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LeeG
09-25-2004, 12:58 AM
This blog is from an Iraqi woman who was part of a group that documented the number/identity of Iraqi civilian deaths last year.

Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Liar, Liar...
I was channel-surfing yesterday evening- trying to find something interesting to watch. I flipped vaguely to Al-Arabia and Bush's inane smile suddenly flashed across the screen. Now, normally, as soon as I see his face, I instantly change channels and try to find something that doesn't make me quite as angry. This time, I stopped to watch as Allawi's pudgy person came into view. It's always quite a scene- Bush with one of the alledged leaders of the New Iraq.

I prepared myself for several minutes of nausea as Bush began speaking. He irritates me like on one else can. Imagine long nails across a chalk board, Styrofoam being rubbed in hands, shrieking babies, barking dogs, grinding teeth, dripping faucets, honking horns – all together, all at once – and you will imagine the impact his voice has on my ears.

I sat listening, trying not to focus too much on his face, but rather on the garbage he was reiterating for at least the thousandth time since the war. I don't usually talk back to the television, but I really can't help myself when Bush is onscreen. I sit there talking back to him- calling him a liar, calling him an idiot, wondering how exactly he got so far and how they're allowing him to run for re-election. E. sat next to me on the couch, peeved, "Why are we even watching this?!" He made a jump for the remote control (which I clutch to shake at the television to emphasize particular points)- a brief struggle ensued and Riverbend came out victorious.

You know things are really going downhill in Iraq, when the Bush speech-writers have to recycle his old speeches. Listening to him yesterday, one might think he was simply copying and pasting bits and pieces from the older stuff. My favorite part was when he claimed, "Electricity has been restored above pre-war levels..." Even E. had to laugh at that one. A few days ago, most of Baghdad was in the dark for over 24 hours and lately, on our better days, we get about 12 hours of electricity. Bush got it wrong (or Allawi explained it to incorrectly)- the electricity is drastically less than pre-war levels, but the electricity BILL is way above pre-war levels. Congratulations Iraqis on THAT!! Our electricity bill was painful last month. Before the war, Iraqis might pay an average of around 5,000 Iraqi Dinars a month for electricity (the equivalent back then of $2.50) - summer or winter. Now, it's quite common to get bills above 70,000 Iraqi Dinars... for half-time electricity.

After Bush finished his piece about the glamorous changes in Iraq, Allawi got his turn. I can't seem to decide what is worse- when Bush speaks in the name of Iraqi people, or when Allawi does. Yesterday's speech was particularly embarrassing. He stood there groveling in front of the congress- thanking them for the war, the occupation and the thousands of Iraqi lives lost... and he did it all on behalf of the Iraqi people. It was infuriating and for maybe the hundredth time this year, I felt rage. Yet another exile thanking the Bush administration for the catastrophe we're trying to cope with. Our politicians are outside of the country 90% of the time (by the way, if anyone has any news of our president Ghazi Ajeel Al Yawir, do let us know- where was he last seen or heard?), the security situation is a joke, the press are shutting down and pulling out and our beloved exiles are painting rosey pictures for the American public- you know- so everyone who voted for Bush can sleep at night.

Allawi actually said "thank you" nine times. Nine times. It really should have been more- at least double that number of Iraqis died yesterday... and about five times that number the day before. Looking back on the last month alone, over 350 Iraqis have been killed either by American air strikes, fighting, or bombs... only 9 thank yous?

The elections are already a standard joke. There's talk of holding elections only in certain places where it will be 'safe' to hold them. One wonders what exactly comprises 'safe' in Iraq today. Does 'safe' mean the provinces that are seeing fewer attacks on American troops? Or does 'safe' mean the areas where the abduction of foreigners isn't occurring? Or could 'safe' mean the areas that *won't* vote for an Islamic republic and *will* vote for Allawi? Who will be allowed to choose these places? Right now, Baghdad is quite unsafe. We see daily abductions, killings, bombings and Al-Sadr City, slums of Baghdad, see air strikes... will they hold elections in Baghdad? Imagine, Bush being allowed to hold elections in 'safe' areas- like Texas and Florida.

The hostage situations are terrible. Everyone is wondering and conjecturing about the Italian hostages. Are they really dead? Is it possible? Seeing the family of the British hostage on TV is quite painful. I wonder if they'll forever hate Iraqis after this. I saw the plea the made on CNN, asking the abductors to be merciful. Dozens of Iraqis are abducted daily and no one really knows who is behind it. Some blame it on certain Islamic groups, others on certain political groups- like Chalabi's, for example. It's hardly shocking, considering our own PM, Allawi, was, by his own admission, responsible for bombings and assassinations inside of Iraq- there is some interesting information here.

For those who haven't read it, you really should. Juan Cole's "If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?".

- posted by river @ 3:06 PM

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-25-2004, 04:16 PM
Yes, well, you cannot expect neoconservatives to go reading this sort of thing, written by an actual Iraqi, in better English than most neocons can manage, can you? It would upset their deeply held religious belief that Bush is Right.

PeterSibley
09-26-2004, 07:02 AM
Eyes averted...ever faithful :(

George.
09-26-2004, 07:36 AM
I don't know, Lee... for an "Iraqi woman" she uses an awful lot of up to date US-style colloquialisms, seems to have intimate knowledge of the US political scene, writes in perfect US-style English, and writes things like "channel-surfing," "Bush's inane smile suddenly flashed across the screen," "Allawi's pudgy person," and "
You know things are really going downhill in Iraq, when the Bush speech-writers have to recycle his old speeches."

I don't disagree with her points, especially about the notion of elections in "safe" areas, but are you sure she's authentic?

NormMessinger
09-26-2004, 08:05 AM
I wondered about that too, George. The doubt expressed about the letter Alan posted a few days ago should probably applied here too.

If it matches our preconceived misconceptions it has to be true, eh?

Chris Stewart
09-26-2004, 08:14 AM
I believe she's authentic. I also believe her family/clan/tribe were Saddam supporters who, being on the "inside" had a relatively good life under Saddam. If you go through all her posts, you'll note that all (at least all I found) mentions of "mass graves," "torture," and "abductions" describe events after the war.

It is such a strong contrast to the tone and content in the Iraqi blog that Jim H linked to http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/ (and which now has a direct response to Riverbend's Liar Liar article) that it is sometimes hard to remember that they are commenting on the same country. Which is true? I suspect both are to some extent. Rashomon on the Tigris.

LeeG
09-26-2004, 09:13 AM
George, she might be as authentic as GW, Chalabi, Kerry, Rather, etc. I don't seek these blogs out as a source of news reporting as much as personal expressions of what's going on for that person,,where they are,,which isn't where I am. If folks can spend time bouncing posts and e-mails around then it follows there might be a few folks looking out their window to describe the weather in their neighborhood.

George.
09-26-2004, 10:11 AM
Agreed, Lee. I am just wondering if this particular blogger is really an Iraqi in Iraq, or is just an American activist watching the same windows we all are, on TV and the Web...

LeeG
09-26-2004, 12:58 PM
dig around the links and references to her site ,,eventually there will be enough cross refernces to lend some reality to her.