ago when a car bomb exploded near a gas station there they had to call medics to pick up pieces of dead people from their front garden. Since then they have been informed by Coalition Forces that they are never to leave the house alone because if they came for a search and found no one they will break in. And a member of the friendly Iraqi National Guard told a neighbour casually “you just wait you people of Ameriyah, let’s just finish with Tel-Afar and we will teach you a lesson”.

Yes there is stability in some regions in Iraq but that is either in Kurdistan, for all intents and purposes a separate country, and in the Shia regions controlled by SCIRI’s militia. The rest of the country is on fire. And depending on how you define civil war we are either in the middle of it or five minutes away from it.

We are at our most divided. And it is at this point in our history we write a constitution. Well hurray for us. A constitution written by the powerful two groups (Shia and Kurd) catering for their wishes and whims while the rest of the population is left with table scraps and hopes that the we will be able to make it better in the future.
And Khalilzad has the guts to go on TV and say “what this document says about human rights, political rights, is one of the best, if not THE best in the region”.

Our esteemed PM and his government have done their best to beat the sectarian drums and the Sunni and Kurdish leaders were joining in with their clapping obviously.

You, I and the whole world talks these days of Sunnis and Shia and Kurds as if they are homogeneous groups. We have lost all nuance and differentiation. As if no Sunni had a Shia neighbour ever. As if Kurds never lived in central Iraq. As if my Shia mother never got married to my Sunni father. AS IF EVERY SINGLE IRAQI TAKES HIS/HER ORDERS DIRECTLY FROM THEIR IMAMS.

Stop trying to label me and then either punish me or bestow your sympathy on me depending on that label you just stuck to my forehead. I don’t believe in your bloody gods. Where does that put me in Iraq? Nowhere I guess, unless the Kurds start taking refugees.

No Laws contradicting the rules of Islam?
Sharia Law mullahs on the Federal Court?
Regional States with their own militias?
And a refusal to acknowledge International Human Rights conventions? (in case you didn’t know, Article 44 was removed from the final-final-really-final draft, and no one even asked the Constitution writing committee).

And Khalilzad calls it the best in the region. Let me see YOU live here.

Two highly recommended tracks:
- Tango by Soap Kills. A jazzy trip-hop duo from Beirut, here is a link to an interview.
- Lahillah Express by Gnawa Impulse. North African sounds set to a drum & bass beat. The song is actually a Muslim religious chant calling 'there is no God but Allah'.