Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Proposal for an International Iraqi Youth Network

This is an idea that has been floating around in my head for some time and has been scribbled on random bits of paper here and there. This idea has been discussed on twitter with some of my fellow Iraqi Tweeps - you know who you are J Here is the promised post and beginning of what we have been talking/tweeting about..

I want to form, or begin talks about forming, an International Iraqi Youth committee for pragmatic change and forward thinking. We as Iraqi’s need to focus on the issues facing Iraq currently and Iraqi’s collectively – they are countless. I believe we are the vehicle for change and we must get together and start talking. Many of us have had conversations of these sorts on twitter and I think it’s time we take this beyond twitter and get something going. Something tangible.

I want to pull together like minded Iraqi’s to work together for a better Iraq, a unified Iraq, an Iraq we can be proud of after only crying over for years. I propose some sort of organisation, forum, or platform for discussion that we can use to network and link Iraqi’s outside of Iraq in the Diaspora to those inside Iraq to work together and get talking. Things we need to tackle and address include but are not limited to economic, political, social, environmental and sustainability issues.

What influenced me to put these ideas to paper was current talk of what we can do for Iraq and how we can change things – how our skills can be of use to a new Iraq. I want Iraqi’s on the outside to be linked with Iraqi’s on the ground and for us to cooperate, to talk, to brainstorm pragmatic ideas for change and implementation of these. I want to find politically conscious and aware Iraqi’s that are passionate about the future of Iraq so that we can create links and start dialogue.

Many of us initially thought that TEDxBaghdad was great until we realised how status quo it was and how it realistically only perpetuated the status quo. Let us do something similar to TedxBaghdad but something that has real outcomes. Let us talk about about how we can do this and why we should do this. Let us discuss how we can sustain an international solidarity network of Iraqi’s.

I think we all have skills we can add to such an initiative and we are all, I hope, thinking about how we can better equip ourselves to better equip Iraq. We already have great initiatives taking place such as projects to restore Iraq’s marshland areas and countless other projects. I suppose one task we could take on is to map out all current initiatives inside and outside Iraq of this sort and see where the gaps are and talk about where our individual interests lie and what a network such as this could add to already existing structures.

I believe in grassroots actions and I do not believe a group or an initiative such as this needs to be branded by formal organizations or institutions to exist. We are; therefore we exist. I believe it is best to start at a grassroots level and work up from that. I want to talk to real life Iraqi’s in and out of Iraq who do not have allegiances to other organizations and groups, whatever they may be, before their commitment to Iraq. This is the underlying theme of my proposal; Iraq first, everything else later. We are all free to be committed to whatever we wish but for this project Iraq comes first. 

I think we need to address the realities on the ground and so we cannot claim to be ‘apolitical’; if you know Iraq then you know the realities on the ground are anything but secular and non-political. We may not agree, but we must address this issue and so that is why I don’t think topics of politics should be off the table - having said that, all views and beliefs are welcome and to be respected and listened to equally. Inherently we are all attached to different beliefs and come from different backgrounds and these shape our views, value-judgements perceptions of life - to say otherwise is to kid yourself.  So rather than beating around the bush and repressing these crucial issues; let us embrace and discuss. We can for instance critique the Shia-led government for policies or actions they are taking from a humanitarian point of view – this should not be read as a sectarian attack; just like we can critique a Sunni majority organization that takes a view that restricts other forms of expression. We can critique groups trying to break Iraq apart or groups wanting to avenge the past – you cannot remedy a wrong with another wrong. I think for instance we could all agree that smashing teenagers heads in with concrete blocks because they look like ‘emo’s’ is wrong regardless of our sect, ethnic or religious background and that these issues should not be suppressed in order to adhere to taking a secular or non-political approach to such an initiative.

There is no place for sectarianism or backward thinking in a new Iraq. We need to move beyond framing anything in that way and move beyond such rubbish. A culture of tolerance and acceptance was championed during our parents and grandparents time, let us reignite this. We all come from many different backgrounds, may it be sect, religion or ethnicity but we are all Iraqi at the end of the day. We are all diverse and this plurality is what makes Iraq what it is - tolerance is key.

Yesterday marked the day of the fall of Baghdad and so I think it is significant to prompt such a project around this date. Perhaps in years to come we will not only look to this date with despair but also with hope and remembrance of a project that was initiated around the same time; one for the future of Iraq.

For as long as I can remember and in all my time abroad all I have seen or heard is the mere destruction, disbanding and dissolution of my home country. I carry Iraq in my heart and it is dear to me no matter where I am in the world. But I am constantly reminded by Iraqi youth around me that they couldn’t care less about Iraq. I am infuriated on a daily basis by what I see around me. I am sick of Iraqi’s accepting the status quo and I am sick of the de-politicisation that exists within the Iraqi community abroad and at home. This is my plea for salvation from the international community – I know like minded Iraqi’s exist it’s just a matter of finding each other and connecting.

Our homeland has been destroyed and every aspect of civil society has virtually been wiped out. We need to come together to discuss, share ideas and more simply to connect. I am sure each of us has rich body of knowledge and experience we can all bring to the table. I am sure many of us plan to go back to Iraq one day and take on a project for change and so I hope such a network can foster the sort of environment and encouragement for Iraqi’s to gain skills and equip themselves to take them back to Iraq. We all have dreams and desires so let us discuss these.

I believe this is our duty and responsibility, especially for those of us raised abroad. We were privileged to live a comfortable life outside of Iraq while our Iraqi brothers and sisters suffered immensely and so I believe with our privilege comes a responsibility to Iraq. A responsibility to commit to the future of Iraq by any way that one has the capacity to do so. Iraq should be at the very center of each of our hearts. Perhaps there is a void in your heart - one that longs for a prosperous Iraq. We must work towards filling this void. 

I call on activists, journalists, students of all disciplines, doctors, academics, engineers, writers, poets, rappers, media savvy people, IT specialists, scientists etc etc and anyone with a conscious to come together to create a platform for change and to connect. To discuss. To begin something.

This is only an idea at the moment so feel free to disagree, tear apart, add to it, whatever you wish. But if you agree that there is a need for connection and you have a similar feeling of wanting to do something then let’s get discussing about what we can do and how we can go about implementing these ideas. I am not here to impose my ideas but want to link up and recognise an importance for such a network. Perhaps it sounds all a bit airy-fairy at the moment but I hope we can take it beyond this.

Perhaps we can begin discussing here how we can start such a forum/network and see where we can take it. @mustafabasree suggested this platform and @Naranjnineveh suggested we use google documents that we can all edit and have access to. Before we dive head first into this project we would need to get together and discuss objectives and goals for the first couple of months and then long term goals and projections into the future and an overall vision for the project. I was perhaps thinking we could form an email loop for discussion for starters and maybe have skype group discussions once every two weeks or we could set up a portal to discuss ideas online – i’m just not very tech savvy and don’t know what would be good to use. @Iraqi_Daisy90 has also begun brainstorming of the sorts of things that we could begin talking about and both her documents are brilliant examples of what could come out of such a network which can be viewed here and here.

We can discuss in both Arabic and English, whatever works for everyone, I understand it may be easier for some inside of Iraq to do so but just so as long everyone understands and is on the same page. I welcome all suggestions and additions to my ideas and hope we can work on this. I also ask that anyone who reads this and is interested to please get in touch with me via twitter @asraranwar or via comment on this post.

If nothing comes out of this then I will be happy that we atleast tried and be happy that I was able to connect with such great Iraqi’s on a global scale. But who knows; this could the beginning of something beautiful and in the very least, I hope, the beginning of a lifelong commitment to my biggest love; Iraq. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Who Am I?

I am the Iraqi child of Fallujah you exposed to cancer with your depleted uranium.

I am the Palestinian women whose olive tree you uprooted and kids you left starving.

I am the Afghan man who has only seen years of brutal Soviet war and now US occupation.

I am the Iraqi man you shot dead at a checkpoint because you felt like it.

I am the Palestinian family you forcibly removed from their home.

I am the widowed Afghan whose land you continue to occupy and children you continue kill.

I am the Iraqi women you raped in the name of liberation.

I am the prisoner you tortured at Abu Ghraib and Bagram in the name of democracy.

I am the civilian in Iraq you named ‘collateral damage’ and left to rot.

I am the Palestinian school child you prevented from getting to school with your apartheid roads forcing me to wait hours at a checkpoint and miss class.

I am the Afghan woman you so wish to liberate, except you can leave your liberation in the trash can where it belongs.

I am the Muslim man you accused of being a terrorist, water-boarded and locked up in Guantanamo without parole.

I am the victim of your so called war on terror.

I am the shadow that walks alone.

I am the one that haunts your dreams.

How can you go to sleep with the bloody image of me in the back of your mind?

I am Palestine. I am Iraq. I am Afghanistan.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The wonders of Language

Language is beautiful. Language binds communities together and gives people a shared identity. Language connects you to the world; the more languages you can speak the more people you are able to communicate with.

Colonisation on the other hand is disgusting. It is a violent dehumanising process. Colonisation breaks down societies and tears them apart from within. Colonisation brings with it many things, one of which being language. Colonisation spreads language through force and that is why we see, for instance, much of North Africa speaking French or perhaps most of South America speaking Spanish.

For Iraq, I was aware that many of our words were Turkish and originated from the Ottoman Empire, like ‘parda’ for instance (translating to curtain). But I had no idea that some of our words actually came directly out of British colonisation. This all stemmed from a conversation I was having with my dad and his friend at an Arab gathering - naturally I tend to find much more interest in the mens conversations about politics as opposed to the womens conversations about hair and makeup! It is somewhat unacceptable to participate in these sorts of conversations for a ‘young woman’ but I mean come on... there is only so much you can say about fashion in one night!

So apparently many words are formed from combining other words such as coffee + tea + area = cafeteria but what struck me the most is how Iraqi’s used English words and combined them with a bit of an Iraqi accent to make Iraqi/Arabic words. How bizarre right? Why would you want to take the words of the coloniser in any way? I suppose this is a subconscious process and it is how many words have come about such as ‘Kleenax’ – this comes from the tissue brand Kleenex and with a bit of Iraqi accent it turns into Kleenax and is literally the term used for tissues in Iraqi.

A traditional Arabic Istikaan.
Arabs all over the world love tea and drink tea in a little glass/cup thing called an ‘istikaan’ which we all would think is an Arabic word... But think again! It comes from Imperialism, from Colonisation, from Orientalism and from mystifying the orient of the East! Apparently this term comes directly from the British themselves after they took Iraq from the Ottoman Empire. When the Brits were around they would see all the Iraqi’s drink tea and they would refer to this Arabic cup as an ‘East tea can’ and so... East + tea  + can = became Istikaan. It is really amazing how colonisation can not only affect the language you speak, in terms of introducing English, French, Spanish etc into a country but how it can also make its way into and change the country’s native language, in this case, the Arabic language! I am not sure as to when the creation of this word came about or if it even originated in Iraq only, perhaps it came about earlier and from other Arabic speaking countries that have been colonised but my father said it was certainly of Iraqi origin, the heart of the Arabic world at that time.

Another interesting word that came out of British colonisation in Iraq is place naming. There is a place in southern Iraq called Tuwareej (between Najaf and Karbala I believe) and this area had two different ways to enter either through Najaf and Karbala and so for short the British called this place ‘two way reach’ and over time the Iraqi’s incorporated this into their own language after seeing the British use it and two way reach = became Tuwareej – It’s the official name of the area now and is marked on the map! What I find amazing is this notion of self colonisation or imposing colonisation on the oppressed. Why must Iraqi’s use the same name for places as British colonisers? I suspect many Iraqi’s looked up to them (barf) as a superior power and in turn privelleged their language and saw those who spoke English as somewhat above regular folk men. To me, this is a disgusting thought process and it calls for a decolonisation of the mind. The coloniser is not superior and the oppressed are not inferior because they have been colonised! While this may be a simple point, it is evident that most people do not see things this way.

There were other interesting examples that I talked through with my father who is always full of interesting and fun facts. ‘Schtiger’ is the common word used for roof tiles in Iraq because at the time of the first World War there was a British man whose last name was Stiger who used to make the best roof tiles. When people would ask what kind of roof tiles you had or where you got them from the answer would be Stiger but Iraqi-fied to become ‘Schtiger’. This over time developed into a regular term part of the Iraqi dialect. One other example that I cannot really make sense of is ‘darnafees’, this translates to screwdriver. Apparently it comes from the French who used to call the screwdriver ‘turn face’ and so turn face = became darnafees. I don’t really know exactly how this could have been from French in Iraq? Perhaps there were some Frenchmen living in Iraq or perhaps this comes from a North African region and has been adopted that way.

I am sure there are many many more interesting examples like this and not just for Iraqi but for all other Arabic dialects. A good project to take up would be to research the connection between colonisation language and specifically the effects on a native language of a Nation that is colonised. I sincerely hope I am able to do some sort of research like this one day. Discussions such as these really make me wish that instead of wasting my time studying Law and Politics I studied Language and linguistics or something like that! Ah the possibilities... 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorry but I do not speak sectarian.

'No to sectarianism'

It is exams. I am tired. I am stressed. It is almost 5am. I have not slept. A thousand things are running through my mind but the one thing that is keeping me up tonight is my encounter two days ago with an Iraqi acquaintance now foe. It is something I will not forget for a very long time. It has put everything into perspective for me

I was minding my own business in the library and an Iraqi girl I have only met once stopped me for a chat. You know, the usual, asking about exams and what not, making chit chat to pass by study time. But then the usual turned into the not so usual and then into quite a serious conversation when she asked me straight up whether I was a Shia or a Sunni Iraqi. When somebody asks you this they have sectarianism written all over them. After trying to explain to this child that I was a Muslim and do not like to differentiate as I believe in Islam (here is my idealism again!), she then proceeded to tell me that Sunnis are all misguided and they are the ‘wrong ones’ while only Shia Muslims know the truth, contradicting herself all throughout of course. She tried to back up her claims by a book she had read by some Wahhabi that converted to a Shia Muslim (yes, she is basing everything on an ex-Wahhabi!).  

What made me chuckle was when she tried to convince me that under Saddam Hussein children were brainwashed by him, speaking as if she herself is not brainwashed and is nothing but an impartial observer. Furthermore all this girl could tell me was that she hated Saddam and that Iraq needs to look to Iran as an exemplar, but she didn't really know whyI was quite obviously outraged by this point. It all continued for quite some time but I am not going to repeat it here because to be honest the vile she spewed up ever so confidently is irrelevant. But the meaning behind this is everything. It is very telling of tragedy. To me she signifies everything that is wrong with Iraq and to me people like her are the very reason that Iraq will never be the same.

It is disgusting to think that I, as an Iraqi Muslim, am more exposed to sectarianism here in the West in the 21st century than my parents ever were when they grew up in Iraq in the 20th century. It is as disgusting as it is telling. It is a reflection of what the war has created and it is a reflection of the black souls Iraqi's have developed over the years. The Americans have been so successful in creating and bringing out the sectarianism in Iraqis that when they begin to pull out at the end of this year (if they do!) they will not need to engage in any more direct work to destroy us; they need only to sit back and watch Iraqi’s destroy each other and themselves.

I wish at the time I could have said something to this girl, but, I really did not want to make her cry. I am not very nice when it comes to these things but sub7anAllah something was stopping me from wanting to punch this little girl in the face. The next time I am so directly asked what kind of Muslim I am and especially in the overbearing tone aforementioned I will say something around the lines of....

Your sectarianism pollutes the air I breathe.

Your sectarianism is what bled Iraq dry and it is what continues to bleed Iraq dry day after day.

Your sectarianism is the salt that is poured onto an open wound.

Your sectarianism is the electric shock treatment in prison torture cells.

Your sectarianism is the bullet that killed the taxi driver who had the wrong ID to be driving through your streets.

Your sectarianism is the reason my cousin Omar feared for his life and fled Iraq.

Your sectarianism breads a new generation of Iraqi’s that I am unable to identify- A new breed of Iraqi’s that will destroy Iraq all over again with their own hands.

Your sectarianism is what stopped my young cousins from going to school fearing that your shootings outside their school would continue.

Your sectarianism is what turned the Tigris red in 2006 and 2007.

Your sectarianism is what ruined Iraq and it is the reason why I will never have a place to call home.

Please take your sectarianism back to where it belongs. It does not belong here. It does not belong anywhere.

And with that I am going to end this rant. This unedited rant of mine that I am going to leave raw as it is so as to leave the real emotions intact. The last thing I will say is that after this encounter I no longer have hope. We can never move forward if our next generation is filled with such characters. I was such an idealist when it came to Iraq but now I see I was nothing but naive. A naive kid that was trying to envisage brussel sprouts as ice-cream. But brussel sprouts will never be ice-cream. The new Iraq will never be the old Iraq. Sectarianism is not religion. It only taints the religion of Islam. And it is simply disgusting. 

This is what my Iraq will look like with your Sectarianism.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Academics should be on the side of Justice.

My life for the last six weeks has been but a blur of images and words. Sometimes we just get so caught up in things that we actually forget to live; forget to take a step back and just chill out. Today for the first day I am chilling out. But before I chill out I need to have a rant about two things that really got under my skin...

So I was working on an essay for the past couple of days;  of course I had left it to the last minute and was up at early hours of the morning frantically trying to get things together, but whatever; students will never change. So I was reading a chapter of a book, it was a feeble defence of capitalism, when I get to a sentence that said this “It is reasonable to give more weight to the life of a British than an Iraqi soldier. But not to give the Iraqi no weight at all”. Of course at first this enraged me and made want to rip out the page but I thought I would leave it in so whoever was to read it after me would see how much of an idiot the author is. It is really disgusting that people still spout these horrendous arguments as if they are justified. You can never put another human life over another, no matter how imperialistic or superior you think you may be; it is unjustified. It’s just barbaric. And not only is the author placing the British over Iraqis but he had audacity to go as far as to assure us that Iraqi lives have some weighting. PA-LEASE, as if we need him to tell us that we are not worthless in order to be accepted. It’s a dirty game he is playing; the same the occupier plays on a daily basis. Sick, sick minded people.

The second ridiculous thing I read was an argument in favour of a socialist/communitarian society, but this was no ordinary socialist community, it was a community in ISRAEL! Fascist, Apartheid Israel. The Zionist was trying to claim that this community was widely admired for taking on important roles and performing functions such as reclaiming the land, aiding Jewish self-defence and ‘normalizing’ the occupational structure of the Jewish people. I seriously could not believe what I was reading; it was absolutely disgusting! This author was muddying the socialist argument by trying to look to Israel as an exemplar and along the way totally ignoring Israel’s Apartheid laws, siege of gaza and just the utter colonisation and destruction of an entire nation! How do these people go to sleep at night?!

This then made me think about academics and academia as a whole. Being the geek I am I usually hold all books in high regard; after all, the author did take his/her time out to write a couple hundred pages so they must have something worthwhile to say. Even if they are known to be on the wacky side I still think they deserve to be given a chance to be read and have their arguments criticised that way rather than being written off from the outset. (Though, I think I am guilty of writing off Ayan Hirsi Ali without reading her books... but COME ON, can anyone blame me?!?). It is a bit worrying however that a whole lot of academics are not really on the side of Justice though; they are not on the side of the people. They represent an elite, an elite that places itself above all others and assumes it has the end all be all conclusions of the world. And when you go against the grain, take Norman Finkelstein for instance, you are then isolated and stripped of your rights. Norman Finkelstein should be a role model for every academic. Academics should be on the side of justice, on the side of the people. We spend a lot of our time reading their work and they have the power to actually change the way people thing, they should use that. But instead, slowly day by day our ‘free’ education system is being eroded with censorship of what they don’t want the people to read and support of academia that furthers Imperial power and its agenda. I really do fear for what things will be like in the future; if the only academics that are able to succeed are those that fill the status quo the world will be a very, very chilling place. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reflections on #Feb25 protests in Iraq

When I heard about Feb 25th I was of course excited, being the optimist and idealist I am; crazy ideas started running through my head. However after mulling over things and remembering what the streets were really like I came to the conclusion that things would probably never change, Iraqis are too divided and our people are too tired from years of suffering. But watching yesterday’s coverage changed my mind. In fact I felt like I was even watching scenes from Egypt when Iraqis brought rubbish bags and were picking up the rubbish left around – though I wish people would do this for all other areas, not just areas of protest; I mean Iraq’s streets are covered with rubbish and the rubbish men will only take your household rubbish for cash in hand!

Some Iraqis were quite creative in these protests - shows some haven’t lost their sense of humour. Some were carrying funny placards with cartoons of Maliki. Others were carrying fanooses - a fanoos is a lantern sort of thing that Iraqi’s use when there is no electricity - I suppose they were carrying them to symbolize the lack of electricity. I also remember seeing a guy carrying around a doll holding the Iraqi flag, an empty canister of water and something else I could not make out. I interpreted this to be a symbol of the Iraqi government - that the Iraqi government is filled with puppets who are like children and unable to provide basic services. The chants varied but many were condemning corruption and demanding proper services. Some were chanting that Iraq’s oil is for the people and not for the thieves in parliament.

Ofcourse only Al-Sharqiya TV was covering these protests. Al-Iraqia on the other hand, the State sponsored TV channel, had random songs playing and what not and then random condemnations from the government or warnings of violence here and there. I’m fairly certain any violence or if any explosive cars were to be used it would have been set up by Maliki and his cronies anyway. I found it funny that the people’s right to protest was recognised by the government but then a curfew was placed in Baghdad and all the roads were blocked with concrete blocks making it almost impossible to get to places like Tahrir Square in Baghdad – yet people persevered and walked. Al Jazeera was quite quiet on the matter too. I felt like no Western media covered anything in fact.

Protestors were met with brutality as expected. Tear gas, water cannons, sound bombs and live bullets are not a surprise – they are capable of MUCH worse. Ironically some protesters were sprayed with water… why don’t the idiots preserve the water and give it to the people to drink? It’s one of the things they’re demanding! I read reports about journalists being attacked and arrested and what not. That’s no surprise at all; controversial journalists are on the Iraqi government hit-list for sure.

I spoke to family and friends who said they were just staying home for the day, fearing to leave the house. Others said they had their internet cut off. Some were quite distraught at the amount of loss of life and were extremely shaken up by what had happened. Obviously it all depends on where in Iraq you are and how involved you get.

I am however a little confused and unsure about the objectives of the protests. I have heard several different things. Some came out on TV and said they had nothing to do with politics and are demanding basic services only. Some are demanding peace, reforms, security and an end to corruption. Somewhere else I read that there were three objectives:
-Full pull out of all the American Troops and to never set foot on Iraqi Soil to give the country back its full sovereignty
-Resignation of the Whole Government including all the parties that use religion or ethnic race as a facade of purity to cover up for their corruption
-Better services (electricity, water and jobs for the Iraqi people).

I really like those three objectives however I cannot verify the credibility of the source. I think that if the youth really do start asking for a regime change and lead this then the uprising in Iraq might really go somewhere!  I think we need to deal with the root of the problem – namely the occupation and the puppets that have been installed i.e REGIME CHANGE – and not just the outcome of the problem which is things like lack of electricity, basic services and jobs i.e REFORMS. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this all turns out. I still have that little bit of hope that somehow people might stop being so divided and unite. May the youth of Iraq learn from their Egyptian brothers and sisters who were in the frontlines in asking for REGIME CHANGE. I urge all Iraqi protestors to ask for a regime change and not just simple reforms that won’t really change anything in the long run. Change does not come from the top down; it should come from the bottom up. Supposedly Saturday is a day of civil unrest in response to the clashes on Friday. We’ll just have to wait and see…

RIP to all those who lost their lives on this day in Mosul, Fallujah, Tikrit, Basra, Samarra, Kirkuk and anywhere else I have missed!


I think I am finally ready to put my fingers to the keyboard and try put some words together whilst attempting to be coherent as possible. Maybe I’ll try making sense of the world somewhere along the line. I think the Middle Eastern uprisings have taken me out of the sluggish and depressed mood I’ve been in. But what really did it was what I stayed up watching last night; the protests in Iraq.
I have just spent 7 weeks in Iraq. I had hoped to blog quite often about what I saw and what I experienced but between the lack of electricity and my grandfather getting sick – blogging took a back seat. My reflections were reduced to late nights wrapped in blankets with a torchlight in one hand and a pen in the other.
My grandfather then passed away while I was there. May his soul rest in peace.  Allah yir7ama. I am sensitive and quite emotional so it was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. Of course I can be a rock at times when it is needed, but at other times I just break down and this was one of those times. You see, I am not an Iraqi that has lived through war; I am not an Iraqi that has lived through pain and suffering in Iraq.  I lived in the West; I was safe and sound while my family slept with guns under their pillows, while they tried to get on with their daily lives to the rhythm of war drums. Such experiences make you strong. Such experiences make you ruthless. Such experiences give you a heart of steel. My nerves will never be as tough as those who have lived in Iraq their entire life. I couldn’t accept the fact that hospitals refused to take him in, it was just not right. I had so much resentment towards the failure of a system we have in Iraq and whilst I would never question the will of God I still sometimes think about what would have happened if we actually had real hospitals and doctors in Iraq.
I was so depressed when i came home (although, i consider Baghdad home – but whatever).  I felt like there was no hope. I felt like I had all the hope ripped out of me. I felt so disgusted at what i saw. I hated thinking about what Iraq has become and what the Iraqi people have become. I am an idealist; I have crazy ideas and plans and have a utopia in mind for Iraq when I think 10 years down the line. However the more I visit and stay in Iraq, the more I become a realist… or maybe even a pessimist. I came to see things for how they really were. And I assure you, it was not fun. It was eye-opening yet heart breaking more than ever. My dreams fade that little bit more every time I think about what’s really going on in Iraq.
As soon as i came back it was head first into arguments with Iraqi’s who believe that Iraq is now liberated.  These arguments make me die a little on the inside each and every time. I just can’t believe I’m still having these same conversations with people. How is it at all possible for people to have such messed up opinions? These idiots live in the West; they live comfortable lives and try to forget the reality in Iraq on a daily basis. If it was so liberated why don’t they bloody move back there!? They have no idea what really happens in Iraq. They barely know what happened in the 2003 war let alone anything before that. Please go pick up a history book you apathetic Iraqis. I don’t even know why I bother sometime.  It is just a waste of time and energy.
I have many things to share and stories to tell about the experiences I have had in Iraq. I will post what I saw and heard accordingly in following posts. But first, the Iraqi protests…