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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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Iraqi Bloggers: From Pax to Sanyora

     This post was last updated on November 11 2005. The writing in red are what I have just added.

     It took me some time to put this up. This is the journey the Iraqi bloggers made ever since Salam Pax first signed in blogger on June 2002 until the day I write this post.


     The first blog started on June 2002 was Where is Raed. Salam says that he had to delete that blog after a Reuters Technology report about blogs mentioned it and linked to it. He says that he was too afraid at the time so he had to suddenly delete everything on that blog without backing it up. Now the only thing on that blog is the word "Sorry". Pax said that he didn't back up any of his posts, but a commenter has provided a link to some archives which he claims to be Pax's. Scroll down to the comments section to see them, I can't really say if they are genuine or not, but thanks to CharlesWT for them. It seems that Raed Jarrar is an old timer too. Joined blogger on December 2002, he and Salam were friends at that time. It seems that the second blog started by Salam, was like the first, dedicated to communication with Raed Dear Raed . Year 2002 ended with only two Iraqi bloggers in the Sphere.

     One year after Pax entered the Sphere G joins it. But stops blogging mysteriously on September the same year. Whose name turned out to be Gaith Abdul Ahad, and became a journalist also. May 2003, a blogger named Jalloul creates a series of blogs in English, Arabic, French and Swedish .On July 2003 Nawar starts blogging, he too stopped mysteriously after one month of blogging. The Sphere gets a lot more interesting when on August 2003 the famous Riverbend joins the journey. She still blogs to this day. Ironic thing is that on her first post she says :"So this is the beginning for me, I guess. I never thought I'd start my own weblog... All I could think, every time I wanted to start one was "but who will read it?" I guess I've got nothing to lose". If only she knew how famous she was going to turn out to be.

On October that same year Zeyad starts blogging. He blogs to this day, barley. He too on his first post didn't expect what this was going to turn out to be. He said "Unfortunately, there haven't been enough Iraqis running weblogs lately. There are only five of them as far as I know. I took it upon myself to start a weblog and introduce other Iraqis to this new (to us at least) and exciting world". There are 170 Iraqi blogs now according the Blog Count. Guess your mission has been accomplished Zeyad.

Fayrouz and Ihath join on October too, Fayrouz creates another blog called Fay's Catholic Thoughts on August 2004, which she still blogs on, a third blog she created is called Fayrouz Break Room which was started one month before the previous one, on July 2004, and she is still blogging on it. Then Ihath creates another blog, of which she blogs on it in Arabic. Another Iraqi blogger joins on October, Fadhil is the first Iraqi blogger to start blogging all time in Arabic. A few weeks later, he creates another blog, but he hasn't posted on it since May 2004. Still blogs to this moment on his original blog. Then he creates another blog on July 2005, makes his last post on it on September 2005. Then the first Iraqi Kurdish blogger Kurdo starts blogging on October too, marking the entrance of Kurdish bloggers to the sphere.Alaa, Ays, Hammorabi and Nabil all start blogging on November 2003. Still posting to this day. Andy and Firas both start on November too but Andy stops on April 2004 and Firas stops on March 2005. Although Andy creates another blog of which he still blogs on it to this day.

November just keeps getting more exciting as the first one of the ITM brothers, Omar joins the blogsphere and start Iraq The Model. Ali makes his first post from Omar's account on December 2003. He ends the post by saying "By Ali". Mohammad uses the same method a few days later to begin posting from Omar's account himself, and posts his first post a welcome to the new year. Right now, Omar and Mohammad still blog at Iraq The Model, separate accounts for each one. While Ali has started his own blog on December 2004, he had made his last post on August 2005, but he mentioned he was going to be away for a couple of months, so we don't know if he had stopped or not. Maybe not.

December 2003 Wild Fire or Jo starts blogging, hes blog is a weird blog, and it took some time to figure out her first post. On December too, the Jarrars family is all blogging. Raed starts the family blog. Majid is the first one to write on it, however he waits another two months untill it is February 2004 to start his own blog. Khalid on the other hand, starts blogging on his own blog on December 9 before he starts blogging on the family blog on December 20. But Khalid creates another blog on April 2005, doesn't blog on it any more than the end of the month. Faiza starts blogging on the family blog one day after Khalid on December 21. She doesn't have a personal blog but posts usually to the family blog. Raed, Khalid and Faiza are still blogging to this day. Majid stopped on March 2005.

Alaasmary started blogging on December 2003 but he stopped on January 2005.

Year 2003 ends, with 22 Iraqi bloggers on the web. This day only 15 of them still blogging, while most of the others quit a long time ago.

On 2004 Iraqi bloggers went rising in numbers so fast it was hard to track them all. But it seems that the first new Iraqi blogger of the year 2004 is U who starts blogging on the first day of the new year. Hadn't posted since June 2005.Liminal starts blogging on January 6 2004. He is still writing to this day but less frequently. January 26 is the date O first began blogging. But he stops at May 2005. ZZ starts blogging on January 2004, with a very moving post that was written in memory of his beloved father. He still blogs. On the same month January 2004, he creates another blog but he hasn't blogged on it since September 2005,

The largest Iraqi blogging family is introduced to blogger when on January 2004 my uncle Ahmad Kharrufa started blogging. Although he had stopped on May 2005, but the flag has been carried. Najma joined on June 2004, and is still blogging to this day. Raghda started on July the same year, she is still blogging to this day. Dalia starts blogging on July too, but she hadn't posted since August 2005.HNK starts on July too, and is still blogging to this day. Rose Ahmad's wife, starts on August 2004, her last post was made on September 2005. Kais started blogging January 2005, but he blogged rarely, and has not posted since June. Dr.Truth Teller joins on January too, and is still blogging to this day. February 2005 is the date Hassan Kharrufa (myself) joins the blogger.com community. You are reading a post I have written, so I'm still blogging to this day. Sunshine starts on April 2005, and is still blogging to this day. The latest family member to joins the blogsphere isEmotions who starts blogging on July 2005, and is still blogging.

Abbas starts on February 2004, he is still blogging. Abu Hadi starts blogging on March but stops on April the same year. March 2004 Faiza starts a new Jarrars blog, she makes most of the posts, but she stops writing on it on October 2004. Ahmad is the fastest multi-post Iraqi blogger to quit blogging, he blogged for only ten days from April 16 to April 26.

Baghdadi starts blogging on April 2004, and stops on June the same year. Tareek starts on April 2004 too, he still posts. March 2004 Suha starts blogging. Though her name was a mystery at first, as there was no profile or anything whatsoever as to who created the blog. But A little digging up revealed her name. She stopped blogging on May 2005. . Ayad started blogging on March too. But he hadn't posted since April. Then Happy Bushra starts his first blog on this month, he still blogs on it this day. He creates his Second Blog on September 2004, it seems that it is mainly a pictures blog, the last post on it is dated April 2005.

May 2004, Abu Khaleel joins the group and is blogging to this day. Abu Khaleel himself started five other blogs which he writes in them sometimes. Rapid Democracy in Iraq, Meethaq for Iraq, A Glimpse of Iraq, Us Mistaked in Iraq and Disgrunted Americans

Shaggy chooses this month to start blogging too, and he has kept on blogging ever since.Hala Fattah posts for the first time on May 2004, but her last post was on September the same year. Reading her Profile, she seems like a very educated person. IRAQ makes his first post on May 2004, a very funny one indeed. But he hadn't posted since August 2005.

As June 2004 comes, Ibn_Alrafidain writes his first post. He seems to be still blogging. On the last day of June 2004, Sara starts blogging. While Ferid starts a couple of weeks later. Sara is still on the blogs, while Ferid has made his last post on August 2005. Maas starts on July too, but it seems that she was shy at the beginning, as her first posts were pictures only, it is August 2004 when she makes her first text-only post, still posting to this day. On the same month, IraqPundit begins blogging, and continues to blog to this day.

Ali Mohamed starts on August 2004, his first post is an Email Me post. Second post is a 32 pictures post. He continues to blog by photos. He stops at the end of the month. But he comes back on May 2005 to post a welcoming post!!. Neurotic Iraqi Wife starts on August. This day she is working in the Green Zone, so her posts are very infrequent, but she doesn't seem like quitting. The Pin Cushion is a one post blogger, his post was made on August 2004. While 13 or more known as Anarki, starts on August too, but unlike The Pin Cushion, he still blogs. Ibrahim Khalil makes his Intoduction on August 2004. Last post on February 2005. Maitham joins on August too, but his last post was made on October 2004. August 2004 is the starting date of Nancy as she wrote her first post on this month, she kept on blogging since that time.

Downfall first blogs on the first day of September 2004. But stops on June 2005. Othman is a one post blogger too, he makes his post on September 2004. PuRGaToR starts blogging on this month too. Then on December 2004 he creates another blog which he mostly posted photos at, he stops blogging on both sites on January 2005.

October 2004, Sami first posts, he doesn't look to be posting anymore, his last post was on October 5. Iraq Humanity starts blogging on the same month. His last post was made on August 2005. On November 2004 Black Eagle starts blogging, and has not stopped since then.

December 2004, the year is about to end as Husayn joins the blogsphere. Last post made on July 2005. Imad Khadduri, A Free Writer and The Iraqi all start blogging on December 2004, and continuous to blog now. Another blogger who is not interested in politics join the sphere on this month, Nameer nooon chooses this month to blog, he blogs mostly in pictures away from politics. Then a group of ChaldoAssyrian Christians created another blog, which they are still posting on to the moment. Najeeb Hanoudi starts blogging on this month too, he kept on blogging ever since. Sahil begins to blog on this month too, he is still blogging at the moment.

Year 2004 ends. 46 Iraqi bloggers has joined the blogsphere, only 22 of them are still bloging today. So that makes a sum of 66 Iraqi bloggers to join the sphere since June 2002. Right now 37 of them are blogging.

Here comes year 2005. The first blogger of this year, is a rather funny blogger. Dog of a Son makes his first entry on the first day of the new year. He blogs to this day. Duraid makes his first post on this month too, but he hadn't posted since April 2005. Although he had created another blog on February 2005, but he had stopped blogging on it on June the same year. January 12, Ishtarria starts blogging, and she is still posting. The Grandson too chooses January 2005 to begin blogging, and he keeps blogging at the moment. Then another Iraqi non-politics blogger begins blogging on this month too, Alfil is a cinema interested blogger, and he hadn't bloged anything else since that date. He keeps on blogging now.

Then comes Zan, who seems to be creating blogs more than he is posting. His first and main blog is started on January 2005, but the last post on it was on April 2005. Second blog was made on January 2005 too, but doesn't get beyond the month. Third blog is created on February 2005, but the last post was also on April 2005. Fourth and Fifth were both March 2005 exclusive. On February 2005 Mark Tuma started blogging and kept on blogging ever since.

On March 2005, Najma creates a Family Blog in an attempt to persuade her mother to blog, her mother started blogging on it, but made her last post on April 2005. Another all time Arabic blogger joined the sphere on this month too, Tara who is fully capable of understanding English chooses not to blog in anything but Arabic. A nice blogger starts blogging on March 2005, Vahal Abdulrahman blogs in the form of letters sent to Baghdad. He sends his last letter in a very moving post.

A weird and later hated-from-Arabs blogger started blogging on April 2005, The Iraqi Mistress does not get beyond May 2005. Narsay is another one month Iraqi blogger, he posts only on April 2005. Which is the starting month of S.R.Z, while her stopping date is on May 2005. Akba writes his first post on this month too, he doesn't seem to be blogging anymore, as his last post was made on October 19 2005. Wafaa' begins blogging on April 2005, she still blogs this day. soon joins on April 2005 too, and he is still posting to this day. On April 2005, Haneen starts and kept on ever since. Then on October 2005 Haneen creates a blog titled Photos From Iraq which she blogs on it in photos, and offers any other Iraqi to put pictures on it.

May 2005 comes with another blogger, as انا استرالي joins the sphere on it. His last post was on August 2005. It seems that a site named Niqash starts hosting blogs on this month. As many bloggers start blogging on it. Iraqi Diaries in English, Abbas, Abdul Muhsin, Sheymaa, Iraqi Diaries in Arabic, Naseer, Tayseer, Yaseen, Al-Shmius Media Network, Avin, Ihsan and Niqash Press Blog all start their blogs on it. Iraqi Diaries in English start on June 2005, and the last post is made on August 2005. Abbas and Abdul Muhsin only blog on June 2005. Shymaa blogs only from June 2005 to July 2005. Iraqi Diaries in Arabic blogs from June 2005 and is still on the blogs. Nasser and Tayseer blog only on July 2005. Yaseen blogs from July 2005 to October 2005. Al-Shmius Media Network blogs only on July 2005. Avin and Ihsan who are Kurdish bloggers blog from June 2005 to October 2005. While Niqash Press Blogs starts from July 2005, and still blogs to this day.

Al-Shekhili posts only twice on July 2005, and quits after that. 3yOoN_BaGhDaDiA starts blogging on this month, and she is still blogging at the moment. Then The Iraqi Roulette starts on July 2005 and is still blogging. The Little Snippet starts on the last day of this month. He is still blogging at the moment. The Kid Himself starts blogging on the end of July 2005. He has kept on blogging ever since

Hassan Blasim makes a single post on August 2005. Truth About Iraqis joins on the same month, and is still blogging till now. Another one post blogger joins the sphere on August 2005, Sami blogs his single post on this month. Treasure of Baghdad joins on this month too and he is still blogging. 24 Steps to Liberty is too a blogger who joins on August 2005 and continuous to blog.

Another weird blogger chooses to start blogging on September 2005. Caesar of Pentra is still blogging since that date. Another one post blogger is Security who posts his single post on September 2005. Alaa chooses this month as a date, and the children of Iraq as a subject to blog about. He kept on blogging to this day. Attawie joins the blogsphere on this month too, and he is still blogging to this date. Micho La Jolie Fille is a blogger who demonstrate her skills in Arabic, English and French in her posts, she is still posting at the moment. The last Iraqi blogger to join the blogsphere is apparently Sanyora who joins the blogsphere on October 17 2005.

On the date of the last update of this post, which is November 3 2005. Year 2005 has witnessed 46 new Iraqi bloggers so far. Right now 22 of them are still blogging. The total sum of the Iraqi bloggers to join the blogsphere since Pax first signed in on June 2002 is 112, of those there are only 59 active right now.

Looking for a certain blogger??. Don't try to read the whole post looking for a certain blogger, if you find him then you are very lucky, this post is very long and you could easily slip past a blogger or two, I recommend using the search tool in you browser to find the blogger you want. Search for bloggers not blogs and the name of blogs are sometimes not mentioned. If you still can't find a certain blogger drop me a comment, I will find him for you. Finally I would like to say that this post should be considered a biography for all Iraqi bloggers, and I'm presenting it as a gift to the Iraqi Bloggers for the Eid Al-Feter of the year 2005.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ramadan About to End, Eid About to Begin

     When the fasting month, Ramadan, ends. Eid is to follow. Eid is a Muslim festival. It lasts for a few days. There are two Eids in the Hegri calendar. One is the incoming one, after Ramadhan, which lasts for three days. The other is after the pilgrimage to Mecca the holy city. Lasts for four days. First one is known as "Eid Al-Fetr", second one is known as "Eid Al-Adha". But we rarely call them those, better known as "The small Eid" and "The big Eid". Easier huh??

     Eid is an Arabic word that means festival. And it is a festival by all means. Just today I went to Al-Mansour neighborhood. This is a place were you can buy clothes, all kind of clothes, it probably has about five hundred clothing stores there. It so crowded you would have to stand right in front of the stores window if you wanted to look inside. Everybody is buying new clothes for Eid. Parents buying gifts for their children. Eid always brings me the nicest of memories. When I was a child my parents would always put gifts and new clothes for me and my brother in our room during the nigh, so when we wake up they are just there, out of nowhere. I knew it was them. I tried so often to stay awake as much as possible to see when they put them, I would start reading stories in the night to stay awake, then I would go to the bathroom every now and then to wash my face so I can stay awake, but I never succeeded. I would always fall asleep before they come. I don't know if they did it during the night, or early in the morning.

     Eid really begins when on the first day, people would gather in the mosque, very early in the morning. About sunrise. They would gather there, and would say the "Takberat Al-Eid". It's not a song, but it does have this rhythm. I guess the huge number of people saying it gives it this rhythm. It is always a pleasant thing to listen to, and begin Eid with.

     The thing that makes Eid so special, is the gatherings. People would start going to their relatives and neighbors to congratulate them. Usually the Mosul Family would come too. Despite the long and hard road, they come. Because there is nothing more fun than the whole family in a single room. We are talking about 30 peoples here. All in a single house. We used to go out at night to have a dinner in a restaurant or something. One time, I don't think the Mosul family was there in it, my memory is vivid, but I don't remember them in it. However, we all went to a restaurant at 14 St. Ramadan to eat. We split into too tables, adults and non-adults. I was a non-adult then, but I was the eldest, it feels good to be a leader even for a bunch of kids. On that day I wanted to try something new, so I ordered something called "Tornado" which I hadn't heard of before or tasted. I wanted to try something new. I remember it tasted good, but smelled horrible.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Constitution Accepted....But

     The results are finally up. You probably read it in the last Post which my friend Mad Canuck generously published. I voted for the constitution at the first place, and I won't hide the fact that I'm happy with this. Although questions of the Nineveh results validity are still unanswered. Though the UN supervised this event we can't be sure what has been happening behind closed doors. A fact is that there is fraud in every voting, but the big question whether these are enough to change the results or not. Whether it is simply the clerks acting up on their own to raise their favored side, which shouldn't be enough to change anything and will happen during the voting process in my opinion. Or if it is government controlled which can dramatically change the result of a certain Provence and in my opinion, will happen during the results counting process.

     As I thought would happen, things escalated a bit after the result was announced. But I thought it was going to last a little more, Baghdad is quiet these days. Not much fights and explosions. Now when I say "QUIET" I don't mean that it is calm and peaceful, there no such thing in Iraq nowadays. But it merely means no big events, fights or explosions. Just the usual, shooting here and there, one or two minor booms and Americans or National Guards are becoming something you don't stare at. But you can't help but curse them whenever you see any of them. I don't know why the always insist on coming from the wrong side, or start shooting at the tiniest of reasons.

     It seems I am not a full time blogger anymore. College is really heating up, and I am not ready to be left behind. This is something that takes at least 8 hours of my time each day. So I can't check all the links of sidebar daily as I used to. I'll probably start missing posts. But at least I know that the time will be well spent.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Referendum Results are In

Note: This post was written by Mad Canuck

Well, the results are in: the constitution passed the referendum in Iraq by a comfortable margin. Nineveh did vote "no", but only with a 55% majority, a full 12 percentage points short of the 67% required to veto the constitution.

Of course, the results were announced late in Baghdad, and the Average Iraqi isn't online right now to write this blog post, so I hope all of you don't mind the Average Canadian filling in for him... :)

As for the rest of Iraq, the referendum had a 63% turnout, and the constitution passed by a wide margin, with over 78% of voters casting a "yes" ballot, and in 11 out of Iraq's 18 provinces (all Kurdish and Shia dominated areas), the votes was over 95% "yes".

While there will undoubtedly be allegations of fraud, the voting and the subsequent counting process was monitored by United Nations observers. Carina Perelli, the chief of the UN Electoral Assistance division said the referendum "has been audited, controlled - it has been done really in a very professional way." UN observers are important in a referendum like this, since they are impartial, and do not have a hidden agenda. The Americans have an agenda - they would prefer to see the constitution pass, since they think this will allow them to bring their troops home sooner, but the UN is the world body that refused to sanction the war in Iraq, and where most member-countries oppose the US presence in Iraq. The UN has nothing to gain either way the referendum result falls, so having them observe the referendum can help guarantee fairness.

Full results by province can be found here.

Hassan is probably having an interesting night. A news reporter contacted him a few days ago and promised to call him after the results were announced to get his opinion on it. So, don't be surprised to hear Hassan's voice coming from your TV set or radio in the next day or two.

Of course, this blog is about the Average Iraqi, and not the Average Canadian, so I'll shut up now and let Hassan fill in the rest of the details and give his opinion on all this tomorrow.

Mad Canuck.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Voting Results Should be Tomorrow

     It's Sunday. Supposedly on Monday the voting results will be announced. Until now partial result of some provinces has been announced, but nothing official. I guess we are all waiting for what the Nineveh province will say. There are 18 provinces in Iraq. If the results in any three of them was more than 66% against the constitution, the constitution will be rejected. Then the whole process will be repeated, and it will be 6 months before another constitution will be presented, which I don't think will be much different from this one. Already two provinces, which are Salah Al-Deen and Al-Anbar has voted against the constitution. Now Nineveh is the only province that could vote either for or against the constitution. The only sure thing is that it will be a close call. No official result has been announced yet, so we still wait.

     Rumors on the Iraqi street say that the constitution will surely pass, and that the government will make sure that happens. No hard evidence whatsoever has been presented yet. But that doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter whether it happened or not, what matters is whether the Iraqi people believe it or not. The Average Iraqi will not go after hard evidence, he will more likely follow the strongest rumor, or his own heart. Which can give the worst results, when people do this and that just because they simply like it, or not. If the constitution passes, the whole thing could end up back firing, instead of doing the good effect I am hoping it will make, thing could really escalate when the Sunnis refuse these results for believing them to be false. My friends tell me that if anyone declares he voted for the constitution in Mosul, he could get himself killed. I haven't asked any of my relatives in Mosul about this, guess I will update this post when I ask them. Now I keep hearing how many people voted against the constitution in Mosul, and that almost no one voted for it, from my relatives. Then how is it a close call after all. If that information is true, how can we really be sure what the people voted, it will be impossible to decide what the result is expected to be, and impossible to estimate the amount of fraud in the results, and whether it is enough to change the result or not.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Friday, October 21, 2005


     Well I have just been tagged by Najma to do some assignment. Good thing is when I do it, I get to tag other seven people to do the same. Who am I going to choose??

Seven Things I Plan to Do:

1- Graduate from civil engineering and get a Ph.D.
2- Been driving for two years, but it would be nice if I got a driver's license.
3- Go abroad, never been outside Iraq.
4- Get an Asia Cell card. (This is a mobile company that provides internet in phones. Only one in Iraq.)
5- Find a fast and cheap internet provider. (This might as well be classified as a dream)
6- Meet The Kid,Cecile and of course Mad Canuck.
7- Convince more of my friends to join the blogsphere.

Seven Things I can DO

1- When some professor gets to my nerves, I can easily skip his FINAl. Get a Zero in his exam, and proudly take the exam on the second attempt. Did it once when I was in high school.
2- Write one hell of a comment when really pissed off.
3- Spend the day without doing anything when there are a thousand thing need to be done.
4- Watch the same movie five times, and still discover events I have missed.
5- Say a thousand words in five minutes.
6- Type a 1000 word article in ten minutes.
7- Somehow managed to crash and fix every computer I have used.

Seven Things I can't Do

1- Say a single phrase that my grandfather can understand.
2- Get someone to understand what is a blog from first try.
3- Spend one day without yelling on someone.
4- Get from house to college in half an hour.
5- Pray the morning prayer (approximately 4:40 AM).
6- Stop Blogging.
7- Eat something healthy.

Seven Things I say Most Often:

1- Do you want me to run the generator. (Every time electricity goes off).
2- Do we have internet?? (Every time I come home from college).
3- AHOOOOO. (Every time I discover we don't have internet).
4- Well. (Have you noticed I start most of my phrases with that word).
5- Is today Even or Odd. (Every time I want to take the car).
6- What are we eating today.
7- You willing to go to Al-Jamia Al-Taknologia. (I say it to evey cab I stop. Only one of every ten is willing to go that far).

Seven People I Want to Pass this Tag to:

1- Cile
2- The Kid Himself
3- Olive Branch
4- Treasure of Baghdad
5- Morbid Smile
6- Chele
7- Ihath I enjoy your posts very much, how about you do one for me??.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Iraqi Blogger joins the blogsphere

     Yeah, I know Saddam's trial is on TV now, but it has been postponed to November 28. No use me trying to tell what happened, it was on every TV channel we have. Anyway, I don't think it will have anything more than a moral effect.

     On other news, my efforts to convince some of my college friends to get a blog has finally paid off. Today my best friend Samy has finally started a blog. However his blog is going to be mostly in Arabic, since his English is not very good. I will translate some of his posts if I think they are worth it. Go say hello to him, even if you can't read the post.

     Oh and something else. Want to hear me talk. My interview with the BBC is finally online, but it won't be for much. So if you want to hear my voice you better hurry. Here is the Link. Although I kept stumbling at first, but I think I did good for my first Radio interview.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Assumptions: Constitution seems like passing

     On Saturday the voting ended at 5 PM, with almost no or very little accidents. No terror actions were reported. The voting went well in Baghdad, the night before it was generally calm, except for the terror attack on the power lines. So we didn't wake up on the sound of shots, or on electricity either. Al-Anbar wasn't that lucky, the people woke on sounds of heavy fire fights and bombing too. The number of voters at Al-Anbar wasn't more than 33% of the total eighteen plus population. AL-Basrah, the southern most city of Baghdad was the most peaceful city of the day. No accidents whatsoever. Basrah is generally a city of Shias, they form 80% of the population, 15% are Sunnis, the rest are Christians, Turks and other minorities. In the North, Mosul went into a state of chaos in the morning, people didn't know where to vote, some vote centers were closed, the clerks at others didn't show up. Read what Najma wrote about that day.

     I have been tracking the progress the guys are making in vote counting. The first estimates are that Anbar and Salah Al-Deen voted against the constitution. In the North, Mosul a city of Sunnis mostly, is estimates as a yes province. Although the Sunnis are the general population there, but Mosul has a lot of other minorities in it, Athorians, Kurds, Turks, Yezedias, Shabak, Shias and Turks. So I guess it is going to be tough to guess what the result will be. In my opinion, Mosul will be the province that decide the fate of the constitution. Because first estimates for Salah Al-Deen and Al-Anbar are that over 80% voted against the constitution. The constitution will fail if one more province voted against it. So if Mosul votes for it, it will pass. If it votes against it, it will not pass. Kurdistan has voted mostly for the constitution, which is predictable. In the South, estimates show that Basrah has voted for the constitution. Karbala has voted for it too. Najaf is going to be a close call. Because Al-Sadr followers will not vote for the constitution. Anyway these estimates are not conclusive. Results should come out in a few days. The constitution will pass if no more than 66% of the voters in three provinces voted against it. According to these estimates, the constitution will not be approved if one more province voted against it.

Note: This post has been emailed to my Email List subscribers.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Yes with a Capital (Y)

     Short Story: I DID.

If you don't have the time or the heart to read the long story, you can simply skip now and go to the comments section

     Long Story:

     We went out at 11 PM. Walked the long distance until we reached the voting center. There were personnel of the National Guard around it, and Police inside it. They searched us then let us in. We stood in the queue until it was our turn. We went in, two at a row. They gave us the paper in which we write our voting. I picked YES. Then there is the ink, we put our fingers in a bottle that is filled with this ink. It is supposed to stay for a few days. The reason of this ink is that it makes sure that the same person will not vote twice, and will not go to another voting center to vote. See my finger:

     When we went back. The internet connection at our house was dead. Because of the attacks on the power lines yesterday night. We had little power yesterday night. I think the server is out of power too, so it is not starting. Now I'm at my aunts house, they have a different internet provider and it is working.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

One day to the Referendum

     I won't write a long post. Today I didn't go out of the house today. No one did. The streets are deserted, the city is almost frozen. You don't go out unless you have something necessary. Today at 10 Pm the curfew starts and ends tomorrow morning about 6 AM. Cars are not allowed tomorrow, so we are going to walk to the voting center. But it is going to be a long walk. The center is almost a kilometer and a half from the house. Bikes are not allowed either. My mom jokingly said that we should all go together, so if we die we die together.

     I have decided to vote yes for the constitution. I know it still has a few wrong things in it, and that it hadn't been written in the same manner as it should have been, but it will work. You don't refuse a constitution unless you know it will not work. But this one will work. Especially after the changes on Wednesday, which has made it easier to change some of it's parts after it is accepted. Plus, I have gotten tired of this situation, and refusing the constitution will not change it. Maybe going further will.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Just Had to Break the Rules

     I went out today, to shop and store anything we might need for the coming days. You never know what could happen. If something really goes wrong, and we get trapped in our house for a week or so, I wouldn't want to run out of food. Although today was not the day our car could move. But I had a feeling I could get away with it, and I did. I went through side roads only, not through any main street where a checkpoint or a traffic police could find me. Already the streets are beginning to look emptier. Most government facilities are going off these days. Primary schools, high schools and universities are all postponing their study until after the seminars.

     I went near the local voting center too, to see how are things around. Seems like the people there are practicing for a big load. Although I didn't see any guards or anything. Maybe they will be deployed later. They shouldn't take the security matter easily. One big boom in the morning that kills a few people at a voting center, and people will drop voting and go home. It's real easy. I think when the day comes, I will be going early to make sure those damned terrorists don't have time to put their bombs and whatever they have. I want to vote, but I want to survive to see the results too.

     The government has not done it's job in spreading the constitution as it should have done. Sure I can find it on the internet and probably on some newspapers and magazines. But that isn't enough. How many people will buy that specific magazine, and how many Iraqis can find it through the web. So instead of reading it, people are depending on what the politicians are saying about it, which is a sure wrong thing. Some politicians will criticize the constitution just to get a second chance to get inside the government when the constitution is refused. While the current government is doing it's possible to make sure this constitution is accepted. Right now, Iraqis abroad are not allowed to vote, mainly because most of them are sunnis who refuse the constitution. So it is down to politics. I don't know about anyone else, but my definition of politics is, "It is an open rules game played between the politicians to get what they want".


     Almost a week ago, Sunnis demanded certain changes to the constitution be made, some of those demands will make the constitution more flexible to change once the new government is elected. These demands were accepted today.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Not-so-Average Dinner for the Average Iraqi

     On Friday I went to the most unusual dinner in my life. I'm used to eating with my family, sometimes with friends, rarely with strangers, never with non-Iraqis. Above all, I was the GUEST. It was the most exciting dinner in my life so far. With English being the main used language, I failed to recognize some saying my name more than once. There was only 3 Iraqis at the dinner, including me. I knew the two other Iraqis already, and there was Jon Finer, the Washington Post reporter who had interviewed me earlier. The others I didn't know. The dinner was not a business dinner, the reporters that came didn't come to discuss the news or anything, just to let off some steam. So I didn't catch many last names, except for Farnaz Fassihi from the Wall Street Journal, which I have her card now. The others I only know by first names now.

     We ate Mexican food, tacos to be exact. I hadn't seen that before, and if it wasn't for Ellen Knickmeyer I wouldn't have figured out how to eat them either. Thanks Ellen. The food was great, I don't know where they found some one that can cook Mexican in Baghdad, but it was good. A hard moment was when they served the drinks. They served red wine. As a Muslim, I don't drink any alcoholic drink, and I wasn't about to let my principles go just so I could blend in a bit better. But Jackie saved the day, she brought me a soft drink. Thank you Jackie.

     I know my written English is good enough for the web, but I hadn't really talked much English for a while now. I did some talking with the soldiers last year, when I was doing my summer field training at Al-Zaora Park. They used to come there a lot. Mostly I played translator there, between the Engineers and the Soldiers. But that was it, hadn't really talked English for while. It feels nice now to know that I can talk understandable English.

     Um, this shouldn't go unnoticed, the title of this post isn't actually my idea. Mad Canuck came up with it. Plus he helped me with some phrasing. Thanks buddy.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

7 Days to the referendum

     I went out last night. Yes LAST NIGHT. I went out at 7:15 PM, and came back at 10:30 PM. The city was empty. Literary empty. No shop was open. The road was all in front of you, no cars in it. The city of ghosts, as Treasure of Baghdad calls it. With most of the outside lights out. The city is engulfed in darkness. The car moves in total darkness, if it wasn't for it's headlights, we wouldn't have figured out the way. Looking in front of me, I could see the shades of the street in front of us, empty. Every now and then, we would see a red or yellow waving light in front of us, signaling an NG checkpoint. Even as they talked nice to you. But you could hear the tension of their voices. At this time of night, some areas of Baghdad, can't be entered by the National Guards or the Americans. I recall that once, a neighbor of ours, had to take his daughter to the hospital at night. She didn't have anything serious, at 12:30 AM they wanted to go home, too dangerous to drive on their own, they ask an NG checkpoint to send a car with them to escort them. They said sure just tell us were you want to go. When they heard the name of the place, they looked at each other, then said: "We don't go there on our own, and you want us to take you there.". They told them to drive fast without any headlights, but that is all, you are on your own.

     Away from politics for a while. I have changed the looks of my side bar, changed the order of the links, and I made them glide. It is not an original idea, I have seen it in other blogs, Fayrouz is one of them. Though it took me a long time, it is weird that when you preview the template, it doesn't look exactly as when you actually save it and use it. Probably updated my blog 10 times this morning. The categorizes of the blogs are original though.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

10 Days to the Referendum

     10 Days are left to the referendum of the constitution. The Iraqi street is in tense because of it. There are checkpoints at every main street in Baghdad now. In some areas, there are fortified checkpoints, and even tanks sometimes. These are the areas that are so violent they switch sides between the Americans and the insurgents overnight. For the third day in a row, I have not been outside the house, I could hear the sounds of shots every few hours on the nearest main street to our house. There was an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint there, and they were being attacked more than once a day.

     Recently the government has made some changes to the rules that define the acceptance of the constitution. The change went like this: "Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.". The term registered voters mean the people who register for vote, but doesn't strictly mean they actually voted. It is just a name on a list. Which technically means if you don't vote, it is a yes. But the UN was supervising the referendum, and I think they applied pressure on the government to change it back. It is obvious that the change was supposed to give the referendum more chances of being accepted. But such step would destroy the concept of Democracy.

     The good news is, the university has postponed the seminars until after the referendum. Which means me staying home for another two weeks. R&R for me. Anyway, I got out today, finally. I went down the street, bought some "Zenod Al-Set". Which are some famous Iraqi desert. It is a tradition to eat them when the fasting end each day. I took some photos of them with my cell, but I a friend of mine took the Bluetooth device for a couple of days. So I will post them as soon as I get it back. I always use my cell for the photographing because it is a lot easier to copy the pictures to the computer with a Bluetooth device, than plugging the camera with the computer, wires and all.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

IN HER EYES: Another Big Day

  The person that is going to play An Average Iraqi in this post is the same girl that played An Average Iraqi in the post IN HER EYES:The Big Day.

"Well, When that SMS arrived, I was home, bored. Probably because I had studied all summer, and now I suddenly have a lot of free time, and nothing to do with it. Can't go out. I spent most of the day in front of the TV, sometimes I would call my friends and chat a few minutes. So when that SMS arrived, I thought it was one of my friends sending me a message, and I would reply and that would be it. But when I read it, it was different, she said that the results for the 2nd attempt exams could be up on Sunday.

"I was so excited, first I had to arrange for transportation, thankfully my aunt works at a nearby place, I can go and come back either with her, or my father could come and get me, our car could go out on Sunday, thank god. Next I had to see who knew and who didn't, who is going to come and who is not, catch some gossip if there was a curve this year or not. The days went as slow as they could be. On Saturday, I slept but hardly.

"Sunday at last.... I arrived at the university at about 9:00 AM. Saw a lot of my friends, said hi to all, but I wasn't going to stay and chat, I had to go up and see what my result is, I didn't even bother to look around and see who has came and who hasn't. I went up the stairs, entered the staff and administration floor, I knew the room where the results would be announced. I went there, and asked the clerck if there was anything on the grades, he asked me what year I am, I said 2nd going to 3rd. He said they will be announced at 12. Oh 3 hours of waiting what was I going to do. I went down, saw more friends, we sat down at the cafeteria, spent the 3 hours there, then we went back to the department. One of the boys went up to see if the results has been announced yet or not. He came back and said they will be announced in the next 15 minutes, but said that we need a letter from the library that clears me of any books I might have borrowed, so if I had borrowed any books I should return them. Luckily I hadn't borrowed anything. So we went to the library, got our letters and went back to the department.

"The results were being announced, I felt like I wanted to fly there and get my results, I couldn't wait for the queue to reach me. But there was no other way, minutes passed like they were ages. Although the queue was made of many students, but silence ruled. I could tell it the person who comes out of the room had passed or not. One of the boys even "Halhal"ed. (There is no English word for that, but it goes something like "Kololololeeeeeesh". A sign of overjoy.) I laughed when I heard him, we only "halhal" when we are overjoyed in weddings and such. Others would come out on the verge of crying, some of the girls surely did. Finally my turn, when the last student in front of me went out, it was my turn to turn the knob and go in, I felt like my legs couldn't carry me, I even didn't know if I should push or pull, finally I figured it out. Went into the room, and told the clerck my name, gave him the letter, and waited. He turned to the computer, said my name in a questioning phrase, checking I guess, then gave me a small paper, and said "Mabroog" (congratulations).

"Oh I was at the peek of happiness, all my close friends who went before me had passed, now I have joined them. I'm finally in the 3rd year. Took me a lot of time, but it is done finally. No celebration was enough for me, I know I had grown older ten years when I was at the queue, but now I have the energy of a 2 years old kid. I couldn't even sit for 5 seconds. I couldn't wait to get home and tell my family. I'm finally a 3rd year civil engineering student...."

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