Monday, November 28, 2005

Saddam's Trial

Was at work this morning when someone asked me out of the blue: at what hour will the trial be? I was like huh? what trial? Then I suddenly remembered that we are trying our former dictator in court and that the second session was today.

At first I was disinterested and tried to focus on my work but then we heard someone screaming on tv and we all jumped up to see what was going on. The bailiff was shouting for the defendants to enter the court room. The tv anchor mentioned that 2 foreign lawyers were attending the proceedings this time. Two former justice ministers, the American Ramzi al Clark and the Qatari Najeeb al Ni'aimi.

I went back to work for a while so I missed a few details. I was expecting to finish as fast as possible so I could watch the rest of the trial. The other girls and guys at work were reading their horoscopes in the newspaper. Obviously no one was that interested in what was going on tv.

The taxi driver that drived me home gave me a speech. I don't know why I always end up with taxi drivers who want to talk politics when it's mostly the last thing on my mind. "What had they expected him to do? I mean even if Jafari or Talabani almost got assassinated at some small town, how do you think they would respond?" he was almost talking to himself, and I was nodding silently while watching the hundreds upon hundreds of election posters on the walls.

"Look what they did to Falluja. It was razed to the ground because of four Americans. Will someone put Bush or Allawi in court for that one day? People keep repeating the same mistakes."

I don't know why but Bob Dylan's song The Times They Are A-Changin' came to my mind.

Many Iraqis are impatient and think this trial is a farce. The Kurdish judge has been called all kinds of names on the street because they think he looked like he was almost taking orders from Saddam. Others think he is being too lenient. I do think it was an embarrassing moment when Saddam mentioned the American soldiers guarding the court room and then transmission was cut for a few moments. Censors at work :)

It's such a mess, but if you ask Iraqis you would probably get one of the following reactions:

  • The country is going the right way and this fair trial is just another step forward. Hail democracy!
  • I don't give a fuck about Saddam, just give me a job already.
  • Saddam is a lion and a hero. Did you see how he looked so strong and defiant?
  • This whole trial is a tool of the occupation.
  • It's all political and the Americans and Israelis are running the show.
  • It's all political and the Iranians and their stooges are running the show.
  • Saddam killed three of my sons. Cut the bullshit and hang the criminal!
  • Saddam is god.
  • What's the electricity schedule today?
  • Hey! It only takes 3 hours at the --- gas station to fill up your car. Let's go there.
  • I don't know man. I'm hungry, let's go eat some felafel or something.
  • Saddam should pay for the blood of all the Shi'i martyrs he shed.
  • I hate Sunnis. Why do they love Saddam so much?
  • I hate Shia. Why do they hate Saddam so much?
  • I hate Kurds. Why did the judge have to be one.
  • I hate Americans. Bush is a war criminal and he should be the one who get's tried.
  • Saddam hated Shia. He should be executed for that. Anyone who hates us should be tortured and executed in the most horrible way.
  • It's all Saddam's fault. He should have wiped out the Shia from Iraq. Wiping out the Kurds wouldn't hurt either. They're all traitors.
  • *yawn*
  • variations of the above.

Another irony was the fact that one town was demonstrating calling for Saddam to be executed and another was demonstrating calling for his release. That's just how divided we are today.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Random Stuff

Latest joke in town: Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, changed the National Iraqi emblem from an eagle to a sheep because of Bird Flu.

Election joke: If you want Mallawi (rattling golden bracelets) for your wife, elect Allawi. If you want your salary to return to Tlath talaf (3 thousand Dinars), elect the I'tilaf (United Iraqi Alliance).

I think it sounds funnier in Arabic because it ryhmes. Here it is in Arabic:
إذا تريد لزوجتك ملاوي أنتخب علاوي, إذا تريد راتبك تلاث آلاف أنتخب الأئتلاف

There are plenty more election jokes that were sent to me by SMS the last few days but I forgot them. I'll post them if I get around it again.

Latest rumor in town: Well it's not exactly a rumor since many have seen it already on the streets. Some people have been offering money for "contractors" who promise to "clean" a particular neighborhood in Baghdad from a certain political party's election posters. Some are payed 25,000 Dinars a day until they rid the area of said party's electoral campaign posters.

The lists which seem to have suffered most from this new Iraqi democratic practice are Allawi's list, the Sunni Accord (Tawafuq) list, and Saleh al Mutlag's list (I don't know what it's called).

Poor guys have hundreds of their posters torn off in my area alone. Allawi's posters either have devil horns drawn on his head or an X on his face.

Now try to guess who could be behind this:
  • SCIRI
  • Badr
  • Iran
  • Peshmerga
  • Americans
  • Jews
  • Israelis

Take your pick.

Another funny story: Yesterday, Abd al Aziz al Hakim was talking on one of the Shi'i tv stations (Yes, we have seperate channels now, Sunni ones, Kurdish and Shia) about his electoral list. They got the 555 number for their list which I think is chosen by a draw or something like that. The guy was saying this is proof from the sky that their list is blessed by Allah since the three 5's denotes the 5 basic tenets of Islam, the 5 daily prayers, and the Ahl al Kisaa' (Muhammed, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussein. 5 people in total).

Hehehe, now what kind of bullshi'ite is that. He still thinks he can fool people.

By the way, people are already joking about the 555 reference. It has MUCH dirtier connotations than what Hakim is claiming. Iraqis are calling the UIA the Sa'di al Hilli list, which is a long story I'm not sure I can explain easily to non Iraqis.

Now, Sa'di al Hilli was an Iraqi singer who died some time ago. He was famous for being attracted to guys (to fuck them, not the other way around), although he never admitted that in public. But it's kind of common knowledge and as we say here, no smoke without a fire. There was never an interview he had in which the interviewer didn't poke fun at him about it. As to the number 5 (Khamsa), it's often used to describe a.., um, well.., an anus. That's because 5 looks like (o) in Arabic.. hehe I guess you get the resemblance. There are plenty of jokes about Sa'di with the number 5 involved (like his car registration number is 55555; his electoral list number last year was 555; he joined the resistance and created a group called Jaish Ansar al Khamsa; etc.) So there you have it.

First Post

Damn. Been sitting here for the last 3 hours trying to figure out this whole blog thing. I'm not sure if it's blogger.com that's just awfully slow or my @#%$ed up dial-up connection. Power went out like 4 or 5 times and they keep switching the local neighborhood generator on and off. Life here sucks.

Not a good introduction I'd say. So anyway, I'm just your average Iraqi Joe... or should I say Mo. You'll find here my random posts on life in Iraq under the occupation (or liberation or however else you see it). Don't expect anything coherent here or the kind of political punditry you'd find on other Iraqi blogs. Just plain thoughts and stories, that would also include whatever rumors or jokes are flying around Baghdad at the moment. Hell, what do I care? There probably won't be anyone around to read this shit. So I guess that's all for now.

Cheers.
Testing,
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