neurotic Iraqi wife
January 24, 2007
A Distant Memory...
We waited around 4 hours in the foyer before we were able to check in our luggage and go through passport control. I didnt feel the time go by, as I was enjoying listening to conversations, and watching people. I looked around and realised that all Muqtada's posters were removed, something that used to give me goose bumps. That too impressed me. I was hoping to buy a few saddam souvenirs at the small shop in the foyer, but was surprised to find out that there was nothing of Saddam. All the coins, watches, lighters, dinars they used to sell around 9 months back has all disappeared, I settled for chewing gum instead. Oh well...
After going through passport control, we had to wait another 3 hours to board our flight, so we just sat there on the worn out coaches. At first we couldnt even find a place to sit, until we saw some people leave and we ran to take their place. The speakers kept announcing flights going to Syria, Beirut, Amman, Sulaymania and Cairo. Everytime an announcement is made you would see hoardes and hoardes of people running to one gate only, gate 34. Its as if gate 34 is their only way to heaven. A new life, a new place. Their gateway to living. I found the whole experience amusing.
As HUBBY took a nap, I just sat there listening to a university professer talking about a lost dream, a mother talking to her son in Jordan telling him of all the food she got for him, an engineer talking about a conference she is going to. Meanwhile, you see two workers, boys 15 or 16 of age, race around, literally race around with their dustbin on wheels cleaning and clearing everything they see on the floor and tables. As they came near me to take HUBBY's empty pepsi can, one of them said to the other in Iraqi, she is "amreekiya", she is not married. I laughed so much and said to them in Iraqi, no Im not "Amreekiya" and I am married to the man next to me. Their mouths just dropped and they murmered to each other "hi 6il3at 3ira8iya" (She turned out to be Iraqi) and scooted away. The funniest part is when they get their vacuum cleaner and ask people to put their legs up so they can clean beneath it.
Finally after a gruelling wait and a flight time of 2 and a half hours we reached Dubai. We took a cab and off we went to Abu Dhabi. By the time we reached our abandoned appartment, we were just exhausted but It felt real good to be back. Been spending most of the time with family and just plain relaxing. HUBBY still wanted to go to India, so we applied for the visa and hopefully by tomorrow it will be ready.
As for my cousin, my cousin F, he left Baghdad for good 3 months ago. His mom, my dad's sister, used to call my parents telling them how stressed out she is because of the situation around them. My aunt L, the strongest of my dad's siblings, never ever complained. Never wanted to leave Iraq. Infact, she had many chances to leave, yet she always said, "I will never leave my home, never". But things became really dangerous for them, especially in their neighbourhood. They lived in Adhamiya, a place where sunni's and shia's used to live harmoniously together, not any more. My father tried to get them a visit visa to come to the Emirates, but was refused. Until one day, F called my father and told him that aunt L is extremely sick. They found a lump on her spine and there's no doctor that can tell whether its malignant or not. My father then tried to get the family a visa for medical purposes and thank god that worked.
Unfortunately, the doctors here discovered that my aunt L is at a very developed stage of cancer. Ever since she came here, she has been staying in hospital. Aunt L completed her radiotherapy treatment and although she was supposed to start her chemo, she along with the doctors decided not to go ahead as the cancer is spreading at a very fast rate. I met F for the first time yesterday in 17 years. We laughed at how ironic it is we meet here and not Baghdad. He looked exhausted and distraught. His mom was his backbone. His strength.
He believes that his mom's illness is a result of whats happening right now in Iraq. He also said that he knows of many people who are developing cancer, high blood pressure, and other illnesses all due to the dire situation in Iraq. His words to both me and HUBBY, forget Iraq. Iraq is gone. Iraq is no more. Iraq developed a cancer that no Bush strategy nor Maliki strategy can treat it. Nothing can. Not you, not the Americans, and definitely not the government. Iraq has become infested with fatal cancerous cells and right now its dying a slow death. A slow and a painful death. I will never go back he said, I dont want to ever go back. For me, Iraq is dead. For me Iraq killed my mother. For me, Iraq is just a memory. A Distant Memory...
Some videos I took while in the Plane, and please dont make fun of me, I know I sounded corny when I saw Baghdad from the air. I cringe every time I hear my "Oh wow, its beautiful". But I guess I was too excited to see my country, even if it means from the air.
January 17, 2007
The Black Globe of Terror Award...
Bush said on 60 minutes and I quote ""We liberated that country from a tyrant," Bush said. "I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude."" Umm seriously??? That sentence infuriated me. The Iraqi people dont owe anything to anyone!!! NOTHING, ZERO, ZILCH. The Iraqi people had a dream and that dream is no longer there. It has evaporated into thin air. Their dream was to have a good life, a safe life, a rich life. Their dream was to provide a good life for their children and their children's children. Their dream was to have a life, here, here in Iraq. But now they dream of another life. A life outside all this chaos, outside all this bloodshed. Their "Allah Kareem" and "Inshallah" is now rarely uttered. Even these words, these words of hope stopped having a meaning.
A week ago, an Iraqi guy joined our company. A young man in his early twenties. Very nice and dignified. Two days later, he was shot. His brother was shot too. He survived. the brother bled to death. Literally bled to death. The culprit? A sniper just outside the checkpoint. A sniper whose only fun in this world is to rob people's lives. Young people's lives. It reminds me so much of those Xbox or playstation games. But instead of having a specific target, your shots are random. Random shots. Random fatal shots.
The girl who came and told us of the news, broke down. "We couldnt save him, the bullet, the bullet hit the artery. We couldnt save him. He is gone. He died in our hands. We couldnt do anything.". She would describe what happened, then she would say "we couldnt save him" again and again and cry. My heart broke. Literally broke. I started crying too. And this is just one story. One story of thousands. So do you still think "the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude"??? And no Im not saying the Americans brought in the militias or the insurgency, Im saying they opened the doors to such low life criminals. They give them the chance. Be it intentionally or unintentionally.
One thing I also dont get is why advertise the security plans to the whole world? Word in the Iraqi street is that Muqtada told his followers, the ones high up in the hierarchy to leave to Syria or Iran. Until things calm down. I have also heard from people here, that some militia members are hiding their cache of weapons and moving down South. Hmmm, so basically everyone is gonna be gone. Then reappear once again when the offensive is over. Wowwww. Great planning, I must say.
Im having a hard time to decide who will get the Black Globe of Terror Award. Hmm, Many nominees to choose from, some are also dead right now(who I wont even mention, cuz theyre dead). Lets see...Saddam Loyalists, Muqtee (aka Muqtada), Mahdi Militia, Hakeem, Badr Brigade, Dhari, Sunni insurgents, Bin Laden, Iranian Govt, Syrian Govt, Afghanee fighters, bad coalition troops, Bush, Arab fighters or maybe the people that are financing all this bloodshed??? And the trophy goes to......Will leave it upto you to decide...Decide who really, really deserves the Award. The Black Globe of Terror Award...
January 12, 2007
Dont Cry Over Spilled Milk...(Pod Cast Interview with Jonathan Curiel added)
Oh and btw, HUBBY's 2 days, has turned into a week more like it. The night before he left, I tried my best to laugh and make good of the situation, very unlike me, but it worked. He turned to me and said, how come youre so happy Im going, why arent you giving me a hard time? Are you gonna be upto no good? Oh God HUBBY, I said, If I nag and whine, you tell me to stop, if Im laughing and smiling, you tell me Im upto something...I dont know how to act anymore? Just be yourself he said, and ofcourse I couldnt wait at the opportunity and needless to say the POUT made its debut again...
I made sure to watch Bush yesterday doing his umpteenth speech about Iraq. Surge in troops, in my own opinion is exactly what we need. This should have happened long long time ago. But a surge isnt enough. As an Iraqi I know that Maliki will not stand by his words for dismantling the militias. He vowed he would a few months back and never did anything about it, why would it be different this time? The sadrists vowed that they will retaliate to the surge and some extremists said this will make the situation even more volatile and instead the US should have supplied a withdrawal timetable. What BS.
As long as this government stays in power, surge or no surge in troops will not make a difference. THIS GOVT HAS TO GO, for things to improve. Its wishful thinking I know. As long as the likes of Hakeem, Muqtada, Rubaie etc remain, then wave bye bye to any plan. But all is not lost. If the troops will come here, to Baghdad, solely to clean it from insurgents and militias no matter what Maliki does or doesnt do then that will work. But if its gonna be like last time, when the troops surrounded Sadr city and then Maliki ordered them to leave just like that, then its a massive failure. I think Bush should have been harsh. You dont stick with our plan and your promise, we will leave your country in no time. Believe me, no matter what this govt says, they are cowards. They are nothing without the US support. If the troops leave suddenly at any point in the near future, all these people you see sitting on the "chair" enjoying the vast treasures of Iraq's piggy bank, will not waste a nano second. They will run away and save their own asses. They will leave Iraq because they know things will get bloody.
As for my colleagues reactions, many of them couldnt care less. Actually none of them watched the speech on tv as it was 5am our time. They managed to read what Bush said on the net. When I asked them what they thought, they simply shrugged their shoulders and said, it wont really make a difference. Bring more troops or not, people are dying and will continue to die. One of them, N (aka mr carpenter) who just 5 days ago lost his 21 year old nephew to sunni extremists said, this war isnt about Americans vs Iraqis, this war is about Iraqis vs Iraqis. He then continued and said, its all internal. Badr militia vs mahdi, Shia militia vs Sunni insurgents. Then he looked down at his hands and said, the victim, the victim is one, the innocent Iraqi. The victim is my nephew, and the hundred of thousands just like my innocent nephew. He was a flower, my nephew. Young and hopeful. Always optimistic and never with all the mayhem that was taking place did he ever lose that hope. And now, now he is gone. With those words, N got up and left. I felt his pain, I felt it, yet I just sat there staring into space. I looked up to the dull and dark sky and asked WHY?
Syria and Iran opposed the move, lol. WHAT IS IT TO YOU??? OMG, butt off will you!!! I mean, we dont interfer with your own rotten policies, we dont send people to YOUR countries to bomb themselves amidst women and children. We dont send financial or ammunition to terrorist groups in YOUR area so they can bomb the hell out of you. LEAVE US ALONE. Clean your own dirty houses before you clean anyone elses. A few days ago, WOB, who btw calls all Shia's Iranians (And she knows Im a Shia), came upto me and said, have you heard the latest? I rolled my eyes but amused at what BS will come out of her devilish mouth and said no what is it? She said come outside for a smoke and I will tell you.
As I stood there freezing my ass off, WOB came close and said in something more of a whisper. You heard about the 2 Iranian diplomats that were caught by the Americans here. I nodded. The plan is, she continued, they were conspirating with Al Hakeem to blow up Hussein's shrine in Karbala and take his tomb to Iran. Hmm, I said, if they blow it up how in the hell will they find anything? WOB then said, well they pretend its bombed, but they definitely are planning to take it to Iran. I just kept nodding my head and then said, wow, thats interesting. WOB said, this is top secret, I have my sources. Aha, sure thing. A day earlier, HUBBY actually told me his colleague forwarded a memo on some website that said exactly the same thing. I wouldnt be surprised. The biggest Iranian agent is Al Hakeem. He will do anything to please them, anything, even if it means killing his own people. UGHHHHHHH...To think I ever felt hopeful that Iraq will be a better place with these people in it, makes my stomach turn.
I say this now, and Ive said it a million times before, the only solution for Iraq to be safe again is to have a government that has no allegiance to any country except Iraq. To have a government that has no allegiance to any sect or religeon. A secular government. Apart from the government, we must also have a loyal Army. Loyal to Iraq and not its militia gangsters. With the surge in troops, a fund just for vetting the Iraqi Army should be set up. Forget the rebuilding efforts for now, its not really making any difference to the average Iraqi's life. Use the billions in top notch technology and start vetting away. This is the only solution.
This said, I wanna thank everyone's suggestions about our upcoming R&R. Ive actually taken alot of places into consideration. Nepal, South Africa and Morroco are actually on my research list. Lets see what happens. Ive got very little time to put things together, while mr HUBBY is enjoying his time on his business trip. I was pretty teed off when the 2 days became 3 then 4 then 5...Flights were fully booked his excuse. Umm, yeah HUBBY, sure. People are leaving Baghdad and not vice versa. Oh well...Doesnt matter, Im over it. Theres a saying Dont Cry, Dont Cry Over Spilled Milk...
ADDED LATELY: If you wanna hear my horrible voice check out the podcast Interview with Jonathan Curiel of San Francisco Chronicle . I enjoyed talking to him. There's also an article he prepared about Iraqi bloggers here
January 07, 2007
Neurotic in Every Sense...
HUBBY and I are supposed to travel in a few weeks for our R&R, so far so good. I do my research on India, and the more I read the more I decided that I would love to go. I asked about visas, and umm turns out that visas to India from Baghdad takes about two weeks. Visas to India from the Emirates takes one day for residents and a week for non residents. Hmm, we dont really have much time. Our vacation is about 2 weeks, so a whole week in Abu Dhabi waiting for HUBBY's visa is no good. Mr HUBBY then decides that India is off the list and I should think of somewhere else to spend our vacation in. Somewhere warm in January. Hmmmm...
I was pretty disappointed, and btw, this is not what Im ranting about, just to let you know. Although India's nature and scenic views did take my breath away on the net, I realised that HUBBY is right. So Im abit in a static state right now, not knowing where to go (any suggestions???). The best solution would be spend the whole time in AD, but HUBBY just cant stand it, I never understood why.
Anyhow, the thing that really really got to me was this, he comes picks me up as usual to have our one hour rendezvous (which btw is becoming more like 10 minutes of meaningful conversation and the remaining 50 mins HUBBY is on his mobile phone talking to clients!!!) He is in the car all happy go lucky
HUBBY: Hey sweetie, how are you? (giving me his usual kiss on the cheek)
ME: Im fine, abit tired, how are you, how was work?
HUBBY: Work is great, Im having such a good time and I finally feel that the big boss thinks Im doing such a good job.(smiling profusely)
ME: thats good (me sulking cuz HUBBY is never this chirpy with me)
HUBBY (continues without even noticing the change of my mood): Sweetie, you know I love you right?
ME (thinking to myself UHOH, something smells fishy here): OK out with it, what is it?
HUBBY: Well promise me you wont get mad
ME: Just say it will you
HUBBY: I have umm, I have to travel, travel outside Iraq
ME : WHERRRRRRRRRRE???WHYYYYY???WHENNNNNNNN???(LITERALLY SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF)
HUBBY (Clears his throat): Umm for a high profile business meeting. Its only 2 days
ME: TWO DAYS!!! YOURE GONNA LEAVE ME HERE ALL ALONE FOR TWO DAYS!!!
HUBBY: Its not like..
ME (Cutting him off): You know what? I wish that one of these 2 days a rocket will target me and kill me so you will feel guilty for the rest of your life, so there
HUBBY: Oh dont be like that, dont make me feel guilty, you should support me
ME: Support you??? Why should I support you??? Ive come here to be with you, all you ever wanted was help your countrymen who by the way see us as traitors, and you tell me to support you??? What more can I do???
HUBBY: Be more understanding, ok come with me, tell them its emergency leave and you need to travel for a few days
ME: You know thats not feasible because in a few weeks its our R&R!!!
And so the rest of the evening was spent with me sulking and HUBBY trying to comfort me by asking me what I would like him to get me. I literally spat out, I....... DONT .......WANT.....ANYTHING, You go and have fun, while Im here all alone, praying that I might get hit with a rocket, ha!!!
I swear if my parents would find out he is gonna leave me here, he wont hear the end of it (especially from my mom), hence my first call in the morning will be to them, hehe...Serves him right. I will just say it as a btw mom, HUBBY is gonna travel for a meeting and Im gonna be here, so dont worry about me, lol.
I told him today that ever since we got married Im constantly struggling. Its actually comical, you can tell from the very first post I wrote almost 2 and a half years ago till this day. Its like Im fighting all the time. Couldnt he atleast tell his boss that he CANT GO because he has a responsibility, HIS WIFE??? I know I know Im blowing it outta proportion but I know, if it was ME travelling for an important "Business" meeting, he wouldnt have it. I even asked him how would he feel, he simply said, you wont go. So why is it OK for HIM and NOT OK for ME???
Thats what bugs me. This thing about youre a woman and Im a man BS. In my own special dictionary, whats good for you is good for me, end of story. So there, Ive let it all out. I aint gonna forgive him. I even told him, one day its gonna be pay back time, lol...He tried his best to comfort me by counting all the things he is gonna get for me on his trip, naturally his trick didnt work. Mrs here continued her pouting ritual.
I mean cmon, dont you think its unfair? Had I been with my family, somewhere normal, it would have been a different matter, but HERE!!! Im already in a prison, and the one hour I have outside the damn gate of the compound is semi heaven. Yeah call me selfish call me mean, but the notion of him being outside having fun, and me being imprisoned will have some drastic consequences, like..... maybe..... switching my mobile off so he will be worried sick about me and wont be able to concentrate in his meeting. He will feel so guilty for leaving me here cut his trip short and beg for forgiveness...YESSSSSSSSSSSS, thats exactly what Im gonna do...hehe
I told you before, women are nothing but coniving creatures, especially MEEEEEE...whew, I feel much better now. And people wander why I call myself neurotic. Believe me, I AM NEUROTIC. Neurotic in every Sense...
January 04, 2007
The Baghdad Money Making Machine...
Anyways, The media seems to be misinformed about a few points. First off, Its not ONLY THE SUNNIS that were appalled by the date and the way the execution was carried out. Every Iraqi who is not a Muqtada follower or a supporter of the current government was outraged. How do I know this you ask, well, simple. I work with about 40 Iraqis, a mixture of Shia's, Sunnis, Christians and Kurds. Out of all those I spoke to, only 2 were exuberant about the whole thing. Incidentally Z the guy who warned me about the execution taking place was one of those 2.
So no, its not only the Sunnis, its every muslim, every humane person, every Iraqi that is against Muqtada, Al Hakeem, and the current govt. Having said that, we should not forget the heinous crimes that Saddam committed during his time. We should not forget the atrocities and the torture. MG Caldwell of the Multi National Forces said yesterday to the media that had they been responsible they would have done things differently and that because Iraq is a "sovereign" country they do it their way. That just infuriated me even more. The US, chooses the times when Iraq is sovereign and when its not. Just like the time in Summer when Bush made an unannounced visit to Iraq, Maliki was told abt the visit 30 minutes beforehand. In your opinion, shouldnt there be protocols to follow for a supposedly "sovereign" country??? Please give me a break...
Another misconception that the media seems to dwell on is the fact that it was only Shia's and Kurds that were oppressed during Saddam's time and that Saddam's closest allies were Iraqi Sunnis. Please get your facts right. Sunnis were also executed and tortured, maybe not in large numbers like the former two, but they didnt get away from Saddam's wrath. As for his aides, the ex Iraqi Information Minister was a Shia, many of the nuclear scientists were shia's. The republican guards included shia's. Basically, every Iraqi suffered, except those closest to him. I guess thats all I have to say about that subject cuz its yesterday's news.
The Kurds are angry now because Saddam wasnt hanged for the Halabcha crime, man, just get over it. The guy is dead. As for investigations taking place as to how the unsolicited video was taken makes no difference to me, what is done is done and cannot be undone. It just goes to prove how flimsy and unprofessional the current govt is. Not only unprofessional, but a bunch of liars. Just like the fact I previously wrote about when Al Rubaie said Saddam was a broken man, YES INDEED, we all saw how broken he was. Yup, this is the new Iraq ladies and gentlemen, a country headed by a bunch of hooligans and the only difference between the last era and this one is merely the faces on the posters that have trashed the country.
HUBBY and I are going on R&R soon (God I cant wait), this time, he wants to go to India. So as I was searching for info on visas etc, an interesting website popped out with the heading "The Other Saddam". Needless to say, I read it and thought you might find it interesting as well. I think this was written during the first few days of the war back in March 2003.
Im not really looking forward to going to India, I mean I always wanted to but right now, all I need is a quiet place, void of any planes and helicopters, a place where I can just lie in bed and catch up on sleep. Somewhere warm mind you cuz its freezing here. HUBBY on the other hand, wants to recap his "younger" days and do something adventurous (sigh)...
Speaking about visas, not sure if my fellow Iraqi bloggers mentioned the Visa black market in Iraq? Yes this is the newest way of making money here. Fast money mind you. Easy cash. As you all know, every Iraqi wants to get out of here. Everyone wants to seek a better life, or in other words a better chance of life be it legally or illegally. Whatever the price and the means, Iraqis just want to get out of here. If you go to Karrada or any other district you will see banners advertising for Visas to the Emirates and other countries. L (the vibrator friend, I know not a nice way of reminding you who she is, oh well) told me that six months back a visa to any European country would cost $2,500. Come today, schengen visas can range from $8000-15,000 per person. Yes 15000 bucks!!! Im not making this up, there are people who are willing to pay. But mind you this is just to get the visa, transportation and accomodation is excluded. Some of these people are con artists, others do actually get you the visas by legal means. L is waiting for her turn. Her first attempt ended up by the guy taking her 5000 bucks and disappearing. This one though is "thiqqa" (trustworthy). So far he managed to get visas for 5 families, of which all ended up in Holland.
L explained how the whole thing works. Apparantely, they go to Mr Visa man, pay him the money cash. He then gives some of that money to the contact he has in some embassy or another that issue the shengen visas. L would get the Visa, then make travel arrangements from either Syria or Amman. Italy was the easiest place to go to. So L would go to Italy and from there, she would travel to Holland, where she would throw or destroy her passport and have her golden moment. Seek assylum. Thats how the majority of Iraqis are leaving. But there are ones who cant afford the 8000 let alone the 18.
Iraq has become a business venture. Fake ID's, Fake Passports. Tailors selling army/police uniforms. Police renting out their cars to militias and insurgents. Arms being sold in mini stores. Kidnappings out of the blue taking place for ransom money. Blackmarket fuel, blackmarket visas. You name it, everyone is making a living out of it, but on whose account??? The account of the average Iraqi. Yup, its a money making machine. The Baghdad Money Making Machine...