Tuesday, May 24, 2005

road-trip break

I will be going on a road trip to Arizona tomorrow, so most likely I won’t be able to blog for about ten days. I doubt that I will have internet access, but even if I do I don’t think that I will have any free time to blog.

This should be an interesting trip…I have been told that there is nothing to see in Arizona but it is still a different state to visit and there are a lot of Iraqis who live there. What is even more fascinating are the states that we will pass through in our 2-3 day trip before we reach Phoenix…among these states: Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi…no offense to people who live in these states but honestly who visits Alabama or Louisiana for fun???? Anyways, we will just be passing through these states and spending the night in some of them. We will also be going through Texas which is not too bad I guess. I heard that Dallas is a pretty nice city so I will try to tell the family if we can spend the night there.

I think it will be nice to escape the trees and forest environment of Atlanta to go into Arizona’s desert for a few days…That is probably one reason why so many Iraqis live there, because it reminds them of their homeland…although to my knowledge we do not have 5-6 feet long cactuses in Iraq :)

It has been a while since my whole family took a trip together, which is one reason why I am looking forward to go on this adventure. I will post some pictures in my blog when I come back, and I will also possibly have a story or two to tell. I am not promising any pictures of their lizards though, which from what I heard are way too long to be called lizards anyways…I freak out at the first sign of anything that crawls, flies, or is not human for that matter; Iraqi insects have given me enough fright in my childhood to last me a lifetime! Sorry to all those insect lovers who were looking forward to seeing that lizard picture, hehehe.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Seeking Democracy or just Having it?

“Seeking is more fun than having” were the words said by James Wagner president of Emory University at my sister’s college graduation a few days ago. I got into thinking about these few words and how they relate to Iraq, since everything I hear these days I try to connect to Iraq somehow.

“Seeking is more fun than having”- how true are these words…think about freedom and Democracy, isn’t seeking freedom and Democracy way more “fun” and meaningful than having nothing else in your life other than freedom and Democracy? Sure it is much harder as well, but since when are easy things fun? Most people love challenges and in seeking there is a challenge involved, whereas there is no challenge in always having what you want. In addition, I think that by seeking and then obtaining something people will value that thing more than if they had it all their lives and took it for granted.

For example, let’s be hopeful and say that the current generation of Iraqis is successful in bringing Democracy and freedom to Iraq; the next generation of Iraqis will know nothing of the Saddam era other than stories they hear and lessons they get from their history class…they would be born and raised under Democracy and freedom and will know nothing else. Who do you think will treasure that Democracy more? I really believe that this generation of Iraqis will value it more seeing as they had to seek and fight for it....they did not just HAVE this future freedom but they worked hard for it and they will be reaping what they sow (again I must say hopefully).

With that said, I think that the current generation of Iraqis has a big burden on its shoulders (that is in addition to continuing the fight for Democracy). They have the responsibility of making sure that the next generation does not forget nor devalues what the Iraqi people had to endure to get their freedom. We have to make sure that they realize that our fight for the Democracy they will be enjoying was arduous, and that many people lost their lives in order for them to be enjoying that Democracy. We cannot say we do not want to depress them with such stories and that we fought to give them better lives and keep them away from all of that. Sure that is what we want to do, but we have to make them understand that the value of their good lives did not come easy. That way history does not repeat itself as they say.

I know I am thinking way into the future by saying this, and that we have too many current problems to be talking about and solving now before we talk about the future. However, I just feel that if and when what we dream of happens…the day when Iraq becomes a Democracy and freedom is granted for all…that our children or our children’s children do not enjoy it too much that they forget about the suffering we endured to give them the freedom they will hopefully be enjoying. We WANT them to have that freedom, but we also must make them appreciate its value!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Picture of the Year!

I was watching the news this morning over breakfast and could not help but start laughing when I saw Saddam’s picture in his underwear

then I heard the babble that the media was saying about this being against the Geneva convention etc. First of all, according to what I heard, Saddam is NOT being held as a prisoner of war (POW) so the Geneva Convention does not apply to him. Also, even if it was not right to publish such a picture no matter how bad and unhuman Saddam was (after all he still has human DNA whether we like it or not), yet like Ahmad from Iraqi Expat said it still made the Iraqis’ day.

An interesting thing I noticed though was that Saddam’s mustache and hair are pitch black again…hmmm, is it part of the Geneva convention to provide hair dyes to POWs now? Why in the world would they provide him with such a luxury as a hair dye? For some reason, I have a feeling that Saddam is not being treated the way a tyrant prisoner should be treated, and by that I mean that he is being treated BETTER than he deserves…way better, and the proof is in the hair dye!!!

Anyways, at least he is washing his own clothes now...I sometimes picture a caricature of Saddam sharing a jail cell with some of his top people like Izzat Al-Douri. I wonder if he would have ordered Izzat to wash his clothes for him, hehe:D. By the way, Izzat seems to still be on the run…wonder when they will catch him.

So, as unpleasant as this picture is to look at, it still made me laugh hard, and for that reason alone I am voting it “the picture of the year”!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Good News and not-so-good News

I read an article today from a website I found called elaph.com and it stated that Saddam’s wife, Sajida Talfah, and two of Saddam’s daughters (Hala and Ragad) are planning on buying 55% of Al-Jazeera news channel’s stocks that will be introduced in the market for sale soon…why am I not surprised? It has been obvious all along that Al-Jazeera is working for Saddam’s thugs, and supporting the terrorists found worldwide specifically those in Iraq. In my opinion, the best decision was made when Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq were forced to close and their crew prohibited from working there for a period of 6 months I believe. Scums like Al-Jazeera should not be allowed to come into a country like Iraq trying to rebuild itself and stand on its feet, where all they do is hinder the democratic process with their filthy terroristic broadcasts. Anyways, what is interesting is that the stocks are estimated to value 180 million dollars! Look where Iraq’s and Iraqis’ stolen money is going? Oh how I wish someone would do something about it and retrieve the fortunes lost to the Ba’athists and other supporters of Saddam’s government…it is just not right for those criminals who have fled Iraq to be living lavish and luxurious lives with the money that is not theirs while Iraqis bleed, suffer, and struggle fighting this ghostly threat of terrorism they are facing in their daily lives.

I like to believe that justice always wins out over evil in the end; it might lose some battles to evil, but it always wins the war at the end. I don’t know if I just watch too many happy-ending movies (considering that I despise movies that don’t have happy-endings), or if this is a true conviction, but I sure hope that the story of Iraq will be a happy-ending movie and that the happy-ending will come soon.

The article also gave some promising statistics of the growing Iraqi Police Force, and since the article is in Arabic I will provide the statistics here for the non-Arabic readers:
**952 new officers graduated from Baghdad’s Police College recently, 19 of which are women who volunteered to work in the Iraqi Police Force.
**517 new officers graduated from Hilla’s Academy (sadly I don’t know Hilla’s location compared to Baghdad….can’t even tell you its direction-E, W, N, or S- so you can figure that out yourself I’m sure:))
**31,000 officers already in the Police Force just finished some fundamental training courses.

These statistics offer some hope and a proof to the fact that despite what seems to be like growing insurgency, there is also a growing Iraqi Police Force manned by loyal Iraqis who want to see Iraq like it was in the ancient days-the cradle of civilization, rather than the cot of death and wars…may God be with these true Iraqis as they step forward to restore the good old days of Iraq back to all the good Iraqi people!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's Mother's Day!!!

just wanted to wish all the mothers worldwide a very happy day...may all your days be spent in joy and peace with the people who love you the most-your families...we love you moms and please forget about houswork and other responsibilities for today and enjoy this special day-the day when the whole world celebrates YOU, the special flowers in our lives!!!


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Terrorists strike again killing Iraqi children

This is the face of what some are calling "occupation":

and the blood that stained this little kid's clothing and body was caused by what these same people are calling "resistance" and "loyalists"...

I think the picture says it all...apparently these damn terrorists are now regarding little innocent Iraqi children and Iraqi civilians as their favorite targets...what do they think they are accomplishing by this? do they think they will gain more people support this way? Frankly, I am just outraged at the moment.

Fox News reported that the terrorists decided to attack American troops in a place in Mosul where a bunch of little children where playing so inncoently and freely...they did not wait to have their supposedly American target in an isolated place or at least away from little children. The American soldier in the picture picked up the little kid hugging him/her like one of his own, and he and some other soldiers quickly transfered him/her to the nearest American hospital/base. unfortunately, the little kid did not make it and died on the way.

I heard this story ONLY on Fox News and as John Gibson from Fox's 'My Word' said: "I wonder if al-Jazeera (search) is going to run it? Wonder if the BBC is going to run it? Wonder if French TV is going to run it?"....as you might have guessed none of these channels mentioned anything about the story.

Who do you think Iraqis would support and prefer to have inside their country, the American "occupiers" who are helping their wounded and showing love and tenderness toward their children or the resistance fighters (AKA terrorists) who are killing their innocent children and family members without showing any remorse? I think the answer is pretty clear, and this child's mother would sure pick the American "occupiers" any day over the terrorists that destroyed her life and her took away her child's life (May God rest his/her soul and keep the rest of the Iraqi children and civilians away from the grip of these barbaric and heartless people).

UPDATE: 5/5/2005 @ 10:15PM

I just found a link to the blog of the journalist who took the photo through Fay's blog...click here to read the story he tells of the soldier and the attack.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Actions Speak Louder than Complains...Part I of the Women's Rights Series

The women’s rights movement has become a topic with increasing popularity in Middle Eastern countries in recent years. More and more women are speaking up and demanding equality with their male counterparts. So I wanted to right a post about women’s rights in the Middle East (ME) and the flaws that are associated with it, but my post was running really long. apparently, I have a lot to say about this topic, so I decided to turn it into a series instead with this post being the first part of it.
After seeing many ME women from family to friends to women I watch on TV, I have reached the conclusion that 50% of the blame, if not more, for the way women are treated in the ME lies on the women themselves! ME women are constantly accusing men and the male-dominated societies as being the sole reason for their oppression. These days, they go on protests when allowed, write, and try to make their voices heard in other ways. All this in an attempt to change the societies that have long been male-centered with the women treated more like property than as a human being let alone an equal. Good for them! These societies certainly need to be changed, and women definitely must become man’s equal, but these women’s rights ardent supporters as well as all ME women in general must understand that they need to cure themselves first before attempting to change society.
In my opinion, most ME women only complain and whine about the way they are treated without taking any actions. You see them complaining about the man not helping around the house or with the children, even with the fact that many women have an outside job these days just like the man. They complain about the husband being the one in control with his word being the final one around the house. The list of complains goes on and on, but what are the women doing about all this that they complain about? NOTHING!!! Complaining seems to be as far as they will go, then they relapse to their obedient good-wife/good-daughter selves that does not get them any further in their struggle.
Now, I am not saying that women should declare war against men; rather, they should find a peaceful solution to change themselves and their men through educated discussions. Usually such drastic changes in societies start with the educated class and then spread to include everyone; thus, I will be concentrating on the educated class more in my post.
First, women need to become stronger and more confident, and they must NOT fear the men in their lives whether husbands, fathers etc. Fearing the husbands and fathers has nothing to do with respecting them, so do not tell me you are doing such and such action and giving away your rights out of respect for them. You can be the most respectful wife or daughter without sacrificing your rights. Let me give you a personal example to demonstrate: my dad is one of the people that I have the utmost respect for in my life; my mom used to tell us that when dad expresses an opinion we are not to argue with him…excuse me??? That did not hold well with me or my siblings and we would tell her “mom we are just discussing stuff with dad, DISCUSSING…he is our father and we can tell him when we agree or disagree with him on certain topics”. Now, with dad being an open-minded person, and mom seeing our objections, she stopped telling us not to argue our case anymore! In addition, anyone who knows me well in person and knows my siblings recognizes how much we respect BOTH our parents. Hence, as I said, fear is not respect because a person can be respectful without being fearful.
Second, from my experience with ME families, I have seen so many mothers complain once their children grow up and start understanding the world, that they listen to their fathers more than listening to them (the mothers). That creates endless battles around the house with the mother yelling and saying that her word is also important, that she is their mother too and her word must be listened to just as much as their father etc. etc. etc. Well, excuse me all you ME mothers out there, but whose fault is this? Remember, when the kids were growing up and they would ask you for something that you do not want to make the decision about? What was your answer to them? “Go ask your father”…“we will see what your father says” etc. So, naturally these kids grow up believing that fathers have the better judgment and that they make the final decisions around the house.
You want to have your rights back? Start inside your house, and once you fix that then you can go out and demand that the government and society gives you equal rights with the man. When your kids come ask you something, do not weaken your position by telling them things like “I will ask your father first” or something to that extent. Even if you do not want to make the decision solely but want to share it with your husband, then that is OK just tell your kids “I will DISCUSS it with your father” or “I will think about it and let you know”. There are many ways that you can avoid making the decision yourself without appearing weak and dominated by your husband in front of your kids who will sadly grow up believing the same things unless you SHOW them (not just tell them) otherwise. In addition, do not just say it in front of the kids, but actually do what you say you will do. Do not just go up to your husband and ASK him if the kids can do such and such. You discuss it with him; if you both agree on one decision, then great! Problem solved easily. But if you disagree with him, then you both need to share your opinions with each other and say why you disagree until you reach a compromise rather than just going along with what he says. In fact, I believe that will help create further understanding between the two of you as husband and wife, and the husband will also see you more as an equal and partner rather than someone he can manage any way he wants to.
Episode 2 of “women’s rights” series coming soon to your nearest computer screen …