The Exiled Shalash

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Away Message

To My Few but Very Dear Readers
I will be in the Middle East for the next few weeks, I will go to Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. I will do my best to write from there, but if I can't then I promise to share my observations with you when I return.


The Exiled Shalash

Number of Sunni Deaths Since al-Askariyyah = 3000

I have just learned from a very trusted source that the number of Sunni deaths since the day the al-Askariyyah shrine was bombed is 3000. Talk about retribution!

3000 Sunnis have been murdered by Shi'a extremists, mostly followers of Muqtada, the so called Jaysh al-Mahdi but also by BADR, the military wing of SCIRI. Shi'a militias include, sadly, Mughaweer al-Dakhiliyyah which is Arabic for, "Uniformed Men of the Interior Ministry." The Interior Ministry is run by a war criminal, Bayan Solagh Jabr, the man who wants to avenge the death of imam Hussein by killing 21st century Baghdadi Sunnis!

Shame on the Iraqi government for not doing something about these militias.

Here's how scores of Sunnis were killed immediately after the shrine bombing. The Mahdi Army took Sunni men (dozens), lined them up and had young people (some kids) shoot them to death. It is a smart move on the part of the Sadrists, they are forcing young people to be loyal by staining their hands with the blood of innocent people.

What is the difference between Zarqawi and other terrorists killing Shi'as and Shi'a militias killing Sunnis? The difference is the former is done by outlawed groups and the latter is done by people inside the government or people who have many close links to the government.

Talabani should resign over the murder of these people! Ja'afari should be put on trial for treason and Bayan Jabr should shoot himself in the head.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Letter to Khomeini

Ayatollah Rohallah Khomeini,

I am not addressing you as "dear" because you're not dear to me. I am writing this to you to report to you some of what's taken place in the region since you've left. So much has happened since you died. I am sorry to say that if you were still around, you'd be smiling. Your archenemy, Saddam has been unseated, captured and is now on trial. Your students still call America "the Great Satan," they are still shouting slogans of the not-so-glorious Islamic Revolution. It may interest you to know that your creation, the Islamic Republic of Iran is close to developing a nuclear bomb and the cockroach that calls himself the President of Iran is challenging the world on Iran's "right" to have nuclear capabilities, he's doing that per orders of Ayatollah Ali Khamnaei.

The terrorists you supported in Lebanon are in Beirut as elected officials. The reactionary Saddam oppositionists whom you supported are ruling Iraq and their militias are killing poor Iraqi men. I am sure you know what I mean when I say, "poor Iraqi men," because you killed over one million of them.

Do you remember Ali Sistani? Your countryman who, by virtue of his Najafi education is now considered the most important Iraqi. Well he has the ear of the leader of the free world. I wonder if you would envy him if you were around. He hasn't gotten Time magazine's "Man of the year" but he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking of which, Shreen Ebadi, your countrywoman won that prize recently. She won it because she opposes the laws you brought upon the poor people of Iran. You know what I mean when I say, "the poor people of Iran," because you caused the deaths of one million of them during your bloody war with Saddam.

Who won that war Khomeini? Did you win it or did Saddam? Because we sure didn't and by "we," I mean the people of Iran and the people of Iraq. Collectively Iranians and Iraqis fell victim to your fantasies of bringing Iran to the seventh century and Saddam's fantasies of liberating Jerusalem.

Iran lives in your shadow Khomeini. Not much has changed in that great country since you left. It is still legal to marry an 8 year old girl. It is still legal to get married for a couple of hours. People still get stoned for adultery. Hands are still chopped off for stealing. Women are still forced to veil themselves. Iran lives by your legacy of backwardness.

Salman Rushdie is still alive, the man has moved to New York, married a beautiful model and lives a happy life away from the swords of political Islam. Yassir Arafat died recently of maybe AIDS. He died a broken man and left behind a tired Palestinian people, so tired that they recently voted for Hammas, you know, Sunni versions of you. Speaking of Sunni versions of you, the Salafists have declared a war on America, but they're not crazy about the Shi'as either. They're killing poor Shi'a men, women and children in Iraq only for being Shi'a. For a while, the Shi'as refused to retaliate, but then one day, the shrine of the two Imams, al-Hadi and al-Askari in Samara' was bombed and that's when the sharpened sword of Ali began to behead Sunnis.

If you were alive, you would be pouring gas on the fire in Iraq, but don't worry, Ali Khamnaei is doing just that. Iraq has become a pool of blood in which Iran stays afloat, so afloat that now our choices for the next leader of Iraq are between a man who takes orders directly from Tehran and a man who takes orders sort of directly from Tehran.

Not Sincerely At All,

The Exiled Shalash

Monday, April 10, 2006

We Need a Fatwa

Some people get mad at me when I say that Sistani is useless because Sistani to some is God's representative on earth, much like the pope, so you know they can do no wrong. In this very frustrating political deadlock that our bag of shit political class has created, shouldn't Sistani step up and issue a Fatwa calling upon the masses to protest? Doesn't this nonsense bother Sistani?

I think that Sistani owes his existence to the United States and more specifically to L. Paul Bremer III, so as a favor to the United States, Sistani should urge Iraq's politicians to expedite the formation of this damned government. There are many ways he can do this, first and foremost, he can urge Shi'as to protest. He can also ask Ja'afari to step down and take one for the team.

I mean this even though if I had the power, I would put Sistani under house arrest until the day he hit bucket, but I realize that people listen to him and that he should use that to expedite this damned process of forming a government which by the way was elected FOUR months ago. If I could take my vote back, I would in a New York heartbeat!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today, the world was rid of one of the most brutal dictators of our time, a man who may well be responsible for the lives of over three million human beings. If there ever was a time in my life when I was certain about the phrase, "a new era," then that day was it. It was a Wednesday, loads of nicotine and caffeine were traveling through my body by the time it was time for me to attend class. Out of habit, I turned on the TV, it was LBC (the Lebanese channel) and a crowd of Iraqis were gathered around Saddam's statue in Firdaus Square, the commentator wasn't saying that it was Firdaus Square and I couldn't tell where in Baghdad the footage was coming from. I switched between al-Jazeera, LBC, CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC and others, all had the same footage. Iraqis trying to bring down a gigantic statue of the man who had flipped their lives upside down so many times and for so long.

I turned off my mobile and sat in my living room watching this monumental event take place before my eyes. The word "LIVE" at the top corner of my screen became my best friend, everytime it disappeared, I waited for it to come back. Is this true? Is this really happening? Are three decades of cruelty suddenly over?

My tears skipped the throat and without any pain started to burst, that was the first time in my life that I had known tears of joy. I wanted to call my friend Fadi and tell him congratulations but I couldn't because Fadi was killed in 1991 during the uprising. I wanted to call my mother whose prayers were finally answered, but I hadn't been able to reach anyone in Baghdad for days. I wanted to do so many things, instead I sat there as I chain smoked. It never occurred to me that I had an exam that day, but even if it had, I wouldn't have gone.

Efforts at toppling the statue were slow and the men and women gathered around the statue had the attention of the whole world. CNN couldn't go to a commercial break, al-Jazeera couldn't restart its regular programming. Everything had to wait at that moment. The same Iraqis who had been neglected through a decade of deadly sanctions were now the focal point before the eyes of the whole world.

When a group of American soldiers came to help the Iraqi crowd, I started to think, "see we needed America to help us," I remember smiling. A confused American soldier climbed the base of the statue and hid Saddam's face with an American flag, shortly thereafter, he placed an Iraqi flag and then removed it. Hung by a rope and tied to a tank, Saddam's statue came down and the patient crowds started attacking the pieces of the statue, hitting them with slippers and spitting on the face. Oh what a moment of truth!

The commentators finally shut up because there were no words that could describe that moment.

Happy liberation day Iraq!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yesterday's Suicide Bombing

Millions of Muslims all over the globe have taken to the streets to show their disgust over yesterday's suicide bombing at a Shi'a mosque in Baghdad. Okay, that's a lie, Muslims don't do that kind of thing for human life, but if a Danish cartoonist had supposedly insulted Muhammad, then you would see the rage turned on, you would see Islamabad rise and Kabul rise and Cairo rise.

In the image shown here, a picture of imam Hussein, most likely from the pocket of one of the victims lays on the ground in a pool of blood, that's the prophet's grandson! Why are Muslims such hypocrites? Why do they shed tears for Muslim victims but stand idly by when victims of Muslim terrorism are torn into pieces?

Seventy people were murdered yesterday, seventy Muslims, seventy human beings, seventy Shi'as, seventy praying men, their sin? They were born Shi'a, the mere accident of birth determines whether you deserve to live or not!

What's more important, cartoons or human life?

The Muslim world needs a revolution, a revolution that would change this bankrupt belief system, a revolution that would place above all else, the individual.

Shame on every Muslim man or woman who protested the cartoons but refuses to protest the violence in Iraq. Shame on the Muslim scholars who refuse to condemn, loudly and utterly and unconditionally the murder of innocent human beings in Iraq.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Baghdad Burning and Zarqawi Not Existing

I was glad to hear that Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning" blog was nominated for a Samuel Johnson prize. Riverbend is a pseudonym for an Iraqi female writer who has made herself famous from blogging from a burning Baghdad. I have often enjoyed her writing from a literary point of view, she writes English flawlessly and beautifully, much like the openly gay Iraqi blogger, Salam Pax who has yet to tell his readers that his dad was a high up in the Ba'ath Party, hence the good education, hence the good English, hence the luxury of not knowing what it was like to be an Iraqi.

I am not claiming that that's the case with Riverbend because I know nothing personal about her nor do I care to investigate. She may afterall be an actual Iraqi person who suffered under Saddam and is now suffering from those carrying in their hearts swords from the 7th century. But it would be more appropriate if the Samuel Johnson people awarded her with a prize in fiction, rather than non-fiction or political commentary.

Riverbend calls Iraq's political class "puppets,' and leftists in the West love the idea that America is all about installing puppets in third world countries. This is in no way a defense of Iraq's political class, most of them are a bag of crap to me, but puppets? I think not. The Americans are not crazy about Abdulaziz al-Hakim nor are they in love with Ibrahim al-Ja'afari but they are working with them because they respect the fact that they are the will of their people (sometimes I wish they didn't).

Riverbend's genius political commentary is apparent from her thoughts on Zarqawi whom she thinks does not exist, rather that he is an American invention, a sort of a scapegoat for the ever-so-mysterious nature of the insurgency. Only Riverbend and Abdulbari Atwan think that Zarqawi doesn't actually exist. There have been biographies written on Zarqawi. People in the town of Zarqa in Jordan have been interviewed about Zarqawi and documents from "American-Occupied Afghanistan" show that indeed a man by the name of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi worked independently as a Jihadist (by independently I mean outside of Bin Laden's network).

Call it what you want, but this post is not an attack on Riverbend whose blog I read and enjoy, it is rather an effort to show how the left in the West worships those who call the Iraq project an occupation and mock the policies of the United States and I will add this, wish from the heart of their hearts that Iraq will be dragged into a civil war only so that Bush would look bad.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Democracy in Kurdistan?!?

Dr. Kamal Qadir sentenced to thirty years for insulting his majesty, Mr. Massoud Mustafa Barzani!

Thirty years for writing a few articles that supposedly attacked Barzani?

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Danish Cartoons

I always wondered what Muhammad actually looked like, you see in Islam, it is blasphemous to predict what he might have looked like. The official movie that tells the story of Islam (according to Muslims that is), does not show Muhammad. The movie is called a-Rissala, "The Message." Its director, Mustafa al-Aqqad was killed in the Amman bombings late last year.

Anyway, so unlike Christianity, Islam does not permit the depiction of Muhammad in any way. When I saw the Danish cartoons, it was my first time ever seeing Muhammad and I was entertained. Let me explain:

I don't think that offending people of faith is funny, even though extremists in all three religions do make me laugh sometimes, but why not let people see what Muhammad might have looked like? So for most Muslims who dared to look at the cartoons, it was their first time ever seeing their prophet. They hear about him every day and his name is mentioned in their prayers five times a day, but not one has ever seen something that suggests that this is how he might have looked.

Let me go back to why I was entertained, I really believe that freedom of speech is far more important than most other rights, but the mere use of that sacred right offended Muslims. It's funny how something so normal in the West is considered a taboo in the Muslim world!

Beheading journalists and foreign contractors in Iraq may not be accepted by Muslims, but it sure doesn't make them take to the streets in opposition to those who have hijacked their religion. Bombing Shi'a mosques is probably only frowned upon, but cartoons of a man who lived in the 7th century is a taboo. Muslims really need to catch up with the times.

That's right I published one cartoon!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I cam across this poem by Ma'aroof al-Rassafi in one of the many places where I keep my belongings, this is what it's like to live in the shadow of Saddam's Iraq, not having a place to call home, storing one's belongings in self-storage places across North America, it's indeed sad lives we Iraqis lead, here in exile and of course there in the land of the two rivers.

al-Rassafi lived between the years 1875 and 1945, during this time, he produced some of the most beautiful words ever written in the Arabic language, yes, much better than the religious nonsense. This poem, although written decades ago reads as though it was written about an Iraqi lady living in 2006:

لقيتها ليتني ما كنت ألقاها

تمشي وقد أثقل الاملاق ممشاها

أثوابها رثة والرجل حافية

والدمع تذرفها في الخد عيناها

بكت من الفقر فاحمرت مدامعها

واصفر كالورس من جوع محياها

مات الذي كان يحميها ويسعدها فالدهر من بعده بالفقر أشقاها
الموت أفجعها والفقر اوجعها والهم انحلها والغم اضناها
فمنظر الحزن مشهود بمنظرها والبؤس مرآه مقرون بمرآها
كر الجديدين قد ابلى عباءتها فانشق أسفلها وانشق أعلاها
ومزق الدهر؟،ويل الدهر مئزرها حتى بدا من شقوق الثوب جنباها
تمشي بأطمارها والبرد يلسعها كأنه عقرب شالت زباناها
حتى غدا جسمها بالبرود مرتجفا كالغصن في الريح واصطكت ثناياها
تمشي وتحمل باليسرى وليدتها حملاً على الصدر مدعوماً بيمناها
ما تصنع الام في تربيب طفلتها إن مسها الضر حتى جف ثدياها
ما بالها وهي طول الليل باكية والام ساهرة تبكي لمبكاها
تبكي لتشكوا من داء الم بها ولست افهم منها كنه شكواها
كانت مصيبتها بالفقر واحدةً وموت والدها باليتم ثناها
هذا الذي في طريقي كنت اسمعه منها فأثر في نفسي واشجاها
حتى دنوت اليها وهي ماشية وادمعي اوسعت في الخد مجراها
وقلت يا اخت مهلاً انني رجل اشارك الناس طراً في بلاياها
سمعت يا اخت شكوى تهمسين بها في قالة اوجعت قلبي بفحواها
هل تسمح الاخت ان اشاطرها ما في يدي الان استرضي به الله
ثم اجتذبت لها من جيبي ملحفتي دراهم كنت استبقي بقاياها
فارسلت نضرةً رعشاء راجفةً ترمي السهام وقلبي من رماياها
واجهشت ثم قالت وهي باكيةً واه لمثلك من ذي رقة واها
لو عم في الناس انصاف ومرحمة لم تشكي ارملة ضيقا بدنياها
اولى الانام يعطف الناس ارملة واشرف الناس من في المال واساها
I am sorry that it can only be enjoyed by Arabic-speaking readers, while I will not translate it, I will make an attempt to briefly annotate it.

al-Rassafi begins this masterpiece by saying, "I saw her, but I wish I hadn't." The "her" in question is an Iraqi widow whose appearance indicates that the times have had no mercy on her. Barefoot with eyes full of tears and clothes full of rips, she walks down the street knowing that he who once protected her has died.

This poem suffocates like no other Rassafi piece, a close reading of this piece requires anybody with a conscience to take a break in the middle. This victim of poverty, this victim of time has with her a child, an orphan in a land where nobody cares.

A land where the rich eats the poor, a land where the powerful eats the weak, a land where we have no statistics of the number of widows. How many widows did Saddam leave behind? How many widows like the one in Rassafi's poem are roaming the streets of Baghdad? Their husbands? Killed in the Iraq/Iran war, killed during the Anfal, killed during the Gulf War, killed during the uprising, killed by the sanctions, killed in Saddam's prisons, killed in Saddam's mass graves, killed by Zarqawi's bombs...

What a sad pair of rivers you are, oh Tigris and Euphrates!

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