Monday, October 11, 2010

America and the world: an Iraqi viewpoint

I found this facinating blog via google; written by Abu Khaleel (an iraqi) is "A blog from Iraq about Iraq, war, America, occupation, government, democracy, religion, terrorism... and politics." Abu Khaleel writes in English, and with great passion, he gives a unique insight into the opinions and thoughts of the 'average' iraqi on America. It is critical on many aspects of America, though predominantly Bush's presidency & the war in Iraq. Last post 2006. Written in Black are parts from the blog, written in red are my comments. I would usually refer to people once using full name then using their second name however 'Abu' means father of (it is not the authors name- his full name is not given and thus it was hard to find info on him) so I have used the full title he gives through out this post, as the name should be quoted in full- it is one name. Hope that makes sense... a small bit of random trivia before I get into things!

Some of the things I found interesting:

Abu Khaleels thoughts on President Bush:

"About an hour before dawn some time ago, we woke up to the sound of heavy pounding on our front door. I woke up with quite a start. Almost simultaneously, my wife yelled: “The boys!!!”

[My brother who lives next door was away in Jordan at the time with one of his boys. My two nephews were alone in the house... because of the severity and urgency of the pounding, something must have happened to them.]

I rushed to the door, barefooted and, luckily, weaponless. It turned out to be a search party – a dozen armed men, mostly American with some ING soldiers, pointing their guns at me. I was relieved. It was quite a shock that lasted only a few seconds before reality took over.

My relief was misplaced, but this is not the purpose of this post. What kept coming back to my mind was a video clip of President Bush being hurriedly told that America was under attack on the morning of September 11th, 2001 during a visit to a school.

We probably all know how he sat there in that classroom for several (seven? nine?) minutes sober and obviously thinking.Very dignified; but is it natural? What was he thinking about with the little data that he had? I would have thought that someone who was told of a calamity involving his family or his country would jump to find out more: What happened? What was the damage? Who was hurt? Was there more danger? Is there anything I can do? Who did it?... Hundreds of questions would flash through the mind in seconds.

But the first thing most people would do is to jump to find out more… and not sit down and think about it. Thinking about such things, ‘analyzing’ them only comes after knowing the facts… not before!

Are Americans a different breed of people?

Does their President come from a different breed? "

I found the last two lines of the post the most interesting. The idea that Americans are entirely seperate people from Iraqis, their reactions and 'human instincts' different to theirs. Abu Khaleel can clearly not identify or empathise with Bush in any way, to the extent that he sees him as "a different breed" of human. It highlights the disunion between civilians and government, but also between Iraqis and Americans.

"Not One Damn Dime Day":

He also writes about "Not One Damn Dime Day" an American day of protest against the war in Iraq...

The explanation of the day posted on his website written by an organiser: "Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America. On "Not One Damn Dime Day," those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending. During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours. " The organisers clearly felt that this was a good way of protesting, though Abu Khaleel felt otherwise...

Abu Khaleels response: "There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed... no effort required… and you can save money... Silent people making a statement by being even more silent through the power of many wallets. There is another “American” aspect to it: the bigger your wallet is, the bigger your contribution ( and the more money you save). The more wallets, the louder the statement. This idea could only be born in America. "

So despite trying to help and address the issue of the Iraq war, Americans are being ignorant by protesting using cash and consumer power. As Abu Khaleel says, it is a very American idea, though prehaps Americans recognise that spending is, ignorant or not, the best way of attracting attention to the cause? This highlights that Americans may not intend to create hate, but end up asking "why do they hate us" because of ignorance & lack of understanding. The organisers of the protest did not intend to upset the iraqis that don't have a 'damn dime' to refrain from spending, but have. As Abu Khaleel pointed out in the post I discussed above, Americans seem to be a "different breed" they have became disunited from the rest of the world.


"Mr President you are immoral"- a response to a speech made by President Bush:

" I usually try not to post when I am angry. I didn’t wait up last night to hear Mr. Bush’s speech. I followed it this morning. I wish I didn’t.A few excerpts from President Bush’s speech on 28th June, 2005:

After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home.

The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. [Bush very clearly saying that American military sacrafice causes them to ask 'is it worth it' yet disregarding the Iraqi lives lost.]

Abu Khaleel responds to his speech:

"Mr. Bush, you are immoral.

This is my country you are talking about.

We had a tyrant but we had no terrorists before you decided to make my country a battleground against international terrorism.

You gloat about killing “hundreds” of terrorists in a battle that is killing many thousands of innocent Iraqis, whom you pay some pathetic lip service. But how can I blame you? You did not bother count. People are still debating whether 20,000 or 200,000 were killed.

Are the lives of Iraqis so cheap in your eyes?

Is this your understanding of friendship?

Mr. President, you are immoral! Any Congress that does not impeach somebody who utters these words within a week is also immoral. Any American who agrees with you on this is also immoral.

[His refernces here to congress and 'any American' allowing it reflects that Iraqis do not simply blame the government for the war, they blame the society that allows the government also...?]

... I feel sorry for America.You are also wicked… still playing on primitive feelings of fear, revenge and selfishness of some of your countrymen... All those innocent [Iraqi] lives are dear to their families and friends. Oh, but they are not American. They do not count. Besides, you cannot be wrong; when have you ever been wrong before?And you and those Americans who support you have the audacity to want us to be grateful, for ridding us of Saddam, because he was killing Iraqis. That was none of your business anyway. Don’t tell me you did it for our eyes… to save Iraqi lives. Hypocrites!"


Summary: This post is very long because I included extracts, I may post links instead in future, but I have put in bold what I feel are the really important statements & have been able to comment within what Abu Khaleel has written. I find his view point to be very 'down to earth', I can relate to and understand what he believes in, I don't see it as extreme or warped at all. He uses speeches, facts or figures to back up his arguments, and his critisisms [of the iraq war especially] I feel are incredibly valid. He reflects how differently Americans and Iraqis see things, the post about the 'Dime' protest day is especially interesting. Americans with all their wealth and western power attempt to 'help' but only ignorantly upset atleast one Iraqi in the process, with him pointing out that it is Americans 'doing nothing' literally, a very 'American' form of protest. The blog posts are extensive, Abu Khaleel has also published a book based on his 'sister' blog: The book is of the same name, though I could not find much about Abu Khaleel on the web, prehaps questioning how valid the blog is. There is not much evidence to say that the blog is not American or otherwise? Still, though I can not be certain of it's origins & validity, the criticisms of America and questions the views raise are interesting.

I also wanted to share this link I had found, when looking into the question of 'why the world hates America' a very long but well thought out response:

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