Friday, March 23, 2007

Four Years Ago

It’s been four years
since bombs fell from the sky!
Signs… to be liberated
from the demon that plagued the nation.
Children will have a shinny future.
Happy life to come, for the population

When the invasion of the United Satetes on Iraq began four years ago, I called my cousin in Baghdad. He described to me the magnitude of the bombardment, and how he and his family were terrified of the events to come. He told me the sound of the explosion is so loud that almost tear up his ears… “It has a different sound if we compare it with the bombings during the 1991 war… The impact is shaking… the bang it makes when it reaches the ground is deafening”. Well, that was the awe and shock the media kept on telling from the mouths of the US administration, but it was the Iraqi people who got it, not their brutal regime.

Betrayal is the reason, some say!
Others did not care
They’ve been trapped in the fire bay
Leaving behind their uniforms
Thrown into the water
Left lying there on the floor
Melted down within the crowd of frightened society
It is the best and only way to do

Not all of the people I was sitting with were happy with the pictures shown on 9 April 2003 of Iraqis gathering around the huge statue of Saddam in Al Firdous square with US tanks surrounding them and troops assisting them to bring that statue down. Actually, we all had mixed feelings; some were in shock of how easy Baghdad has fallen, some was sorry because it took an invasion to get rid of a brutal dictatorship, and some were relieved because the moment had come when they became sure enough that Saddam and his regime was gone, for good. However, when the American soldier put his country’s flag on the statue, agony filled up the hearts, and tears came rolling down from people’s eyes!

From the deep of the darkness
masses came out with rage.
Tired eyes, but full of joy
Burning pictures with breath of relief.
No trace of the demon
He ripped off the country and vanished
Strangers landed with eyes focused
And fingers trembling on the trigger
They kept on watching the country’s violation
Saluting chaos, except for the black gold mine

The whole country, its past, present and the unknown future has been looted immediately after the war ended. The looting was enormous, with no mercy burning, smashing, breaking, and even killing too place. The national museum, the central bank, presidential palaces, grocery shops, public libraries, the main TV station building…etc all were targets of looting, sabotage and revenge!

People in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq started to feel the fear of events to come. They have been victims of Saddam’s adventures and tyranny for decades, but they also realized for years to come that they became victims of different kind; this time they became the victims of chaos, invaders, terrorists and different militia groups. In spite of such horrible feeling, love for life remained an Iraqi instinct. If anyone wants to learn a lesson on survival in life, then he or she must have an Iraqi as their teacher. There are many examples of that: I was happy to see during the first months followed the end of the war ordinary people going to Saddam’s palaces and transform them into public parks. Such a thing has been noticed in Mosul, north of Iraq. I wonder if this still the case, because of what I heard that all these presidential palaces became either checkpoints or bases for US forces, they became government compounds.

For four years that followed the occupation Iraqis saw many new faces come to their country and go; people from big western enterprises, or groups of pilgrims traveling to holy shrines, or entrepreneurs from all corners of the earth who decided to try their chances thinking that Iraq with its economic potential can be their golden opportunity ever, spies, diplomats, medical groups..etc It didn’t take that long for many of those to realize that Iraq was far from becoming the flourish and stable country within the timeframe they estimated. Many ran away, many got killed, many were kidnapped and then released, and all that due to the increasing violence taking over every part of the country. Organized crimes, the flow of terrorists, and resistance against the occupier, the actions of the occupier, all were sources of death and sorrow. Around that time and until now the “smashing doors and storm in” has become the most familiar method to arrest the old and young, men and woman alike.

I was shocked not long after the war ended when I saw an interview on TV with a woman who was sitting on a sofa in the middle of a wrecked living room. Broken doors and smashed cupboards, clothes and books shattered on the floor around her. The woman was crying while telling the story of how the US forces stormed into their house and arrested her son and husband.

The son of that woman is one of my closest friends from childhood days.

Hail for freedom
Liberators bring humiliation with them
Dogs are barking
Belts and wooden sticks in their hands
Soldiers smiling
At the sight of degradation

Then the Abu Ghraib torture scandal took place. No one will ever write about the past four years would for a minute forget these pictures of terrified prisoners being humiliated when they have been forced by their liberators to pause naked in different positions. The whole case has been categorized, according to the US government, as an isolated incident uncharacteristic of American actions in Iraq! Still, no Iraqi will ever forget that the people who liberated them from the humiliation of their tyrant did the same to them. This incident followed by more, but committed by British forces in Basra. In the years that followed death squads, criminals and militias of all sorts committed more atrocities, which reached levels beyond imagination; girls were raped, men have been tortured, families were either executed at once or burned alive in their own houses.

Hail for democracy
Free to choose the leader
He will be the guide
he will be the preacher
Proud of the drying ink on my finger
Will it be a bright and future?
Or is it just a brainteaser?

Happiness did not last long when the opportunity has been given to Iraqis world wide to choose their government for the first time in their history, because of the way political parties behaved and the way political alliances have been formed. The majority of these political parties followed a path based on sectarian and ethnic grounds. I don’t blame them, because this how the first government has been formed in the post-war period and remained based on the same principle. On one hand, the elections proved to be successful only from one aspect; when Iraqis challenged terrorists’ threats and went to voting poles - Iraqis showed the whole world again their love for life instinct and their ability to survive, but they added to that another quality: their determination to build a better future for them and for their country. On the other hand, I, like many others talked to did not consider the elections entirely successful, because of the way different political parties conduct before and during the elections campaign: there is who boycott the process, another decided to take part later, a third decided to form some sort of an alliance with the wrong party, another decided to take the opportunity to press on separation from the homeland…etc

After the war ended in 2003 and until last elections, three Iraqi governments either were appointed by the US or have been freely elected. None has proven to be efficient or capable to handle the situation in a country devastated by war and violence. Some put the blame on the prime minister by being weak or ba’thist or bias to the Shiite majority on the account of other ethnic or sectarian groups. Some say that the prime minister is a good person but the people around him are giving the government a bad name because of corruption, black-male, secret torture of detainee, humiliation of people on check points and inside their houses…etc

The funny and frustrating thing is when we suddenly hear or see (on TV) that one of those politicians leaving Iraq and become in a semi-hiding situation in another country, and that he will continue the struggle and effort for his beloved country men and women!

2005 and 2006 were the years of grand exodus for Iraqis who escaped threats, kidnapping, killing, torture and blackmail. The majority of them left to neighboring countries such as Syria and Jordan and many thousands to Egypt, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Big numbers of my relatives were among people headed and stayed in Syria. Some of those relatives went back to Iraq after few months, especially when they heard about the progress of Baghdad’s new security plan. Others remained in Syria, because of their children who already enrolled in Syrian schools. Sadly, some of my relatives did not escape inevitable death: A female cousin of mine died in a horrible car accident last year on the highway between the Syrian-Iraqi borders. She left Iraq with her husband, because of fear from the violence consuming people’s lives on daily basis. I remember her as a gorgeous little girl when I was in Iraq, with her gorgeous face, her white skin like clean ivory, and her cute little curls of her dark brown hair. She was 19 years old.

Despite the sorrow that engulfed Iraq, there were some happy moments related to the events took place during the past four years, but like many other occasions and events I mentioned before, happiness has never been completed. Happiness is like a very hasty visitor for Iraqis – Ilham al Madfaý’s song can apply perfectly to the way Iraqis live. However, I regard the capture of Saddam is one of my happiest moments ever, yet, I was terrified of the thought of him dying in prison like Slobodan Milosevic’s of Serbia before justice takes place. However, he stood trial and was sentenced to death. Was it a happy moment? Yes, but once again this happiness was doomed because of the “Muqtada… Muqtada…” chanting and all the fuzz about hanging him on the first day of the Eid.

I have a picture of the world
Its rules and regulations
written deep down in my fantasy
achieving them is the ultimate ecstasy
It’s my sacred obligation
Are you with me?
Or shall you be against me
Its for you to have the choice!
These are the rules of my sanity

On its fourth anniversary, President Bush of the United States did not come out with something new in his speech, he asked his people for more patience, though. He reiterated that victory needs time, and that “the situation in Iraq is getting better” and “we are making progress” in Iraq! I wish to believe that, but when two third of the Iraqi people feel unsafe after four years followed the US invasion, the only conclusion I can take is that progress in the eyes of the American president is far from been translated into reality on the ground.

This US administration kept on demonstrating one thing with perfection: Miscalculation! from the initial planning for the invasion and until this very moment: the Bush administration’s planning and implementation for this dangerously expensive adventure was simply based on past experience that goes back to the 1991 war. I am wondering if Bush, the father, was also present during the stages of putting plans for the war (there are no plans for the post-war, to be specific). One of the first actions taken were by the Pentagon; by establishing a new entity they called it “The Office of Humanitarian and Reconstruction Aid”. Its sole purpose was depending on two factors: the first factor is the Iraqi people. The Office of Humanitarian and Reconstruction Aid was to provide tens of thousands of tents for Iraqis fleeing their homes when the war begins i.e. provide shelter. The second factor to gather the thousands of Iraqi soldiers who will be captured or surrender to the allied forces, putting them in groups and enroll them into reconstruction projects or workshops planned for implementation after the war machine goes to silence. However, reality showed that neither thousands of Iraqis left their homes, nor thousands of soldiers surrendered to the allied forces. Another demonstration of perfect miscalculation when efforts by the US administration to form the Iraqi government immediately after the end of the war. One of the biggest mistakes was to form a government in Iraq based on any ethnic or sectarian ground. This move was solely supported and has been supervised by the notorious Paul Bremer. The consequences for such a move made Iraq on the verge of a civil war at any minute because power has been given to a bunch of people who either believe Iraq is Sunni or Shiite, and the good person among them either was killed (or threatened to be killed) or forced to leave the country for good.

One might wonder if the countless miscalculations by the US administration over the past four years gave reason can be regarded as the direct (or indirect) cause to rapture its own alliance of the willing, as President Bush calls it. With more opposition to the war in Iraq, countries like the Netherlands, Spain and Italy already withdrew from Iraq! In the meantime, the government of Tony Blair of Britain has brought some calm to the increasing angry voices among its people when announcing the withdrawal of some thousand troops out of Iraq in the coming months. In addition, this alliance might also cost some government leaders their political careers, such is the case with Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who already faced charges submitted by families of veterans for sending troops to Iraq: According to these families, the Prime Minister violated the constitution that indicates that Danish troops can only be involved in military combat when a either a threat to Denmark as a country exists, or when the United Nations gives permission for such an involvement.

The death toll kept on rising horrifically in 2007: Violence is eating up the population in markets, inside their houses and on the road. Violence is eating up soldiers who traveled thousands of miles through air and sea to fight and get killed based on lies and for no honorable purpose. Violence is eating up souls of brainwashed youth crossing the borders to kill others in the name of Islam, or to let be killed, thinking that suicide is the same as martyrdom.

Are we playing the role of God?
To judge, never be judged?
How can we lay down the rails…
And watch them fall out of the edge?
Cradle of all the civilized
Became a hole for skeletons to rot
Blind fighters from west and east
Trapped in red and fatal mud
Yet, Tigris will wash evil out
And the Euphrates smiles at the site
of the Gathering of the lovers of life
Cuddling with the seeds of faith
Through their sweat, with their tears
Garden of Eden is green again


Marshmallow26 said...

Hello MixMax,

It has been a long time buddy...
صدكني كمت اجر حسرات و آهات من قريت البوست الجديد
العراق اتدمر و ما اظن يرجع مثل كًبل

الله يجازي كل من كان السبب

MixMax said...

Hello Marsh, yes it has been a long time. I am sorry, but illness and some other commitments stopped me from blogging.

Lets pray to have a better future for Iraq. Iraqis will do it. Lets always have hope

A&Eiraqi said...

Mixmax and Marsh
Yeh it has been long time , long time of sadness and sorro
It's hard to belive it and impossible to ignore it .

Let's pray to get a hope .

For awhile I thought Iraqis would celebrate the anneversay of the war as they got rid of dictatorship , now this anniversy is going to be like A'shura'a


MixMax said...

Indeed, lets pray for hope and that this nightmare ends very soon, then we will celebrate of getting rid of the dictator, of the occupation and welcoming peace and prosperity for our people