Saturday, October 09, 2004

What Iraqis need to learn.

Me and my family where on our way to my parents house, to have a barbecue dinner with a friend of the family. All the way there I was watching the others and the way they act. You can say it was chaos. Everyone on the road tried to make his way before the others. I even found a car driving in an opposite direction in one of the busiest streets of Baghdad and no one spoke a word. of course it was not the first time I saw acts like this, but this time I decided to watch the others carefully. The Iraqi people are so careless about each other, maybe the circumstances we had before and now made us act this way. I discussed this issue in my parents house and they agreed with me, the streets are full of garbage because simply people don’t want to wait till the garbage car come the next morning. Near our house there is an empty piece of land and now it is full of garbage. From time to time the people beside that land bring some cleaners to clean this land. Within few months it returns to be a garbage container as soon as people discover it again. Two days ago the neighbors called the local council of our neighborhood asking them to clean that land because it became terrible after one year since last cleaning, they came and saw it but they apologized because they said it was too dirty to be cleaned and they needed several cars to pick up those garbage and they had only one! It is their job isn’t it?
I think we need to change these behaviors before we will be able to build our country. We need to become more responsible about the small things in our life so we can be more responsible in building our future. I read a comment written by a soldier in one of the Iraqis blogs comparing us with “The Simpson’s” ! . I saw the Simpson’s today on TV and I felt terrible if the others see us like that. Of course we are not all like this. Me and my family, my friends, and most of the people I know they criticize these behaviors. Most of the people who refused these acts had traveled out side Iraq or lived in some foreign countries, and also are highly educated people.
I saw many policemen driving in the wrong direction and they are, themselves, not following the rules, so how do you suppose others to follow it?
Another thing I was discussing with my family, if I saw someone suspicious where should I go and tell the authority about him. The answer was no where. Because simply you don’t trust anyone, he might be one of the fighters or the terrorist so you might be killed or hurt, you or anyone of your family. So that’s why many Iraqi people are not giving any information about anyone because simply they don’t trust anyone in their new government. Till now many people had been captured while they were working in the new government and they were loyal to fighters groups or terrorists and they were giving information to their groups.
So what shall we do to change these acts?

PS: I think with those bad circumstances, the American troops should stay in Iraq. Otherwise there will be a civil war and the terrorists could control the situation here completely. but I think the US army could have done many things to avoids these acts before, but now I think they should stay. this is my answer to some comments I had received.

PPS: Have you seen my picture in my profile! If you concentrate enough you can find me there.

55 Comments:

Blogger Kathleen A said...

We have the same problems here in America where people use abandoned property to discard their garbage and it makes the entire neighborhood look dirty and feel dirty. Some of the things people in NYC do to avoid that is pool their resources and build a city garden or play area for children so their is encouragement for people NOT to throw their garbage. Also - there is a fine (or a ticket) you must pay if you are caught throwing garbage on the ground. Eventually, people will be able to trust in their government, especially when they vote for the people themselves. The soldiers could have done the planning for the peace part better, I agree, however, they are not trained to be civil servants they are trained to crush other armies and terrorists. Hopefully together the Iraqi people and our soldiers can work to improve life there. I hope things get better for you and your family soon. Peace be upon you.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Mirco said...

YOu see what, in english, is called "The tragedy of the Common".
The Common is a communal area of the villages of old england.
As it was not of anyone, all feel they could use and exploit it as much as they are able to do.
The best way to manage this is to privatize the area and do something useful of it.
People of the neighbour could build a garden for children (as katleen proposed) or something else.

For the people that don't respect the rule;
it is not an uncommon problem (I'm italian so I know something about this).
My idea is that the best way to start something of this is starting with yourself and with the people that live near you (you know them and they know you) and with little easy things.
It is not a simple or easy process, and will never happen in a day or in an year.
But it will happen if enough people want it happen.

As people learn that they are free and responsable for their future, they will learn that good behaviour will repay them more than bad behaviour.
It is in the Game Theory.

4:02 PM  
Blogger johnny said...

Salaam Rose

Thanks for writing this account of the simple everyday problems that you notice because it makes the situation you face in Baghdad so much clearer to understand. You should have seen London after WWII - bombed out houses were kids playgrounds! I also saw that comparison to the Simpson's by that soldier in a letter to his Mother in America. What he didn't say was that law and order has partially broken down and that police have a real problem arresting law breakers because there are no Civil courts to sentence people who break the law. I just hope he reads your blog and instead of writing to his Mum, in her comfortable little suburb somewhere in America, perhaps he can bring your problems to the attention of his commanding officer who can then get over to your neighbourhood and sort the problems out. I'm sorry but it makes me mad when someone like him sees two side of the problem and only writes about one.

Rose - If a Yank drove up to your house tomorrow in his Hammer (Humvee) knocked on your door and said, "Hi Ma'am, is there anything we can do to help?" - would you feint? ;-)

Ps
I read Moqtada Sadr and his Mendi Army are giving up their weapons Monday and giving Democracy a chance. That's a first!

There's an old proverb in England for someone like him ;-

"It's better to have him INSIDE the tent pissing out - than OUTSIDE than pissing in" ;-)

Keep safe and keep that smile on your face!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mentioned ``if I saw someone suspicious where should I go and tell the authority about him''.
Perhaps the authorities should set up a website through which one can contact them; if they have not already done so.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Where I come from (Canada) they have a program called Crime Stoppers that works fairly well. It's an anonymous phone line where anybody can call to report a crime. The caller doesn't have to leave his/her name or testify in court, but if the caller provides enough evidence that the police can convict someone, they pay a cash reward.

Something like that might work in Iraq.

Shawn.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose,

Very good post. You have indeed confirmed what so many of us have wondered which is why Iraqis don't report suspicious behavior. It seems alien to us, but speaks what you have to deal with in reality.

It's going to take time. It's understandable not knowing who to trust after Saddam, wars and all the violence from the different factions. Slowly people will speak up when they realize the dangers they put themselves in if they don't. There is strength in numbers.

Stay well. Enjoy your blog.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Yes, I think the Iraqi government needs a phone number for people to call when they see something suspicious but the person can remain anonymous. Of course the law enforcement will have to have a system of routing those calls to the appropriate places.

Also, Rose, you said that you think that Iraqis will have to change their attitudes before you can rebuild your country. Certainly those attitudes hinder progress (and as others have said are not unique to Iraqis), but I also think that as the democratic process gets going, more people will feel like they are a part of things, like they "own" Iraq, and they will probably begin taking care of things better. Of course some people will always be a destructive sort.

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