BBC World News – 2007-08-20 22:52:42
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Riverbend is one of Iraq’s best known bloggers writing in English. She is Sunni and lives in Baghdad. She explains her opposition to the wall being built around the Sunni district of Adhamiya – and her family’s decision finally to leave Iraq.
(Thursday, 26 April 2007) — The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn’t enough, apparently.
Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It’s time for America to physically divide and conquer — like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today.
US Army construction of the wall took place at night
Work on the wall was halted after a public outcry
This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of “Shia areas” and Shia out of “Sunni areas”.
I remember Baghdad before the war — one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbours were. We didn’t care. No-one asked about religion or sect. No-one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward.
Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it — depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.
Choosing to Leave
On a personal note, we’ve finally decided to leave. Since last summer, we had been discussing it more and more. It was only a matter of time before what began as a suggestion – a last case scenario — soon took on solidity and developed into a plan.
For the last couple of months, it has only been a matter of logistics. Plane or car? Jordan or Syria?
So we’ve been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare – stay and wait and try to survive.
It’s difficult to decide which is more frightening – car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.
Nabil is an Iraqi living in a Sunni area of Baghdad increasingly controlled by Sunni militia. He describes what this means in everyday life.
(Thursday, 19 April 2007) — A friend of ours came into the shop and told me to go to my house, because I was wearing shorts.
Graffiti in the Sunni Adhamiya district:
Graffiti in Adhamiya says “Down with the Rafitha”, or “Down with Shias”
We asked why? He explained that al-Qaeda is now in control of the neighbourhood.
He said a few minutes before he came to the shop, they killed a guy in front of him because he was smoking in the street, and that he heard that al-Qaeda shot the car of a bride and a groom because they were celebrating in the street and playing music.
“If they see you [wearing shorts] they will kill you,” he said.
Later I heard from my friends some ridiculous stuff about al-Qaeda controlling the vegetable markets, and that it’s prohibited to put cucumbers along with tomatoes in the same sack, because a cucumber is a male vegetable and a tomato is a female vegetable.
I choked as I laughed about that story.
Iraq the Model is written by brothers in Baghdad, who support the American military presence in Iraq. Here, they despair of the political manoeuvring by Democrats in Congress to pull the troops out.
(Friday, 27 April 2007) — I am Iraqi and to me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying.
Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say: “Well, it’s not worth it, so it’s time to leave.”
Evidently to them my life and the lives of 25 million Iraqis are not worth trying for and they shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.
For four years everybody made mistakes; the administration made mistakes and admitted them and my people and leaders made mistakes as well and we regret them.
But now we have a fresh start; a new strategy with new ideas and tactics reached after studying previous mistakes and designed to reverse the setbacks we witnessed in the course of this war.
This strategy, although its tools are not fully deployed yet, is showing promising signs of progress.
Many Iraqi bloggers have fled their country and are now writing about Iraq from abroad. 24 Steps to Liberty is written by a young Iraqi man who is studying journalism in California. Here are his thoughts on a field trip to New Orleans.
(Monday, 30 April 2007) — What shocked me the most in this trip was how the city looked like Baghdad. New Orleans looked like Baghdad after the war in 1991; I swear, I kid you not.
The devastation, the empty houses, the people returning to their life in the city, the smell of destruction (it has a distinctive smell).
In 1991, Iraq was destroyed, mainly Baghdad and other big cities like Mosul, Basra. The Americans made sure that the average Iraqis didn’t get water, electricity, or food.
Within three months after the end of the war, most of the government building and services, including potable water, sewerage system, paving bombed streets, phones and electricity [were reconnected]. That was under the rule of Saddam Hussein, whom Bush’s administration accused of depriving his people of their share of oil revenues!
What about people in New Orleans? They don’t have a dictator to rebuild their city. They have a democracy that is fighting its way to spend US $100 bn more on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who will help the people of New Orleans?
Where the Date Palms Grow is an Iraqi man in his 30s who moved to Britain in February 2007.
(Sunday, 29 April 2007) — Kent gets hit with a terrible earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, causing tremendous damage to chimneys. The city council is still assessing the damaged chimneys and roof tiles, one elderly women has been hospitalized. Citizens have been evacuated from their homes.
In other news… 59 die in Karbala, 127 are injured.
My view is that each one of the 59 human beings have families, have feelings, are flesh and bones. Had dreams.
But then who am I to judge the news channels?