Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cruel jokes of a cruel fate

No yesterday and no tomorrow. No past and no future, it's almost like they had never been. I find myself trapped in a present through which I cannot see, not forwards and not backwards. All the places I had once before known have disappeared into absolute nothingness. No evidence that they had ever existed but faint memories through curtains of blood and walls of shattering screams of human suffering. I ran away from that, I ran away like many of you, and like many of you intend or wish to do.

From the fear, from the almost monstrous disrespect to human life, I ran away for myself. Believing that I was given this life to live it, never to have it added as another statistic on a magazine page, never to have myself put down for no purpose at all. And from thereon I indulged myself with life, with minor loss of purpose perhaps, but with no less zest to live.

The words of a dear friend ring alive within …

"What I've seen from life made me believe it's just a way through. What matters is what we take to the grave"

And they're deeds, I suppose.

To live the day in total oblivion to life itself, to live the day like there is no tomorrow, and knowing that there might as well never be one. To live the day running from what lies beneath your own shadows, running from the hand that stabs or the eye that aims. To want to help those who appreciate no help, to want to help live at the price of your own life, to fear for others filling the void of your own life and driving you forward. It's almost sacred, almost divine and as selfless as humanly possible. Yet goes unseen, goes unappreciated even by its receptors.

To have a cold hand triggering a bullet through your brain while you have been working for those hands and others to live better is no way to die. To drive through twilight zones, risking the one soul you have to rescue others is beyond me. The courage it takes, the altruism, the determination and motivation and devotion is beyond me and I dare say beyond all of us.

You and I and many others have escaped, tried to or still hope and try to. But how many of us stayed there and stood in the line of fire, instead of staying and hating the world for it, hiding as well as possible? How many of us risked our own lives to safe lives? We have all thought life is precious, but none of us considered other lives than our own with the thought. The empty words coming from shelters, from safe exiles and new homes don't matter. The compassion and campaigning and writing and public-speaking, blabber and jitter and nonsense and absolutely nothing it is, stealing the lights from those who deserve them, those who work in the shadows yet achieve more than they have ever taken credit for.

I'm one of the few who had lost hope in all goodness in mankind, yet I realize now that there's still a good few of them. And they don't waste their lives on words. They have put their own lives on halt, on the fire line, to rescue others. I only pray and hope I will one day have the courage and devotion to spend the remainder of my life helping those who are really in need. Doing more than showing my feelings for a living. I guess I will always live wanting to find myself driven that way, with such oblivion to life itself. It's almost consecrated.

If you pray, mention them in your prayers; if you hope, then keep your fingers crossed for no malice to ever come their way. For them to never leave behind a widow or an orphan because of their own devotion to save others from being widows or orphans. To never be left behind to die, or never be lead forward to die, in their determination to prevent people from dying.

You might wonder who they are, but if you look around, you might see them. And perhaps you already know who I mean. And it's a cruel joke of a cruel fate if you can remember those on the magazine covers on and offline, and not those who do the real labour, those who recieve the bullets and those who fall in their struggle. It's an even more cruel joke if you remember people like Ayatullah, whatever made him such a thing, Sistani or Al Hakim...What good have they ever done? Aren't they practically surrounded by paid-for guards to dodge bullets?! Too haugty to reach a hand to ease anybody's pain?!

And to my friend, you I will always remember with reverence, whether you're in this world or beyond.

Monday, January 01, 2007

What I cannot help saying...

No, it is not a political blog. But I cannot and will not ignore my feelings.

I do not believe in any of the puppets that dominate the Iraqi political scene now any more than I had believed in Saddam Hussein. I do not believe that they will ever do Iraq any better than Saddam Hussein had. And I believe that Iraq is still hitting the rock bottom, like it was during Hussein's reign. Yet the pace now is absurdly petrifying.

I was skeptical from the day the death sentence was announced. I wasn't surprised, actually. As a person that doesn't believe in death sentence for it ends the person's repent so abruptly, I still believed that his sentence was well earned. However, I have had my doubts. It was either that Saddam Hussein would never get executed for whatever reason such as Amnesty intervention or some international joint effort, if not American. Or that his execution would come in haste, wrapping him up and perhaps silencing him from whatever bucket he had to spill and that might get some heads damp.

I was taken aback by surprise, having tuned to CNN on an extremely rare occasion when I'd "mercilessly stab the remote", one evening. I found myself wondering about the kind of a genius that came up with that ill-timed and quite badly wrapped decision. Neither happy, nor sad, I went to sleep that night, certain that by the time I get up, news would have a handful to say about the execution. How true it was. I woke up next morning to the disturbing video of the execution.

His death did not disappoint me, yet it didn't make me even remotely happy. I was only deeply disappointed by the utter stupidity and lack of morality of those who had carried out the execution. You might wonder why. Try to understand me as I say this:

They've hailed the names of Muqtada and Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr, two Shiite leaders of the distinctive, now notorious Sadri current, making the execution an exclusively Shiite vengeance towards the former dictator who is known for his pan-Arabism and strongly Sunni orientations. The government that ratified the sentence is principally Shiite as well. Add that to the fact that Saddam Hussein was executed only for the Dujail charges of crimes against humanity, putting in brackets that they were crimes against Shiites. I do not take differences in religions and ethnics seriously, yet I cannot see anything other than Shiite vengeance…and absolute disregard to the thousands and thousands of Iraqi Kurds who have suffered genocide. He did deserve to die, yet he did not die for his crimes against Iraqis. The government made sure he only died for his crimes against Shiites, cancelling all other entities and therefore enforcing the differences upon Iraqis, deepening the gap of sectarianism within.

I find absolute disregard on the government's side, portraying them almost like blood-thirsty men who cannot wait to carry out their vengeance and couldn't bother to carry it out properly, couldn't be bothered to bring justice to all instead of only their followers. Was it about the promise that he will die before the year ends? Well, I don't know. There were dozens of other promises of security, of unity and of stability. They couldn't have been carried out because there was nothing to them for our dear government; they already enjoy security and stability in the fortified Green Zone with supreme life conditions compared to those of the average Iraqi, and unity doesn't matter for they are in power only with sectarianism's aid. For the loss of a relative some two decades ago, now they claim the right to rule us. For the so-called struggle they have been leading in their comfortable, again so-called exiles in London, Tehran, Washington or elsewhere, enjoying better life conditions than ever witnessed by Iraqis under Saddam Hussein, they now rule us. And for being rather Sunni, Shiite or Kurdish than Iraqi, standing only for their own people's cases than ours as a nation, now they rule us. With obvious loyalties to the countries that have offered them new lives outside Iraq, they now serve their interests, not biting the hand that feeds them.

I do not know whether the government was trying to prove something by executing the man like that. I only gather that they weren't quite thinking of Iraq, they were only thinking of their own dear followers. Even though most Iraqis are happy, the government might have well earned the contempt of everybody other than their public support-base, rather than that of all Iraqis.

I feel that justice wasn't served. He died for the murder of some 140-150 Iraqis in Dujail, and he was never charged and tried for the fifty thousand people who have filed against him for Halabja and Anfal. You may argue that he was going to be sentenced with death all the same. Yet again, the way it was done disregards all other Iraqis and to all other victims of years of war, of sanctions, of tyranny and of genocide. Nothing will bring consolation to the people who had suffered and never had a chance to get their retribution, never again having a chance to a proper closure to their decades of brutal suffering.

Yet all the same, he is now dead, no matter what any of us says, whether in approval or in disapproval. What worries me is the aftermath…

Many people regard the execution, as I have said already, a quite discriminating and further dividing element. Favoring and granting some the rights of which others were deprived.

What's worse, as an Iraqi who lives abroad, was the way Saddam and Iraqis were portrayed.

As Majed Jarrar of Me Vs. MysElF has said on his post of January 1st:

"You can hear the Shia militiamen around him shouting "Praise be to Mohammed Baqr Assadr" [the grandfather of the currently living Moqtada Assadr who is believed that Saddam assassinated him], others shout at Saddam "go to hell". While Saddam is repeating the last words that a Muslim must say before death "I witness that there is not God but Allah, and I witness that Mohammed is a prophet of Allah."

They didn't even let him finish his sentence.

I found some petrifying brutality in that, played over and over again to the world, depicting us as reckless, blood-thirsty creatures, as though our news aren't doing enough of that.

To be humane is to rise above your enemy and not to descent to his level of brutality and disrespect towards human beings and human lives. He did not deserve to be treated as a human being, really. Yet the way execution was carried out showed no better people than Saddam Hussein was in his day. I bet my money that if they had had the chance, they would have executed him by throwing him to his sons' pet-tigers, like he used to do. And the way it was carried out, I bet my money they would have loved to drag his body about in Baghdad's streets like they did to Abdul Karim Qasim in 1963, even though no human value, or religious one, accepts it.

The way the videos of execution, and that explicit, quite disturbing and unofficial video that is circulating now depicts only a brutal nature that feasts at the sight of death. Regardless how much hatred you may have in your heart, the world cannot understand it. The world can only understand that Iraqis have misbehaved in a vile manner, and that they are now watching death scenes happiy as some mighty-gory nature, quite gruesome. And unfortunately, those animals have carried it out in a disgusting manner, the world has watched it and watched how people exchanged videos and watched them with disgusting delight, disturbing as it might have been…and now we are all taken by that sin with no discrimination…quite unlike how we discriminate.

As if it isn't enough still, as the world reports how Muslims are holding up their Hajj this year, and the Eid and all, the execution was "the government's gift to Iraqi people". Yes, we are celebrating Eid and New Year with an execution. How sick are we exactly?

And we wonder why the world thinks ill of us…

The last straw was the way Saddam Hussein was depicted. Having lived fighting and how he was said to have died fighting. So much so he was found in that spider-hole of a hideout. I have never liked his sons but I can muster more respect to them for having died in a real battle. Yet he is still portrayed as the man who never broke in court, never broke in the gallows, and who has been representing a symbol of…pan-Arabism to the remainder of the Arab world and it's chickens of leaders (May they all burn in hell, Amen) though I cannot see how he is better than a chicken anyway.

As Majed Jarrar said and I quote again:

I would not be surprised if I start to see some Che-Guevara-style T-Shirts with Saddam's Picture printed on them with words of pride and courage…

The future ahead is as dark as it could ever be. Iraq is now heading to the gallows following the steps of Saddam Hussein. Not because he was a great leader, but because some hasty and dim character decided that things will be done his way, and his way is as the old saying goes, "Thalithat al Athafy".

Cheers and I raise my grail, full of blood, in a toast: To Saddam's execution!