Monday, March 01, 2004

Please help

It was Monday, another new day from our new life. I was walking out from my department in the university when I see two of the students I know. One of them was graduated last year. I stopped by to say hello to them, and we had a little chat. I started asking them about themselves and what are they doing now. The one student seems so happy, and has no problem with all of what's happening, with the changes and events of this last year, even knowing that he was the ex-president of the student union in the college of engineering, in Saddam's time.

But as I said, he doesn't have any interest in what's happening--all he is caring about is how he can make money, any way he can. He's working in selling oil, and he has a gas station-- and you know, because of the fuel problem, he stands to make a lot of money. It's good to see people working, but there must be laws to keep, at work, and there must be a code of ethics, to develop our work. I think this will take a little time to be done, I really don't have problem with this one-- but there is what happened between me and the other
person-- the graduated one.

I remember when they graduated and I was so happy--- to see the students have their special day, the day they were waiting for since they started their first day in college. Even if it was a different situation now, they were happy to have graduated. I remember when I saw them after one month, looking for jobs, to work and do what they learned in college--- how they were happy and excited, to rebuild their own country, and I wished to help. I told them to keep on looking, to find what they think they can do and enjoy it, and that the country needs them--- the new Iraq depends on them. They are Iraq's future.

This was 6 to 7 months ago, and here he is again--- the same man, standing in front of me. A lot of changing has appeared on this man. He's another person. He is not the same optimistic, happy, forward
looking, graduated man. I asked him how he is doing. He tells me he's fine, And I asked him
did he find a job? He told me he is looking but he couldn't find one yet, I told him don't worry, you will get one. Just keep looking.

He doesn't seem to have much interest in my talking. Then we heard the sound of an explosion ( its something ordinary, and we've gotten used to it, here in Iraq) ,and I told them, I pray to god that no one's been hurt in this explosion, and they agree with me. I was happy that we shared the same feelings, We were three people, but we represent the differences in Iraqis.

I mean, one of them was from the shia majority, and the other one was from the sunni, and I am a Kurdish ,but we have the same feelings against violence and terrorists,

That was not what I was fearing, because I believe in what I call my equation (shia + sunna + Christians + assyrian + arabic + kurdish +Turkmen = Iraq) and I don't doubt it. We are different in our thinking, and the way we are looking towards things and it's a gift from God that we are.

No, my fears were because it has been a week after our last explosion, and it was one of the worst ones to me. It was the explosion of the new Iraqi head court-- and I lost many of my friends there.

So as we were standing there talking, we heard a second explosion, a few moments later, I told them again, "I hope that no one is getting hurt in this explosion", and I told them, "what did those people do to die? Isn't there already enough killing and blood? "I told them, "what did those young man do? they wanted to be in their new army, to protect their new home", and here the graduate interrupted me, telling me with cool blood, "they deserved it."

I was shocked.

I told him, "Who deserved it? and what is it they deserved?"
He told me "Those young man deserved to die."
I asked him "Why?"
He says "because they are helping our enemy." I asked him "Who's our enemy?"
He told me, "America."
I told him, "But America helped you to get off Saddam!"
He told me, "America is not here to help us! America is here to destroy our life-- our traditions, our religion, our society-- and people begin to sleep, in honey. They forget God, and they forget religion, and all they care about is life-- and nothing else."
I told him that the Iraqi person is tired, because of the horrible times they've been through, and they need some time to feel life again,---and don't worry: they believe in God. And after all his humanity has been
found again, the Iraqi will make songs to God until he dies. and God has mercy. God has forgiveness."

He told me, "We must do something to wake our nation from their dream! America will never do something good to Iraq!"
I told him, "Do you agree with those who have been doing suicidal bombing actions?"
He told me, "Yes and this is the only way to help ourselves."
I told him "Help ourselves? By killing each other? This is an unusual way to help! We must help each other-- by being armed with hope. But we must first learn forgiveness, and respect for each other ,and
we must educate ourselves and our people. You must understand that. Using force will never solve the problem. The main problem is not with the United States government. We must learn how to run our interests, and how to get best use from the opportunities we now have!"

It seems that my friend didn't like my talk, telling me that "I don't have any thing to lose."
I told him, "Yes, you have!-- and believe me, there is a lot of things worth having!"
and I tried hard to make him understand things right, I notice that he is talking, and speaking that "Islam said we must fight for our dignity!"
I told him, "Do you prefer a rule like the Taliban regime, to rule us?"
He said "I wish to."
I tried not be upset, and I asked him gently ,"Why didn't you fight Saddam? For all of what he's done, Saddam never respected any religion, and you supported him."
He couldn't answer, What I want to do is help him to not slip into the trap of religion, either.

I told him "I don't say, 'forget your religion.' You have the right to do what ever you want to do--- but you must treat me the same way, I can't accept you forcing something on me, and you cant do it by force,
We've been threatened for more than three decades. What you find, if you think it's the right thing, you must convince me to do something and let me see if I like doing it. This is the right way. "

I pointed out to him that the terrorists find using religion is the perfect tool to use, to have an effect on people, telling them that "they should fight the Americans, and all the Iraqis who work or help them."
He is from fallujah and he lives there. He told me that he and other guys fight the Americans, out there in fallujah city, but the Iraqi police stop them. and they can't work freely there, so they target the Iraqi police there.

I tried hard to convince him that what he is doing is wrong.
Again, he told me, he has nothing to lose.
I told him, " YOU might have nothing to lose, but WE have. You must know that we all like our country, and love it ,and we want to see our country developed and modern. But, believe me, we cant do it by force
and killing,"

He also disagreed with me, telling me, "We must stick to our religion."
I had to reply, "OK, but our religion is Islam, and it passed on forgiveness and teaching and respect,--and even our prophet, Mohammed [PBUH] regretted violence and killing, "

But I assure you that they misunderstand things,...
and I wanted him to understand things quite right.
The United States helped Iraq to pass over a dark age.

He told me that "the United States PUT us through this dark age you talk about, and they want now to stay and occupy our land!"
So I said to him, "OK. First of all, let me clear up some of these things to you: when all the world supported Saddam's regime, there, it was apropos. It was the Islamic revolution in Iran, and as Saddam claimed, Iran wanted to export the revolution. And didn't you also stand with Saddam and fight?
Didn't you ask yourself, 'If Iran wanted to establish Islam, then why would we fight it?'
Or do you see faith from one side only: 'your side'.--?
What happens if I am also seeing it from my side, too-- and I don't accept yours?
We cant think this way.
and I don't blame any foreign side for involving Iraq in that war. We wanted that and we accepted that and we believed in it. It's our fault, and no one's fault.
We don't make the same mistake, We must learn from our mistakes, and if
we don't, that will be a disaster, If we do that, then we can't blame anyone."

"The second thing you MUST know, is that the United States Army doesn't enjoy staying here, in this land, What makes it special? It is a destroyed land! It has nothing related with life. Do you think they
enjoy leaving their homes and life, to stay here to be killed? I talked to many of them, and they told me, 'we are here to help you to build your new life-- but we can't help unless you help your self'

He told me that "They want our oil."

I said ,"Fuck your oil!! fuck your land!!!-- What is the use of oil, or land, when there is no human life!? Humans are more important than material! I don't believe what you are saying! for God's sake! you are
an engineer now! If you are talking like that, then how do you expect the uneducated to talk!? !"

I told him, "Here's a tip, from me to you: Did you know that the income of American Airlines is more than what all of the Arab countries export, together?!"
" If you don't like anything American in your life, then why are you reading their books? why are you dressed like them?"

He couldn't answer.

"We are a destroyed country." I repeated to him. "We have nothing to depend on to rebuild our country. We only have hope, toward tomorrow, Don't kill that feeling, by mixing up things."

He seemed to be a little more flexible towards my talk, and we agreed with each other, that we must, for our country. I was so happy that I could explain things to him,

Two days later, it was the first day when Alhurra satellite channel started broadcasting, and we were so happy that we've finally got something to watch; something reasonable in covering the events, and
respecting those who watch.

I remembered this day, when I went back home. The first thing I do when I get home is ask if there were any explosions today, They told me that there had been an attack on the fallujah police station, and there were many dead people, Another loss for us... (In the evening I've been watching the news with two of my friends, and they were arguing also, on the same subject, but this was a different arguement. We understand each other ,and we look for the best thing to do) I was telling them about the talk between me and this guy.

So here is what happened. We had been watching our new space channel, Alhurra, ,and on the TV they were recreating all the killing, and we were watching views shown from the fallujah attack...

when I was shocked and shocked and shocked, to I see the same guy I WAS TALKING TO, injured, and they were treating him. He was covered by blood . The news said that he was among the attackers, and he had been captured, I couldn't speak. I blamed myself, saying that I didn't do enough work to prevent what happened, and it seemed to me that the terrorists won a round. The next day, I went to college. The whole college was speaking about what happened, and what he had to do with it. His friends were so worried about him and what happened there. I talked to many of his closest friends. They were shocked also, telling me that they don't believe what happened, It seem like a movie to us, and I said to them, speak to me about him. What's he like? What does he prefer to talk about?

They assured me that he was a normal guy, that they were hanging around together, almost all the time, and they assured me that he did not have any of these thoughts.
"We liked girls, and we were enjoying our time in college, and he was watching us getting out with our girl friends. He got a girlfriend himself. He even knew that my girl friend was sleeping with me ,and he
said nothing, We used to watch sex movies, and no one spoke about religion."

I asked them if he was hanging around with them lately, They said yes, but not like in the past. He used to stay in fallujah more, after graduation. It seems that there was something in fallujah affecting him. His friends decided to go to fallujah to ask about him and see what happened there.

Fallujah is a small city. It's about 35 minutes from Baghdad, There are about 250,000 people living there, It's a city famous for making Kabob, an eastern food with a special taste, there. The majority of the
people are uneducated. They are religionists. We rented a small bus. There were about 6 people, including me. These were his closest friends. We arrived at fallujah about 10.00AM. The city was horrible: a lot of black sheets on the houses, carrying the names of who was killed here,

We went to his home, but there was no one there, so we went to some of his friends houses, who know him well. They showed us warm hospitality, and we asked about their friend and what happened. They told us ,"all we could see was that he was lying down, and he was shot by four bullets, We asked them if we can visit him to check up on him, They advised us not to do so, They told us that he is in the custody
of the Iraqi Police and the American troops, We took their advice, "

We asked them what happened here. They told us that the whole thing started with the visit of General John Abizaid to fallujah, to see the Iraqi police center where they were training, when he was targeted by
some of what they called "mujahedeen" -- by RPG's and bombs. It was a well arranged attack ,and the Iraqi police force intervened and supported the Americans troops, That's what they didn't like, calling the police forces protesters ,

After that incident, there was an operation by the Iraqi police in the town, to catch those who who were involved in it. There were 13 people who had been caught by the Iraqi police there, The whole thing is related with those men, acutely with three of them, who are the main leaders of what they call " the resistance". Those three persons were the operations agents against the USA forces there, so they went to the police, trying to convince the police to release them. They tried everything, but the police refused to
accept, At last they offered money to the police, I got a tip from one of our hosts. He told me that the police forces are split into two factions. One of them sides with the coalition's forces and the other one sides with the resistance, and they disagree about who's on the right side ,but they seem to share acceptation and
agree on one thing --money, The group offered 15 million Iraqi diners to the fallujah police to release them. The police didn't agree. They wanted 30 million to release them. The leaders didn't agree on the request, saying it is too much, The police threatened them, saying if they didn't accept, then they will deliver them to the Americans. They didn't accept, and they warned the police members that if they handed them over to the
Americans, they will come back for revenge, The police forces told the Americans that they had caught members of what they call 'the resistance' and they wanted to hand them over.

The police force was supposed to deliver them at 9.00 AM ,and that was the time at which they supposed the Americans will be in town. It seems that the resistance got a leak from inside help, letting them know the delivery time. They prepared well for what they wanted to do. They surrounded the main axis of the town. They were armed well, and they start their attack about 6.00AM. They attacked the police station, and they managed to release their prisoners and run away. They lost only three of the attackers--- and about 28 Iraqi police members. When the American troops arrived, there was immediate investigation about what happened, and they know from the investigations that those man had been arrested for almost 12 days and the police chief didn't advise the Americans about them.

The police chief is also the governor of fallujah city. What can I say ?

Fallujah is now the center of all these dangerous movements like ansar al snaa, jaish Mohammed ,ansar al Islam and al qiyda.

Do they exist? Yes, they do.
Are they here? Yes, they are.
Where are they? well, as I told you, they've found fallujah their safest place to hide.
There are a lot of people in fallujah who could help them, and manage to offer residence to them. Most of the people there were working in Saddam's regime, and he was depending on them. They felt their loss when he fell down.

They are cowards, and they cant do resisting operations, but they depend on the Arab fighters, who come from our beloved Neighbors. They support them by money and information, to do their job.

So I think about what I can do, to cut the way off for those murderers , so they don't take control of those young men, What I can do is to help them, so they can work, and concentrate on working. I know that there are going to be a lot of job opportunities, and there are going to be a lot of companies, from all over the world, working and investing in Iraq, I was following the CPA conference and what things are going on, and when money will start to get into Iraq. I spoke to many of the managers of the CPA and went to speak about how we can develop these programs, so most of the Iraqis can get use from it, but after what I've heard and seen out there, I believe that we should do something before time runs out.

So I called a friend; he is an Iraqi American. He is working in the green zone, and I asked him if he had time to meet me. He responded to my request and we met. I told him what happened. He was concerned also
for what he'd heard, and he told me what I can do to help. He told me "'I can't give work to just any one. They've got to try hard." I told him, "I agree with you, but you see, the problem is not only with
providing work. The problem is, can they fit the jobs. I mean, I am working in college, this is my second year, and all of what they've got from education is old stuff-- all the books belong to the early 80's. There's nothing new in their education system. Most of the students can't work on the computers--- this was before the war. After the war, things got worse. Most or all the laboratories were robbed of our
computers. They don't know internet, they don't know how they can do their own CD's ,they don't know how they are to fill a form out. I watched your conference, and you depend on computers to do your work a
lot-- and that is a great thing, and we need it-- but you have got to explain the ways to them. I am trying to teach my students the right way, but I am only teaching a limited number of students, and this operation needs to be controlled by the ministry of higher education. I know that changing the style of education takes time, but there are basic things they have got to learn, I mean that on the date of 1/7/2004, there are going to be more than 5000 students who will be graduated, and most of them don't know the basics.
He asked me, "What's the solution, in your mind?" I suggested that that there should be training programs in the colleges, let's say for example the graduate level, like a course for a week or something--- I
don't know-- and we give them the basic conditions that the American or the British or the foreign companies need, so they can learn it, or how they can fill out-or fail- an application seeking for work ,or how the companies can reach them. I told him that I am ready to leave everything I am working on and help you in this thing.

He told me he will try his best to help us but give me some time, so I can see what's possible.
And until then, I am going to help them all the ways I can. I am working on new site-- you will see it link to my blog-- and I will try to guide those people to the right way. Also, I will help any American company or any foreign company--or person--who wants to invest or work in Iraq, and build a link between us and you.

And please-- if any one has an idea or a way to help, please don't hesitate, We need your help.

Thanks

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