The Exiled Shalash

Friday, March 17, 2006

Civil War

"I don't know what civil war means," is how Shalash begins his latest piece. You see in Arabic civil war can be translated into al-Harb al-Ahliyyah, but al-Ahliyyah also means "private," and Ahil also means, "family." So is Iraq's civil war a private one? No, I think it is a war among a family, that's probably why it's translated as such.

There is no such thing as a civil war, wars are not civil, not even the one that removed Saddam, if I recall correctly, I think I was a staunch supporter of that war.

Iraq's society is confused, it has gone from Saddam to Sadr (even Sadr city was once called Saddam city). Iraq's society has gone from Saddam to Zarqawi, from cruelty to terrorism, from blood to tears and then back to blood. We have gone from secularist Arab chauvinism to Iranian-style theocracy.

So what is our sin? Why are we now on the eve of a civil war? What have we done to deserve this?

Why is it that a country of 27 million people is stuck between two choices, Ja'afari or Abdulmahdi, how about neither? How about somebody simple, somebody liberal, somebody who respects the Shi'a and Kurds but also respects Yezedis and Christians, Sunnis and Jews? Why not somebody who cries for the children of Darfur as much as the children of Falluja and the children of Kerkuk and the children of Basrah?

Because we're a decent people, we have suffered so much for so long, we deserve someone better than Ja'afari and yes, someone better than Adil Abdulmahdi.

Shalash, the oh-so beautiful writer whose identity continues to be a puzzle writes in his recent piece that Badr and the Mahdi Army are as Iraqi as Zarqawi is Iraqi. He's right, how can you call yourself an Iraqi when you respond to the desecration of the al-Askariyyah shrine by desecration Sunni mosques? Shalash is right, how can you call yourself an Iraqi if you take orders from the Iranian regime, the same regime whose hand is stained with the blood of over one million Iraqis.

Let us re-define "Iraqi," because if Abdulaziz al-Hakim is Iraqi, then to hell with my Iraqiness and if Muqtada is an Iraqi, then I want my Iraqi identity thrown in the Tigris.

I am Iraqi because the victims of Halabja were Iraqis and the victims of Najaf were Iraqis. I am Iraqi because of the marshlands of the south and because of the mountains of Kurdistan and because of Nadhim al-Ghazali and because of Belqis al-Rawi.

Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr are as much Iraqis as Khatami and Ahmadinejad are Iraqis. Harith al-Dhari and Mish'an al-Jibouri are as much Iraqis as Yassir Arafat was an Iraqi.

When all of this is over, maybe tens of years from now, maybe millions of lives later, maybe after Shalash and after the Exiled Shalash, maybe after Shalash becomes an Exiled Shalash, Iraqis have to put these clowns who now occupy Saddam's palaces on trial. The likes of Bayan Jabr and Abdulaziz al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr and Ibrahim al-Ja'afari whose names have become known to the world at the expense of our blood should all be brought to justice and no, not some justice system crafted in the 7th century, but a real justice system that does not differentiate between a Budhist and a Muslim, a Shi'a and an atheist, a Yezedi and a Jew.


  • I agree with all that you are saying apart from one point and that is I was totally against the war to remove Saddam. I had known that all this will happen, call it an intuition or whatever! He was ruthless yes but with the same kind of people who are now in power and taking the country back to the dark ages. However , up to now I do not like to compare Saddam Hussain with any of the present puppets. I would love to have him back in power just for 24 hours, no more, to see what happens!!! I am sure a lot of "clown" heads will be rolling!
    I do beg the "Gods" for a true Iraqi to rule one day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:11 AM  

  • Friend: forgive me for being late, i put up a temporary link in a comments section, i will put up a permanent link tomorrow God willing, as i charge my dial-up net account (working on borrowed credits now!)

    i have a note here: why dont you put a link in the side-bar to Shalash's home-page? ?
    that way even the (arabic reading) people who have never heard bout him will see the whole pic!

    cheers now, take care..

    By Blogger aNarki-13, at 1:20 PM  

  • Amen to that.

    By Blogger Zeyad, at 3:29 PM  


    They billed the prospect as a surge
    And so it came to be,
    A thousand daily with the urge
    To pack their bags and flee.

    It was a surge in widowhood,
    In torture and detention,
    For air strikes target bad and good
    As equal, should I mention?

    Saddam was not the architect
    Of the Iraqi state,
    Yet, decades of evolved law wrecked,
    Wiped clean traditionĀ“s slate--

    What else might be expected? All
    The laws, like culture stored
    In libraries, museums,--fall
    The bulwarks by the board.

    Some college grad without much sense
    In life so then installed
    To issue orders--innocence
    O it be never called!

    One hundred widowed every day,
    A million dead so far
    And counting! Sam has had his way,
    Our "uncle" most bizarre.

    The rapes of children, little boys,
    The incidents past reckon,
    How isolated? It annoys
    To have the conscience beckon.

    But so face up to the result
    Of this foolhardy deed,
    Notorious, infamous assault
    Born only out of greed.

    Not ever for a moment try
    To paint it as though it
    Expressed some proud nobility
    The way the first bombs hit.

    Not noble, good, but of deceit
    And rank dishonor born--
    A fate to pray you never meet,
    Too feeble-souled to mourn.

    By Anonymous i.m.small, at 7:41 PM  

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