neurotic Iraqi wife
October 31, 2006
The Damn Blue Rotating Chair...
A few days ago, we had an all hands meeting. At the meeting, we were told that our Sector's Prog Manager had undergone 2 bypass surgeries in the States and needs to stay there for atleast 3 months for recovery. When these words were uttered, I was shocked. R and I were very close. I like him because he is very straightforward. He is the same person I ended up shouting at when things became pretty bad the last time I was here, yet, when I emailed him (after finding out HUBBY was adamnt in coming back to Iraq) asking whether they needed me, he was more than happy to say yes. Although before I arrived he emailed me and told me that something came up and he had to go to the States.
It was later on, at that meeting that I found out why he had to go so suddenly. I didnt get to see him. After that bombshell, they named my colleague S as the Prog Manager. S and I joined almost together, I arrived end of May last year, he was here, 3rd week of May. S is the type of person that tries to please everyone, especially the govt leads. I didnt even know how things worked here, until one day, back in Sep of 05, I was ready to blast a LTC that I havent even met. As you know already, or from what I have told you, my tongue is pretty long, and when I get pissed off, I dont care who it is Im talking to, never even had any clue about ranks etc... doesnt make a difference to me...I just say whats on my mind. (Something my parents always complained about ;-)
I remember very well, as I was on my way to give a piece of my mind to the new LTC, S rushed to me and stopped me. Told me "You cant do that, he is a LTC" and me being me, I just shrugged and said "and so???". S was ready to shit in his pants, I swear. He said "Please, you have to understand, they are our client, you cant go and talk rudely to just anyone, things dont work like that here". I looked at S, smiled and said, oh well, I guess thats the way I do things, and no one can stop me. And Off I went to see the LTC. Who btw, later on became LTC Perfect...One of the best people I have ever met in my journey of life...It was because of his professionalism that I started paying more attention to my work, and ended up loving what I was doing. It was because of LTC's perfect ways that made me admire the Air Force. He too had his moods, and he too couldnt keep his blunt tongue inside for long, maybe thats why, I liked him, he was as straightforward as I was...
So in anycase S always tried to calm me down, not because he likes me, no, because he cared for the damn award fee and what the govt thought about the whole team. In anycase, a few days ago, he took over, became the sole owner of "The Chair" and boy oh boy, did S become one selfish person. For the past two days, I have been working so hard on some numbers. I mean even my eyes probably became crosseyed. Although I use excel, I always do everything manually incase of a glitch. I double check my work like 5 times before I hand it in. And when I say numbers, I mean alot of numbers...AFter I was done, and graphed these numbers, S comes along, takes my graph, shows it to Col H, and the Col, jumped off of his seat, patted S on the shoulder and told him "Oh S, I havent been happier in the 2 months that I have been here, like today. Well done S, you have made my stay here worthwhile!!!" I just sat there, staring, with my mouth agape, not believing that Mr S here, took all the freakin credit!!! O M G!!!
I sat numb, waiting for atleast a whisper of thanx from S, but nooooooooooo. S just continued being patted on the shoulder and congratulated for the wonderful work he has done...not forgetting ofcourse that smirky smile on his face!!! I mean that just pissed me off. It really did. I dont care whether the Col was happy or not, all I wanted was just some kind of appreciation for the time my crosseyed eyes spent!!! I immediately took my cigarettes and went out for a smoke. I was just FUMING!!! S tried to be nice and everything, still no thanx for the damn hard work Ive put in...I didnt even bother to answer him. I became very cold, and my respect for him just evaporated.
When I told HUBBY that S became Prog Manager, he couldnt believe it. A guy with no management experience being responsible for one of the biggest reconstruction programs in all of Iraq was a joke to HUBBY. I defended S, and said that he is very smart and althou doesnt have leadership qualities atleast he knows the program off by heart, and what a good decision it was to make him the lead, BLAH BLAH BLAH...umm that was yesterday's conversation. After what happened today, I went on Skype and told HUBBY everything. HUBBY did nothing but give me the "Looooooooooooool" and asked me to remember lastnight's conversation. Which really didnt make light of the current situation.
Ontop of all that, the chair has given S some weird powers. His walk became different...(I couldnt change my walk even if I wanted to in a million years)... his attitude became that of a "dont talk to me now, I dont have time"... Wowwww, how a person can change just like that, it really amazes me... S was never authoritative with me or with anyone else for that matter. I think he feared me, I dunno, maybe cause he knows when I lose my temper I really make a scene and I dont think he wants any of the Govt people to see that or else wave goodbye to the award fee. Thank God, even with my attitude problem, when I do have one, never was I disliked by anyone.
But now, with S and his newly acquired personality, I feel that my temper is gonna go haywire. Patience, something I do not have will have to visit me soon, or else, ms neurotica here is gonna lose her mind!!! So what is it with "The Chair" ??? The Damn Blue Rotating Chair???
October 29, 2006
Follow the Drabby T walls...
Remember the song "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" from the Wizard of Oz story??? Well infact that was one of my favourate childhood songs. The Green Zone reminds me so much of that song, except the lyrics should be changed into "Follow the drabby T walls" and you know you are in the GZ. Ive posted a few months back how its like a prison to many of us who live there, yet its freedom to those who come from the Red Zone. Though what makes every Iraqi cringe, is when you enter the once spectacular Palaces, and see them wrecked. The once glowing marbles have deterioted. The richly done paintings either tarnished or taken. The lavish furniture, either stolen, or torn. Everything, everything that was once regarded by Iraqis as untouchable, has gone, lost its lustre. Nothing was preserved, all the history, all the artefacts GONE...
I blame the Iraqis for this. All those who looted and stole, took away a piece of their own country and sold it to the outside. It also gave reason to any non Iraqi to do just the same. I know of many soldiers who broke stuff, just to take a piece of it home, as a souvenir of their times here. But these things should have never been left like this...Never. I know that many people get tempted, and I dont blame them for these events that we are living and fighting will be engraved well into the history books. But it should have been protected and put to better use for the Iraqis to see and feel.
If you go to any Eurpean country, even Egypt, you would see how most of the palaces were converted into museums. These once lavished palaces would have been one of the Best landmarks that Iraq would have apart from ofcourse Babylon, Ur etc...Even though Saddam's era was one of utter terror and torture, its a pity no one thought of perserving that era's history. The palaces, all occupied by companies, or military. Occupied and trampled on. No one thought of perserving the art that was in these palaces. The master pieces, maybe only a few remain. The rugs, the treasures. Yes I know people are dying, I know that the least thing on anyones mind is preservation, but it really does make many of us Iraqis filled with sadness and anger at the same time. Iraq's 35 year history all smashed to pieces and sold.
The GZ my dear was once surrounded by beautifully kept gardens, look at it now, the green is dead, the streets are hollow. And all you see is darn T walls!!! Its Ironic how the concept hasnt changed. In Saddam's time it was the forbidden place. And three years after his fall this place is still forbidden.
The once lavish Rasheed hotel, my god, lost all what it was about. There is nothing grand about it anymore. Its yet just another building in the Green Zone. Thank God the fountain is still there...Al Rasheed was known for its quality and its food. I think it was last year sometime in October when HUBBY took me there for a Friday lunch. The coffee shop looked depressing, the food was really yuck and the bill was outrageous. You can smell mould in that place. Literally. You go out of the coffee shop and there are small shops that sell souvenirs. Anything from watches to flags, to silver antiques and rugs. There is another Dfac there, and they say its supposed to be one of the best. Tried it once, and didnt think of it as any better than the one I go to. Oh and ofcourse you cant just enter the hotel freely. That era is far gone. Now there are guards that ask for your ID and search you. After those two times, I decided I didnt want to go there again. And I never did after that. I guess it just reminds me of how deterioted the country has become...What was once a symbol of grandiose, has become a mouldy depressing place...
All Palaces in the GZ are now converted into offices. The major presidential palace is taken over by the Department of State. We call it the Embassy. No one is allowed in without an Embassy Badge. If you dont have one, like me here, you have to be escorted inside by someone who has the E on his badge. I had to go there a few times when I first arrived last year. They take your cell phones, the memory sticks, whatever you have in your pockets. Thats what they did to me. The first time I ever set foot in the Palace, My God, I had goose bumps. It was extremely surreal to know that Im walking on the same floor that Saddam walked on. Im inside the "Forbidden" place. I kept looking at the ceilings in awe. I remember, I was thinking to myself "Wallah Ya Saddam Ija il youm illee 3ammat il sha3ab yigidroon ishoofoon ishon 3ayish inta" which translates into, "Wow, Saddam, the day has really arrived where all the Iraqi public can see in their own eyes how you used to live".
The dining facility is what was once the kitchen, or so I was told. Its a massive place. So huge. Imagine the hundreds of soldiers and employees that it can hold. The food is ofcourse brought from outside, nothing produced in Iraq is allowed in. Everything from the ice to the salt and pepper comes from Kuwait, and thats global for all the dining facilities, even the one I eat in. I havent really ventured much in that Palace. I hate going there because if you aint a DOS employee, you are just looked down to. So I keep away from it.
Remember I had mentioned the Green Zone cafe??? It was like a small coffee shop/restaurant with a green and red tent. It was the only place that everyone enjoyed. Sadly, it was removed by Al Jaafari's govt, and has now become a police station.
The Blue Star which thank God hasnt been tampered with, is where Uday used to have his compound. The Zoo was there too. Again all these places are now occupied by foreign companies and their employees. You need ID to get into the Blue Star compound. You are basically paralysed without IDs in the Green Zone. I think its the same in the Red Zone.
There's a place called Al Qadisiya compound. Which used to be the residential area of "il haras il khas mal Saddam" Not sure what they are called in English. Umm, Saddam's Special ARmy Guards???(please correct my tanslation here). Which is now occupied by governmental officials and by people who lost their homes during the war. The ones who lost their homes are now being asked to leave these appartments and find elsewhere. Those who have contacts in the new government got to stay, the others were forced to leave. I know atleast 5 people from my workplace, that were given letters of eviction and have since left the place. Remember the place wher I mentioned eating grilled liver???Well its actually based in that compound. Theres an open area between the building blocks where the guy set some chairs and tables and a grill. Its like a little city in itself. Theres a local clinic, a school, a bakery, a mosque and a few small supermarkets and groceries. Its actually one of the only places that you go to in the Green Zone that gives you a slight taste of what its like on the outside. Hence HUBBY loves going there, even if its for a walk.
The place I work in was also some kind of landmark. It wasnt a palace, but it was something in the olden days, and I dont wanna give away too much. At the very entrance of the building, you can see Saddam's initials on the wall. S H engraved in Arabic. You wont notice it unless someone points it out for you. I definitely will take a picture of that. Talking of pictures, I think its a pretty sensitive thing for security reasons, and we are surrounded by security guards, but I dont think the S H initials will put anyone in danger.
Our organisation has 2 huge compounds. One used solely for offices, and on the opposite of the road is our sleeping quarters. I think Ive described our sleeping quarters before. You feel you are entering one of those YMCA's. Its like 10 or more 2 storey building blocks. And you have maybe 30 rooms or more on each floor. On every floor theres a common room, with a small utility room that has a washer and dryer. And ofcourse whenever your friend here wants to do her laundry, both machines are ALWAYS ALWAYS occupied. I mean theres no point putting dirty laundry in the dryer is there???So if you do bump into me here, Umm I do apologize profusely for my odor... Im just kidding, thank God I dont stink. We do have a dry cleaning facility run by Iraqis, I think its owned by the company Flour. You give them your clothes and after a few days you come and collect them. Neatly hung or folded, but umm you either receive shorter sleeves, or shorter pants, and besides I would rather do my laundry myself.
The compound also contains a gym and a dfac. All dfac's are KBR's. So now you know where the rebuilding money has gone. I read an article a few days ago about how 55% of KBR's rebuilding money is gone on life support. Yup and that money is used feeding me I guess...A few meters away theres Liberty pool, where mostly military guys go to for a swim. Some official parties are held there too. Been there once just to look around and hated it. I dont think I need to explain why. Id rather keep the reasons to myself.
The atmosphere here is very relaxed. As in culturally wise. You see women in mini skirts and shorts. Men in Hawaiin shirts and khakis. The other day I saw a woman in a mini skirt and knee high cowboys boots. If it wasnt for the military clothes, the humvees and hummers, the ugly Twalls, you would think you are in some type of a deserty resort, especially with the date trees lining up the streets.
I think I will keep the other question for the next post, as this has become a very very long one. Hope this post was informative. This place is a prison. A lavish prison. As I said earlier, you know you are in the Green Zone when you follow those Drabby T Walls...
October 27, 2006
Another Plain Day...
Back to my question. What do people do in the Green Zone when they get bored???Have a swim at Liberty pool???I never did that. Go to the Gym??? Never did that either. Take some exersize classes like kick boxing to calm away the nerves???Hmm that may sound like a good idea especially for my temper. Maybe cycle around the GZ streets??? Dont think thats a good idea. How about have some eeewww coffee at the PX arena??? As much as I get tempted, that coffee really sucks. Or better still, maybe do some shopping at the PX??? Everytime I go there, all my yummy chocolates are gone. What about going to Blue star for edible food???Yup the one and only place I get to go to. Hmm, you hear all the above and you think we are living in Paradise. I sound like an ungrateful B***** dont I???
Well, there are things you can do without and there are things you really do miss. I miss my family and thats a given. But I also miss my bestfriends. My bestfriends who back home I would be on the phone with almost on a daily basis. I miss the girlie talk we would have. Here, you are like a walkin talkin machine. You wake up and go to work. At work all you do is TALK work. You go back to the room and its you with the amazing company of the dull TV or a book. Its a life that yes I chose for myself, so dont go telling me its my fault, cause I aint whining, Im just stating a few facts of how it is for a woman here. Atleast how it is for ME here.
When I do hear my Iraqi colleagues talking about clothes, I feel pretty awkward cuz I dont even know the names of shops they are talking about. Umm I do recognize some street names, but thats as far as my knowledge can take me...Street names....When I hear them talking about their latest purchase of shoes, I just listen and cant really contribute. I think back of my time with my friends, and sigh, then I slip quietly back to my workstation. At times I do get that urge of talking about clothes, talking about shoes, talking about hair. Talking about whats new and whats not, hell Im a woman!!! Yet I find myself talking about spreadsheets and numbers. Questions that need answers, deadlines that have to be met, taskers that need to be done, and all the femininity just goes out the door.
So yesterday, after finishing my work up, I decided to go on a shopping spree!!! Havent done it in a long long time. Back home, I wasnt much of a shopaholic, used to be in my youth, but lost that gift a long time ago. It became more of a mundane task of going to the mall, going to the specific shops I need things from and then returning back home. So shopping just to please my desire is somehow a dream from the past that began to haunt me again...
My shopping spree was amazing. Went to Abercrombie & Fitch, bought a few pairs of jeans, visited the beautiful aisles of Victoria's secret, oh and found a really nice winter jacket at Aeropostale. Went to drugstore and bought a few woman's necessities. Checked out BCBG and Converse. I tell you, spent maybe an hour or so rummaging through the aisles. It was soooo much fun and it felt good too. For a short time I was on a high. For a short time I felt kinda normal. The different styles and colours intrigued me, the hooded sweaters attracted me. Maybe I was just checking whether I still had that flare of good taste. To my relief, my womanhood hasnt been tainted!!! Ofcourse I did all the above with one click of a button. Sad I know, but for now its a luxury. The shopping spree galore may set HUBBY a few bucks, but hey I aint complaining....Cant wait to see his reaction when he reads the credit card bill....hehe....
As for my hair, hmm, couldnt do much unfortunately. The brown roots are starting to show, and the blonde highlights have become even blonder. The ends look split and brittle, its another 2 months and a half until I can do something about that. We do have a woman hairdresser that comes twice a week. From what I hear, she does everything, waxing, colouring, cutting, blowdrying, tweezing, threading, you name it she does it. I hate to sound fussy, but Im kinda the one hairdresser woman. Cant have too many hands messing my hair up. And if you followed me on this journey from the start, you would know how much my hair does mean to me. Its the one thing I really like taking care of. Again I dont wanna sound pompous, but its a fact. My hair is my hair. So the hair Im afraid, has to wait...
Being a woman aint easy here. Yes I do see dressed up people at work, I do see girls filling up the bathrooms fixing up their makeup, putting more of that redlipstick, or that pink blusher. Infact I just came back from blue Star and probably thats one of the few places where you have an excuse to look good. Today for instance, I saw a young woman with spaghetti strapped knee high dress and high heeled sandals. And there I was, snuggled up comfortably in my khaki hoodie and jeans with my converse. Umm no, not the pink ones. So yeah women do dress up around here, I just cant seem to do that myself. I dunno, I would feel awkward. Besides, I wouldnt be caught alive in that outfit here. Wearing a knee high dress, HERE, is a no no...All eyes would just follow your trail. Eyes that probably havent seen such a sight in a long long time.
Anyhow, Im a happy bunny for now. Cant wait for the packages to arrive and hopefully the sizes will be right. I just ordered xs on everything. If its too small, I can give it to my younger sister who is even smaller than I am. I guess the shopping spree was kinda like my eediya. When we were young, my dad would give us money in Eid, which we tend to call eediya. That trend shockingly just evaporated as we grew up and instead, the eediyas are now given to my niece and 3 nephews...So now that Im married, I strongly believe the trend should continue, but instead of having my father giving out eediyas, I think its HUBBY's turn to take that responsibility, dont you think so??? I tell you, we women are such conniving beings!!! And I JUST LOVE IT!!!
Well I better go to bed, for tomorrow is yet another day, another day of Spreadsheets, another day of work...Just Another Plain Day...
October 23, 2006
An Age of Ignorance
He looked at my pinky and said "ouch". There was another guy (who looked like a total jerk) sitting on the opposite side of the booth. Sittin doin nothin. So he said to his colleague "hey man, you better wear a glove". And actually Mr A did take out one of those clinical gloves and put it on. I looked at him and said "Umm I dont have a disease, this is just a spider bite" He looked at me, answered"sorry maam just taking precautions" I smiled and said, yeah I guess you have to, or the spider will come and bite you.
During these sessions, they take every finger print of every finger, and 5 photos. Two profile ones, 2 looking diagonally (both sides) and 1 looking straight at the cam. Its just like being taken into custody for a fellany. The only fun part is when they twirl you in the seat for the photographs. So anyways. As the guy tried to have my prints registering on the machine, Mr B, started becoming an A**. Hey you born in "eyerak" He asks with his loud voice tearing at my eardrums. No I say Im born in "Eeraq" not "eyerak".He starts bellowing with horrendous laughter. "We have a smart one here man" he goes on saying to Mr A. what you doin with a British passport??? I lived there I answered. You anorexic he asks. I looked at him and said no why??? Man I need to feed you. Wait lemme look in my drawer I may have a bag of chips.
Meanwhile Mr A is trying his best to get my prints, but the darn machine isnt accepting the image cuz my prints are too fine. So Mr B continues to make smirk remarks. He starts rummaging in his drawer, then his cabinet, then says in a horrible voice "Oh Gawd, oh mannnnn, I need to feed you, look at her mannnnn, she is tiny, I mean I have never seen someone like this, Im sure youre the type that pukes out the food, yeah you are anorexic arent you???" THIS GUY WAS SO VULGAR. I just kept quiet and continued with the fingerprinting. After awhile, Mr A got so fed up cuz of the machine, so he started offing and puffing. Mr B then says "Hey man just cut her hand off" By then, he was getting so much under my skin that I couldnt keep it inside, I looked straight at him and said "INteresting... is that the American way of doing things???" He laughed and said "well its better than the "Eyeraki" way and the chopping of heads!!!"
Hmmm...The eyeraqi way....I explained in a very nice manner, that NO this is not an "EEraqi" habit and was never one. But it left a very sour taste in me. I mean this guy is someone who I presume lives here, so he must know whats goin on. He must know that this is Al Qaeda's way of doing business and NOT the IRAQI way!!! Ofcourse he continued talkin about anorexia and puking and trying to find something to feed me. Oh and not forgetting the "Oh maaaaaaaannnnnn" comment. AFter 20 mins of oh mans and loud laughter I was finally DONE. As I was exiting the room, I said btw :Anorexia is when you starve yourself, Bulimic is when you eat then force yourself to throw up. And gave them one of my nastiest fake smiles. Felt good I tell you. I bet you anything they will make another mistake on my application just to spite me....
The office was virtually empty today except for a few people, because of the Eid vacation. I saw a colleague of mine and said to her "Happy Eid" She immediately looked disdainfully at me and said "My Eid is tomorrow, Im still fasting" Hmm, I said, well, Happy Eid in advance then. After a few minutes I bumped into one of the Iraqi maintenance guys. I smiled happily and said "Happy Eid to you" Its not OUR eid today its the "Wahabbis" (a very disrespectful way of calling Sunni's that, I mean I dunno why, we cant be civil to one another) Eid, he spat out. Ours is tomorrow. OMG, I thought to myself. Maybe its better I dont even mention happy or eid to anyone. So I became really cautious. Whenever I saw someone instead of telling them Happy Eid, I would just ask "Are you celebrating Eid TODAY or TOMORROW?" If the answer is today I will tell them Have a happy one, if answer is tomorrow, I will say oh ok, then Happy eid in advance.
I mean it became such a sensitive issue that I dont even feel like saying it to anyone, incase I offend anybody. Talk about people being real uptight. Its ridiculus really. We are living in the same country, looking at the same sky, breathing the same air, yet we see the moon differently. How is that possible, I have no idea. Why cant we for once, just once unite on one thing. We never had such anonimosity towards each other like now. Never. Most of my family are intermarried, and I know many many more of the same. But now I hear stories of men divorcing their wives after 20 or 30 years of marriage because of the difference in Sects. And usually its not the man or the woman's wish, it is forced upon them by family or tribe. Wowwww... Instead of becoming an advanced country, we have become one that was worse than the Jahiliya era. The pre-Islamic Arabian age of ignorance, marked by barbarism and unbelief.
An Age of Ignorance...
Footnote: due to the many complaints of new template, I decided that whether Today is Eid or tomorrow, its time to give my blog a nice Iraqi flag colour, hope this is more satisfactory to the eyes!!! Im sorry Ive been playing with the colours to see what looks better. Still need to fix the parameters, bare with me ;-)
October 22, 2006
A mournful Eid...
This is Eid. A time for celebration. Yet right now, its gonna be a time of mourning for many families. The terrorists have made a promise and Im sure they will stick to their promise of killing as many as they can.
I have no more words left in me. Even "Happy Eid" isnt coming out wholeheartedly. Im sorry. This is Eid...A mournful Eid
October 20, 2006
Another day of Loneliness...
The itsy bitsy spider Crawled up the water spout Down came the rain And washed the spider out Out came the sun And dried up all the rain And the itsy bitsy spider Crawled up the spout again....Well the darn itsy spider bit MEEEEEEEEE in the pinky... As I was getting into HUBBY's car to go on our daily rendez vous, I felt something bite me, it itched me for a while but I brushed it off and didnt think much of it. Next day I woke up and my pinky on my right hand looked abit swollen. Again I brushed it off and thought to myself it will probably get better by mid afternoon. I asked around for an antiseptic and rubbed it on the bite. By 2pm the pain became so excruciating, and my pinky tripled in size. I couldnt even bend it. I showed it to some colleagues and they jumped off their chairs, saying that thats one nasty bite and that I should go to the clinic asap...
I really didnt feel right going to the clinic. Me prancing there with my swollen pinky when there are badly injured military guys who need more attention than I do. But I took one look at my finger and decided that Id rather get something for it, than have it chopped off...I walked in, registered, and waited to be called. As the Dr saw me, she said that it was a pretty bad spider bite which resulted in an infection. She put me on a 10 day antibiotic and gave me some painkillers and an ointment. Are you yawning yet????Sorry but thats as far as exciting news I have here.
Woke up today, the pinky is still swollen but looks much better than it was yesterday. The antibiotics though are causing me to feel very queasy and nausious. I had to go to work today as its half day. But by 4 pm, I called HUBBY up and told him to come and get me. He said where do you wanna go??? I said just take me anywhere, Im not feeling too good. Im feeling constricted...Claustrophobic...Just get me outta here...The ritz he said laughingly...Please HUBBY I aint joking, just come now and take me, take me anywhere, I dont care even if its a ride around the streets.... Just GET ME OUT...In 10 minutes he picked me up and we sat in the PX area where they have a small cafe. I had a yucky latte. But atleast I was out of that environment...
Is it loneliness???Is it homesickness??? Or is it merely the effect of the medicine??? I dunno, all I know is I feel bad...I know, I probably sound like a spoilt brat but the happiness in being back here, I think has worn off. It took what??? almost 2 weeks. Wow. Its different this time around. Many of the warm and familiar faces have long gone. HUBBY aint around just like before. And Im feeling very lonely. WOB comes and fills me out on lies and gossip that I try to avoid. Everytime I go the courtyard for a peaceful smoke, either her or someone else comes and starts talking to me about someone at work. I hate backstabbers, and I abhore gossip filled with lies. The work environment has become so poisonous I just cant hack it anymore. The less people remaining, the more talk there is. I just wanna shout at them and say "Leave me the bloody alone!!!"
Why dont you go home I here you ask. Hmm, good question. But what about HUBBY? I cant leave him here. The one hour I have with him is for me a blessing. I dont think I can deal with the worries if Im away. I would be a nervous wreck.
Right now my head is about to explode, I think Im getting a migraine. Havent eaten much in the last few days, first the tummy bug, and now the spider's bite. Wander whats next. I guess Im in need of some TLC. Big time TLC. Is it the environment? the Twalls?? the gossip??the fact I dont have HUBBY around??? the darn droning nose thats drilled in my ears everyday??? the daily shaking of my room door because of those helicopters??? I learnt pretty fast, the minute I hear a helicopter, I just put my ipod on and blast the music.
Im so sorry that this post is a pretty dull one. Im going to hop into bed, and read my novel. One of the very few salvations I have in this place. A story line that would take me far far away. Away from the reality of my surroundings, away from my loneliness, away from the helicopter noise torture and just into some fictional characters...fictional characters that make my nights far more exciting than it is. Oh wow, a huge explosion, just now. Wander what it is. A mortar? A suicide car??? or a bomber???where it is??? How many people died just now??? and how many more will lose their lives tomorrow...
I better read my novel, and listen to my ipod. Tomorrow is yet another day. Another day of Loneliness...
October 18, 2006
A Semi Single Wife...
Another thing I want to bring to your attention is a post written by a fellow Iraqi blogger, Konfused Kid, with a K, related to the Lancet study and Iraq The Model's post. I thank Kid for the great effort he has put to compile many Iraqi bloggers' opinion on the subject. Thanks KK.
Now on to other stories. As I was sitting in the courtyard, doing what I love most, poisoning my lungs, I overheard a conversation by some Iraqi guys who work in another sector. And yes I know I should also stop making "overhearing conversations" a habbit. (As Im writing this post, there is this annoying sound ever, aircraft hovering over us, it just gets to me, a continious droning sound, exactly like Chinese torture). ANyhow, as I was saying, so as I was sitting there, I "overheard" these guys' conversation, and guess what they were talkin about??? No, wrong....No, Not the daily death count, nor the daily kidnapping roll, nor the suicide bombings or mortars for that day. THESE GUYS WERE TALKIN ABOUT WOMEN!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Something normal. A sign of life. A sign of normalcy in this abnormal environment. The minute I realised that, I decided to smoke another cigarrette, in addition to the 2 I have already enhaled to its death. I just wanted an excuse to listen to this interesting conversation. I just couldnt believe it. Finally, finally life does go on. I know its lame, I know its silly, but it just made my heart flutter, and put a wide smile on my face. Anyone looking at me, woulda thought I went crazy.
Well, with all whats happening around them, they can still laugh, joke and be "normal". Normal, like you and me. Normal like any other person living in this world, in this universe. It may be all gloom and doom around here, but for a few minutes, just a few, these guys were having a good time.
As for MY personal life, well what can I say. Eversince I got here, the minute evryone saw me, they naturally asked about HUBBY. When I told them he is back too but with another company, their next normal question was "Oh so where do you guys, umm..." Where do we guys what I ask..."Where do you guys you know..." Hmm, you mean where do we guys "sleep"??? They blush and stutter then murmur a yes...Well I answer, I sleep here, he sleeps there. "OMG, how do you do it" I just wave my hand and say, "hey, he left a whole year before, so whats new?".
So yeah, HUBBY and I only meet for one hour daily, and thats usually for dinner. Theres not much choice here, the only decent place is a restaurant called the Blue Star. Its frequently visited by expats, the only place where you dont feel you are in a war zone. It has a seating outside, like a small garden with plastic tables and chairs. The waiters, iraqi, are all friendly and the food is 100 times better than the dfac. I dont feel awkward in the Blue Star, as it has many female clients as well. As for the other local place we went to twice, where I accidentally overheard the massacre of the mother and her son, is a typical Iraqi cafe, filled with men only. They serve grilled liver (mi3lag), one of my favourate Iraqi dishes. But I think I caught a tummy bug from that place because of the vegetables. I was warned to take with me bottled water to wash the vegetables, but I just ignored that vital piece of advice, thinking that Im superwoman. And I do love eating Iraqi produce, it just has a different flavour, so natural, so organic. But umm, needless to say, Ive been spending most of the time in the "loo". Not a nice feeling I tell you.
I have also been trying to get special permission to let HUBBY in the compound, without having me escorting him everytime. He can come in my room, and, AND, spend the night, (yippppeeeeee) but because of his work, he likes to wake up at 5. Five in the bloody morning!!! I time my alarm at 630. And I do need that extra 90 minutes of sleep, cuz this place just wears you out. We tried it twice. I had to wake up with him so I can escort him outside the gate...Ughhhh!!! By mid afternoon, my eyes get droopy and I just wanna lie down. So, naturally, I suggested to HUBBY that maybe we should do this on Thursdays only cuz Fridays is usually mornings off. Umm, HUBBY didnt take that too well, and started telling me his now famous sentence"have you lost that loving feeling"....I cant win, can I now... Im sure that some new security guards (who dont know Im married, or HUBBY) are now thinking that I must be one of "those girls". I get picked up everynight by usually a different car. Then get driven back after an hour...I laugh it off with HUBBY...
Anyhow, I better get going. This is just a glimpse, a glimpse of my life...My Life as a Semi Single Wife ;-)
October 15, 2006
The Smile of Victory...
I am absolutely outraged at the outpour of people disputing these numbers!!! I mean extremely disgusted. I dont care who committed these crimes, but the numbers are correct. Mr Bush, the more I get to hear your speeches, the more my hatred towards you increases. To belittle the Iraqi blood is just beyond me. To shrug your shoulders and say that these are lies is beyond me. For anyone who disagrees or laughs these numbers off, then I will tell you this, COME HERE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHATS REALLY HAPPENING!!! Im sure everyone has internet access and satellite channels, right??? Well do me a favour, and think about this oh and get a calculator out.
Atleast a hundred bodies are found decapitated thrown in trashbins daily in Baghdad only. And I say atleast 100. Take into consideration the West, East, South and North of the Country. Add another 100. Oh and by the way these are the ones we hear off. So 100 plus 100 we get 200 daily. ATLEAST. multiply that by 365, then by 3 since thats three years from March and add 200 * 217 (number of days from March to October). You still with me???Ok then add all those that died from the bombings of the war, the suicide bombings that take place daily, the so called "friendly fire" oh and the collateral damage. Ofcourse you have to take into consideration the deaths that occured on the markets that killed hundreds, the deaths that took place on the bridge last year, the anonymous deaths that take place. Hmm, where does that put the number at???
Isnt it sad, that now we value Iraqi blood by number of deaths. I dont care if its 660,000 0r 1000. They are still Iraqis who GOT KILLED. And its even sadder to see people or hear people saying that these are a bunch of lies. The whole world cried when Tsunami took place, or 911 or the other disasters, I am one of them. But I also cry for my own country that I see torn. Instead of the two rivers, we have rivers upon rivers of blood. Am I making this up??? No, I wish I was. I wish that all the gloom and all the sadness in Iraq is a lie. Who wouldnt??? I wish that all these stories of butchered bodies is a lie. I wish that all those kidnappings is a lie. I wish that all the sectarian violence is a lie. I wish that all the stories of orphaned children is a lie. I wish everything that I hear from my Iraqi friends, all their sadness and fears are Lies. I really do. But they aint. If you dont believe me, or dont believe the others, then thats your choice. You are free to formulate your own opinion.
I am trying to be as unbiased as I can. But when it comes to lies about the blood of my Iraqi people, then I cant stay silent, and I wont. Its like a jungle out here. Literally a wild jungle. Some Police men are renting their police cars to criminals inorder to get a few dollar notes. Can you believe it??? An Iraqi selling another Iraqis blood. A colleague of mine was telling me that he lives somewhere near Zayouna, and just 2 days ago, 4 police cars stormed by a house, killed a whole family, took the 22 year old son right under the policemens' noses. They just pretended that nothing is happening. AFter the militias left, the Police went and carried the bodies away. This is Iraq, ladies and gentlemen. This is the new Iraq.
If someone was grabbed, theres no one to help him or her. No policeman will dare interfere with the gangs, infact many of them ARE the police!!! Maliki says the militias have to get dismantled!!! Dismantled my A**. Last night, HUBBY and I were having dinner at a local coffee shop. I was the only woman, so I felt pretty awkward. Right next to our table were a group of Iraqi men talking. I was intrigued as I heard the words "the mother grabbed him", "she must have grabbed him". As I listened more, it appears that some militia took a young man from their house, the mom tried grabbing on to him, so the criminal animals, not only killed the son, but the mom too. They didnt stop at that, they apparantely cut their ears off, their tongues and their hands!!! I am not making this up. I heard it last night. I wish I was making all this up, I swear to God and to everything I believe in, I wish I was making these stories up, I really do.
After last night, I went back to my room and thought that I should stop blogging. It lost the lustre. Every post is gonna be a repetition of the other. People dying, people kidnapped, people immigrating. Theres nothing else. Nothing new. I try to talk to my friends and ask them to give me one good news. I tell them in Iraqi (hasra ib galbi I hear something happy) They laugh at me. Then sarcastically Z said "oh we are having the time of our lives here. Iraq is a paradise. 24 hour electricity, freedom, we can walk in the streets whenever we want. There is no fear. Our kids are so safe that we let them out to play. My wife and I go out to restaurants without having to look around a million times. " He then looked right at me, and said, is that what you want me to tell you??? You want me to say we are having the time of our lives???Will that make you feel better???
GUILT GUILT GUILT. Thats all there is in me right now. Guilt and anger at the lies that people spread. Guilt and anger at the people who say that not many Iraqis have died. Guilt and anger for I cant do anything to help. Guilt and anger, for Im Iraqi but Im viewed as the "Lucky one" just because of my passport. Guilt and anger because the Iraq I always dreamt of has become one big nightmare. Guilt and anger, because people have become fed up with listening to the truth and instead they want to believe the lies. They want to believe the lies because its music to their ears. Guilt and anger because outside these T walls are trashbins filled with decapitated bodies of women, children and men. Guilt and anger because outside these gates all Iraqis have become a target, Sunni's, Shia's, Christians, Kurds. Guilt and anger because after all the years of tyranny, people are now wishing for Saddam the criminal to come back. Guilt and anger because the freedom we all wanted Iraqis to have, has become their main source of death...
You dont believe me thats upto you, you want to read other blogs who tell you that the Lancet report is a lie then again thats upto you. But look deep down inside yourself, and ask yourself this, Is it ok, for someone to knock on your door out of no where because of your faith or belief and grab your child, mother, father, sister, brother, husband and shoot them all in the head, right infront of your eyes....Shoot them then cut them to pieces for the dogs to sniff in the Bins??? Do you think thats ok??? Or is it ok to hide your faith in fear of getting killed??? My other christian friend K hasnt come to work for 5 days now because his Christian neighbours got killed. He is sitting in the house locked up with a gun in his hands. Do you think thats ok???Think about it. And no Im not suggesting that the coalition forces should leave. Infact, I dont even know what would happen if they do leave. But all I want you to know, that the credibility of both the US and Iraqi governments has disappeared. The so called freedom that everyone, every single person was hoping and dreaming of has gone.
I will tell you this though. The Iraqi people are resilient. They are survivors. They will rise up and beat this terror. If not today then tomorrow. AND THER IS A TOMORROW. I see it in their eyes, I see it in their smiles. Their sad sad smiles. But its there. The Smile...The Smile of Victory...
October 13, 2006
Land of Survival...
I got my welcoming home from the insurgents as well. The night the arms cache was hit, the whole compound shook. I thought my windows were gonna crack. I did go abit frantic cuz I was worried about HUBBY who isnt staying in the same place. I didnt have a mobile phone at that time and so you can imagine the panic I was in. HUBBY had introduced me to SKYPE. So I immediately logged on and tried calling him on the net. After 10 mins, he was on. He too was going crazy. Its funny when I recall the events but it wasnt funny then. It sucks not being together, especially in such circumstances.
As for my Iraqi colleagues, wow. I mean with all whats happening in Baghdad, these people are just amazing. With all whats happening around them, they still manage to survive and most importantly to smile. They say life goes on. We cant just lock ourselves at home. We have to live. I sat with every single one of them, asked them about the situation outside. I got the same answer. Things are bad. Things are beyond control. The government is useless. No one knows why people are getting killed. The militias are everywhere. One guy even told me, that everynight he prays to god to give him an extra day to spend with his 9 month year old daughter and when he does wake up to see another day, he prays his thanks and goes and kisses her a million times.
Six or seven of my colleagues have moved houses because of threats from different gangs. Some are Sunni and some are Shia. An Iraqi guy who works as security with Aegis, said that some gang came into their street, killed his uncle and told the family to leave the house that night. They are five houses, all brothers with their families. He said we were forced to leave everything. All the carpets, the crystals handed down from generations. He said he had spent most of his salary renovating his house so him and his newly wed wife can live comfortably. His face went sullen and said "all that is gone. Its all gone to these criminals"
W, our Iraqi friend, was also forced to leave his neighbourhood, after his 60 year old father was held at gunpoint next to the garage door. They beat him up and stole his car. So they decided to move to a safer area. But no where is safe he says. Its you and your destiny. W was married in January. His wife is the sweetest thing alive. So pure, so naive. Her face never stops smiling. She is one of those people that you love instantly. W said that he wants to leave Iraq. He hates it. Stopped believing in a better future. I want to leave, I want to have a better life, a better life with my wife. I want to have a family, he says. No one is giving visas to us. We are victims, under Saddam's time we were victims of terror, and now, we are still victims.
S said if this is freedom, then I dont want it. If this is democracy, then to hell with it. In Saddam's time, we knew who was coming after us. Today we dont know which direction the bullet, the suicide bomb, the militia will come from. She said, Im in my thirties, the peak of my life. The time where I should be enjoying my life. And yet look at me. Im Christian, yet Im all covered up. I cant even say Im Christian. I cant wear my cross. I have to do it all in hiding. But we are survivors.
Every single person I spoke to is now trying to find a way to leave this place. Some have entered the American Lotto for immigration, others are looking for contacts to get them to Sweden or Ireland. Others are just saving money so when an opportunity comes they will immediately take it. They are willing to pay any amount as long as they get out. They dont care how or where. They just want out. They even went into conspiracy theories. Like this is all planned. This is all a game made by Americans so they can give Iraq to the Israelies. Its sad, but after 4 months of not being here, opinions have changed dramatically. Atleast a year ago, they had hope. Now, all that is gone. We want the Americans out, they say. We want the corrupt Iraqi government out.
As for work, well its like I havent left. Things are still the same. Many of the expats have left though and many more are leaving. As I read the reports to get back into things, I realised that many new projects are on the list. The issues are the same. All the projects that were managed by Parsons, is now suffering. Ceilings are leaking, tiles are cracking, pipes are clogged, generators broke down. The program managers are suffering from the aftermath. So if a project's cost with Parsons, lets say was $1M, now its costing the US Gov, $2M. Because the work has to be redone all over again. As for the Iraqi Subs, well its you and your luck. Some just stopped caring. They would bill for the best concrete, but instead they would use the cheapest material. I guess they learnt the trick and became experts. All they want is money so they can leave the country and live lavishly elsewhere. Their excuse "Everyone is stealing, so why shouldnt we". But you do have others who genuinely care. And who will do their best.
As for HUBBY, he is very content where he is at. The people are different, and they dont backstab you like WOB. He says, atleast they listen towhat you have to say. They even value the fact that he is Iraqi originally, which for them is a great asset. Unlike where Im at. An Iraqi expat is sometimes looked down to. Not me, but others. Speaking of WOB, OMG, the minute she saw me, her face just went squishy squashy. She didnt even smile, just said a simple hello. Im avoiding her like the plague.....
I guess thats all the news from me for now. If there is anything you want to know about, like any specifics, please do email me or leave a comment so I can answer your questions in my next post. Oh and before I forget, Thanx to all of you who donated. Thank you very much. I still have to figure how the hell to use paypal. Well, I better get goin. Its Friday, but for me its like any other day, a work day. For now, Im Back, Back to the land...The Land of Survival....
October 06, 2006
Off to Baghdad...
I promise that once I get settled down in the Green Zone, I will write and tell you how things are over there. First hurdle we have to get through is the dangerous road from BIAP to the GZ. Although its a short drive, but I read that there were mortars and rockets, when Rice was in the air. Oh well, as they say allah il hafudh (God is the protector).
I still have to pack my bag....UGHHHHHH....You know, I thought about this, since Ive been living out of suitcases for the past 2 years, why bother get bags. I should from now on get boxes. Seriously. Just dump my life there. My pink trainers, shabby jeans oh and my funny slogan tshirts which I love. The rest I can live without. HUBBY is quite a lucky guy, dont you think so??? Im a very cheap date. You can please me with just a coffee and a pack of cigarettes, what more can a guy ask for... hmmm...
Anyhow, Im gonna leave you all in peace, and just incase I dont make it, (not being pessimistic, just realistic), I wanna thank all of you, every single one of you who supported me during the 2 years I have been blogging. Thank you for being there for me, thank you for listening to my rants and thanx for bearing with me. I know at times I became a real pain in the A**, yet you guys were still there. THANK YOU...And I do mean it from the bottom of my heart...
Last night I stumbled upon this funny cartoon, which made me smile, I hope it will add a smile to your faces too... This is, by no means a farewell, just a see you soon. Im off now, off to Baghdad...
PS: I tried setting paypal anonymously, but just couldnt so had to use my blog name. If anyone knows how I can change it to anon, please tell me. Also when I tried to donate, it didnt give me the option country of UAE, Thats where I have my bank account, does anyone know why???Maybe I will use HUBBY's instead, hehe...And I set up a new email just for the fund. firstname.lastname@example.org
Amira the Princess...
Their parents have long been dead. The sister had an accident at the age of 17 and ever since then she has been diagnosed as mentally incapable. That was 17 years ago. The girl is now 34. This is the letter I received from E in arabic, and I will try my best to translate it:
الحاله المرضيه: تلف الد ماغ
سنة المرض: 20-5-1989
اصيبت اميره (لاسباب مجهولة) بحالة اغماء نقلت بعدها الى المستشفى وبعد الفحص ظهر انخفاض حاد في نسبة السكر في الدم يرافقه انخفاض في الضغط مما ادى الى تلف الدماغ (قشرة الدماغ) وبمساحه كبيرة
ونتيجة هذا التلف اصبحت عاجزة تماما في الاعتماد على نفسها(عدم القدره وعجز تام عن المشي والتحدث
ومسك الاشياء) باختصار عاجزة عن جميع الافعال الاراد يه عدا مضغ الطعام ويمكن تشبيهها بالطفل حديث
لهذه الاسباب كلها فهي تحتاج الى رعاية خاصه من( اطعام,تنظيف,تمريض) ولا توجد مستشفيات خاصه لهكذا
حالات وفي الخارج كلفتها عالية جدا لايمكن تحمل نفقاتها لذ لك اضطررت لرعايتها والعمل خارج المنزل لسد
النفقات العاليه ونحن يتيمتي الابوين.....................اما بالنسبه للتقارير الطبيه فسابعثها لاحقا مع الشكر والتقدير
Diagnosis: Brain damage
Year of illness: 20 May 1989
For ambiguous reasons, Amira lost consciousness and was immediately taken to hospital, where it was found that she had very low sugar and extremely low pressure which resulted in damaging a vast area of her brain's shell???(not sure if thats a medical term). Consequently this made Amira completely incapable of taking care of herself. (She can never walk, talk or hold things). Basically she lost all her functional powers, except chew food. She can be described as a newly born baby.
For these reasons, she is in dire need for someone to take care of her (Feed her, clean her, medicate her). There are no private clinics available in Iraq that has these services, and almost all the ones outside need vasts amount of funds, which I do not have. That is why I was forced to take care of her and go to work inorder to be able to get some money. We are orphans. As for the medical reports I will attach them later. With my thanks and respect.
If any arabic person reads this please correct me if I missed anything in the translation. So as you can see, E, for the past 17 years has been the only carer for her sister. She couldnt get married, has lost the dream of having a life of her own, kids and a family. E, has given her all to her sister, but until when??? How long can she stay like this. Amira needs proffessional help. She needs someone who knows how to deal with her situation. I know that E has never ever put her sister down and did and still is doing everything she can to get the funds.
I had previously told her that there is an Iraqi NGO, here in Abu Dhabi, that can put her plight publicly and will probably be able to collect some funds for her. For some reason, the emails I sent werent received by the right guy. I did manage to speak to the CEO today and he said that with the appropriate papers, they will be able to set aside like a donating fund for people to help with. I told her that I cant promise anything and that not all the expenses may be met, but whatever this NGO will be able to receive is better than nothing. I had asked her that presumabley she had some money saved and she said she does. The amount needed is $10K.
Reason Im writing about this, is Im thinking of setting a donation thing on my blog. I dont even know how I can do that. Can anyone help??? And do you think it will be a good idea??? I will call it the "Amira" Fund. Btw Amira means princess. I cant believe that a young seventeen year old, has missed out on all the years that she was able to live normally. She missed out on college, something that we all take for granted. She missed out on falling in love, on having crushes. She missed out on finding the right person, getting married, having children. She missed out on holding and nurturing her kids. For she herself has been transformed into one. A helpless child... She missed out on Having a life.
The same ofcourse goes for her sister E. The sister is a civil engineer. Very intelligent. She even tried the US immigration number, that was given out to Iraqis sometime in Feb. What you do is call a phone number, they then give you a number and tell you to wait for a phonecall so they can arrange an interview. No one called her until now, and it seems that the DOS (Department of State) has issued an all hands email, saying that only Iraqi translators' applications will be processed. I guess they need Iraqi translators back in the US. So her dream of taking her sister to the States to be cared for, Disappeared into thin air... Her only chance is that guy. I asked her whther he is trustworthy, and she said that she knows of a family he helped and they are now in Sweden.
I always feel awkward when it comes to asking people for money. I was there when I volunteered to assist Emma Nicholson in London. I was even more so shocked and disappointed at the lack of interest from the Iraqis in London. Filthy rich people who are only busy going to Harrods and Harvey to spend their millions on the latest Gucci bag, or Valentino tie. They couldnt even spare 10 or 20 pounds. 99% of the donations I received then were from Europeans. Even poor pensioners who only have their slight pension to survive on managed to donate for the cause. What ashame...So Please anyone, anyone out there who is interested to help, help me, suggest something. Will it be a good idea if I set a donating fund for Amira on the blog??? And if yes, how can I do it. The NGO is definitely gonna help, but lets facilitate the process and start from now.
Please, help me Help E. Help me, Help Amira...Amira the Princess who lost her life at the young age of 17. Amira the princess who for some vague godly will, lost her mental function. Help me, help E. Please. I dont usually do this, but this time, I feel that its something I need to do. Its a small thing that we all can contribute to. A needle in a haystack. If anyone has suggestions and dont wanna leave comments, email me on email@example.com and I can send you the medical reports. Maybe you can talk to your state rep or something. Please.
This is for Amira, Amira the princess....
October 05, 2006
Iraqis on the Run...
Iraqis on the run...
Jeff Severns Guntzel, Electronic Iraq, 4 October 2006
The International Organization on Migration (IOM) has released more data on internal displacement in Iraq reporting that an average of 9,000 people are being displaced weekly, with 190,000 Iraqis displaced in central and southern Iraq since the bombing in Samarra in February.The organization says "the displacement is increasingly looking like permanent settlement and there is urgent need for shelter and employment solutions for these families."According to an IOM statement on the matter:
"Although host communities are welcoming the displaced who usually are from the same religious community, there is nevertheless a limited amount of shelter available and very few opportunities to earn money. The vast majority of those displaced this year are not planning to return to their former homes. If this is not to become a chronic humanitarian crisis, we need to put in place livelihood and integration programs in addition to providing emergency assistance such as food and water," said IOM Chief of Mission for Iraq, Rafiq Tschannen.
Reasons for displacement are similar throughout the country. People are being threatened because of their religious orientation by direct threats to life, or because of abductions and assassinations taking place around them for the same reason.
Read Rest of Article here.
Any comments or ideas are very welcome.
October 04, 2006
Our Trip Back to the Green Zone...
I really tried but I failed miserably. I have no idea what Im gonna be doing when I will be back at work in less than a week. I decided that fasting in the Green Zone is a no go. I know Im gonna feel guilty for not being able to complete the month, I will just have to ask for forgiveness from God. HUBBY is still enjoying his single status back in the States. He sms'd me lastnight to tell me that he was having mussles in white garlic sauce for the appetizer and lamb chops with thai aoli for his main. I smiled for he knows how to tease me. I told him to enjoy and eat as much as he can cuz once he comes here it will either be a starvation diet or a daily visit to my parents house to consume all the yummy Ramadan food that my mom prepares, which by the way, I havent tasted any this time. I think Im going through some odd phase.
An ex-colleague of mine emailed me a few days ago, asking me to rethink my decision of going back. Her contract has come to an end and she decided that it was time for her to leave and go back to her life in the States. She is a fellow Brit who has been living for almost 20 years in the US. In her email She wrote:
"Are you sure you really want to do this? It's getting pretty 'hairy' here, and I am glad to be getting out. I know it's different for you, you and HUBBY can easily blend into the picture, whereas I could not. But all the same, think this through carefully, the money is not all there is, especially if you are not going to be with HUBBY. How long is your contact for? Seems that most ex-pats will be gone by March."
And in another email I received from another Ex-Colleage:
HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND????
Just curious. Guess you know you cannot go to Prosperity to eat, have cable or other wise go anywhere. It is more, and more, like a gulag...but I have always said this.
The only good thing is the weather will be good. Keep me posted...and keep your teeny-tiny butt down.
These emails dont really make things easier for me. Im fretting the fact that HUBBY wont be with me. The notion of him not being in the Green Zone is scaring me like hell. Its a very nerve wrecking situation to be in, knowing that HUBBY is somewhere dangerous and Im not with him. Maybe thats why Im having insomnia and a loss of appetite. Although we havent left yet, my mind keeps thinking about the situation non stop. The first few days that I got back here from the States, I would wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares. The place is always dark, dark and claustrophobic. HUBBY and I would be running away. Running away from what and who I have no clue. Then the last scene of the nightmare is a knife. Always a knife. (Is there anyone out there who can interpret dreams?) I immediately wake up and turn to hold HUBBY but HUBBY aint there.
Oh well, I guess its all destiny. Although whenever my mom tells me to change my mind, and I tell her that I wont and that I can die tomorrow if God wants. Its all destiny. She replies, its destiny, yes, but God gave us a brain to think with. You are just willingly throwing yourselves in hell...(datshumroon nafiskum bil tahluka). Anyhow, thats it, a decision has been made, I just hope and pray, pray in this holy pure month, that HUBBY will be safe and that by some miracle he will end up being in the Green Zone. I dont actually care where will we be, I even suggested to him to take my cv and get me something with him. As long as we are together in the place I have no problem where that place is, even if its in the middle of the Red Zone. The real Baghdad. The place I yearn for, and have yearned for, for years and years.
This is definitely not my last post before we venture out again, as I still have a few more days to go. Im gonna be busy unpacking(believe it or not, I still have some clothes laying in the suitcase back from my US trip. Yeah yeah I know, dont even start) and packing... Packing for my trip. Our Trip. Our Trip Back to the Green Zone...
October 03, 2006
October 02, 2006
Emptiness of the Heart...UPDATED
I walked to the living room, and there I see my ashtray, still filled with the cig butts that I have consumed earlier. If only I can have one cig, just one, I think to myself. But then I would break my fast. So I sit in my favourate corner and just keep staring at the ashtray. I started looking around. Looking around at everything. The floor, the walls, the curtains, the couches, the pictures, the shades, the scented candles. The african statues that I absolutely adore. The Indian cushions we got from Malaysia. And it hit me. All the hard work Ive put in this place is for nothing. Nothing at all. The nest that I once dreamed of having and failed. A small tear trickled down my cheeks. Im gonna miss this place. I really am. I walk into the kitchen and there it is. The infamous Ice dispenser fridge. I opened it and immediately forgot my sorrow, for all the fridge has are the coke cans that HUBBY bought before he left. I laughed to myself. This is sad, really sad.
Theres this Egyptian saying "gat il hazeena tifrah, mali2atshi matrah" which basically means the sad woman became happy but she couldnt find a place for her happiness. I think this time Im extremely anxious in going back to Baghdad. Not fear from mortars or rockets. No, but to leave my family behind yet again. Im gonna worry about them. Im the worrier, maybe thats why Im always stressed out. Right now Im looking at this empty frame. A frame that I was hoping to fill with pictures. Pictures of me, HUBBY and our new Life. Our New Life that I pictured so clearly in my mind. Wish I was gifted as an artist, I think I would have drawn awesome pictures. I guess the picture frame has to wait. Has to wait and bare the emptiness for awhile. The Emptiness of the Heart...
*NEWS FLASH* Its bloody 900am and I AM STILL AWAKE!!! Please god Help me, I have become an Insomniac... So again, I come here and sit on my favourate chair. Actually I dont really sit, umm I perch up. And I started browsing through my photo albums. Im fasting mind you...
Pic 1: This is what we call a typical Iraqi Breakfast (Gaymar oo samoon) Yummmm.
Right now, Im drooling...
Pic 2: My favourate Iraqi Dish (Masgoof) Its fish Grilled the IRAQI Way. Its like no other fish you have ever tried
I think my saliva has reached my neck...Hold on, lemme wipe it...eeeewwww
Pic 3: Yup, Ice cream made in Iraq...wowwwww... Umm, can I break my fast now???
If only I can eat as much as my eyes, then I wouldnt weigh 41 Kilos. And I wouldnt have my parents talk to me about my food intake. My mom called me anorexic today, or was it lastnight??? Oh, Yeah I forgot its morning the next day now...I lost all the kilos I gained in the US, and as far as Ramadan in concerned, Im just having soup...I think Im anxious sub consciously.
Pic 4: Im still staring at my ashtray and my expired Cigs...
Hmm, another 9 more hours to go until I can have my coffee, and my much needed poison. I better go and do something useful with myself. I decided that I will stay up, instead of sleeping so late, umm sorry meant early. Its 930am, so that means if I do get to sleep, I will only wake up with the Maghrib Prayers (Breaking the fast time). Which will mean yet another day wasted. So no, Im gonna do like the cartoons, and get those matches and keep my eye lids open. I guess by the time its 10 pm, I will be so dead, that I will go and sleep like normal people!!! Right now, Im just gonna take a walk through the blogosphere then do something more useful like get ready for my Iraq trip that is gonna be in a few more days...
October 01, 2006
Affairs in The Green Zone...
My story is different. Its something Ive seen and witnessed in my own eyes. HUBBY would tell me about it before I joined him in the GZ, but I guess I needed to see it to believe it. A few of the Iraqi expats who were working with us were having the time of their life in the Green Zone, when all the while, their wives back home, are in charge of the house, the kids, the daily responsibilities and ofcourse the daily worries of whether "has my husband survived another day or not". I was in that same boat 2 years ago. A newly married wife, worrying 24/7 about my husband's safety. Do you remember the times when I'd call him and he would be out having dinner with his colleagues without any worry in the world. I would hear the background noises of women's laughter and I would just lose it. I mean there I was, alone, watching the news, the mortars, the deaths, when in reality HUBBY had no idea what I was going through.
I knew a guy, an Iraqi American, who came to Iraq in 2003. Worked with the coalition ever since. Then he moved to my company. He had a wife and 3 kids back in the States. But his eyes, his eyes always roamed for the young Iraqi girls that joined our firm. Some of the girls werent shy either. But the latter have dreams of leaving Iraq for a better life, the former is just looking for a good time to serve his testesterone levels.
S wasnt staying with us in the compound. He had a house in the Green Zone, which made his task even easier. He would rent out rooms to girls who are running away from the threats of working with Americans by the different militias. A house in the safe haven of the Green Zone, electricity, water and no threats, who would say NO??? In anycase, at first I didnt really think much of it. I just thought wow, what a benevolent guy this S man is. As time passed, I realised that his open arms werent an altruistic act, infact it was a play to lure the innocent and the not so innocent girls. It made me feel sick to my stomach. How can a man, a husband and a father do such a thing??? I wanted to talk to him, tell him that I know, tell him to stop and to think of his poor wife who probably was fretting about his safety. But realised that it isnt really any of my business. Its him and his conscious...If he has one, that is...
Then I came to discover that he wasnt the only one. There are probably 4 or 5 Iraqi expats who were having extramarital activities. And these are only the ones I know off. The girls on the other hand, the not so innocent ones that is, dont care. For them this is a ticket for their freedom. A ticket to a far far away land. Little do they know. Its a pity really. A great one at that too...A few weeks before we left Iraq, I remember HUBBY going out to dinner with a few guys from another sector. He came back and his face had weird expressions. I was half asleep when he said to me
HUBBY: You know, youre very lucky to have me
Me: Hmm, Really I am??? Why do you say that???
HUBBY: From what I heard today
Me: What you heard today? You mean at dinner?
HUBBY: Yup, you really should be thankful
Me: (Hmmmm, I immediately sat in bed, wandering what the heck is he talking about) So tell me Habeeby (sweetheart) Why should I be thankful
HUBBY: I really wished you were there with me at dinner with these guys and heard their conversation
Me: Ok, can you please tell me what youre talking about, youre killing me with curiousity
HUBBY: All these guys I was with are married
Me: Ok, and so???
HUBBY: All of them are having affairs
This time I got up and followed him to the tiny cubicle of a bthroom. He sat down doing his business and I took a cig out and sat on the floor with my eyes wide open. Forget sleep forget work....Tell me more I said. He smiled and was silent for a few minutes. He does that when he knows Im dying to find out more. TELL MEEEEEEEEEEEEE...Cmon dont be mean. How do you know they are having affairs I asked???
Apparantely, one guy, supposedly a big shot Dr in god knows what engineering, got a phonecall from a woman waiting for him at a house. He then started describing the lady in question to his friends and bragging about how "brilliant" she is. How much, a guy asked. $200 the Dr answered. Wowww, $200, she must be really good. You wont know until you try her, the Dr said, here take the number and tell her Dr so and so sent you. So what services do you get, and until this point I stopped listening and told HUBBY to spare me the details!!!
OMG. I could not believe my ears. I know HUBBY wouldnt lie about such things, especially when its a sensitive issue. I mean what the hell are these guys thinking. I immediately smiled at HUBBY, and when we got into bed, I hugged him and whispered "By the way, I know Im lucky to have you..." We have many differences thats for sure, but no marriage is perfect. I think if I ever find out that my husband is having an affair, or ever had one, OH MY DEAR GOD. I definitely would become Ms Bobbit No 2.
I did bump into Dr yuck the next day. I looked right through him with a slight disgust on my face. I really wanted to ask him "How could you" But rolled my tongue back, and continued the other way. I feel sorry for the wives. The wives who trust their husbands. The wives who wave their goodbyes and their hearts filled with tears. The wives who believe the "I miss you" and "Love you"... Im totally disgusted with the over flowing testesterone. Couldnt they keep it under wraps for 3 months??? Maybe use the conventional way and relieve themselves without having the need to betray the other half??? Ughhh, MEN!!!
So who do you blame??? The wife? The husband? The girl in question? My simple answer is the husband who commits such an act. The wife is gullible, has no idea that within the T walls of the Green zone and under the mortars, their husbands are sleeping around with either professional "whores" or simply amateur "whores". The girl who sells her self/body for money...Hmm, I may not respect her, but then again, maybe she is disillusioned with all whats happening. And as I said, she probably thinks its her easy ticket out of the "Hell hole". As for the man, well, he needs to either buy more porn to satisfy his urge, or maybe take up a new hobby instead, other than the teeny weeny organ in his pants...
There are many stories of that nature, including army personnel and Iraqi girls. I guess some guys may think Iraq like Vietnam. Although General Order No 1 prohibits such acts, but what you wont see, you wont know. I have to admit, that some army guys have genuine feelings towards some of these girls, but dont be fooled. There are success stories of coalition forces marrying Iraqis and taking them back to the States and are having a normal Life. Good for them. But there are other stories like the guys fooling the girl and making her promises, or the girl fooling the guy by sleeping with him and taking his money. These are just small short stories about affairs. Affairs in The Green Zone...