Friday, February 27, 2009

Baghdad, Saif, and Ali.

This entry is being written to the sounds of AloBaghdad Radio, please support them.

I realized that I can only write when I'm angry and feeling isolated, otherwise my words are just fluff thrown in the face of falsely uplifting winds. In that sense, Doha could be the perfect place for this blog to rise up from, as it is a city always ready to depress and destroy me.

However, I have to realize that these are still ultimately privileged confines, and no mental anguish of mine can equate the death and destruction facing millions of people in Iraq, or Palestine, or any other part of the world struggling to come out from under the boots of colonialism. My stress is also incomparable to the dehumanization and abuse facing hundreds of thousands of migrant workers that clean and build the plush aestheticism pretending to be culture in these parts of the world.


My dreams are regularly graced with the presence of Baghdad and all her majesty. All the details are there. The proud tired faces of her residents, the talking walls of magical homes with all their stories and dirty secrets, and the struggling river Tigris as it winds through the city, carefully tending to her wounds, and consoling her broken soul.

Baghdad is a city, despite being left alone with her legs forced wide open by thousands of her relocating residents, still gives strength without prejudice and discrimination. Iraqis, around the world, and whether they know it or not, are fed dignity and respect every day by the city many can't wait to forget. As a mother mourning the murder of her soul, Baghdad becomes more vigilant in her love for all those that drank from her hands, no matter how hard they have tried to sell her off, burn her, or cover up the traces of her love by white washing themselves with hype and pipe dreams.

Despite my unwavering support for Baghdad, including organizing to oppose the killing and torture of the city I love the most, I am still ashamed to revert to her flowery feet, even if I'm to return and beg for forgiveness. How will she welcome me? Won't she ask me where I have been during the most difficult of days? Will she laugh at the effect of my attempts to stand in the way of those trying to pillage her pride? If I know anything about Baghdad, I know that she will welcome me right into the expanding basateen (groves) of her beauty.

Ali & Saif

But at times, I wish Baghdad was harsher with her citizens, especially those that continue to flaunt her failures as signs of accomplishment and liberation. There are two such characters here, despite their good intentions and complete irrelevancy to the political developments in Iraq, who upset me the most with their reactionary repulsive rants. They are Ali and Saif, two friends of mine, who need to be checked, or chucked.

Yesterday, in the parking lot of one Doha's desperate hotels, and just outside an American fast food chain, of which I shamefully ate not only once, but twice, a conversation took place. A fitting place for some selling out to take place, and Ali and Saif took advantage of the surroundings to do so with flying colors.

They were telling me their thoughts on Palestine, of which I don't think they can name three cities, not including Tel Aviv ofcourse. They were telling me how the Palestinians deserve what they got, and that I support Palestine because I didn't live in Baghdad, missing out on how Palestinians got treated better by Saddam than most Iraqis. They are referring to the tokenistic handouts given by Saddam to Palestinians, either in the form of free housing or admission to Iraqi universities. Palestinian support for Saddam is clouded, corrupt, and confused.

At best, their analysis is infantile and reactionary, not taking into account the systems of global power at play, that have kept Palestinins and Iraqis living under the feet of Israel and Saddam, as they worked hand in hand, regarldess of their intentions, to destroy the Arab world, and in particular, its youth. The former with bullets and bombs, and the latter with blazing bouts of empty promises, torture, and futures full of nothing.

I am not surprised by their ignorance, seeing the putrid social class from which they emerge, elite, educated and eager to earn. However, I am most disappointed because they both show signs of progressive thought on other issues, less clouded with emotion and their daddies' commentary, so I choose not to give up on them, nor on my role, to talk to youth and get them to move before they are moved on themselves.

In the meantime, and until next time, I will go to respond to Tiffin's reply.


  1. Baghdad is a whore. It is time Iraqis stop weeping for the non-altruistic version of events they have long whined over in self-deluding fits of romanticised flatulence.

    Baghdad is a city that is cherished while the residents are butchered. Typical of the East where the brick wall of a Mosque is worth more than a village of innocents swept away in the fiery zeal of the Shia-Sunni divorce.

    Your friends Ali and Saif are an insult to the one million Iraqis who bled during the war with Iran. An entire generation of Iraq's finest died so that these two bastard examples of modern Iraqi society can whine and mope about in typical Qum-inspired fashion.


    Iraq's women are as whorish as their capital city. Iraq's men are the concubines of whoever can throw them a brass farthing.

    Iraq is dying. There has only been one way - one way to salvage any semblance and that is through resistance.

  2. I read this entry to the sounds of Alo Baghdad. How beautiful. Ahmed, thank you for this entry especially writing Baghdad as a strong brown womyn. Proving that both Baghdad and we womyn stay in your heart.