Thursday, March 31, 2005

a more complete account of the assault on Basrah students

I just read what seems to be the most complete account to date of the assault on engineering students of Basrah university at can read the article by clicking here

hmmm, guess what? Whoever said these were mostly Christian students really need to recheck their facts or they know they were just bluffing, because according to the article there were between 500-750 students at the picnic...ALL Christians??? I don't think so!!!

see what I mean when I say these fundamentalists are trying to turn everything into a religious war. They are using this as their weapon to divide the true Iraqis into different factions, thus weakning us and leaving us at their mercy....But as the university students' protests that followed the attack show, they haven't been successful at that now have they?

Happy New Year!!!

The Assyrian New Year is on April 1st....just wanted to wish all Assyrians worldwide a very happy New Year!!!
We have been around for 6755 years as of April 1st, 2005, that's how old we are:))

Note: by Assyrians I am refering to all Aramaic-speaking people including those who refer to themselves as Assyrians, Chaldeans, or better yet Chaldo-Assyrians.

The Assyrian Flag
click here to go to a link that explains the meaning of the flag

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Flag Symbolism

I was in the car the other day waiting for the traffic light to change to green when I noticed the American flag in front of Kinko’s (a copy shop) flutter in the wind, and I could not help myself but start thinking about why countries have flags.
I have thought of this before, and after living in the U.S. I became sort of envious of the American people for being able to show their patriotism and love for their country through their flag. I noticed how they directly relate their respect for their flag to being patriotic and loyal to their country, and I yearned for having that same kind of feeling about the Iraqi flag.
Unfortunately, for us Iraqis, or at least in my personal opinion, we could never show our patriotism and love for Iraq through our flag. First of all, being patriotic in Iraq before the fall of Saddam would translate into one of two things: either it means we are being loyal to the government in power rather than being loyal to our country Iraq (regardless of who is in power); or for those who were truly patriotic then they would naturally be opposed to the former tyrant regime and would most likely meet their end at the hands of the Mukabarrat (Saddam’s spies). Secondly, the Iraqi flag during the era of Saddam (which is all of my lifetime of course!!!) became connected to the tyrant regime when Saddam purposely added the words “Allah Akbar” IN HIS OWN HANDWRITING to the Iraqi flag. This move by the former coward achieved two objectives:
1. The flag would always be connected to him since it was in his handwriting; thus, respecting the flag would be seen as being loyal to Saddam rather than being patriotic to Iraq.
2. The words “Allah Akbar” which in Islamic faith mean “God is great” lead to the alienation of Iraqis of other religious beliefs such as Christians, and Jews. Thus, how could I, a Christian, use the flag as a symbol of my loyalty to my country when it had specific words that were not part of my religion? And why in the world would a flag, which is supposed to be a symbol of a country, be tied down to a specific religion especially in such a diverse country like Iraq?
When Saddam’s regime fell and the talk about changing the Iraqi flag back to its original form (without Saddam’s “Allah Akbar”) was under discussion, I got excited. I thought I could finally show my love and deep patriotism to my Iraq through the flag. I would hang it at a place of honor in my house or my room and use it in other places (like my blog for example). To my disappointment though something happened to that discussion, and the flag was never changed. Instead, they only changed the “Allah Akbar” on the flag from Saddam’s handwriting to a typed font. It made me think what kind of democracy these people are trying to build when the very symbol of our country is excluding people of other religious beliefs. Don’t the minorities also have the right to show their pride and love for their country? Shouldn’t the new democratic Iraq have a flag that represents all Iraqis regardless of ethnicity, religion, or any other kind of belief? Isn’t that what democracy is about?
I really hope something would happen, and the Iraqi flag would be changed back to its original form. That way, ALL Iraqis like the rest of the world can have a flag they can respect and be proud of!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Aren't they pretty?!!!

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it...below are pictures of our Easter eggs, aren't they pretty?!!! I just love the colors

Easter Eggs

My views on the Iraq situation

below are two links of articles I wrote for my university student newspaper (The Emory Wheel)...the topics are somewhat outdated but they still give my views on the situation in Iraq

the first article is about the elections

the 2nd article is general views on the aftermath of the war

Enjoy!!! and of course I always welcome feedback:))

a student response to Basrah University students assault

below is a response of a supposedly Basrah University student to a statement made by the Democratic Chaldean Tribune condemning the violent acts against the students there....the tribune statement and the student's response (below) can be found on
I decided to post it here to know what your response is to such a statement that seems to be full of hatred and not ask me to comment on this because I am afraid I will explode from rage to what he has stated here....I would especially like to know other Muslims' opinions, because I am sure that some of you disagree with what this guy has to say here and how he so bluntly and cruelly accuses the students of being immoral and deserving what they got....I feel my blood boiling and my temperature rising so I'm going to stop talking about this now and leave you to read this and comment on it!

for those of you who don't read Arabic, I apologize but I don't have the translation.
also, because the document is in Arabic when I copied and pasted here the numbers lost their arrangment so now there are no "enters" between the different points but I'm sure you will figure it out.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الى الأخوان الكرام كوني احد الأعضاء الجدد احييكم تحيه بصريه زكيه اما بعد فأن ارى في خصوص موضوع القصاص الذي وقع على من يسمى بطلاب الجامعات فان تعليقي كألاتي(كوني احد طلبه جامعات البصره/علوم حاسبات /مرحله4 1-ليس كل الطلبه وقع عليهم القصاص ولكن الطلاب الذين كانوا غير طبييعن لسبب او اخر 2- من بين اكثر من مئه وخمسين طالب الذي تحمل لذة السياط من خمسة عشر الى عشرين طالب لماذا؟(صار ابو جويسم كدام الحبيب) 3- قبل ان تتكلموا عن الحريات كلموني عن حق المجتمع العام في الحريات اذا كان من الناسب الأحتفال في هذا الوقت وخاصه في العراق مناسب او لا وهل يحتفل من يرى اخوانه اشلاء فبعض يحترق وبعض يذبح نعم اعلم فقط مثقفي الأندلس يحتفلون بهذه الأجواء 4-الى المسلمين فقط(لاتقولوا امنا ولكن قولوا اسلمنا) لماذا لان الرسول يقول(لتأمرن بالمعروف ولتهنين عن المنكر او ليسلط عليكم شراركم ثم تدعون ولا يستجاب لكم) ولا (تنعقوا مع كل ناعق ولاتميل مع كل ريح)والله سبحانه وتعالى يقول(ظهر الفساد في البر والبحر بما كسبت ايدي الناس)واعتقد الرواكيص من مثقفي الأندلس افسدوابما فيه الكفايه ولا استطيع ان اتحمل ان يسلط علي الله سبحانه صدام ثاني(شراركم)لان مثقفي الندلس والغرب لايعجبهم الوضع اذا لم (فري)الحد الركص 5-لم ارى رسائل استنكارفي هذا الموقع للذبح والحوادث المنظمه والكارثه التي وقعت في الحله والموصل بمقدار استنكاركم لهذا الحادث الذي اراه انا نصر لله ولرسوله(يا من ينعقون عم كل ناعق) 6-لماذا لايوجد استنكار لمنع فرنسا للحريات الشخصيه اوقصد مسألة الحجاب (ان لم يكن لكم دين فكونوا احرار في دنياكم) 7-الأقليات في بلد معين يجب ان تحترم شعائرومناسك هذا البلد واعتقد انها في البصره تشعر انها محترمه من قبل المسلمين فوجب عليها المثل ثم لماذا تحبون العاجله الم يكن الأولى بدل الأتهامات للسيد مقتدى بأن تذكروا ان الشخص الوحيد في العراق الذي عرض حمايه الكنائس هو التيار الصدري ولم يعرضها لا بالداخل(حكومه)ولا بالخارج(جماعة الحريات المعلبه) اي سخص (و لاتبخسوا الناس اشيائهم) 8-الم ترى ان وقت الأفراح هذه والأبتهاجات جاءت في ايام حزن رسول الله واهل بيته وهي متزامنه مع افراح بني اميه الذين يرقصون احتفالا لمقتل مئه وخمسين عراقي فانظروا وتعقلوا ما تقولون للحسين في هذه الأيام قبل ان تكتبوا 9-انا اتفق مع مكتب السيد الشهد من حيث المبدأ في انكار المنكر وتغيره ولكن اعتقد ان ألأسلوب كان خشن بعض الشئ وان المسأله كانت في صلاة جمع البصره مؤيده ولكن الأسلوب هو المنتقد 10-الأخوان الذين يكتبون من الخارج لا تكتبوا على اساس(بغض لابيك) وانا اشهد الله لايبعد منزلي عن الأندلس اكثر من خمسة دقائق في السياره ولي علاقات واسعه مع طلاب الهندسه المحترمون والذي يغلب علي انتمائاهم الى التيار الصدري ومع ذلك لم استط التكلم في الأمر الأبعد التحقق والتقصي عن اصل القضيه وقد تبين لي بعين الجلاء ان الذي تعرض لما تعرض له هو سوء تصرف وجنون الطلبه اما النساء مما استدعى الأهالي من سكنهاالمنطقه اللجوء الى مكتب السيد الشهيد لانقاذهم من هؤلاء المتهورين الذين نغصوا على الطلبه سفرتهم والأ انا في سفرة الفصل الأول ذهبت سفره مع ابناء الكليه وكان معنا في السفره من ابناء التيار الصدري كثيرين ولم يحدث اي شيئ والحمد لله ولكن اقول (مهلا مهلا لاتطش ايها الساكن في الخارج جهلا) 11-اطلب من الأخوان المشرفين على هذا الموقع حذف عباراة السب والشتم الواضح من قبل المتحررين والمثقفين على طريقة حدائق الأندلس

Friday, March 25, 2005

My Beautiful Alkosh

some pictures of alkosh to help you visualize my last post!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Easter in Alkosh *Part II*

Finally, Easter Sunday would come, the most joyful day of the week. In the morning it was attending mass, then we could not wait to go back home to compete and see who wins in the egg breaking/knocking game. Ok, here is my explanation for the game but I do not know if I can make it clear enough in English: it is an Easter tradition to dye boiled eggs with colors (but my grandmother would dye them red using onion peels because there were no dyes available at that time in Iraq). Then on Easter day everyone in the family would choose an egg, and if you were smart you would test them before you pick your egg to see which ones are strong. The testing would be done by lightly tapping them to your teeth to see if the egg is strong. As a kid, I remember doing this just to imitate my dad and uncle but I don’t really remember knowing how that was supposed to make me see if the egg is strong; then the competition would begin where a person would knock on somebody’s egg and whoever’s egg breaks loses. Usually, the game would end when everyone’s egg broke except for the winner.
The rest of Easter day we would spend visiting relatives’ houses wishing them Happy Easter. The way it works is that we would visit people who are older than my parents, and then people who are younger than my parents/grandparents etc. are supposed to visit us first. I must admit that as kids we didn’t enjoy these home visits much, it was too formal for us kids who just wanted to play outside. What we did enjoy though was the “aidania” which I don’t know how to translate into English, but it is when my parents, uncle, and whoever else would give us money (this is also done in Christmas-instead of the gifts tradition in the U.S.). I think I enjoyed it most not because it was money, but because it made me feel how much people around me loved me and my siblings.
Sometimes the whole big family (married aunts, uncles, etc.) would decide to go on a picnic to my grandfather’s “karma” which literally means “a grapes field” I think?!!! It was basically a big green field with all kinds of wild flowers, and I remember my aunt would weave a crown for me and my sister from the red-flowers that we collected for her from the field. The women would have prepared tons of delicious food to last us the whole day. That was heaven to us city kids; we could not get enough of this freedom of playing in such a huge field without anyone worrying about us. By the time we got home in the evening, my siblings and I would be so tired that we could barely take a shower and slip into bed.
Sure it was a simple kind of life, and I admit that I am a big-city lover, but I also enjoy escaping to this kind of simple life once a year like we did back then. It was simple, but simple is also peaceful, simple means the least number of worries and simple is what kids love!!!
Honestly, I would give anything to just have a big family gathering like that in Alkosh one more time where everyone is truly happy and not occupied with a billion things in their minds. But I think I am asking too much, and as sad as it is to admit I don’t think we will ever see these kinds of days again. Things changed, places changed, and people changed. Alkosh is no longer the same old Alkosh; it got invaded by technology and modern day demands. As much as I love technology and cannot live without it, I always wished that Alkosh would remain the same as it was. Maybe it is selfish of me to think that, but I always dream of going back to visit Alkosh and I would see it the same way I remember it, even though I know deep in my heart that it is not so.

Aaahhhh what can one do….life is always changing and we have to change with it too to adapt!!!

Easter in Alkosh *Part I*

Some people might find it ironic, but since I’ve been to the U.S. the time that I miss Iraq the most is around Easter time. I mean Iraq is always a part of me, but around Easter time I feel homesick and I remember the good old days.

Every single year when we lived in Iraq, my family and I would travel to our village north of Mosul (I am a Baghdad born and bred girl but my roots are from the North- from a village called “Alkosh”) to celebrate Easter there with my grandparents (God rest their souls) and other family members (aunts and uncles). It was the trip that my siblings and I would eagerly wait for. In fact, just hearing the words “a trip to Alkosh” would throw us to our feet jumping up-and-down from happiness. To us Alkosh represented the escape from the big city and the complications that all big cities have to the beautiful village with its friendly people where everyone knew everyone.

Also, Easter is usually during spring time or the beginning of spring, and that is when the Northern Iraq is the most beautiful. The grass grows green and gets filled with yellow, red, and white wild flowers. For my family, it did not feel like Easter if we were not in Alkosh! Of course, we were privileged to be attending schools where Christian students were the majority, because that would mean we could leave on Wednesday since most Christian students wouldn’t go to school anyways on Holy Thursday. My mom would have all our bags packed before school was out on Wednesday, they would pick us up from school and we would directly make our way to Alkosh so that we can have as much time there as possible. The 5 hour trip there would go by so fast because of our excitement and enthusiasm. However, the same 5 hour trip back to Baghdad would seem to take forever, with us grumpy kids in the car. Going back to Baghdad meant the end of all the fun and back to school, yuck!!!

Easter celebration in Alkosh was very special. We could never make it to Palm Sunday there because of school, but I’ve heard from my dad and aunts that the whole village participates, and they walk around the entire village in a long line saying hymns starting with priests and deacons, followed by schools kids, and ending with the rest of the village men and women. Then there was Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday when my dad would either put a tape or himself sing melancholic hymns making us all feel the passion of our Lord, and then at night we would make a trip to the church.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

an idea waiting for implementation

I have an awesome idea that I am planning to work on starting fall semester (August-Dec.) was suggested by my dad after he heard how empty the libraries in Iraq are, especially university libraries.
I am planning on holding a big campaign at my university (Emory University) asking people (students, faculty, etc.) to donate any books they do not need...I feel like I can collect many science, computer science, and other categories of books...I know for a fact that many students have books that are old editions and cannot sell them anymore, so I am really hopeful about the amount of books that I will collect.

I had done a similar project when I was at a different college. despite that it was a small community college, I collected 100 books and shipped them to some people in Jordan who were supposedly delivering them to Iraq (that was before the war and I really do not know if they ever got to Iraq). however, the situation this time will be different because my dad knows some people in Iraq who will make sure the books get to the university libraries in Mosul, and one man even said that they would handle shipping expenses since I imagine they will be a lot since my university has 11,000 students (excluding faculty).

at the moment, I am only at the planning stage of this project...then, I have to talk to people at my university about strategic things....I am hoping to launch the campaign sometime in Sept. or early Oct. the latest.

also, at the moment I know the books will only be delivered to Mosul University because I do not know any trustworthy contacts who can handle such a big task in Baghdad, Basra, or other cities. I wish I could fill all of Iraq's libraries with recent books in all fields, because I know we have some big brains in Iraq who can make use of them. unfortunately, it is a task bigger than me!!!