Cast of Characters:

Enkidu (AKA Slim)
Beowolf (AKA Wolfie)
Blaze (AKA Blaze)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jassim on May's article and Iraqi refugees to the USA

Here is further discussion based on the article that I posted a link to yesterday.

A Failure to Communicate
And one last chance to win the war of ideas in Iraq
By Cliff May

Jassim: the artical yesterday was one of very few ones I read that expressing things correctly

Jassim: you didn't say any thing about the artical

Jassim: what do you think about it ?

Karen: I thought that it sounded accurate, but I wanted to ask you first

Jassim: aha

Karen: it's hard to tell from here how much is just talk and how much is based in fact

Jassim: you right

Karen: the USA announced that it would accept 7000 Iraqis this yer

Karen: year

Jassim: but I guessed that you are some kind of disspointed to know that many things of what Bush sayings is true and what dimocrates sayings are not that true

Jassim: yes I knew that

Jassim: I told you before they announce it hhhhhhhhhhhhh

Karen: true

Karen:'s hard to know who to trust when it comes to foreign policy

Jassim: yes

Karen: The Democrats usually seem to have the right idea. But sometimes it's the Republicans

Jassim: i do not blame them

Karen: usually, it's neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, but individuals from each party who know what's going on

Jassim: if you revise the artical you would know why they took this attitude

Jassim: yes right

Jassim: you right

Jassim: this was the plan of the people who are killing in Iraq now

Jassim: they spreaded lies every where so now even dimocrates believed them

Jassim: and they may be used it to stand against Bush to make a win to dimocrates

Jassim: some thing political

Karen: *nods*

Karen: I don't think that the article is really pro-Bush, either, though

Jassim: yes

Karen: I think that it demonstrates that Bush's administration mishandled the situation

Jassim: it was a right point eather it was in Bush's side or not

Jassim: yes

Jassim: this is my openion too Karen

Jassim: they could achaive better

Jassim: much better

Jassim: I wish they were following the right path from begining

Jassim: but they only evaluated the situation in Iraq wrongly

Jassim: I'm so happy for that 7000 families

Jassim: but any way I don't think that all of them should go there

Jassim: because there are many people among them are from Ba'ath party and from previous Saddam's regiem members

Karen: *nods*

Jassim: I'm afraid that they would make troubles at once they arrive there

Jassim: some of them holding even a large amount of stolen money from Iraq

Jassim: I think this time UN and USA must make sure about their backgrounds

Jassim: this is very important

Karen: I see. Yes, it would be a problem if they take even more money out of Iraq, especially if that money was international money meant for Iraqi refugees

Jassim: I would never trust as an example some one came from Tikreet city in Iraq

Jassim: or an previoius officer in the army

Jassim: yes

Jassim: I heard talking that they would accept mostly those suspecious people who fleed from Iraq only because they were criminals and wanted in Iraq for charges instead of taking the poor people who only fleed because of violance

Karen: I wonder who makes these decisions

Jassim: mostly an ignorant person lollllllllll

Karen: could be

Karen: underinformed, at any rate

Jassim: yeah

Why are we having so much trouble in Iraq?

I found an article on the situation in Iraq and how it got there. I asked Jassim to take a look at it. Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short by poor connections. (His internet connection is a satellite up-link out of Germany.)

A Failure to Communicate
And one last chance to win the war of ideas in Iraq
By Cliff May

Karen: what do you think of this article?

Jassim: well let me tell you that this writer hit the point so straightly

Jassim: this is the first time I read or hear a speach like this

Jassim: it is so interesting and I believe he is correct in all what he said

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Today's car bombing in Najaf

My friend "Jassim" saw the devestation of the car bombing in Najaf today. Apparently, the bomber was en route to the Imam Ali shrine, but he was stopped by police and detonated early. CBC News has the AP story here. USA Today has a more updated AP story here.

I'm going to include our conversation about this. There is a link to a picture that he took at the end of the post.

Jassim: today there was a bombing in Najaf

Karen: yes? by whom?

Jassim: a suicider

Jassim: in a car

Karen: *nods* were many people hurt?

Jassim: about 11 killed and 35 injured

Jassim: I went there at once with the red crescent team

Jassim: took few photos too

Karen: *hugs* did you know any of them?

Jassim: no

Karen: how many people were there with the Red Crescent?

Jassim: we were 6 workers

Karen: that's not very many

Jassim: yes we have a small team due to lack in funding and organizing

Jassim: it is useless any way to go there because we always find that people carry all victims before we arrive

Karen: I see

Karen: does anyone know the bomber's motivation?

Jassim: I saw the suecider's body

Jassim: yes it is so obvious

Jassim: he is from extream sunnies

Karen: I see

Jassim: he was trying to enter the old city to reach the holly shrine and bomb him self there

Jassim: but the police check point suspected him and stopped him to check the car but he bombed him self in their faces

Jassim: only one survived

Karen: I see

Jassim: I saw blood and meat peices all arround the area

Here is a picture of what was left of the suicide bomber.

Save by spending?

Well, I work at LMRU (Large Midwestern Research University - you've probably read about us in various social research papers). Anyway, one of the perks of being a grad student is getting to take prospective grad students out for free meals. So, usually 2 or 3 current students go out with a prospective student to talk about the program and the unofficial side of graduate study.

A year or two ago, a message came down that someone had abused the system and spent way too much on one of these dinners, so we were all admonished to spend less on these dinners.

Well, when I went out a couple of days ago, I was informed that the university was no longer reimbursing for receipts of less than $50. So, we were instructed to spend at least $50 on the meal. This was easily enough done at a nice restaurant with 4 people, but still, I thought it was funny to be told to spend a minimum, rather than a maximum. (The meal ended up costing around $60, for those who are curious.)

I guess that means that I will never again buy 4 calculators at the dollar store, but rather buy them somewhere else for more, buy more than we need, or both in order to get the reimbursement.

Apparently, the justification for this new university policy is that it costs the university too much in accountants to go through smaller receipts. I suppose that the results will be that departments will keep larger chunks of change in the "petty cash" box. (I'm not really sure if the petty cash box is even legal, but it's a necessary institution.)

It will be interesting to see if the reported/reimbursed amounts increase or decrease with this new policy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The DVD rewinder

Just when you think you've seen it all.

My brother pointed me towards this. I'm not really sure what to say about it.

The DVD Rewinder.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Stupid beaurocracy!

So, my friend "Jassim" had been hoping to leave Iraq for Syria. However, he was trying to finish up some NGO humanitarian work before leaving Iraq. Well, he stayed to do the work and ended up being stuck in Iraq when they closed the borders and Syria stopped taking Iraqi refugees. Now Jassim is stuck in Iraq. If he hadn't stayed to try to help others, he would be in Syria now, in line for a visa to the United States. The world is an unfair place. Shouldn't we all work for change???

Jassim: it became true

Karen: what became true?

Jassim: USA and UN will state a new plan next week to take Iraqis to USA as refuges

Karen: ah, the ones who were already out of the country?

Jassim: yes mostly the people in Seryia and Jordan

Jassim: except for that damn evaluation mission I would be there now

Jassim: I lost the last chance

Jassim: like I'm imprisoned here for ever

Karen: if you hadn't stayed for that humanitarian work, you wouldn't have this problem

Karen: they really should provide special visas for people like you

Jassim: no one care

Jassim: even when you go to an UN agency in some country asking for asylum they do nothing for you even if your situation was because of working for them

Karen: *nods*

Jassim: in chat room I saw many people who are living in USA and Europe, do nothing but wasting time and not work to improve their society and them selves

Jassim: they obtain free money as a social help from governments or from UN

Jassim: this always upseting me, while they support a lazy people like those we get nothing who want to do real work and help to this world

Was that bad acting?

I often don't react to "bad acting" the way that other people do.

I think that this might be because I simply don't notice the tells that are so obvious to other people. (Hmm...that probably means that I'd be a bad poker player as well.)

My adviser suggested that I might have a mild form of autism, which prevents me from noting various interpersonal cues.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Smithsonian for sale

Oliver North has written that he was refused the rights to film a segment of the Enola Gay for a documentary, because the Smithsonian has signed a deal with Showtime to prevent others from filming in the PUBLIC museums.

Claire Brown, the National Air and Space Museum's director of communications, informed us that our award-winning "War Stories" documentary unit would not be permitted to videotape in this public facility. According to her, the four minutes of the Enola Gay that we would air violates an exclusive contract between Showtime and Smithsonian Networks.


How much did Viacom pay for their exclusive rights to America's treasures? Was this contract put out to bid so that others could compete for the privilege of broadcasting our nation's heritage? Were brokers involved? If so, what were they paid? How long will this arrangement remain in effect?

Every American ought to know the answers to these questions. After all, it's our history. But if America's heritage is going on the block, it would be nice to know where to start the bidding for the Library of Congress or the National Archives.

I think I'd have to agree with Mr. North, that this is inappropriate. As a public institution, the Smithsonian should be open for all documentary/educational purposes. It may be appropriate to charge an administrative fee for filming access, but there should not be contracted exclusion.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Good Arab

Before getting to the meat of this post, let's try to define Arab. Wikipedia offers the following:

An Arab (Arabic: عرب ‎; translit: ʻarab) is a member of a Semitic-speaking people originally from the Arabian peninsula and surrounding territories, who speak Arabic and who inhabit much of the Middle East and northern Africa.[4] However, Arabs are not a homogeneous ethnic group, and many varying views of the definition have been offered.

For those wondering, Iranians are not Arabs. They are Persians. They are primarily Muslim, though.

Also, not all Arabs are Muslims. There are many Christians as well as a small minority of others.

And of course, there are Muslims who are not Arabs.

So, all that having been said, what has TV and the movies told us about Arabs?

When I think about it, there are many groups represented on TV.

Whites: both good and bad.

Blacks: both good and bad.

Asians: both good and bad.

South/Central Americans: both good and bad.

Pacific Islanders: both good and bad.

Arabs: I am having trouble coming up with any examples of movies or TV shows that show a good Arab. The best I can come up with is Aladdin, though I don't know if he is Arabic or Persian. Hmm...There was one episode of CSI or NCIS or something like that, which showed a good Iraqi refugee and 3 bad ones (i.e. intent on blowing up Americans). Maybe some of the older movies of the 1940s showed good Arabs, or at least neutral ones - I'm thinking of Sindbad the Sailor, who was an Arab from a Persian story.

The fact that there is so little positive representation of Arabs in American entertainment makes it much easier to demonize them. It's hard for Americans as a community to feel sympathy for the Iraqi population when they have only ever been portrayed as the enemy. I think that this is part of the reason why our government was able to be so cavalier about the whole invasion and much of the populace is so willing to pull out without ensuring some sort of order in the country.

Of course, the Afghans (who aren't Arab either) have it even worse. At least the Iraqis had publicity under Saddam, so they are on the American radar. Afghanistan is a country that was only in my consciousness before it sounded the same as the word "afghan" for a knit blanket, which apparently had its roots in a wrap from the Afghan region.

Despite what the media may tell us, most of the Arabs/Muslims who I've met have been good people, or at least no worse than the average American (however one might define average).

Comments on "Why Imams Be Playin' Us" By Kevin McCullough

For the last couple of months, I have been reading posts over at the conservative I'm not really sure why, since most of the posters are rabid right-wing fundamentalists, with whom I generally have completely divergent opinions. I guess that by reading what they write, I am able to challenge my own assumptions and either discard them, or more often re-confirm them.

Anyway, this time, I've read a piece "Why Imams Be Playin' Us" By Kevin McCullough, which I found to have some flaws in the argument. I will comment on a couple of the points made in the column.

I've grown ever tired of the ranting rampage of more than one character on the show [24] this year more or less lecturing the viewers about the "constitutional protections" of those who wish us dead. I'm sorry, did I miss something? Have we, did we set up internment camps somewhere on our soil - even after 9/11?

Um...well, it depends on whether you consider the U.S. holding at Guantanamo Bay to be "our soil" or not. I suspect that America having full jurisdiction and not allowing the Cubans in is a good argument for it being "our soil".

And not just any Imam, Husham Al Husainy. Imam of the largest Shiite mosque in America, his resume is quite impressive. He is a life long supporter of the Ayatollah Khomeini. For you youngsters he's the radical Imam who took our boys hostage for 444 days under the "impressive" days of Jimmy Carter's presidency. For literally more than a year our government held its breath and hoped that maybe he might just change his mind. All of that came to a swift end the moment Ronald Reagan put his hand on the inaugural Bible. Khomeini’s choice was, let 'em go or get turned into crispy pork rinds. (See Reagan's presidency was so impressive it even spared his enemy's life.)
I find it interesting that he considers the end to the hostage crisis to be a result of the Iranians being afraid of Reagan. In the version of history that I was taught, Reagan had a deal with Khomeini, so that Khomeini would keep the hostages in order to help Reagan win the election and then make him look good after coming to office. While this may be easy to dismiss as a mere conspiracy theory, the fact that the Reagan administration was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair is a bit more damning and shows his willingness to work with the Khomeini government.

Perhaps Al Husainy was too controversial a choice. However, I do think that it is necessary to embrace the Muslim community here in the United States. Alienating them simply drives away potential allies in the "War on Terror". It's commonly known that people in general (though not every individual) will usually adopt the identities projected onto them. If you're constantly told that you are worthless and that you are the enemy, pretty soon, you start to believe it. So instead, let's treat them (and all people) with dignity and let them see why they should continue to buy into the American way. If they didn't like our country, they would never have come here in the first place. Let's welcome them, rather than turning them away. (Which is not to say that we should stop pursuing terrorist. I would simply argue that we shouldn't demonize an entire group for the faults of a few. I mean, really, just because we have a whole lot of white guys [or other group of choice] in prison for murder, does that mean that all white guys [or ethnic group of choice] are evil?)

On the portrayal of others

This is an extension of a comment that I posted at, where my friends James and Teresa have been having a debate about the Rosie question. You can read more about it at AnomalousData. Basically, Rosie imitated an Asian person, by using stereotypically Asian sounding gibberish, and apparently with a stupid face. Out of context, this can appear quite bigoted. In context, however, it could be completely appropriate. Rosie did apologize for any offense that may have been given, but she also maintains that there was a no bigotry intended.

So, below is my extended comment, with further comments about the use of "fake" languages in the media at the end; in particular my take on a segment in Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest.

I spoke a bit more with James about this particular incident. He is a religious (in the sense of regular) watcher of "The View". He saw the episode in question. As an otherwise very P.C. sensitive black gay man, he did not see the incident as bigoted, and said that in the context, it was appropriate. Apparently Rosie was doing a loose quote of someone else, which was clear in context. He’s certain that no one who had seen the entire segment and the context would have considered it offensive. I don't know. I didn't see it. I think that James was upset for these reasons:

1) A judgment was made based on a clip out of context and amplified in a public forum.

2) He's particularly sensitive to the word "bigot" and can’t forgive its use in such a way.

3) He considers Rosie a good person and doesn't want to see her attacked, especially since she wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.

I also think that James was not reading the same reasonableness in Teresa's posting as I was. I suspect that those of us who know Teresa personally are better able to understand her point of view. The way I read it, Teresa acknowledged that she might not have complete information and that she wasn't trying to make a character attack, but was commenting on the little that she knew. I think that James was hoping for a total retraction and apology. I don’t think that James will ever be able to see Teresa’s post as legitimate because of the way that it is phrased. Interestingly enough, he feels that Teresa has the responsibility to have found out more about the situation before publishing a potentially character damaging blog post. He thinks that it was wrong for her to base her information solely on the version put forth by the Colbert Report, which is known to take the most embarrassing/accidental moments and twist them to be even more embarrassing or insulting for the sake of comedy.

I personally tend to fall on the side that if someone just saw that short segment of Rosie’s imitation, then that particular action of stereotyping could be considered inappropriate, but when viewed in context, it is OK. Similarly one could say for example, that the action of a man hitting a woman (or the other way around, for that matter) is an inappropriate action. However, if one is able to see that it is in the context of a Kung Fu match and not domestic abuse, then it is context appropriate, and no one should feel offended on the "victim's" behalf.

Incidentally, I have observed a lot of ‘imitation German’, particularly from comedians – none of which makes any sense, and is usually delivered in a stereotypically authoritarian/military manner - and no one seems to get all that offended. (For those who are wondering; there is no semantic relation between the Volkswagen phrase “Fahrvergnügen” and the pop culture adaptation “Farfrompüken”.) Perhaps they should get offended, though. The use of such stereotypical imitation insists on associating all Germans with the Nazis and such caricatures as the guards and soldiers in the various WWII movies.

Actually, movies are a forum where “fake” language was used for 'foreigners' a lot until recently. One more often sees real language used in more recent movies set in other countries, rather than gibberish. Prime examples are The Bourne Identity and Chasing Liberty, just to name a couple. Even today, though, people do pretty tasteless stuff in the name of comedy. Did anyone else think that the cannibal savage scene in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was off-color? I thought that the use of idiot talk for the Islander language was distasteful. (The only part of this movie that was brilliant was the use of eye-makeup for Johnny Depp in this scene.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

American Students falling behind in math?

This rich guy, Dr. James Simons, is once again commenting on the lack of math education in America. He founded "Math for America" with some other mathematicians. Basically, they pay math majors to get their masters and go teach math.

They note that America scores are a lot worse than many countries in high school math on standardized tests. I don't think that Americans are exceptional in their abilities. And I would agree that there has probably been a decrease in the overall quality of math education.

However, something that people looking at the statistics need to remember is that American students generally all attend the same school as everyone else in the neighborhood. In other countries it is common practice to divide students. In some countries, such as Bolivia, it is a question of money. Those with money can afford the best private schools. Those without have teachers, who are paid relatively little, compared to other professionals. In Germany, and other European countries, it is common to divide students into different tracks as early as 5th grade. Children are tracked into university bound, trade school bound, and laborer bound schools.

The scores submitted for these international comparisons are generally taken from the university track, so the scores from the other groups never show up in the international reports. In contrast, American public schools' scores include everyone from the future Nobel Prize winning Mathematician to the doped up dropout.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Billions of dollars lost???

According to abcNews, apparently $8 or $12 billion was sent to Baghdad to support the new Iraqi government. It seems to have disappeared. WTF??!?!?!??!

Apparently it was distributed with no records and no reliability to contractors in Iraq.

CNN lists only $4 billion.

Regardless, that's an awful lot of money!

I wouldn't give out $100 without a receipt. Who would hand out billions?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On immigrants and their language use

This is essentially a reply comment that I posted at with some modifications.

Many Americans don't realize that the relatively homogeneous communities of English speakers that many consider "normal" are a relatively recent phenomenon. It's only since the baby boom generation that there has been such a low level of foreign born. According to US census data, in 1890, 14.8 percent of the population was foreign born. This compares to an all-time low in 1970, when only 4.7 percent were foreign born. Since then, the percentage has been increasing, with 7.9 percent recorded for 1990. (source: who are concerned should check the census records. America has been a nation of immigrants through most of its history.

Also, as a Second Language Acquisition specialist, I can assure you that the vast majority (I'd hazard a guess at at least 90%) of immigrant families learn English; usually with the following pattern in the United States:

1) Immigrating generation: Monolingual in the native language, possibly bilingual as opportunity/necessity arise and depending on age. Adult immigrants have a much harder time at learning another language than children do. Also, currently in the USA, ESL (English as a second language) courses have very long waiting lists, so even those interested in learning aren't always able.

2) Children of immigrants: Bilingual in the heritage language and English language; though English is often their strongest language.

3) Grandchildren of immigrants: Monolingual English speakers. The heritage language is usually lost by this point.

Today, in fact, the second generation is often already monolingual English speaking, with perhaps a very low, receptive ability in the heritage language.

Therefore, the whole "English Only" thing is ridiculous. Anyone who has done the research can see that their fears are unfounded. Immigrants are learning English. Punishing them for not knowing English from the moment they 'step off the boat' is simply cruel and unreasonable. I believe it to be a thinly veiled expression of racism.

For more information, take a look at this article:

Alba, Richard & Jacob Stowell. "Linguistic assimilation across the generations: An analysis of home language among second- and third-generation children from contemporary immigrant groups. "

No need to fear Iraqi Shia joining with Iranian Shia

Here is a conversation that I had with Jassim about fears that some have about the Iraqi Shia and Iranian Shia uniting.

Karen: you're Shia, right?

Jassim: yes

Karen: so, how does your Islam compare to the Shia Islam of Iran?

Jassim: well Shia is basically is in arab land not in Iran

Jassim: the authority for shia was always in Iraq

Jassim: not in Iran

Jassim: they have some diffrances

Jassim: but generally we are not that committed to them

Karen: I ask, because there has been talk of the possibility that the Iraqi Shia would join the Iranian Shia and that the Iraqi Sunni would join the Saudi Sunni

Jassim: it is not possible

Jassim: for shia at least

Jassim: relegion is a thing and policy is another thing

Jassim: most of shia in iraq do not want for sure to be commited with Iran

Jassim: we want to deal with them as a nighbor country not more

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Iraq needs a public works program.

Back in the 1930s, Roosevelt (and Hitler for that matter) solved the problems of poverty and discontent in the country by having the government hire the unemployed to work on public works projects, such as road construction. Iraqis need jobs, running water, and dependable electricity. Jassim cautions me, though, that there is currently too much corruption in Iraq leave it to the Iraqis to do this. An outside employer would have to come in and manage Iraqi laborers.

"one of the main resons behind the curent situation in Iraq now is the lack in all of basic services, if people find power, safe water and jobs the violance would minimize remarkabaly"

the situation here getting more horrible
Jassim: life is impossible
Karen : How do you think that the Iraqi people would respond to a public works project? The government would hire people to build the infrastructure to provide reliable running water and electricity. Do you think that people would participate? It seems to me that the average Iraqi needs a job, water, and electricity
Jassim: yes
Jassim: well people will cooaperate as long as the see a real project
Karen : do you think that the current government would fund such a project?
Jassim: the problem is not in funding Karen, it is in the corruption
Jassim: also it seems that they have no willing to implement such as those projects
Jassim: Iraqis were always prefare that American do it by them selves without any intervention from Iraqis
Jassim: there were many projects like this but it resulted nothing due to curroption
Karen : It seems to me that the Iraqi people would be more likely to put pressure on the militias to stop the violence if they had their basic necessities met. It would cause the Iraqis to feel more responsibility and pride in the situation in the country if they were to be the ones building the infrastructure...don't you think?
Jassim: yes sure
Karen : so, there needs to be a way to do such a project without corruption
Jassim: one of the main resons behind the curent situation in Iraq now is the lack in all of basic services, if people find power, safe water and jobs the violance would minimize remarkabaly
Jassim: yes and the only way according to Iraqis to do it is implementing it by American completely
Karen : it really sounds like a public works project would be ideal. That was the solution found by both President Roosevelt in the USA and Hitler in Germany in the 1930s. They were able to maintain order and keep people happy. (Granted, Hitler abused it, but it still solved the basic problem of discontent in the country)
Jassim: I do not say that those American companies are no curropted too but with a good supervision by USA government they would do a good job after all
Karen : What about Americans supervising and funding the project, but hiring Iraqis to actualy do the work?
Jassim: not that usefull
Karen : why not?
Jassim: I mean if they hire Iraqis to cunduct it
Jassim: corruption is horrible here Karen and cunducted by political parties
Jassim: as an example
Karen : well, I was thinking of foreign (hopefully not corrupt) managment and Iraqi laborers
Jassim: if I was a manager of a such project I would face a great pressure by those parties and militia to employe their members in it even if they are curropted or want to ruin the work or not suitable to this work
Jassim: I'm talking about managing not workers
Jassim: laborores
Jassim: look
Jassim: when IRC was here and when forighn people were working freely in Iraq we could implement good projects
Jassim: but later when forighns had to leave and Iraqis to cunduct the work , the projects turned to a crap
Jassim: I'm not saying here that Iraqies are curopted people while forighns are not
Jassim: it is only that forighns have a good mechanizms to supervise
Jassim: and I think that in many cases the forighns gave the leader ship to Iraqis to allow them to steel and they have a share in the stolen money
Karen : I see
Karen : so all the managers need to be foreigners
Jassim: so I say again that if USA and government improved the basic services and life condetions here in Iraq then the situateion would not be like this for sure
Jassim: we all were expecting a plan like Marshal plan in Germany after WWII but this did not happen totaly
Jassim: not all of them
Jassim: they have to follow the suitable criteria in selecting the managers, Iraqis or forigners
Karen : what factors would be important for a suitable manager?
Jassim: I mean you can not put a militia member to run a global human organization here
Jassim: honesty, ability, capability and good expeariance
Karen : so a political judgement would have to be made to avoid having milita members
Jassim: it depends on the one who will select
Jassim: there were a good plans here to improve situations here like training abroad, improve basic services and so on but it failed because they didn't practise it well
Jassim: I refere many of that failuer to Iraqis after all
Karen : *nods*
Karen : I guess it's really hard to go from the kind of corruption prevalent in a dictatorship to the kind of interest in the public good necessary for a capitalist democracy
Jassim: yes right
Jassim: it is a long way but we can make it if we go in the right way, now we are not heading in the right way
Jassim: people need much to learn

Borders of Iraq closed

Apparently, the Iraqi government has closed the country's borders, so no one can leave. Syria has ordered all Iraqis out of the country in 15 days. Didn't we learn enough from the plight of the Jews in WWII? Did you know that some of them made it to United States ports, but were turned back to die in the concentration camps? It's beyond me, how anyone can refuse refugees!

Here is a conversation with an Iraqi friend of mine.

Jassim: I want to leave Karen
Jassim: but it is impossible
Jassim: did you hear ?? they closed the borders
Karen: I hadn't heard that
Jassim: i was hoping to go seriya
Karen: I suppose they are trying to keep the Iranians and other out
Jassim: Seyria ordered two days ago that all Iraqis must leave the country through 15 days
Karen: really?
Karen: why???
Jassim: no Karen, they want to keep Iraqis jailed in Iraq to be killed all
Jassim: well this what happened in Seyria, tens thousends of Iraqis living there now are facing a serious peoblem
Karen: that's horrible
Jassim: this was so hostail act from the Syrian
Jassim: there is no where they can go
Jassim: so it is like we are jailed here
Jassim: I wish to leave Karen, as soon as possible
Jassim: although it seems like it became too late
Karen: *nods*
Karen: who made the decision to close the borders?
Jassim: Iraqi government
Jassim: I think this because of the Eurpian countries claiming
Karen: claiming what?
Jassim: trying to mimize the number of Iraqi refuging to their countries
Jassim: but the Seyrian decision was shocking
Jassim: to order all Iraqis to leave the country in 15 days
Karen: it's such a short time, too
Karen: just think of people who have bought homes and have jobs
Karen: and the children already in schools, who will have to leave their new friends
Jassim: yes
Jassim: also they have no where to go, they an't go back to Iraq because they would been killed and also there are no country accept them
Jassim: leaving new friends is the last concerning thing Karen, it is a death or life issue
Karen: what do the Syrians expect the people to do?
Jassim: I'm talking about hundreds thusends of Iraqis now trying to go anywhere
Jassim: it is only to hurt Iraqis
Karen: yes...but friends make life worth living, I think. For children, friends or lacking friends makes a huge difference
Jassim: they expect nothing but hurting
Karen: *nods*
Jassim: now, really Iaq became a huge cage
Jassim: cage include a rude killing
Karen: you'd think that the world would have learned after WWII. There were Jews who tried to leave, but were sent back to Germany to die
Jassim: it seems that world did not learn the expensive lesson from WWII

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Should Iraq be divided into a Kurdish country, a Sunni country and a Shia country?

Once again, r_bayless has asked a question that led to a response from my Iraqi friend. Here is the resulting conversation.

Key points:
* Dividing Iraq would be bad under the current ruling parties, though a federal system might work under a different set of leaders.
* Political parties can't be trusted.
* The USA just sat by and watched as the militias and their foreign backers gained strength

Jassim: Hiii
Jassim: good morning
Karen: hello
Karen: how are you today?
Jassim: fine thanks
Jassim: oohh I see an e mail from you
Jassim: let me read it plz
Jassim: ok what question
Jassim: woooow this is a long question
Jassim: so breifly what he was talking about??
Karen: basically, he's asking whether it would be a good idea or not to divide Iraq into three countries; a Kurdish country, a Sunni country and a Shia country
Jassim: well this would be so wrong
Jassim: no Iraqi would accept this idea
Jassim: completely
Jassim: also if we divided it then basing on what ?
Karen: Ethinc majority in a given regioni
Karen: region
Jassim: relegioun, nationality or another consideration ?
Jassim: this would resolve nothing and incease the problem
Jassim: increase**
Jassim: I know that some people in Iraq wanting it but they know it is impossible
Jassim: like Kurds, they were always trying to achaive it, but in the other hand they know it is not possible... even if they could achaive it it would not survive for many reasons
Jassim: the nighbors countries would not allow it completely
Jassim: also the Shia party we talked about that day aim for a similer thing
Jassim: but not independing in a country, actually they are working here now and I can see them in Najaf working to be independent like in a federal region only to be able to control this area as they want
Karen: *nods*
Jassim: their relation with Iran is not a secret
Jassim: so they are like working to be in control in this region without any intervention from any party and I believe that for this reason they are trying to fail the american plans in Iraq
Jassim: whih forse the american to withdraw from Iraq under the pressure from the American people, that time they will be free to do what they want and put their hands completely on the area furtunes
Jassim: we see this happening now at least in Najaf
Karen: So, you think that it is better to keep the Sunni and Shia in the same country? Do you agree with setting up autonomous federal regions?
Jassim: this is why I believe that they are more dangerous then Sader militia
Jassim: yes I believe in the first part of your question but do not believe with the second one
Jassim: I'm not against the idea of federation it self but I'm against implementing it by those people, they are completely untrusted and they would use it for bad things
Karen: So, the problem is with the United Iraqi Alliance, not with federal regions
Jassim: you can say that
Jassim: also
Jassim: this is not only for them, they are another parties walking in the same way
Jassim: I can say some thing
Jassim: we do not trust any political party in Iraq
Jassim: except a very few parties
Jassim: and even those are powerless
Karen: which parties do you trust?
Jassim: may be the Iraqi nation party
Jassim: which it small and powerless
Jassim: but lestin
Jassim: people now started to relaize that it is better to them to follow a parties with no relegious or nationality shape
Jassim: I think their name is Tecnocrat
Jassim: not sure about the spelling
Karen: ok
Jassim: Karen
Jassim: I feel always how difecult to explain the situation in Iraq
Jassim: to the non Iraqi people
Jassim: it is too complex here and it is one of the main reasons behind bad interventions of other countries
Jassim: we believed that USA mistakes were because of the poor knowldge in Iraq
Karen: what do you think can be done to stop the sectarian violence between the Shia and Sunni militias?
Jassim: stop the heads of them and people behind it
Jassim: I have a list lol
Karen: do tell
Jassim: the first one should disaapear is Hareth Al Thary and what he represent
Jassim: Muqtada
Karen: Al Sadr
Jassim: Salih Al Motlag, Adnan Al Dulaimy
Jassim: and some others
Jassim: yes Al Sader
Jassim: also
Jassim: which it more important is to stop the Arabic intervention in Iraq
Jassim: the Arabic countries are supporting them in every thing
Jassim: Saudia Arabia may looks like an innocent in what is going on in Iraq but they are not, a huge support come from them
Jassim: same for Qatar, Eygept, seriya
Karen: yes, there are those here who say that as well. Unfortunately, the current United States government and the Saudi ruling family are great friends
Jassim: some thing to force those countries to stop this bad intervention and support
Jassim: yes they are
Jassim: this is one of the main reason that makes USA government ssems not serious in resolve the bad situation inIraq
Jassim: there are also an intervention from Iran but it is not worse as they show
Jassim: it can be controlled at least
Jassim: those extreamist were moving and establish all this chaios in Iraq while the American were only watching them
Jassim: with out stopping or failing their plans
Karen: without causing their plans to fail
Jassim: and look now, they became very strong and powerfull and it became so diffecult to stop them, same as what happen in Najaf
Jassim: no this was not my meaning
Jassim: I mean American were only watching those extreamist people gathering and establishing a powerful terrorizm organization with out do any thing to stop it
Jassim: like I explaind for you what happened in Najaf with Muqtada
Jassim: when it became too late American start to move so slowly, what a freeking policy is this ??
Jassim: the american embasador in Iraq was claiming to share some parties in the new government who are the same who killed the american soldiers so badly
Jassim: I meant the americans did nothing to stop the extreamist's plans