Sunday, October 31, 2004

Strange Feelings

I told you in my last post that I was busy in some house work, Actually me and my husband were busy redecorating my daughter’s room. She has been sleeping in our bedroom since she was born and now comes the time to make her move out!. First when she was born we decided to put her bed in our bedroom for only few months till she starts to have a full night sleep, then the electricity started to shut off in summer so we decided to make her stay till the summer end because our room is the coolest room in our house and we have an inverter which enable us to open only one fan. the next thing happened is the war which made it impossible for us to make her move to her bedroom, we made our room as a shelter to us even we covered all the glass with wood and cartoons and it’s place in the house makes it the safest room in the house. After the war finished there was big shortage of electricity and again we could not make her move to her room. now the circumstances refuse to get better and if we decided to make her with us till things starts to get better, she might get married in our bedroom :). the weather is starting to become cold so there is no need to use any thing if the electricity shuts off. Now the electricity is very good because the consumption is very little.
After a month of working in her room, we changed everything, that we made before she was born, she want everything to be pink. she loves pink very much. Even when we went to look for a new room for her the first thing she asks the salesman is “do you have a pink bedroom!” well finally we found her a beautiful pink room just the way she likes. and she moved to her new room two days ago.
What strange feelings I had the first time I felt she is a way from me? I could not sleep that night, I went to her room several times and watched how she looks like an angel in her new bed. I don’t know how to describe my feelings I can’t find words fit enough I felt as a part of my heart is taken away. I asked my husband if he had the same feelings, he said yes, I wanted to bring her back to her old bed in our room again, and he too he went several times watching her sleeping in her own room.
I still remember the day she was born and how beautiful she looked just like yesterday. she is a 3 year and a half now. I was talking to my mother a bout my feelings and how I found it so difficult but she said she felt the same and she used to check me sleep in my room till I moved from the house to my husband’s house!

All Iraqis have their children sleep in their room for the first 2-3 years before they moved them to another room (if they have one), so it is not strange for us to make her move now. But my idea was that we make her sleep in her room the first day she was born, but I could not succeed, I don’t know if we are so passionate or not, any way the circumstance made it not possible for me to make her move out. I still want her to stay in my room but this is impossible now!. her old bed is still in my bedroom and I don’t have the courage to take it away.
I wonder how will be my feelings when she enter collage. I hope me and my husband stay alive to see this moment and I wish she will be safe till that day and after and I wonder how will my feelings be when she get married, happy or sad?

Another subject
I decided to stop watching news. I can’t change anything and the news only makes me nervous and become more tension. in spite of that I hear many bad news, but I do not want to write them in this post.

PS. to John from NZ, I will answer your questions in my next post.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

We are sitting again doing nothing.

Sorry for being away all this time, I was very busy with some housework beside I was feeling very depressed last week. Nothing looks promising and we started to lose patience. I had lost any kind of hope with our policemen and the way they behave, they are so careless, two days ago a police car with some policemen tried to kidnapped my uncle’s neighbor. the neighbors got suspicious with their car because it was a police car with no number so they tried to play a game with them and told them they will call the nearby station because they knew the officer of this station and check if there was an arrest warrant as they said. after few minutes they escaped with their car and did not catch the guy. but the actual police did nothing about that. after that incidence I saw other police cars without numbers and for your information many kidnappings happened using a police car! I think It is very easy to check the police cars in the streets. I wonder how many lives could be saved if our police move and work a little bit. kidnapping increased very much the last week, yesterday a car was stolen in our district with a child in it, they shot the driver in his leg and pulled him out and took the car with the child and no one could do anything, while there were check points in our main road, but again the police did nothing! I think they want to be ordered to chase a criminal.
I got very suspicious lately if this chaos is a planed or not? many things could simply be avoid if the policemen do their jobs. two days ago a friend returned from Jordan, he said in Jordan’s border they checked his passport and luggage while in Iraq’s border they even did not stamp his passport. why are we asking for others to watch our borders while we are sitting doing nothing?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem to all Muslims of the world, hope this holly month will bring peace and happiness all over the world. For the non Muslims I want to explain few traditions of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the month were our holly Quran was revealed to our prophet Mohammed. In this month all Muslims fast from sun rise to sun set. They don’t eat or drink anything between that time. They should pure their hearts and minds as well as their body and be near to God and his holly book, more prayers more supplications and everything that make us closer to God. Many men and women go to the Mosques for the night prayers even if they are not used to go there in other days of the year.
Ramdan is a tiring month, you can’t have enough sleep in it especially if you have to wake up early in the morning and go to work. Because you have to wake up around 4 am in the morning to have a meal and drink enough water for the whole day, pray and read Quran. Many don’t wake up at this time, and eat before they go to bed so they can wake up early, but if you have a big family it is nice to wake up early in the morning and eat together, some people do it as a tradition of Ramadan.

For us (women) we get tired from preparing different kinds of food for the Fotoor (breaking the fast). We should prepare the soup and in Iraq they like ADDAS (lentil) alot. then the main dish which usually contains rice with some kinds of a vegetable sauce, Iraqis like rice a lot and they don’t feel full if they don’t eat it. We also prepare a different kind of food beside the rice like sandwiches, Kabab, Tuka, and other meals. We should prepare the Juice and the desert. Most of the Iraqi people like Baqlawa for the desert which is kind of pastry filled with pistachio and sugar syrup. We usually buy this from the market.
In this month we have fotoor with others in the family, parents, friends, so you can meet many people in this month in the fotoor.
Before the end of this holly month people start to get ready for Eid, in which we buy new cloths for all the family and prepare for the Eid preparations ( I will talk about it when the Eid is near ).

This is how Ramadan used to be. But now things changed a lot for worse since the fall of Baghdad. It is hard to see many friends because the roads are not that safe and you can’t stay late at night as it used to be. you may have your Fotoor without electricity or you prepare it on the light of the candles. The first day of Ramadan there were a large noise of a fighter airplanes all over the evening, It gives you a sense of being uncomfortable while eating your meal that something bad had happened or is going to happen. the next day of Ramdan we woke up on the sounds of explosions, which we found later that some terrorist put bombs in front of some churches and we don’t know what will happen the rest of the month.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bad news all day.

My sister (who lives in Mosul) called today and was very upset. The extremists put announcements in the streets forcing all women to wear the hijab (head scarf) even the Christians and this announcements was signed by five Islamic parties. And even for women who wear the hijab they should not wear trousers, just the Islamic dress as they said.
My sister already wears hijab, not because she is convinced with it, but because she looks different than the others around her, they all started to look at here as someone bad. Today she was upset because they forced her 14 years old daughter to wear hijab in the school, otherwise she will not be able to go to school again!
She said I don't want to force my daughter to wear something against her will and I don't know what to do? Her daughter became very angry, but there is nothing that she can do about.
What is making me nervous in all this, is the attitude of our new government against these acts. They simply don't do anything, why do they let them put these signs on all over the streets and do nothing about them, unless they are already agreed with these acts. Is this the freedom we are going to have? I think we will be a second Afghanistan and I don’t consider it faraway. I wonder what the president of the USA will say when he hears about this, this is his war against terror isn't it? And now according to him we are free people and free women. I think the only people who got free in all this war are the terrorists and the extremists.

Another thing happened today, my husband's friend called today warning us not to use our car (Peugeot model 2001) because a gang started to steal this kind of car in our neighborhood and killed till now about three people and stole their cars the last week. When some of the owners went to the police stations in our district they simply said they know about this and told him the gang is using a black BMW when they steal!
By the way the electricity did not come as it is supposed to, I think there is a problem with our local station so we have to stay till the morning till someone come and fix it, because simply there is no number to call for the maintenance of electricity !.

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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Interesting post

There is a very interesting post (Life in Baghdad-A different approach) at which I really like you to read.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

How can we make up for those people?

I was still sleepy today, when I heard an explosion. I thought I was dreaming and when I finally woke up, I opened the TV and found that there were several explosions in Baghdad and not only the one I thought I was dreaming about. The victims were Iraqis again. Later I heard on TV that a director in the ministry of science and technology was shot dead, an oculist was shot dead in front of his house, and a chief police was also shot in front of his house. Finally a brigadier in our national guard was shot dead too.

Killing and kidnapping doctors and professors started after Baghdad's fall. Many doctors were kidnapped and after paying a large amount of money, the kidnappers release them but they forced them to leave the country or not to practice medicine again. And the reason beyond this is still unknown. Many good doctors left Iraq and settled either in Jordan or Syria and some of them found jobs in other countries. It is hard to find a very good doctor Still working in Iraq. My daughter's podiatrist, our oculist doctor (who was kidnapped and later release after paying a ransom), my gynecologist and an otolaryngologist neighbor were among those doctors who left Iraq. As for the scientists they were shot dead without a warning or a ransom. Till now 70 scientists and 32 doctors had been killed in Iraq.
How can we make up for those people? I can't answer that question.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


I received an email asking me to answer these questions:1) I think some sociologists say that we each belong to a "village" of a few hundred people that we "know" - our family and relatives, our former schoolmates, our neighbors and friends and colleagues past and present, our regular acquaintances and contacts (the butcher, for example.)Anyone we would recognize and greet in passing, I guess.So, as an ordinary Baghdadi, how many people that you "know" have been badly affected by this unnecessary conflict - killed, wounded, imprisoned, home destroyed, livelihood gone, and so on? Can you see how knowing this, knowing how bad it really is, would help our understanding your situation?
well, for me and my family we have not been affected so far with this directly, but my sister’s house was affected twice, it is near a police station and also an American base, so from time to time either the police station or the American base gets targeted, once there was a battle in their street and she was alone with her two children and she was pregnant, the sounds of machine guns and shootings were so close to her house that she and her children sat four hours under the stairs away from windows. the second time, they had all their windows broken when a police station near them was hit. Two days ago, they heard a nearby shooting and a gun bullet entered her kitchen, five min. after her daughter left the kitchen. The next morning they discovered 4 bullets hit their house from outside and they did not know who was shooting who.
Short time after Baghdad’s fall, there was a battle near my mother’s aunt house, one of their neighbors was hit accidentally in the battle, the neighbors tried to lift him and take him to the hospital, so they took my mother’s aunt car, and few seconds after that, the USA army thought they were fighters trying to escape from them, so they shot them with a missile. They were all killed, the car burned completely. the next day they had 3 funerals in their street.
My cousin’s family were on their way home, when a conflict started between the US army and some fighters, their car was hit with some bullets, but thank God they were not hurt. the same thing happened to my husband’s friend.The car of another cousin of mine had been badly damaged when a near US tank was shot by an RPG.A very old couple from our neighbors were almost shot, When an American troop asked them to slow down, the driver did not understand what they wanted so he thought he could pass them. They hit him with their hammer (humvee) and prepaid to shoot, but they discovered that he was very old to be a fighter or a terrorist. His car was badly damaged. This accident occurred three days ago.A friend of my husband died by a suicide bomber near the green zone, he left three children the youngest was only three months old. My parents house is near the ministry of oil, they got used to the sound of rockets that targeted the ministry, most of them had missed the target and fell in their district, the last one was only about 100m, and hit a fence of an empty house.These stories are samples of the life we are having, you can’t be sure when and where you will be killed.
2) Parallel to this: 150,000 occupation troops seems to work out at something like one soldier to every 80 or 100 Iraqi adults. So what friendly contacts have you, or your family, had with any of your” liberators" since May last year, when the invasion ended. These troopswere meant to be both ambassadors and advertisements for "freedom" and” democracy." How do you see them?
I did not have the chance to meet or talk with any soldier, and so are the rest of my family, we are a peaceful, non-trouble makers, since Saddam’s regime and now.
3) Speaking of villages and occupation, what really happened at Makr AlDeeb (the wedding massacre)? The news reports claimed that about 40people were killed from the air, without any warning or attempt at arrest. The American military made a few very strange statements, and promised an investigation, then ... nothing. The story just vanished. But all of Iraq must know the truth by now. Were there any "foreign fighters" there at all? Or did they just make 40,000 enemies by killing40 people by mistake?
well, frankly I have no idea about anything from that, I heard the news just the way you had, I don’t know any one from that village to ask him about that.
4. It looks like there is going to be a massive bombing campaign inplaces like Fallujah and Sadr City before the elections - anyone left standing can vote, I guess. Are you in a part of the city that will be safe from this?
There is no safe place in Baghdad, you may be killed any where even at your home, no one knows. But I’m far away from Al- Sadar city.These questions were sent by John from NZ.
PS. I want to know how to put a picture in my profile.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Other details of our weddings

When the girl get engaged, her family buys her everything she may need, her cloth, towels, bed covers, nightdresses and so on, while the groom's family buys the furniture like the bed room (the bride choose it but they pay for it) other things in the house both family help each other according to their wealth. The reason why the groom and the bride don't choose everything by themselves with their own money is the lack of money for the young couple.

The first breakfast after the new couple gets married is usually made by the bride's mother who brings it to their house in the morning (It's optional). the breakfast usually contains Kahi which is also a traditional breakfast in many occasions like Eid, it is some kind of pastry sweated with a sweeten syrup, usually eaten it with local cream which we call it (qaimar) and honey.

In the Nishan party, the groom and his family bring gifts to the bride including some night dresses and perfumes and some clothes decorated inside baskets (this is traditional in Baghdad and some of the cities but not all of them).

The white dress is usually bought by the groom or his family.

In Sab'a the mother of the bride and her mother in low give gifts from gold or diamond to the bride (optional).

Now let's discuss our main problem for most of the Iraqis right now which is residence. It's impossible for a normal paid couple to build or buy a simple house or even rent it. We have a serious problem with that, the lands became so expensive the last ten years and reached a high level the last couple of years, Baghdad and also the other cities expand horizontally not vertically as it should be according to the increae of population in Iraq, so we have very few residential buildings. The increment of prices of construction materials plus the bad rental law we have (which I'm going to talk about in another post) makes very few people think of investing their money for a public building or residential buildings. Therefore most couples either lives in a bed room in the man’s family's house and that is a very big problem for both of them or if his family is wealthy enough they could build him a small apartment above their house. If their house is big enough or have a big garden they build them a small house but this needs a lot of money.
Buying a good small house needs about one hundered millon Iraqi dinar which is about 70 thousands dollars and may be much more according where you want to buy your land, so according to our wages you can have your own house for about 25 years if you get a good salary. Or you should wait till some of your wealthy relatives die or you should be a merchant or a thief, or you become so lucky if your family is rich enough and they can offer you a house. We don't have payment by installment which can make things much easier for many of those who can pay a large amount of money every month but could not buy a house in advance. For me I consider my self lucky, my husband's family have a big house and wealth enough, so they separated their house for us, but I am still dreaming of my own house, but compared to others I'm very lucky. At least I have my own privacy. Many couples have children now and still unable to build or buy a house so they still live all together in the same bedroom!

I know a family that have five grown men in their house, they all got married and all have children some of them have 2 and others 3 and they still live in the same house together, when I go there I usually have a bad headache for the loud noise I hear.

Our community makes us depend completely on our parents, the parents are helping us in many ways, because they had the chance to build themselves while we are trying but we can't.

In many cities like Mosul, It's impossible for a couple to start their live separated form the husband's family even If they are wealthy enough, because they simply don't accept this, and they want all the family to live together with their children and grandchildren as well.

When the bride becomes pregnant with here first child, her family should buy all the child needs, his clothes, the bed, etc…..this tradition is more practiced in Mosul than Baghdad. Well if you want to know why I always compare things with mosul is because, I'm half form Baghdad and Half form Mosul. My father is form Mosul but he left Mosul since he was young but I still have so many relatives there, while my mother is from Baghdad.