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An Average Iraqi

An Average Iraqi is just a fictional character whose....well, fictional. I will use this character to make a comparison between him and real human beings like myself or any one else.

Updated: 2016-10-21T13:02:09.539+03:00


The Last Three Weeks



Well, what can I say about the last three weeks. I spent most of them at home. Stuck in the middle of all the holidays, curfews and a few big battles that happened near us. During the last three weeks, I only went to the university three times. And they were all last week. However, on the next week, I do not think that I will be attending any seminars too, because next Monday is a Shia religious holiday. Next Monday is the "Arba3enia" for the Murder of Al-Hussien. Shias will be gathering at Karbala for the occasion.


You know, I really pray that this one goes peacefully, because there will be quite a few million Shias in Karbala during the next three days. So any terror attack might really do a great damage. Especially that it has been known that terror attacks always target areas where there are a lot of people.


When I went to college last time, I was surprised how it doesn't get affected by all the political mayhem going around it, I think that most of us are too busy with their materials and tests to actually bother with Sunnis, Shias, terrorists and Americans. The police actually discovered a bombed car in front of the university. Although they blocked the street and there was chaos outside, but life inside the university when on like nothing happened, and I only discovered about that car after I got home.


Not more than an hour before, I got a call from a BBC reporter, asking for my opinion about the last three years, considering that the anniversary of the beginning of the war is this weekend. I really was surprised, because I have never thought of it. I never thought of remembering the day the war started. And I won't.

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Samara Catastrophe


     I got up early today, I was going to the university today. I was very excited about it, first time I go to the university for three weeks. I do not like sitting in the house with nothing to do with my time. As I expected, it was mostly empty, only for the second attempt students. Second attempt students filled the university, I could tell them because they were studying and memorizing while the seminars had not started yet. I did not stay there much, me and my friend got back as soon as he finished his exams.

     When the cab was close to our main street, my cell phone started ringing. I looked at the number calling me, and it was a private number. It only meant one thing. Someone was calling me from outside Iraq. "Hey I'll get down here if you don't mind", I said to the driver. When I got off, I answered the call. A female voice said "hello" obviously she was not Iraqi, or she would have said "aloo" :) . She later introduced herself as a BBC reporter. I have dealt with them a few times before, especially after the period after the elections. I had been getting calls from them for the past few months now. So I was not surprised when she told me who she was. She asked if I had heard the big news today. I said no what happened.

     "Yesterday a group of armed men dressed in Iraqi Police broke into a shrine in Samara last night, and bombed it this morning after they tied the guards". Now I was confused, I know that the only shrine in Samara is the shrine that "Hasan Al-Askari" and "Ali-Al-hadi" were buried. However, would anyone dare do such a thing? The answer was yes.

     The shrine has a gold covered dome, which is more than 100-year-old. The dome is quite a landmark. It is Iraqi history. We used to see it from far away when we traveled from Baghdad to Mosul, as we pass by Samara. I consider it one of the main structures that define Iraq.

     I believe that the reason for such an attack, is an attempt to stir up civil war, between the Shias and Sunnis. In addition, of course, Al-Sadr is not helping at all. His militias are already calling for revenge, and raiding Sunni mosques. Someone should tell him that Sunnis condemned these attacks, and that no one has claimed responsibility yet, why should he presume it is Sunnis. Does he not notice that he is falling into the plain trap laid in front of him?
The government has just announced tomorrow, Thursday, to be an official holiday.
I will try to update this post as the situation changes.

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The Cartoon Controversy


     I do not think there is a need to tell you the whole story; most of you know it by now. So let us get into it.
Muslims has and will always be, very sensitive in matters considering Allah, their holy book the "Quran", and the prophet Mohammad. Muslims consider it "haram" �means forbidden in Arabic - to offend anyone of those three. They will take it as a BIG insult when they are offended, or made fun off. The problem is, they sometimes react in violence.

     I have to say that when I heard about them, I was afraid that this might explode the situation here in Iraq. The irony in this is that Iraqis dealt with the problem peacefully. With all the violence around me, I have not heard of any violent action done in Iraq because of these cartoons.

     However, most Iraqis now � including me- are not having anything to do with Denmark anymore. Iraq is officially not importing from Denmark anymore, anything with the labels "Made in Denmark" is being dropped out. I have to note something here, that even the most Anti-Americans in Iraq, will buy American products, but not Danish products, to show you how big an insult that is for Muslims. I have to say that I am proud of the way we handled this matter, peacefully.

     Unlike some of the other Arab countries. Here I want to say that I am 100% against the burning of Denmark embassies, and any violent action done to them.

     I must point out here, that Muslims do not only cherish Mohammed, but all the other prophets as well. We name a lot of our children after the Arabic names of Jesus, which is "3esa", and "Mosa" for Moses.

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Remeber Me?


     Well, my MIDs are over, and I think I did fine. Althouh I almost missed the first one due to traffic conditions in Baghdad. Feels good to be back at the keyboard :).

     However, My Internet Service Provider chose this time to have a major electricity failure, looks like he is going to be offline for a while. So, I am a heavy guest on Raghda for a while. Pff, I have so many unread messages in my email, not counting junks. Will write a longer post later.

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Less Posts for this Month


     Well, what can I say?. My mid-year exams are coming in two weeks. So my studies are taking more and more time from me. Hassan Kharrufa is a student before and after he is a blogger. Therefore, it is understandable that I will be making fewer posts on the coming days. Once a week maybe.

     Anyway, the big news in Baghdad these days are kidnapping of the daughter or sister of the Iraqi internal affairs minister, Bian Sola3`. The news are still vivid as it looks like they are trying to cover it. But with all those checkpoints around the city, it is obvious that something is wrong. One of my friends did ask them about the reason of all this. That is how I know. The city is looking just like it looked a few days before the elections, or maybe worse. There is a checkpoint in every main street. They reduce a 4-lane street to a single lane street, search the cars, and look at all the women in the cars. Looks like they are determined to find her. So far, the kidnappers have not attempted to contact the family, I think. However, they know that she has been kidnapped because the driver was found, shot.

     Most people say that the woman has been kidnapped as an extreme protest to the current fuel prizes. Although I do not think that, it is relevant. I think that if it was political, the kidnappers would have gone public with it, they have not.

     The result was, that I missed a good part of a lecture I should have attended. Great timing with the mid-year exams knocking on the doors.

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Happy New Year Iraq


     Happy New Year everybody. Happy New Year Iraq.

     Looking back at what Iraq has seen in the last year. Iraq has witnessed two governments. Then voted for a third one. The price of benzene went up from a really low 50 I.D/Litter, to a huge 250 I.D/Litter, and is supposed to go up until it reaches 750 I.D/Litter. I should start calculating how much benzene our car uses. I feel sorry for taxi drivers, now they are going to have to make their prices a lot higher, and people are going to start looking for other ways to move around, I myself I am starting to figure out other ways of going to college instead of relaying on them, in days when our ride doesn't make it.

     The second it was 12:AM, I could hear the sound of shooting in the far. It was the usual shooting-into-the-sky Average Iraqi style of celebrating. But it got different. The shots became faster just a few minutes ago, signalling that the day did not have a peaceful start. The day was not peaceful at all folks. Twelve car bombs in one day. That is too high even for Iraq. But I have to admit that we found ways to keep ourselves happy. We watched a movie, all of us. Then we had a nice family dinner, and finally we exchanged tons of SMS messages and New-Year cards. So, you see Iraqis have fun despite all the disasters happening around them.

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Elections Aftermath


     So far, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has not announced the final results of the elections. But the big success that the 555 list (An all Shia list) has achieved so far is creating doubts of the commission's integrity, especially in Baghdad. Accusations and even threats are flying around right now. Just a few days ago, Sunnis organized a massive demonstrations in a few provinces. Some of my friends participated in the Baghdad demonstration. They say that hundreds of thousands were there, and from the pictures I have seen of it, I think they are right. They are demanding that the elections are to be repeated in the provinces that has seen some of these very un-expected results. The un-verified results can be found at the commission's official site.

     Just a few days after the elections, the government decided to partially stop supporting the prices of oil. So the prices of benzene, gasoline and gas has went up 300%, tripled. This has left the Iraqi street in anger. So far, I have not seen a single Iraqi who had liked this decision. Although the price of Oil was very low in Iraq, cheapest than water to be frank, but the Average Iraqi has been used to this prices from the eighties. So the sudden rise in prices has left him raged. Some of the southern militia controlled provinces has even refused to implicate these prices. But I don't think they are going to last much, because the only big refineries capable of handling such massive amounts of oil, are only found in Baghdad, and Beji.

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Trouble Ahead


     Yesterday, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq announced preliminary results of 10 provinces, partially. Baghdad results were 89% votes of total votes. So far the Unified Iraqi Coalition (the 555 all-Shia-list) is in the lead. Then there is the Tawafoq Iraqi Front (the 618 main Sunni list). Then the National Iraqi List (the 731 secular list). Right now, the 555 has 41% of the total votes, thank god, not yet above 50%. If they are above 50%, they can take the government all by themselves, but since they are not, they will have to share. Plus, these are yet preliminary results, the main Sunni provinces Anbar, Salah Al-Deen, Mosul, Diala and Kurkok are yet not accounted for. So I can safely presume that the 618 and 731 guys are going to rise in numbers, while the 555 is not going to rise but just a little.

     Right now, I am watching a press conference on TV. It seems that a lot of the other lists are accusing armed militias of faking results. It is said that in southern Iraq, people were threatened to vote for the 555 list. Although I can't say if this is true or not, but I wouldn't say it is unlikely. Because Badr Brigade is a very strong militia in the south, and is known for doing killing and kidnapping. Once again, the story of the trucks coming from Iran filled with false votes, surfaces again. I am beginning to think that it is more than a rumor, and it might just be true.

     The official spokesman for the committee Ferid Ayar, had announced that they have received almost a thousand complains. Twenty of them, as he said, are very serious, and need to be looked at immediately. Right now, a lot of the lists has demanded that the elections are made again, and with better supervision. I don't know what to think of this, I was very happy that I voted, and I think that doing it again, is going to mark this one as a failure. I don't want that. But again, I do not want to spend the next four years with a 555 government. Anyway, I guess that if they are to be repeated, it is going to be made for certain areas that has suffered from fraud.

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The Carnival of Voting


     It was not a normal day. Since the second I woke up, I had one thing on my mind. VOTING. Some of our relatives had already awoke early and went to vote. They said it was very safe, and so far no violence had happened. They also warned us not to take anything with us, except for IDs. So we left even our watches behind and went out to vote. There were four of us, plus two who had already voted. It was like Eid. Everyone was happy, people walking in the street saluted us even if they did not know us, we did the same. Even my 85 year old grandfather, who had much trouble walking, came with us to cast his vote. Although the walk was very hard on him, but he pulled himself together and managed to reach the poll centre. Later I went home, and took my camera. Going back to the poll centre, I took some pictures from afar so I don't get in trouble with the National Guards who were guarding the place.


You can see in this picture how many people are going to cast their votes.


Not my best shot, but yet worth going online.


These are our fingers. From left to right, me, my father, and my grandfather. My mother and grandmother voted too, but they have already found ways to wash the ink off. Women!!.


This is my 85 year old grandfather. He was treated like a king there. He sat in a chair, and they brought the pen and ballot paper to him. He chose his list, gave it to them, they folded it, and put it in the box. Then they brought him the ink pot.

     Now there is nothing more we can do. Except sit down and wait for the results. I have fulfilled my duties.

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Baghdad with one day to the Elections


     In less than 12 hours the poll station will be open. Of course there is a curfew, so we have to walk. But who cares??. This is the biggest elections any Iraqi could ever participate in. Previous elections were important, but this is the big one. This is the one that everyone has been preparing for for at least a month before.

     These elections are different. Everyone is realizing how important it is. No one is boycotting them. Everybody is going to vote, the question is, who are they going to vote for. Sadly, people in Iraq are still thinking in the way I'm-a-Sunni-I-vote-for-a-Sunni way. You can replace Sunni for Shia or Kurd. This is how it is. But yes, except for the 555 guys, most of the others are making coalitions with not just their class, but with others, some lists have a fairly good mixture of Shias-Sunnis-Kurds in them.

     So I decided I would take a walk to the nearby street, and take a photo of it, so you can see what I mean by EMPTY. By the way, I am not going to host pictures on blogger anymore, just on flickr. So they can be linked from else where. Pictures hosted on blogger do not show if they are linked to from other sites. Oh and I have made them small for the purpose of fast load, if you want more detail click on them to see a larger image. See below the empty street:



     There is a scandal that has just happened in Iraq now. With only one day to the elections, a truck coming from Iran was discovered with a full load of forged votes for.. Guess who??. Well, they have not said who, but there is really no doubt about the 555 list. Since many of it's candidates are actually Iranians. Yes I know I am going hard on them, but I just feel angry about this. Mostly because they are supposed to be the most honest, since they are religious. But no, they are not. They are depending on the masses of un-educated Shias in their campaigns. Putting pictures of Sistani in their posters, since Shias do ANYTHING he tells them to do, they put his picture so that people might vote for them.

     Oh well, I still feel optimistic about the elections. This one is different. I know I have been saying that a lot. But yes it is different. Biggest elections any Iraqi can ever participate in. Right now I have little flyers of every major list in Iraq. Sometimes I go look for them, others I just find them in my lap. Anyway, tomorrow is still the big day, so please stay tuned for my tomorrow post. Of course I will not go vote fist thing in the morning. I will wait for at least 10 AM, to see how things are, and to be hones, if they were messy, I will not go vote, sad to say. So if I go vote tomorrow, I promise you will see my finger again. Peace.

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An Average Iraqi look at the Possible Winners


     Well, on this post I find it hard to be speaking for the Average Iraqi. Since no one knows what he want to vote for. Or else, the whole point of the elections will be gone. So what I am going to do, is put the names of the most popular lists, and what I think about them.

Unified Iraqi Coalition. Vote number 555: This list is very popular in southern Iraq, and mostly between Shias. But this list has a LOT of problems and bombs in it. If you check one of my previous posts where I listed the names of organizations and politician figures in each coalition. You can see the names under this coalitions. I would like to mention that all those names are Shias. This list is exclusively for Shias. I am not trying to propaganda against it, but seriously, who will represent the Kurds or Sunnis or any other minority. Who will represent the Average Iraqi. If that list is elected in Baghdad, I have to say that our lives might be very difficult. This list might do great to represent Najaf or Karbala, with it's Shia majority, but surely not the one for Baghdad, Sunni provinces, or Kurdistan. If this list gets more than 50% of the chairs. It will rule everything, and I have a feeling Iraq will be like a second Iran then. Needless to say, I am not giving them my votes.

Tawafoq Iraqi Front. Vote number 618: This list is probably representing the majority of Sunnis in Iraq. Better than the previous one since it has some Shia and Kurd members in it. Actually this is a very good list for Anbar and Mosul, with their Sunni majority, but still there are people who can represent Shias, Kurds, and even Christians. Although this list is better than the last one, but in my opinion, they will run things in a very similar way that Taliban used to do in Afghanistan. So I am not voting for this one either.

National Iraqi List. Vote number 731. This list is not supported by any religious faction, since it is mostly secular. That is why in my opinion, I think it will work for anyplace, since they do the representing in a politician view point instead of a religious, or in my eyes, racist way. Although I want Islam to be involved somehow in the system, but the way the two previous lists are doing it, is not my favorite. One more thing about this list, the 555 guys hate it very much. One more reason for me to vote for it.

Kurdistani Gathering. Vote number 730. This list has all the big shots of Kurdistan. Makes it perfect to represent the northern Iraq, or as they call it, Kurdistan. I have to say I am not very familiar with this list, they do not do a lot of publicizing in Baghdad, I think they are concentrating on the places where they can win. But from the names of the participants, I can see that there are a few Islamic and Turks in it. So as I said, perfect for northern Iraq.

     My next post, which I shall put tomorrow, will be describing how Baghdad looks during the day before the elections. Also I will tell you some stories about elections that happened.

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The Story of a Car Bomb


     Today a car bomb exploded at 14 St Ramadan. Which is a very busy street in Baghdad. This car bomb has a very interesting story, which might help you understand how those car bombs work. The car model was most likely a Toyota Corona 1981.

     The car was hijacked from it's owner a day earlier. And they killed it's owner so he cannot report it stolen and set the police in search for it. They put 4 explosive charges in it. The charges are not anything complicated. They are simple Gas cans. Which are sold by carts that roam the city, so it is easy to get.

     Then the car was placed near a very famous Ice Cream shop. The place becomes very crowded in the noon. I think they put it their to achieve highest kills. Disgusting. Luckily the police spotted it. They dragged it away into the middle of the street. Blocked the street from all directions and cleared it. Then they opened fire on the car. One of the charges exploded and the car was all in flames. Thinking that it is finished the police dragged the car aside and left it.

     This morning as life went on. A civilian inspecting the car discovered that there were three more charges. So he called the police. The police came a few minutes later and took the charges away. Rendering the car harmless at last.

     Look at these pictures you can see the charges put in the car

Spot the black markings on the street. These are the marks of dragging.

The yellow plate is or was the charge. It is a simple Gas can which can be found easily in Baghdad. Not even worth stealing.

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Elections Fever


     When I go out these days. I see no empty wall. They are all covered in posters. Sometimes there would be layers of them. As competition rises. No empty spot is left. So posters are being put above others. The fever has reached the TV and radio too. As the commercials between shows and songs are being filled up by election commercials. Right now the different candidates and organizations have allied with each other. Creating what is called here "Coalitions". Reducing the number of candidates from a couple of hundreds to only nineteen. We will vote for these coalitions. Each one of them has a vote number. If I want to vote for a certain coalition. I would write the vote number of that coalition on the ballot sheet. You will find below a list of all these coalitions and the names of the different organizations they consist of.Tawafoq Iraqi Front. Vote number 618. Consists of:The Iraqi Islamic Party.The General Council For Iraqi People.Al Hewar National Iraqi Council. Arabic List. Vote number 615. Consists of:The Arabic Unifying Front.National Solidarity Movement. Kurdistani Gathering. Vote number 730. Consists of:Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.Labor Party of Kurdistan.Islamic Group of Kurdistan/Iraq.Al Kaldani Democratic United Party.Communist Party of Kurdistan.Socialist Democratic Party of Kurdistan.Democratic Party of Kurdistan.Iraqi Turkman Brotherhood Party. Independent Karbala Coalition. Vote number 533. Consists of:Dr. Abbass Naser Hasani Al Hasnawi.National Gathering For Karbala Iraqi Tribes. Brotherhood and Peace List. Vote number 737. Consists of:Brotherhood Independent Gathering.AL Sheikh Ali Abd Al Husain Kamouneh. Unified Iraqi Coalition. Vote number 555. Consists of:Islamic Da'awa Party.Islamic Virtue Party.Centrist Coalition PartyBader Organization.Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution In Iraq.Turkman Islamic Union of Iraq.Justice and Equality Assembly.Iraqi Democratic Movement.Movement of Hizbullah in Iraq.Turkmen Loyalty Movement.Saed Al Shuhada Islamic Movement.Al Shabak Democratic Gathering.Malhan Al Mkoter-Mr.Islamic Da'awa Party-Iraq Organization.Reform And Building Meeting.Al Sadriah Advertising.The Justice Community.Iraq Ahrar. National Iraqi List. Vote number 731. Consists of: Iraqi Communist Party.Union Party.Al-Qasimy Democratic Assembly.Iraqi Republican Group.Arab Socialist Movement.Independent Democratic Gathering.Iraqi National Accord.Society of Turkman Tribes and Elites.Alfurat Al Awsat Assemblage.Iraqis.Loyalty For Iraq Coalation.Independent Iraqi Alliance.Independent Iraqi Sheikhs Council.The National List.Ahrar. National Iraqi Council List. Vote number 569. Consists of:Democratic Iraqi Gathering.The First Democratic National Party.Iraqi Conference National Party.United Labor Democratic Front.Turkuman Act Party.The Iraqi Constitutional Party.Tareq Abd Al Kareem Al Shahd Al Budairi.Genral Secretary Advertising For The south Sectional of Iraq.The National List.Constitutionality Al Shareef Ali Abd Al Hussein Movement. Islamic Coalition. Vote number 549. Consists of:Islamic Action Organization.Faili Islamic Gathering In Iraq.Religious Communwealth In Iraq.Islamic Commonwealth For Iraqi Students.Hussaini Cultural Organizations Union.Rafah And Freedom Movement. Justice and Future Coalition. Vote number 517. Consists of:The Democratic Progress And Justice Party.Dr.Khaled Hmoud Abdalla Al Sa'adoon. Al Nahrain National List. Vote number 752.Assyrian Patriotic Party.Beith Nehrain National Union.Assyrian Independent Gathering Movement.National Caldani Council.Hikmat Dawod Hakeem.Kildani Democratic Rostrum. Al Wafaa For Basrah Gathering. Vote number 512. Loyalty to Najaf.Ramadan Al Badran, Basr[...]

The Students Day


The students day used to be a holiday in Iraq. Celebrating the students everywhere. Although we do not celebrate it in college. But in my 6 year old sister's school. They did. I shall post you some of their photos. You can see clearly how much work was done in order to hide the children from the face of war.


This celebration has a history. It is celebrates the founding of the National Union of Iraqi Students. Which was the Student's union representative of the Baath party.

Before the war, children in every school would have a party during the day. They would bring gifts for their teachers. Throw a party on the day. So when this day came. The students were eager to have a party, how many student will understand that they can not have fun because this holiday was founded during the days of Saddam. So the principle of the school decided that the children deserved better than excuses . I liked what she did very much. Because does it really matter if the ex-regime founded this celebration. How can you explain to a child why he can not give gifts to his teacher. How can you tell him that it is not his fault, but he can not celebrate today although they know very much that this day is a party day. In other schools, a few children took some gifts and gave them to their teachers. The teacher refused to take it. What would that child feels when the teacher rejects his gift. I don't think that he will understand that the teacher doesn't hate him. My 9 year old niece which goes to another school than my sister, came home devastated when her teacher rejected her gift. Of course after that the child was afraid to go to another teacher and give her a gift because she thought that no one likes her.

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When Should the US leave??


     First of all the question is when, not should. Because it is a sure thing that the Americans should leave eventually. It is whether it should be done sooner or later that has been a discussion opener, in the US. Although there is a huge discussion about this in the US. But it seems that the Iraqis are not really interested at the moment. They have other things on their mind. The elections are coming, but that is going to be a topic for another post.

     My opinion: Iraq is not ready for the US to pull its troops out. Maybe in a year or so, but not at the moment. I have a few reasons:

     First: There are still many armed militias in Iraq. No country can prosper and grow with such militias in it. Like the Mahdi Army, Badr Brigade, Terrorist factions and even the Kurdish Besh Merga. . These militias have to be disbanded. Either peacefully or by means of arms. The US army would prove to be most useful in this I think. The Iraqi army may be trained well, but from what I have seen, they are way behind in equipment. They roam the cities in civilian pick-up trucks, and SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles, or as we call them 4WD in Iraq) that are not even bullet prove.

     Second: With no powerful government in command. And the many disagreements and infighting between the Iraqi politicians. Civil war might stir up when there is no unchallengeable power force in Iraq. Like the US army. In which I hope we can replace by the Iraqi Army in the future. As there is no question that we cannot rely on the US army much longer. As probably it is the main reason all this violence has started in the first place.

     Third: Iraqi is simply not ready yet.

     What is done is done. It won't do anything to disscuss whether the American ivasion of Iraq was right or not. We can only go on from here, the question is how do we go on. I know many Iraqis are going to disagree, Najma will be the first, American liberals will too. I know I have objected to what the US is doing in Iraq now. But I will object too if they leave now, guess I am hard to satisfy after all.

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Another Free.. Eh Terrorist Attack


     I just said it in the last post. Terrorist attacks are being made in the name of freedom fighting. Just this morning a car bomb exploded near Al-Hamra hotel in Karada Baghdad. Followed by another bomb; a bigger car, or a truck as I heard. Look at this picture; you will see what I mean.


     Want more pictures, see Yahoo slide show about Iraq.

     The blast was so strong a building fell over, completely. As usual, none of the intended targets of the attack got hurt. Only civilians were killed or injured. Read the whole story on Yahoo news.

     The Washington Post office was close to the attack to. Thankfully no one got hurt, but the office is in chaos. They were a little late to put coverage about the blast, as they rounded up every blast that happened during the day. You will see in this article how violent the day was


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Freedom Fighting or Terror Attacks


     There is a big difference between the two terms. Although many people in Iraq fail to realize the two terms, but there is a big difference. Freedom Fighting does not hurt Iraqis; it should only be against occupying forces. This has almost stopped now. Most if not all the recent attacks I see or hear about are always killing a lot more Iraqis than Americans. Although at this point, I do not see how any can benefit Iraq. I know I am not the only one who thinks this, but violence whatsoever in Iraq is not useful. Whether it is freedom fighting, or terror attacks they are always a step backward. I know that many Iraqis favor freedom fighters and call them heroes and all, but this really is not the time for this. There is a faster and easier way to get the Americans out of Iraq, which I guess is what we all want. The next elections are not far from now, although I do not know how long it will take after that. Surely, it is faster than the hard way.

     After the war, all if not most of the violence in Iraq was happening between Al-Mujahedeen and the American forces. Now we rarely hear about those. Looks like the same people are now picking on more soft targets, with a goal to kill as many as possible. Take the recent attacks on the Iraqi restaurant. Or even the attacks in Jordan. They are both claimed to be freedom-fighting attacks. Both were done against places that supposedly serve or house Iraqi Soldiers or Americans. However, what is the outcome. They both killed and injured a lot more civilians than Soldiers or "Infidels", none were killed in the case of the Jordanian attacks.

     It is time I gave up my opinion. I put a question mark on Freedom Attacks, discussion-able, is it really doing what it should, or is making things worse. I put a bold NO for terror attacks of any kind.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers. I would have written a longer post, but I am getting too busy these days with studying and all. Gotta go, I have a report to make.

Where are you M??


     Ok, I have finally figured out why I couldn't post. It seems that there are some incompatibility with Opera. Which I use as a browser. I guess I am going to be forced back to Internet Explorer. Oh well.

     It was 12:10 Am when the cell rang. I had just prayed the dinner prayer and was going to sleep. I was surprised when it rang. This is not a usual time for it to ring. I ran to it, and looked at the name calling. It was a friend of mine named S*****. (I'll just call him S.). Who doesn't call me much. So I was surprised that he was calling at this hour. I answered the call.

Hassan:"Hello S."
S:"Hello Hassan, hey tell me do you have M's cell number"
Hassan:"M??? Uhh no, but I thought you had it?"
S:"I do. But I can't call him. He went out this morning and went to Al-Mansour. He hadn't returned yet.."
Hassan:"WHAT??. But it is past midnight. If he hadn't returned then something bad must have happened to him"
S:"Look, you are closer to his region than I am. I will give you his cell number try dialing. Maybe you can reach him. I haven't been able to reach him. His parents has gone crazy."
Hassan:"Okay okay. Give it to me, let me see what I can do."

     I hung up. Thinking of the worst. I began dialing M's number. This was weird this was a guy that I have never called before. I wouldn't even know if it was him or not anyway. His phone was being reported shut down. This sometimes happened if the cell coverage is poor. But after the 15th try, I gave up trying. Feeling helpless, I retailed S.

S:"Hey Hassan, did you get to him???"
Hassan:"No... I can't reach him. Seems like his phone is off."
S:"Damn. Where the hell is he??"
Hassan:"I feel sorry for his family. Thy will have to wait till the morning in order to do something."
S:"His father is in Emirates. But he is going to come to Iraq tomorrow to help search for him."
Hassan:"Poor guy. He probably is leaving all his work undone. I hope he is well."

     I hung up again. Feeling helpless again. I had to go to sleep since I was going to wake up early the next day. When I went to college this morning. M didn't show up. S was a mess. I don't know how he could show up at all. Right now. It is 9:00 Pm. More than 24 hours since he went missing. I called S a few minutes. He told me that strangers has called his uncle's house, and told them that they have kidnapped M. But they didn't tell a ransom. It is their way to make the parents wait in agony until they make one. Those people don't treat the Iraqis they kidnap well, they might treat a foreigner good, but never an Iraqi. They might not even bother to give him more than one meal a day. I pray for his safety.

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Eid Ends Peacefully.....Somehow


I'm making this post through Email Posting. I can't post by the regular way. Each time I press the publish button the post disappears. Am I alone??I don't know if it was me not following the news, or the Eid actually went almost peacefully. Of course there was a car bomb at the Iraqi Police, but I think that was it for Eid. All that happened. So I can safely say that Eid passed peacefully. We had so much fun in it. We had The Mosul Family as our guests during that. Of course I had already put our two computers on a network and proxied them so there is internet in both of them. Me and Najma won't be at each other's throat for it.On the morning of the first day, we stayed home. Receiving visitors from all over Baghdad, lots of relatives kept coming during all three days. In the afternoon me, my brother, three of our cousins and three of our friends went out, simply hanging out and spending some of our money. :) . During the second day we simply stayed home. Third day I went to a party that was being thrown for the kids. Saw Treasure of Baghdad and 24 Steps to Liberty there too. We had so much pleasant time there, the most of it was watching the kids play around, running everywhere and then at the end of the party we gave each of them a gift to take home (I might post pictures later if I got some). J.S. was the most person addicted to the kids in there, I think a lot of the kids will remember her when they go home. From the second I arrived to the second I left, she was simply playing with them. Made me think, why isn't there an Iraqi that is so occupied with kids and have such heart for them. I play with my little sister sometimes, and I like her very much. But I don't think I can play with kids for a continuous 3 or 4 hours like she did.You know I consider it the specialty of Iraqis to be able to have fun in the worst circumstances. I saw a lot of weddings on Saturday, although we usually marry on Thursdays, but what better time to marry than in the middle of Eid. I'm guessing most of you don't know how an Average Iraqi weds, prepare (or celebrates the wedding more precisely.Of course the first thing they would think about it is usually the place where the main party is going to be held at. It has to be a big hall or an open space with so many seats and space enough for a really large number of people, as usually even the very distant cousins and relatives that you might have seen once or twice in your life, are invited. Neighbors and friends are invited too. Guess you make sure that everyone knows you are marrying. :). The traditional sign of happiness among the Iraqis is used too. Which is of course shooting live bullets in the air, surprised?? Don't be, this is the official sign of happiness for the Average Iraqi. Whether it is his friend's wedding, a win of the Iraqi football team or simply a happy event in his life, he shoots in the air. Whether it is just a pistol, or a classic AK-47 (Klashinkov), or even an extra-noisy rifle. Or in one case I have heard of, an RPG-7 shot at an empty plot. Don't worry no one got hurt, thankfuly.Back to the wedding, sometimes the hall or the big space is above the financial abilities of a simple Average Iraqi. So a small party held at home would be enough. But a-must-happen is the ride the man and his wife make in a car. This is an Iraqi tradition, that the man and his wife ride in the most expensive car in the party, usually a Mercedes or a BMW, which is always cleaned to the bone, and makiaged in ribbons. That car will lead the convoy of happy cars. All of these cars will be sounding their horns du[...]

Iraqi Bloggers: From Pax to Sanyora


     This post was last updated on November 11 2005. The writing in red are what I have just added.     It took me some time to put this up. This is the journey the Iraqi bloggers made ever since Salam Pax first signed in blogger on June 2002 until the day I write this post.History     The first blog started on June 2002 was Where is Raed. Salam says that he had to delete that blog after a Reuters Technology report about blogs mentioned it and linked to it. He says that he was too afraid at the time so he had to suddenly delete everything on that blog without backing it up. Now the only thing on that blog is the word "Sorry". Pax said that he didn't back up any of his posts, but a commenter has provided a link to some archives which he claims to be Pax's. Scroll down to the comments section to see them, I can't really say if they are genuine or not, but thanks to CharlesWT for them. It seems that Raed Jarrar is an old timer too. Joined blogger on December 2002, he and Salam were friends at that time. It seems that the second blog started by Salam, was like the first, dedicated to communication with Raed Dear Raed . Year 2002 ended with only two Iraqi bloggers in the Sphere.     One year after Pax entered the Sphere G joins it. But stops blogging mysteriously on September the same year. Whose name turned out to be Gaith Abdul Ahad, and became a journalist also. May 2003, a blogger named Jalloul creates a series of blogs in English, Arabic, French and Swedish .On July 2003 Nawar starts blogging, he too stopped mysteriously after one month of blogging. The Sphere gets a lot more interesting when on August 2003 the famous Riverbend joins the journey. She still blogs to this day. Ironic thing is that on her first post she says :"So this is the beginning for me, I guess. I never thought I'd start my own weblog... All I could think, every time I wanted to start one was "but who will read it?" I guess I've got nothing to lose". If only she knew how famous she was going to turn out to be.On October that same year Zeyad starts blogging. He blogs to this day, barley. He too on his first post didn't expect what this was going to turn out to be. He said "Unfortunately, there haven't been enough Iraqis running weblogs lately. There are only five of them as far as I know. I took it upon myself to start a weblog and introduce other Iraqis to this new (to us at least) and exciting world". There are 170 Iraqi blogs now according the Blog Count. Guess your mission has been accomplished Zeyad.Fayrouz and Ihath join on October too, Fayrouz creates another blog called Fay's Catholic Thoughts on August 2004, which she still blogs on, a third blog she created is called Fayrouz Break Room which was started one month before the previous one, on July 2004, and she is still blogging on it. Then Ihath creates another blog, of which she blogs on it in Arabic. Another Iraqi blogger joins on October, Fadhil is the first Iraqi blogger to start blogging all time in Arabic. A few weeks later, he creates another blog, but he hasn't posted on it since May 2004. Still blogs to this moment on his original blog. Then he creates another blog on July 2005, makes his last post on it on September 2005. Then the first Iraqi Kurdish blogger Kurdo starts blogging on October too, marking the entrance of Kurdish bloggers to the sphere.Alaa, Ays, Hammorabi and Nabil all start blogging on November 2003. Still posting to this day. Andy and Firas both start on Nov[...]

Ramadan About to End, Eid About to Begin


     When the fasting month, Ramadan, ends. Eid is to follow. Eid is a Muslim festival. It lasts for a few days. There are two Eids in the Hegri calendar. One is the incoming one, after Ramadhan, which lasts for three days. The other is after the pilgrimage to Mecca the holy city. Lasts for four days. First one is known as "Eid Al-Fetr", second one is known as "Eid Al-Adha". But we rarely call them those, better known as "The small Eid" and "The big Eid". Easier huh??

     Eid is an Arabic word that means festival. And it is a festival by all means. Just today I went to Al-Mansour neighborhood. This is a place were you can buy clothes, all kind of clothes, it probably has about five hundred clothing stores there. It so crowded you would have to stand right in front of the stores window if you wanted to look inside. Everybody is buying new clothes for Eid. Parents buying gifts for their children. Eid always brings me the nicest of memories. When I was a child my parents would always put gifts and new clothes for me and my brother in our room during the nigh, so when we wake up they are just there, out of nowhere. I knew it was them. I tried so often to stay awake as much as possible to see when they put them, I would start reading stories in the night to stay awake, then I would go to the bathroom every now and then to wash my face so I can stay awake, but I never succeeded. I would always fall asleep before they come. I don't know if they did it during the night, or early in the morning.

     Eid really begins when on the first day, people would gather in the mosque, very early in the morning. About sunrise. They would gather there, and would say the "Takberat Al-Eid". It's not a song, but it does have this rhythm. I guess the huge number of people saying it gives it this rhythm. It is always a pleasant thing to listen to, and begin Eid with.

     The thing that makes Eid so special, is the gatherings. People would start going to their relatives and neighbors to congratulate them. Usually the Mosul Family would come too. Despite the long and hard road, they come. Because there is nothing more fun than the whole family in a single room. We are talking about 30 peoples here. All in a single house. We used to go out at night to have a dinner in a restaurant or something. One time, I don't think the Mosul family was there in it, my memory is vivid, but I don't remember them in it. However, we all went to a restaurant at 14 St. Ramadan to eat. We split into too tables, adults and non-adults. I was a non-adult then, but I was the eldest, it feels good to be a leader even for a bunch of kids. On that day I wanted to try something new, so I ordered something called "Tornado" which I hadn't heard of before or tasted. I wanted to try something new. I remember it tasted good, but smelled horrible.

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Constitution Accepted....But


     The results are finally up. You probably read it in the last Post which my friend Mad Canuck generously published. I voted for the constitution at the first place, and I won't hide the fact that I'm happy with this. Although questions of the Nineveh results validity are still unanswered. Though the UN supervised this event we can't be sure what has been happening behind closed doors. A fact is that there is fraud in every voting, but the big question whether these are enough to change the results or not. Whether it is simply the clerks acting up on their own to raise their favored side, which shouldn't be enough to change anything and will happen during the voting process in my opinion. Or if it is government controlled which can dramatically change the result of a certain Provence and in my opinion, will happen during the results counting process.

     As I thought would happen, things escalated a bit after the result was announced. But I thought it was going to last a little more, Baghdad is quiet these days. Not much fights and explosions. Now when I say "QUIET" I don't mean that it is calm and peaceful, there no such thing in Iraq nowadays. But it merely means no big events, fights or explosions. Just the usual, shooting here and there, one or two minor booms and Americans or National Guards are becoming something you don't stare at. But you can't help but curse them whenever you see any of them. I don't know why the always insist on coming from the wrong side, or start shooting at the tiniest of reasons.

     It seems I am not a full time blogger anymore. College is really heating up, and I am not ready to be left behind. This is something that takes at least 8 hours of my time each day. So I can't check all the links of sidebar daily as I used to. I'll probably start missing posts. But at least I know that the time will be well spent.

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Referendum Results are In


Note: This post was written by Mad Canuck

Well, the results are in: the constitution passed the referendum in Iraq by a comfortable margin. Nineveh did vote "no", but only with a 55% majority, a full 12 percentage points short of the 67% required to veto the constitution.

Of course, the results were announced late in Baghdad, and the Average Iraqi isn't online right now to write this blog post, so I hope all of you don't mind the Average Canadian filling in for him... :)

As for the rest of Iraq, the referendum had a 63% turnout, and the constitution passed by a wide margin, with over 78% of voters casting a "yes" ballot, and in 11 out of Iraq's 18 provinces (all Kurdish and Shia dominated areas), the votes was over 95% "yes".

While there will undoubtedly be allegations of fraud, the voting and the subsequent counting process was monitored by United Nations observers. Carina Perelli, the chief of the UN Electoral Assistance division said the referendum "has been audited, controlled - it has been done really in a very professional way." UN observers are important in a referendum like this, since they are impartial, and do not have a hidden agenda. The Americans have an agenda - they would prefer to see the constitution pass, since they think this will allow them to bring their troops home sooner, but the UN is the world body that refused to sanction the war in Iraq, and where most member-countries oppose the US presence in Iraq. The UN has nothing to gain either way the referendum result falls, so having them observe the referendum can help guarantee fairness.

Full results by province can be found here.

Hassan is probably having an interesting night. A news reporter contacted him a few days ago and promised to call him after the results were announced to get his opinion on it. So, don't be surprised to hear Hassan's voice coming from your TV set or radio in the next day or two.

Of course, this blog is about the Average Iraqi, and not the Average Canadian, so I'll shut up now and let Hassan fill in the rest of the details and give his opinion on all this tomorrow.

Mad Canuck.

Voting Results Should be Tomorrow


     It's Sunday. Supposedly on Monday the voting results will be announced. Until now partial result of some provinces has been announced, but nothing official. I guess we are all waiting for what the Nineveh province will say. There are 18 provinces in Iraq. If the results in any three of them was more than 66% against the constitution, the constitution will be rejected. Then the whole process will be repeated, and it will be 6 months before another constitution will be presented, which I don't think will be much different from this one. Already two provinces, which are Salah Al-Deen and Al-Anbar has voted against the constitution. Now Nineveh is the only province that could vote either for or against the constitution. The only sure thing is that it will be a close call. No official result has been announced yet, so we still wait.

     Rumors on the Iraqi street say that the constitution will surely pass, and that the government will make sure that happens. No hard evidence whatsoever has been presented yet. But that doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter whether it happened or not, what matters is whether the Iraqi people believe it or not. The Average Iraqi will not go after hard evidence, he will more likely follow the strongest rumor, or his own heart. Which can give the worst results, when people do this and that just because they simply like it, or not. If the constitution passes, the whole thing could end up back firing, instead of doing the good effect I am hoping it will make, thing could really escalate when the Sunnis refuse these results for believing them to be false. My friends tell me that if anyone declares he voted for the constitution in Mosul, he could get himself killed. I haven't asked any of my relatives in Mosul about this, guess I will update this post when I ask them. Now I keep hearing how many people voted against the constitution in Mosul, and that almost no one voted for it, from my relatives. Then how is it a close call after all. If that information is true, how can we really be sure what the people voted, it will be impossible to decide what the result is expected to be, and impossible to estimate the amount of fraud in the results, and whether it is enough to change the result or not.

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     Well I have just been tagged by Najma to do some assignment. Good thing is when I do it, I get to tag other seven people to do the same. Who am I going to choose??

Seven Things I Plan to Do:

1- Graduate from civil engineering and get a Ph.D.
2- Been driving for two years, but it would be nice if I got a driver's license.
3- Go abroad, never been outside Iraq.
4- Get an Asia Cell card. (This is a mobile company that provides internet in phones. Only one in Iraq.)
5- Find a fast and cheap internet provider. (This might as well be classified as a dream)
6- Meet The Kid,Cecile and of course Mad Canuck.
7- Convince more of my friends to join the blogsphere.

Seven Things I can DO

1- When some professor gets to my nerves, I can easily skip his FINAl. Get a Zero in his exam, and proudly take the exam on the second attempt. Did it once when I was in high school.
2- Write one hell of a comment when really pissed off.
3- Spend the day without doing anything when there are a thousand thing need to be done.
4- Watch the same movie five times, and still discover events I have missed.
5- Say a thousand words in five minutes.
6- Type a 1000 word article in ten minutes.
7- Somehow managed to crash and fix every computer I have used.

Seven Things I can't Do

1- Say a single phrase that my grandfather can understand.
2- Get someone to understand what is a blog from first try.
3- Spend one day without yelling on someone.
4- Get from house to college in half an hour.
5- Pray the morning prayer (approximately 4:40 AM).
6- Stop Blogging.
7- Eat something healthy.

Seven Things I say Most Often:

1- Do you want me to run the generator. (Every time electricity goes off).
2- Do we have internet?? (Every time I come home from college).
3- AHOOOOO. (Every time I discover we don't have internet).
4- Well. (Have you noticed I start most of my phrases with that word).
5- Is today Even or Odd. (Every time I want to take the car).
6- What are we eating today.
7- You willing to go to Al-Jamia Al-Taknologia. (I say it to evey cab I stop. Only one of every ten is willing to go that far).

Seven People I Want to Pass this Tag to:

1- Cile
2- The Kid Himself
3- Olive Branch
4- Treasure of Baghdad
5- Morbid Smile
6- Chele
7- Ihath I enjoy your posts very much, how about you do one for me??.

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