Wednesday, May 30, 2007


They are four kidnapped! No, the number is 5: one financial expert and his four bodyguards were kidnapped from inside the ministry of finance. The whole world is turning upside down for those 5 British nationals (some sources says they are in fact German); the spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs in Great Britain is urging citizens to cooperate if they know anything or have any hints to help finding the kidnapped. Prime Minister Blair announced that “the U.K and Iraqi governments are doing everything they can to find the five people and are fully investigating the circumstances.”

This piece of news is found on every single news website – some of them were two headlines with one saying 4 and the other saying 5 is the number people kidnapped!

I always admired the way the west value its citizens – something as part of their culture, or shall I say moral? I watch Sky news from time to time and in the past month or more there is this huge campaign on every single bit related to the little girl kidnapped on a vacation location in Portugal. Yes, I mean the kidnap of Madeleine McCann, the four-year-old British girl who vanished during a vacation in a resort in Algarve with her parents. They even have a website for that purpose, with telephone numbers, updates, information…etc There is also a reward of around 3 million euro, pictures of the child has been everywhere from Belgium to Great Britain in case someone sees here. In addition, the parents of the little poor girl are also preparing to meet the pope on the 1st of June. I won’t doubt for a minute that a book will be published by the end of the story.

Another kidnapping took place almost three months ago, this time in Gaza. I am referring to the BBC journalist, Alan Johnston, who has been kidnapped by masked gunmen while he was driving his hired car in one of the streets of Gaza city. The events that followed and until this moment we witnessed a lot of condemnations on newspapers, or from the mouth of politicians and leaders from Arab and non-Arab countries, and from time to time a boost in hope when a headline here or there about how soon the British journalist would be released. Most (if not all) press organizations appealed for the release of Johnston by calling the kidnapping of a free journalist as an attack on international law and a crime against humanity.

I wish from my heart that the end will be a happy one for all of them, and I don’t want to give a reason for such wishes, except that there are parents, brothers, sisters and others who are in pain from being in fact living within such an experience.

By the way, do we have a list of how many people have been kidnapped in Iraq? Do we have information on which they are, such as names and whereabouts? And is there an effort to find them… I mean the same effort expressed by British Prime Minister Blair relating to the kidnapping at the ministry of finance? How come we don’t hear in the news about a campaign or protest or even an announcement relating to missing loved ones in Iraq?

Keep on cursing, Tita!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

UPDATE on the Wall Paintings

More talk about the painted walls in Baghdad, which I mentioned in my previous post. Some believe that the pictures of artists painting the segregation walls are of Al Sa'doon Street and not as many believed that of Al Adhamiya's. Others believe that this action is supported - even paid - by the government. I don't blame the latter opinion, especially with the argument that these walls will become a sort of a status quo after painting them.

Here (in Arabic) are some information on these wall paintings, which claims that around 45 artists began working on transforming the giant walls around al Sadoon Street to colorful paintings, each displaying a certain area in Iraq, in order to give a new spirit to the way the street looks like after the installment of these concrete walls. The same source also claims that this is sponsored by the municipality of Baghdad in coordination with a number of businessmen who took the responsibility for the implementation!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Love for Life… Love for Iraq…

…This is what Iraqis are made of!!

On the fourth occasion of the invasion I wrote about how Iraqis presents one quality in particular In spite of death, sorrow and hard time they have been through: Iraqis' love for life surpasses anything else. In spite of the ongoing attempts to divide Iraqis on purpose or without purpose (is there any?) the Iraqis remain unique with their ability to invent and shine!!

Long live Iraq and the Iraqis

Check out the photos below…

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sarkozy, The 6th Son of the 5th Republic

Finally the results of the French presidential elections came out a couple of hours ago to announce Nicolas Sarkozy, 52 years old former minister of interior, as the winner with more than 50% of the total votes. A lot of people expected Sarkozy to be the winner, mainly because of his tough grip on dealing with internal problems in French (2005 riots on the superb of Paris), but above that his preparation and conduct during this campaign compare it to the way his contender, Segolene Royal, did. Therefore, tonight’s results was no surprise to me or to any other person!

However, there are a couple of interesting observations about Mr. Sarkozy; First of all, in a country like France where its people are very proud of their nationalism and French identity, here we have a president who is originally from a Hungarian father and a Greek mother. Despite this fact, more than the half of the French population voted for him.

The second interesting observation is the sort of a contradiction nature French society has shown during these elections, becuase everyone realizes how Sarkozy represents the departure form the Digol school, which former president Jacques Chirac, for example, and all his predecessors have been always loyal to around the years. Sarkozy made it clear during his campaign that “deep change” must begin in France. A strong figure like of Sarkozy’s can serve many purposes for French people. I have been in France during the last elections, and most of people I talked to during my visit told me that the reasons for voting mainly because of the danger that this candidate or the other might put to their society i.e. not because they believe in the ideology or the agenda or the personal qualities of the candidate. The same thing happened this time, but not with the same scale 5 years ago. Thus, a lot of people are afraid of Sarkozy, and they might voted for Royal instead to diminish the chance foe Sarakozy to win. Part of some people’s fear is related to the expectations for the future, especially with a president who’s known for his high temper, which might make great impact regarding important decision an influential country in the world like France can make.

One thing for certain is that the French are fed up and they want change, and in that case, nationalism can have less than the highest priority. They voted for someone this time whom they have from him a lot of expectations.

On foreign affairs track, there were two messages Sarkozy sent immediately after his win; the first is to ensure the United States that France is taking a new direction and that the US can count or rely on its French friends. The second thing Sarkozy’s call for all countries around the Mediterranean sea to follow a new policy of unity and working together - Sarko is loud about his objection to Turkey joining the EU because he consider it as an Asian country more than anything else, but he offers strong trade and economic partnership! Both message send vague signals because many questions will be asked; one is related to Lebanon and the responsibility especially after last year’s war against Israel, not to forget the speculations of a new era of a new relationships with the Jewish state - his statement about the deep friendship with Israel during the elections campaign made most, if not all French Jews, vote for him. The other question is related to the relationship with north African countries like Algeria and how this relationship will result, especially with the impact on the existed Algerian community in France itself – partially a problem within French society. Last but not least is the relationship with the United States: On which way the United States will rely on its French friends? Will France finally help the US in its crisis in Iraq? And how? Sending finally troops to Iraq?

One thing for certain: Sarkozy is very motivated, energetic and offensive of a kind during his time as the minister of interior, but will this be the case during his presdency? He want for sure to show the heavy weight of a France among all countries in the world in more effective way, but the future will show how!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Comments On The Yezidis

Last February I wrote about the Yezidis, a religious and social community living in the north of Iraq. Among the comments I received a couple from an anonymous Yezidi who gave more insight on his community - and looks like he going to add more in the future. For that reason, Therefore, I want first to express my gratitude to him and I am obliged to point out to these comments/information here so people can have more knowledge and informatnion.

Special thanks to the Anonymous friend, I apreciate his input and effort in sharing the cultural and theological background of the Yezidis.