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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 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.

Note: My Email List subscribers have been notified of this post.


Blogger Aunt Najma said...

Wow, I never thought students can do such things if they put their brains in their heads!! I'm going to link to this for sure..
See how the Ferid's college celebrated:

2:37 PM  
Blogger Aunt Najma said...

Well, this link is more specified..

2:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

I'm a little confused. What's the purpose of the World Trade Center and funeral tent and also the bridge with the car bomb. These seem like odd things to put in a "celebration".

Is it just a matter of making a representation of events that have happened during your time at the college?

7:35 PM  
Blogger Hassan said...

No it is just a matter of making fun of real events, for example the name of the party was (Satamoni) which is the name of an Iraqna mobile company commercial. Just to bring a smile to faces.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

No it is just a matter of making fun of real events... Just to bring a smile to faces.

Well, I still find that very odd. Someone building a model of the World Trade Center with planes crashing through it doesn't bring a smile to my face. It offends me. I'm not sure I understand the point and how it's supposed to be funny.

9:38 PM  
Blogger G Money said...

Wow. Too bad no one did a scene of Halabja, that would have been good for a laugh, also, a nice bridge scene would have been good, especially if you burned 4 american soldier dolls and then dismembered them and hung it from the bridge. Hilarious. Europe must feel a little bit left out of this great celebration of brilliant Iraqi minds... perhaps a train station being blown up would have prevented.

I figured Najma would like it though... goes without (her) saying...

12:19 AM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Yeah, or maybe a nice diorama of bulldozers pushing bodies into a pit, with some still trying to crawl out. What fun! Engineers are so clever!

12:41 AM  
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

I'll have to go look at the graduation celebrations at the colleges near me in New York next month. Maybe they'll have funny models of mass Iraqi graves. Y'know, just to "bring a smile to faces."

The more I think about this the angrier I'm getting so I'm gonna walk away from it now. I don't understand it at all.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Aunt Najma said...

Maybe you'll have some Abu Ghraib scenes? It did bring a smile to those who did it, check the photos, all of you.. You LOVE those who support your troops, those students wanted some time off from their misery, they wanted a :"War Isn't Everything" day. They don't care if you got offended, it only matters that they had fun without hurting any Iraqis..

Have you seen Iraq after the war, the trade centers are nothing compared to the distruction that has happened there.. NOTHING

3:49 PM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Do you know how many wars the students of my age have seen, 4 wars. I have been born during the first one, my graduation of kindergarden was postponed because of the second one. My high school finals was taken directly after the last one. This isn't my personal opinion. The student didn't put up only figures of the world trade center, they put figures of our suspended bridge which was bombed during the war. They also put up a funeral tent which you can see behind the world trade center. Personly we should all respect our dead no matter what nationality. I will tell my fellow students that I have received many letters from people saying that they where offended by these statues. These figures are a reminder for us that violence doesn't bring but violence, and to remind us of the reason of these wars. Making fun of these events is the only way we can conitue our lives without them haunting us.

6:38 PM  
Blogger PatCA said...

I think you went a little over the top with the "celebration" and I'm sure you can understand why Americans are offended.

I wish you the best in your future. Be careful-- blaming everything on "The Great Satan" will get you nowhere.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

Maybe you'll have some Abu Ghraib scenes?

No, strangely enough, those aren't the kinds of things we do at "graduation celebrations". We usually just celebrate the graduation without making models of death, destruction and horror.

It did bring a smile to those who did it, check the photos, all of you..

Apparently it did. And I'm wondering why scenes of death and destruction would make someone smile. Check out Ferid's graduation party. They are all Iraqis also and have lived amid the same difficulties. They managed to have a festive party with lots of really clever decorations without needing a model of people being killed in the World Trade Center or on a Baghdad bridge to make them smile.

...those students wanted some time off from their misery, they wanted a :"War Isn't Everything" day.

Then why make models about war and destruction if they wanted "time off" from that? What they actually did is make a "War IS Everything" day.


I can understand that people your age in Iraq have been mentally traumatized by many wars and other horrors during your lifetime. And you wrote that "making fun of these events is the only way we can conitue our lives without them haunting us". While I understand your point these models weren't "making fun" of anything. There was no caricature or joke involved. "Making fun" would be making a silly caricature of Saddam or Bush that makes them look foolish, or something like that. Making a model of planes hitting the WTC, a moment when 3000 people died, or similar scenes on a Baghdad bridge are not "making fun". I can't see why anyone would smile at that.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Hello Hassan,

I enjoy reading all your posts and have to say that your photos of the graduation are cool.
Ferid's beat you though because his had chicks in them...heh.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words....and now you are finding out ;o)

Personally, this photo or any of them for that matter, was not in any way offensive to me.
When I first saw the photo in question, I had quite the opposite feeling that some have expressed here.
I saw the same feeling you have expressed in your comment...respect.

To my fellow Americans...please do not be so quick to judge something that you my not fully understand.
This was a graduation party for those concerned...not a news story....they know the meaning of these decorations,
and I am sure their hearts are in the right place.

Hassan, I am looking forward to your next post as they are almost always light hearted and fun to read.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

To my American friends,
Hassan explained the point of these pictures very well, but I feel I can help you understand more...being an Iraqi living in the U.S. I can understand why you might have been offended by such photos...the thing is, you really don't understand the Iraqi viewpoint and mentality (which I don't blame you for since you have to be one to get it)...the Iraqi people have undergone tremendous tragedies whether personal or the nation as a whole especially Iraqi youth...sometimes their only way of escaping such atrocities is through humor...trying to find the funny side of an otherwise horrible situation...this might be hard to fathom (I got this word from "a few good men" hehe) but it is like a short story goes:
a little boy fell hard off his bike, got up and started laughing, and a passerby asked him "why are you laughing little boy, you just fell of your bike" the boy answered: "well sir if I don't laugh then I'm going to cry so I chose to laugh"

I find this story very similar to the Iraqi students’ situation...it was their graduation day, they wanted to be happy, they wanted to laugh, and leave their tears behind...but how could they when everything around them spells destruction...so their only solution was to escape reality by making jokes of real life situations in an attempt to make them seem unreal or escape from them for at least a day: their Graduation day!!!

Hope this helped clarify things…and no, American students would not find such things funny in their graduation celebration, because they have not lived under such conditions for prolonged periods of time to the point where you become desensitized to the reality around you (and I hope to God you never have to experience such a life…believe me, you don’t wish this kind of life to anyone!!!)

9:20 AM  
Blogger Dalia Mohammed said...

wow, wow

11:09 AM  
Blogger hassan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Ok this has been happening constantly now, there are a few people that has been taking my name or Najma's to write some nasty comments, I'll keep deleting them whenever I saw them, but if you do see them don't bother with them. Sorry about that everyone.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hey Hassan,

The problem is that blogger doesn't enforce unique names - if I were to change my display name to "Hassan", I'd look like you too.

If someone sees something posted that seems out of character, click on the name. If it's the real blogger, it will open up his/her profile with a link back to his/her own blog. If it's a phony, it won't.


4:46 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I need a shrink

5:44 PM  
Blogger lights said...

I see you have deleted my post and that is fine for it is your right to do so, but if you are open minded enough to still be reading this please keep in mind. I said nothing disrespectful or mean, only asked a very hard question. I guess you are maybe to young to take hard questions so I am sorry for asking, but I will pray you learn not to hate so much allthough this seems to be a trait of Islam, if so I will pray for all muslums.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Hassan said...

Well lights, I don't know what to say, but I can't seem to find your qestion, in your first post you went hard on Najma, so I deleted it because I didn't want any comments war on my blog, your second one was a threat of a nuclear bomb in Iraq, am I right?? Please tell me where is your question and I will answer it HAPPILY.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Twisk1 said...

Yeah I can understand trying to find humor in it. Though other Americans may think it sick but when 9/11 happened I cracked jokes. When three hurricanes hit my home in Florida I made jokes then. It's how I deal with stressful or upsetting situations and I understand a need for you guys to do that.

5:31 AM  
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