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An Average Iraqi

An Average Iraqi is just a fictional character whose....well, fictional. I will use this character to make a comparison between him and real human beings like myself or any one else.

Location:Baghdad, Iraq

My name is Hassan Kharrufa. I am a 20 year old Iraqi student. I study civil engineering at the Department of Building and Construction at Al-Jami3a Al-Taknologia (The Tecknology Univirsity), Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi Bloggers BiographyUpdated November 11

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fire Arms in Iraq

Today I had a really long journey until I reached the university, not only it was the day for the meeting of the National Assembly, but a truck had it's package all over the road, seems like an accident or something, anyway the guys on the truck where simply sitting there, and the package was just small wooden boards, they could have easily moved it out of the road but they simply didn't. Everyday you have to wakeup even earlier than before to make it in time because of such events, you never know what could happen to the road, Americans could block it, an explosion might happen, or just traffic problems. And there is the heat , because in a country where temperature could rise up to 50 Celsius IN THE SHADE, even some cars would heat up, some of the old cars couldn't be driven more than a few hours in the summer, I still remember the problems we usually had with our old car a few years ago, we always carried water with us to cool down the engine in times of need, and when I was first learning how to drive, simply turning it on was a long procedure, you don't need to know what happened when I tried to make it move.

  Ok it has been a while since I last talked about the star of the show, THE AVERAGE IRAQI . Let's talk how does the average Iraqi handle fire arms. A gun is a rare thing to find in Iraq, the most popular weapon is the AK47, which we call "Klashinkoof", a Russian weapon of course. It can be found in almost every house in Iraq, some people carry them in their cars, they usually don't hesitate in using them, I remember seeing some people use them to enter gas stations after the war, which is why there are US troops or national guard at every gas station now, and it is very popular when it comes to terrorists. Weapons are not necessarily used in defense or attack in Iraq, their most frequent use is in weddings, and nation wide happy occasions, how??. Well for example when the Iraqi football team won on the Australian team, almost everybody went to the roof and started shooting in the sky, you could think there was a war out there, choppers stopped flying for a while until things calmed down, this is probably the most dangerous behavior of the average Iraqi, you hear people everywhere saying how it is a bad habit, but there are just too many people out there that think it's alright, guess it will be some time before we can change that. I remember in the first day after the end of the war, US troops weren't accustomed to this behavior, so they would think that there was shooting elsewhere. I've had a few chats with some US marines during my summer field training, which helped very much to improve my accent, and I learned a lot of their ways and habits. One of them was speaking very bad Arabic, but he was learning fast, I helped him a lot. Back to weapons, most of people don't even now how to aim accurately, all they know is how to load it, reload it and fire it.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

War Isn't Everything

  When any one outside Iraq hears the name (IRAQ), the first things that get to his mind are: War, US army, Terrorists and death. Even me when I hear the news of a US marine killed, or an explosion at some place, it doesn't leave the same effect it used to do before the war. For today we decided to get out of the war situation and calibrate the graduation of the 4th year students like war never happened, even if Saturday was an official holiday, students went to college to make the department look like it is born new, they worked harder than they do on normal days, and I don't think that most of them has ever studied this long. I got out to college about 7:15 am and reached college about 7:45, after a little talk with the security boys they let me into the department even before the staff got in the building, I wanted to take pictures of the department before anyone got there, and I did, here see the pictures:

Fancy Work, and if you can spot the cube, it was opened later.

Doing these was the hardest part of all

I don't know whose idea was this, but putting the funeral behind the world trade center is a nice touch.

If you take a good look all these figures are real figures, but the faces are of students.

The maker of this one wanted to show us what a good weapon smith he is.

See the bridge miniature?? We brought tank toys, humvees toys, car toys and a car was painted in black and messed out a little to make it look like it has just exploded. The scene looked as real as it can get.

  sadly I missed the two big towers of the department, one was the Evil tower which was the best thing in the party, the second one was an Iraqna mobile tower which we brought into the department. Later on people started showing up and the department was full of students not necessarily from the department, but it was VERY crowded in there, I know everyone agreed this was the best graduation party for the year. Doing all this decoration required massive team work from the 5 branches of the civil engineering department which are: Structure (I'm in this branch), Project Management, Roads and Bridges, Sanitary and Dams. They even hired a decoration engineer to get it right.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Loooooong Time No See (UPDATED)

  What can I say?? Busy? That's old. Internet? That's obvious. Exams or Time? That's busy but not in so many words. Dead? That's permanent. Let's just say all the previous without the dead part. Thing is; after getting tired of our old internet service provider who was way overloaded, we decided to try another one, the process from searching for one until finally connecting to internet from home again took more than a week. This time it is remarkably faster but has a habit of coming and going when most subscribers are online. We know our internet speed by going to this link , our speed came 121.52 Kbps.

  What happens when you stop coming online suddenly for more than a week; You come back with an email that has 36 unread messages in it, and an instant messenger full of offline messages asking where are you, why are you never online and when will you be online again.

  A couple of days ago the national assembly decided it was time to make a few decisions for a change, the result was the new president Maam Jallal. His name is Jallal but I don't know why or what is Maam. But the reflections in the Iraqi street came almost a zero, no one actually cared about the new president, or the new government because it is just ink on paper until now. These days the last year students of each department are having their graduation parties, each department calibrate on a different day, ours is on Sunday. The college is full of colors and each department makes a list of it's graduating students and in front of each name is a nickname of the student, a sentence he/she always say or something known of him/her that could be used as a reminder. While on the same time me and a couple of guys on our way to college, the car broke down in the middle of a traffic mess, unable to get the original to work and unable to get another our only option was to walk. With a time limit on our backs we did a little more than 3 km on feet in less than an hour, until we reached a place where we could get a ride, which we did happily.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

The Big Holiday

  Between the National Assembly and the Shiat (in Arabic it is spelled Shi3a) we had a really long holiday from Monday to Sunday. The National Assembly ended with the only result to meet again on Sunday, very resourceful! The Shiat have a yearly occasion, which I don't much about, but in this occasion they usually travel from Baghdad to Karbala ON FOOT. For that reason, the streets were filled with law enforcers in their different forms to prevent any attacks, and it is costumed in Iraq that a BMW is usually used in any attacks because it is very fast and make a splendid way of escape, so BMWs were searched thoroughly. Anyway the reason for such a long holiday is that the Shiat start traveling on Monday to reach Karbala on Wednesday, so the streets were crowded and travelling by car became almost impossible. The National Assembly took place on Wednesday too. Later we heard from TV and to be exact from the Sharqia TV channel that Thursday was to be an official holiday, because it was between two holidays.

  Just a while ago, I heard from the same channel the news about the explosions at AL-MALWIA, which is an ancient minaret built in 852, and is about 100 KM north of Baghdad. Seems that US snipers were stationed there until the last week. Locals said that this might have been done to prevent the snipers from using it again, what a waste! The minaret guard said that he woke up on the sound of an explosion and he saw some of the rocks falling down. That minaret is a landmark in Islamic architecture and one of the great archaeological treasures of Iraq, and I don't think that it should have been used for military purposes in the first place, or to be targeted for it.

  Well this is interesting, Raghda , and Dalia have finally remembered that they are blogging and were generous enough to post. By the way I don't know why I haven't seen it before but Dalia has a post titled Samara with pictures of the minaret, 2nd and 4th one are the targeted minaret. I have searched the web but couldn't find any pictures of the minaret after the explosion. Maybe later.