Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's in Iraq...Baby Noor...Saddam's Trial

There are a lot of things I want to talk about before the year 2005 ends in less than 8 hours (at my side of the world at least). There have been many things I wanted to post about but I have just been so lazy lately and not wanting to do much except sleep and relax. But I’m finally writing something, so here it goes:

1. Saddam’s trial:
What a complete mockery of the court system! First of all, who in the world picked this judge to reside over the trial? He is the worst judge ever; during the whole part of the trial that I watched he was sitting there resting his hand over his cheek and listening to Saddam and the others talk as they pleased without telling them to shut-up even when they had clearly crossed the line. He seemed scared of them, or maybe he is just apathetic. In fact, there were times when Saddam told him and the prosecutors indirectly to shut-up by telling them not to interrupt him and let him finish, as if he was the one running the trial! By the end of the segment, my blood was boiling with rage from both watching the proceedings and listening to Saddam talk. It is like they had taken over the court and were running it their own way.
My favorite part from Saddam’s talk was when he said (roughly translated): “there is nothing closer to a person’s heart than his own sons right? By God, the feelings I had for my sons are only a drop compared to how much I care about Iraq”!!!!
at this point I told my dad I was ready to attack the TV screen and shatter it…no, it’s ok I was able to control myself and I didn’t break our TV.

This is what you get for trying Saddam and his goons in a democratic system…but, wait a second, if I am not mistaken even in the American court system the defendant does not get to speak except for the beginning when pleading guilty or not guilty (only the defense lawyer gets to talk), am I correct? And I thought Saddam was supposed to be tried according to the Iraqi justice system. I am not very familiar with that system, but I am almost certain the defendant is not allowed to talk and babble on and on about irrelevant topics to the trial, and I am damn sure the defendant would not be allowed to wave his finger in front of the judge’s face!

2. Baby Noor:
The Iraqi few months old infant dubbed “Baby Noor” is heading my way for treatment in Atlanta’s children’s hospital. I read about her story on CNN and I was very excited that she is being brought here to try to save her life. However, I was also thinking about so many other Iraqi children who are in need of urgent treatment to save their lives, and whose families may now be watching the story of baby Noor and wondering why they weren’t so lucky…why their little kid does not get a chance at survival like Noor…my heart hurts just thinking about these children and their families, and I wish there was some magical power to be able to treat all of them. May God be with all of these children and their families and give them strength, and may God bring Baby Noor safely to Atlanta to get the surgery she needs. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I will try to get in touch with the hospital to see if the family needs a translator or anything else that I can possibly help with (her father and grandmother are accompanying her).

picture of Baby Noor

3. New Year’s in Iraq:
We talked to some of my relatives in Baghdad today, and they said electricity has been so bad the past week that they have been having it for one hour or less for the whole day! I do not understand at all what they are doing over there…immediately after the war they used to have power, I think, around 6 hours daily, why is it getting worse? Why are they not making electricity and water the number one priority in their reconstruction and progress efforts? Electricity and water are clearly the number one priority to the Iraqi people, and their lives will be much better and they will be much happier if water and electricity are improved. When will that be?

I am not very happy this New Year’s Eve…I keep thinking about my relatives and other Iraqis who just welcomed the year of 2006 without power (and probably without any celebrations)…I keep hoping that maybe next year will be better for Iraq, and will bring more improvements, but did I not hope the same thing at the end of 2004? And 2003? Things seem to be getting worst not better, and I am sick of seeing the people in power not doing anything about it. When will Iraqis get a normal life like the rest of the world? It’s been 15 long years that Iraqis have been suffering from power shortages (or no power at all) and lack of proper water…when will the end to all of this come?

Despite all my pessimism, I still pray, hope, and dream that the year of 2006 will bring unseen progress to Baghdadis and all of Iraq.


Saturday, December 24, 2005


I did not want to ruin the blessedness and purity of this holiday season by discussing or writing about dirty politics…so I will leave you with this post about some interesting information I found on the web about the meanings and history of some Christmas traditions.

Note: this is how I want to decorate my house in the future for Christmas!

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the year of 2006 bring with it promises of peace, progress, and a better life to Iraq and the world over. May 2006 be a better year for all of you, and bring you opportunities that you need and deserve.

Who is Santa Claus?
The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was born in Turkey in the 4th century. He was very pious from an early age, devoting his life to Christianity. He became widely known for his generosity for the poor. But the Romans held him in contempt. He was imprisoned and tortured. But when Constantine became emperor of Rome, he allowed Nicholas to go free. Constantine became a Christian and convened the Council of Nicaea in 325. Nicholas was a delegate to the council. He is especially noted for his love of children and for his generosity. He is the patron saint of sailors, Sicily, Greece, and Russia. He is also, of course, the patron saint of children. The Dutch kept the legend of St. Nicholas alive. In 16th century Holland, Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with a treat. The Dutch spelled St. Nicholas as Sint Nikolaas, which became corrupted to Sinterklaas, and finally, in Anglican, to Santa Claus. In 1822, Clement C. Moore composed his famous poem, "A Visit from St. Nick," which was later published as "The Night Before Christmas." Moore is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly fat man in a red suit.

And more from another source:

Nicholas was a Christian leader from Myra (in modern-day Turkey) in the 4th century AD. He was very shy, and wanted to give money to poor people without them knowing about it. It is said that one day, he climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in the stocking which a girl had put to dry by the fire! This may explain the belief that Father Christmas comes down the chimney and places gifts in children's stockings.

The history of the Christmas Tree:
The Christmas Tree originated in Germany in the 16th century. It was common for the Germanic people to decorate fir trees, both inside and out, with roses, apples, and colored paper. It is believed that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to light a Christmas tree with candles. While coming home one dark winter's night near Christmas, he was struck with the beauty of the starlight shining through the branches of a small fir tree outside his home. He duplicated the starlight by using candles attached to the branches of his indoor Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was not widely used in Britain until the 19th century. It was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans in the 1820's.

One last thing…did I mention how much I love Christmas? It is my all-time favorite holiday:)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Do You Like Beer?

I thought this was very interesting and funny...apparently, beer was invented by the Sumerians/Babylonians, you know the same people who invented writing, the first wheel etc.

obviously, my dad was can trace mostly anything back to the great Mesopotamians...I personally hate beer, but now I think I might reconsider my hatred for it though, you know just as a support for my great ancestors:)

so next time you are enjoying a good time with a beer in hand, just don't forget to thank the great people of Mesopotamia for their invention...and remember, I am one of their descendants so I guess you can thank me instead!

here is the link to the story...enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

short update...

oh man, there are so many things taking place in Iraq that I want to write about...unfortunately, I have final exams starting this thur. through next wed. Dec., as you can imagine I do not have any time to write a post for my blog...I think my first post after finals will be a very long one, but I will write something as soon as I'm FREE:)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

School Supplies Drive underway

UPDATE: We decided to extend the drive until after our school holiday break to give students a longer time to get their donations in.

I have had an idea of holding some sort of drive at Emory U. this year to help Iraqi students, see this old March 22nd post...

well, now I finally did it! we are holding a school supplies drive for Iraqi elementary school children starting today thru Friday Dec. 9th...I am really excited about it and I'm hoping that people will be generous with their donations especially now that it is during the holiday season. I am working on trying to find a military base in Georgia who will ship the supplies for free since I imagine they will be shipping a lot of stuff to the troops during this time, hopefully they will.

I have contacts in northern Iraq to ship the collections to once the drive is over, and they will distribute them to elementary schools in the northern villages of Iraq.

I will keep you posted about the progress of the drive.

In the meantime, here are some great websites about the children of Iraq:

American Aid for Children of Nineveh, Iraq
Iraq Kids
Children's Voice from Iraq