Thursday, January 29, 2009

CBS 60 Minutes Piece on Palestine/Israel

This is the most amazing piece I have seen on a mainstream American media about the reality of the situation in Palestine/Israel. It's definitely a must-see.

Please watch it today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Elections are Close

And the pathetic intimidation begins. Iraq is getting ready for provincial elections, and there is still a small group out there that thinks they can keep people from joining in the government based on some notion that its a false government, a toy of the occupation.
A friend of ours is running for a the Baghdad provincial council (is that what it's called?) for the IIP (sunni Islamic Iraqi Party). She's a female in her fifties, with grown children. Today, a car drove by her house and shot at the only female in sight, the intended assassinee's sister in law. She was killed in this cowardly act of violence against a woman, for no reason but that she was thought to be running for a government seat.
These crazies need to wake up and stop their foolish game of scare tactics, death and fear mongering. They need to realize that God is not on their side, He is not on the side of violence, of death, of killing, of orphaning, of widowing, of foolishness.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My View of the Inauguration

I was really lucky to make it to Obama's inauguration on the national mall, though I didn't get to see him in person. The experience of being out there with at least 1 million fellow human beings was in itself a grand event. Celebrating Obama's inauguration was another. I tried to capture some of the excitement of the day with my camera, tried to capture some of the feeling of multitudes of humans out there at one time, in one place.

More on what I thought of the inauguration to follow in another post, inshaAllah.

I was standing near the Monument, near a hill, and I think this picture shows the crowds the best.


I got to watch the inauguration on a large screen jumbo-tron, out in freezing weather, but it was worth it. This was right after "President-Elect" became "President" Obama. The crowd went wild. Released all their tension from the previous years. I didn't realize that so many other ppl felt that way till I heard Bush, Cheney and everyone related to them get boo-ed like crazy every time they came on screen.

Trying to get home after the event was a study in crowd control. Seriously. 100,000 strong stuck in unmoving human traffic. This man is directing traffic from atop the porta potties. At least attempting to.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thank You Bush (or not)

I was thinking a few days before Bush's last day, seriously thinking about whether in twenty years, Iraqis will be grateful for what he and Cheney have done to their country. Because right now, all I can see is the blood of many, and its so hard to see through Bilal's blood, through A and A and U's kidnapping, through my distance from my husband, the greatness that should have come from overthrowing a tyrant.

I still don't know how I feel about it.

I remember when Saddam was first thrown out, people were hurt, but it had not yet reached home for us and our family. The most tangible thing we saw from it was that Aunt N's husband was finally able to come home from exile, where 7 years earlier he had fled Iraq in disguise and on foot through the mountains, because of Saddam's promise to hang him for a 'transgression' he had not committed. He was finally able to come home to his children who were now men and women, and to his wife who he had left years ago. He was finally able to leave the tough, difficult life of a refugee.
So we were thankful, albeit sad that a country had to be thrown into war and death for this to happen.

And then, Baghdad became unbearable, but it was still worth it. Sahar's husband was kidnapped but he returned. Uncle S was kidnapped, but he returned. All with God's will, and we were so thankful.

And Baghdad grew worse.

We could not leave our homes after five, we could not visit our grandmother in Adhamiya because of the danger of travelling there, we could hardly visit any family members who did not live on our street or in our immediate community. Eid celebrations were confined to a small alley way in Baghdad, children's play was confined to homes, and fathers slept at night with guns besides their heads.

And then the boys were taken. Three young men, living in the house right in front of us, our relatives through Aunt N's husband, were kidnapped. And they did not return. Nor their bodies. Only promises and hopes that they might still be out there, two and a half years later. Their children born after their kidnapping left to grow up wondering why other children had fathers and they did not.

And our other neighbor, of a different sect, was killed in his shop. And our uncle in law's brother was killed in our neighborhood.

And then, Bilal was taken. And killed. And his body was recovered and buried by his Babby, the first one to join his grandfather, and be his companion after death.

And then, Bush's war did not seem to make it anymore. It did not seem to weigh more heavily than these young men's death. It did not seem to make up for all this blood spilt, all these tears shed, all this heartbreak and agony and permanent scarring of our young children. My heart still cries when I think of Bilal and the others, how can I imagine Aunt N's tears and heart break?

And yet, I still do wonder if Iraq will be on track in 25 years, and people will look back on these days and say they were the individual sacrifices needed to free 18 million men and women from the prison Saddam had them in. I wonder, but I can not say that I have seen that day yet, nor felt it with my heart. Perhaps one day, we will thank you Bush for what you did.

But that day is not today.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


What's happening in Gaza is a travesty. I haven't had time to blog in so long, but Gaza is on our minds. We've held a couple of Nights of Prayer for Gaza in our area and lots of rallies. Today is The Big One, in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.

May God bring peace and justice to every land.
May Palestinians have their freedom and their land.
May they feel secure in their own homes.
May their injured find medicine and electricity to get better.
And may injustice fall in every form.