Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Here we are again reaching the end of another year. The year 2004 was full of news. The news motivated bloggers to keep blogging. Hey, what's better than writing our great non-biased opinions on these online journals. Just joking.

I started blogging two months before the start of year 2004. I would've never started this blog if my husband didn't create the blog and said, "You need to write about Iraq." He had one condition at the time. He wanted me to use my real name and publish my real biography. He wanted me to establish a trust between me and the readers. It paid well with time.

Sir Winston Churchill once said:

For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.

As him, I chose to be an optimist in my life and my blog. So, for the people who wish to see me otherwise, I say, "Bad luck, It won't happen anytime soon."

Now for my blogging-related resolutions for 2005. I decided to stop reading anonymous bloggers -- whether they are Iraqis or non-Iraqis. I'll only read blogs whose authors have the guts to put their real name and biography on their blogs. Everyone wants to protect their identity on the web. But, not everyone wants to take responsibility for their words. I make one small exception for young Iraqi bloggers.

Since I use my real identity, I prefer to read blogs from people who use their real identity too. This will also apply to people who e-mail me. I'll more likely not answer unidentified e-mails with weird return e-mail addresses. Any rude or hate e-mails will be published on this blog with the sender's e-mail address and computer IP. As Virginia Woolf once said:

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people

Happy New Year everyone and don't forget to check Tabby's latest photos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Al-Ghazalia Explosion

There was a big explosion in Al-Ghazalia suburb of Baghdad last night. The explosion killed 30 people and injured 25 more. But, the explosion itself isn't the only reason I'm writing. The actions of ordinary Iraqis inspired me.

The story starts with a Sudani who moved into a house in Al-Ghazalia two days ago. The neighbors became suspicious of the new resident when foreigners started visiting him carrying bags and left without the bags. Obviously, the number of bags was big enough to prompt one of the neighbors to call the police and tell them about the weird things happening in that house. [Source Al-Rafidain and Radio Sawa].

The cops answered the call for help. But, when the cops arrived and tried to enter the house, the Sudani detonated about 1800 pounds of explosives. The explosion destroyed the house and the surrounding homes.

I'm glad some Iraqis have started to trust the police and call them about suspicious activities. It's one step on a long road to achieve security in Iraq. The next step should be for Iraqis to be more cautious before they rent a house to a foreigner. In America and Australia, we go through many checks before we can rent a house or an apartment. The same should be done in Iraq.

And last, read CNN's version of the story. According to their report, it was the terrorist who called the police. Why would they give credit to the Iraqis?

UPDATE 12/31/2004
Here are my conclusions:

Who called the police?

A neighbor called the police. If the Sudani terrorist called the police (as claimed by CNN and other sources), they would've noticed his non-Iraqi accent.

Why did the terrorist detonate the explosives?

There are two versions for this part of the story:

1) One story is he meant for the neighbors to notice his suspicious acts from the moment he moved into the house. He went to the roof and started shooting in the air. This act prompted the neighbors to call the police. He wanted to kill as many police as he could by detonating the explosives when they arrived to arrest him.

2) Another story is the neighbors noticed the suspicious acts and called the police. When the police arrived and tried to arrest him, he went to the roof and started shooting in the air. He told the police he would detonate explosives stored inside the house if they tried to enter.

Whether the first or second story is the right version, the important part is the Iraqi people are watching their neighborhoods for terrorists.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Help Tsunami Survivors

This is a quick note for anyone who wants to help tsunami survivors.

Christian Science Monitor listed the American organizations which are accepting contributions. Click on this link and scroll to the bottom of the report for the list.

Sydney Morning Herald listed information for donations in Australia. Click on this link for details.

CNN published a list of organizations which are accepting contributions. Click on this link for details.

Post Links:
After tsunami, relief begins
Who to call, what to do and whom to donate to
Aid groups accepting donations for victims

Monday, December 27, 2004


A terrorist, who calls himself "terrorist007" posted a video on a militant Islamic chat room teaching his fellow terrorists/idiots/killers how to make explosive vests from simple materials available at home and most shops.

I decided to write about it here because I'm tired of seeing Iraqi and American soldiers and civilians losing their lives for Darth Vaders of the 21st century.

Retired military intelligence officer Lt. Col. Rick Francona said:

The most disturbing thing about this video is that it exists. Every military commander in Iraq and Afghanistan should be aware of this. This video shows someone how to more effectively attack American troops."

I'll go further and say everyone needs to know about this video. I can see a psychopath using it for his/her advantage and trying to blow up people in buses, trains and airplanes.

I don't know why we're stopping short of tracking down those online criminals. Last week, the FBI was able to locate and arrest a murderer within 24 hours of committing her crime by tracking down her posts on a message board. Why can't we do the same with the terrorists, who are using the internet for their advantage?

And last, what on earth was this Australian thinking? These are the psycho people who worry me the most. They are like Timothy McVeigh.

Post Links:
Web video teaches terrorists to make bomb vest
Stinnett Called 'Beautiful Swan' At Funeral
Suspect in Gold Coast hotel siege refused bail
Special Report: Timothy McVeigh

Friday, December 24, 2004

How Christmas works in Iraq

Post moved here.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Who's Who In The Iraqi Elections

Here are the names of a few candidates who are running for The Iraqi National Assembly:
  • United Iraqi Coalition:

    - Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hakim / Supreme Court of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
    - Abrahim Al-Ja'fari / Islamic Da'wa party / Vice president of Iraq.
    - Ahmed Al-Chalabi / Iraqi National Conference Party.
    - Hussein Al-Shahristani / Nuclear Scientist.

  • Iraqi List:

    - Ayad Allawi / Iraqi National Accord Movement / Prime Minister
    - Falah Al-Naqeeb / Minister of Interior
    - Tahir Al-Buka' / Minister of Education
    - Qasim Dawood / Minister of National Security
    - Aqeel Al-Saffar / Deputy Minister of National Security

    Slogan : Strong Leadership and Safe Country

  • Iraqi Democrats Assembly:

    - Adnan Al-Pachachi / Former Foreign Minister.
    - Mahdi Al-Hafith / Minister of Planning and National Development.
    - Ayhem Al-Samira'ee / Minister of Electricity.
    - Mishkat Al-Mu'min / Minister of Environment.
    - Layla Abd Al-Latif / Minister of Work and Social Affairs.

    Slogan: United Democratic Iraq

  • Iraqi Communist Party
    - Hameed Majeed Mosa / Secretary General

  • Iraqis Assembly:

    - Ghazi Al-Yawer / President of Iraq
    - Hazim Al-Sha'lan / Minister of defense.
    - Hajim Al-Hasani / Minister of Industry and minerals.

Searching for candidates' names is like searching for a needle in a haystack. I guess most running parties are keeping a low profile for security reasons.

UPDATE 12/27/2004
tcfactory has a good list of who's who in the Iraqi elections.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

White Christmas In Dallas

© Fayrouz Hancock
Click on photograph to enlarge.

It snowed in Dallas today. I wished for a white Christmas this year. My wish was granted. I took this photograph with my Canon point-and-shoot camera from our apartment balcony last year. Am I a good photographer?

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Computers Give Hope To Iraqi Children

The last few days sucked the life out of me. Between Sunday's attacks and yesterday's attacks, I needed a break from Iraq's bloody news. Luckily, I found an article on Middle East Online that brought me happiness:

"In this bleak atmosphere it is important to give children a glimmer of hope, far from the sounds of explosions and the news of death," says Safa el-Din al-Sultani, who runs a computer centre for children in the heart Baghdad.

"The Karrada Cultural Center for Youth Computer Teaching" is located in a villa which used to belong to one of the bodyguards of Saddam Hussein, before he was toppled in April 2003.

More than 130 Iraqi boys and girls, aged 8-14, from 17 different schools in the Karrada area attend a two-hour computer course every day, delivered by fresh university graduates who volunteer to teach the children.

"We teach these children for free. Most of them come from families who cannot afford to have a computer in there homes," says Mithal Alaa, 27, who studied at the Nationalist Computer Science Centre under the old regime.

Beyond the enjoyment of a break from the omnipresence of the country's tumultuous events, children are also the first ones to seize a tool for their future, one which was reserved to the elite under Saddam Hussein.


It's good to see Iraqi older generations trying to help the younger generations. These are the kind of projects that NGOs, UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations need to implement in Iraq. Younger Iraqis need psychological healing. This healing can't be achieved without the help of the outside world.

My condolences to the people who lost loved ones in yesterday's attack. Husayn, I hope you hear from your brother very soon.

Post Links:
50 arrested after Najaf bombing
Mosul rocket attack kills 15 U.S. troops
Baghdad kids click into virtual world
Tragedy In Mosul

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

More Questions and Less Answers

Firas posted yesterday. His post adds to the discussion on my previous post. Firas talks about the attack on a police station in Baghdad that took place two weeks ago:

about twenty armed men came to the area on the hour of dawn praying and started to through the men out of the mosque who were there for the pray, and after that started to attack the police station by AKs and RPGs and the policemen did all what they could do to defend their place until they were all killed and the prisoners were set free”, here is some none answered questions for you:
  1. Why didn’t any one help the policemen?

  2. Why didn’t the policemen get any backup?

  3. Why didn’t any neighbor call for help on the phone numbers written on the signs all over the streets?

  4. Why didn’t the mosque keeper call for help by the loud speakers as he calls for the pray time?

  5. Why couldn’t the policemen win the battle?

  6. Why didn’t we get any answers for these questions?

  7. Will it happen again?

These are what I call "The million dollar questions." These are the same questions I had in my mind when I saw the picture of election workers being murdered in the middle of the road.

Iraqis are still living in state of shock, fear, distrust of the government and other traumas inherited from years of oppression under Saddam's rule. But, what's the solution? How could Iraqis heal themselves and reconcile with each other? I have no idea.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bloody Day In Iraq

Source: MSNBC
A gunman, center left, holds a pistol to the head of an Iraqi election worker lying in Baghdad's Haifa Street on Sunday. The man kneeling at right is also an election worker who was pulled from the car.

This photograph has been haunting me all day. I kept asking myself, "How could anybody justify these acts?"

My condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Najaf, Kerbala and Baghdad. I'm sick of those people who turned Iraq into a land of blood.


Harrison Ford And Falluja

Reuters reported:

Producers at Universal Pictures are developing what would be Hollywood's first feature film about the war in Iraq, with actor Harrison Ford ready to portray a U.S. general in the movie, the studio said on Friday.

The combat drama would be based on the upcoming book "No True Glory," an account of the battle for Falluja by Bing West, a Marine veteran and former U.S. assistant defense secretary now covering the war as a foreign correspondent, a studio spokesman said.

I have no problem with Hollywood making movies about Iraq. However, I really wish they wouldn't portray Iraqis as Bedouins living in tents, raising goats and riding camels to work, which is the way Hollywood views Middle Easterners in most movies.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Democracy In Iraq

Husayn Uthman started his blog from Iraq. He wrote on his blog:

My name is Husayn Uthman, I live in Iraq. I have decided to write about the upcoming election in Iraq, and tell you about how things are progressing here. I have in my short time on the web, seen that not all news is positive on the internet. I hope to give you a good look into how things are really progressing here, how we are excited about our future, and how we are working to build our nation after all that has happened in the last few years. I look forward to sharing this experience with everyone who visit my blog,

Please, give him a warm welcome.

Husayn, I hope you help us understand more about the Iraqi elections, and we wish you the best with your blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Thomas Friedman Doing The E.U.

You know what kills me most these days? It's watching most of the world waiting on Iraqis to fail in every step they take. Except for a few countries, the rest of the world is watching Iraqis running in circles and laughing at them.

I keep wondering what the Iraqis did wrong? Even if you hate America, show some sympathy and help the Iraqi people. I really can't understand the resentment showed by people of many countries.

A few days ago I read a column written by Thomas L. Friedman. Remember Thomas L. Friedman is considered a lefty by American standards. But, he says it the best in this column:

On the flight over to the Persian Gulf, I was reading an article in The Financial Times about NATO fighting with itself over whether to send a few dozen more trainers to Baghdad to help the Iraqi Army. I couldn't help but wonder to myself: Let's see, there are now 26 countries in NATO. If each NATO country contributed just 100 soldiers, roughly speaking, we could have five NATO soldiers guarding every polling station in Iraq for the January election. That would be a huge help. After all, what does NATO stand for today if not for helping to protect a free and fair election in Iraq?

Is it so much to ask that each NATO country contribute 100 soldiers for a long weekend to advance the prospect of Iraqi elections? Heck, I'll throw in the airfare myself. I have so many frequent-flier miles, I could even fly over a few hundred soldiers from European Union countries that aren't in NATO.

Wait a minute, did I say European Union? Do you know how many trees have been cut down to publish studies about the European Defense Initiative -- the EU's quest to build a military force independent of NATO and America? Whole forests have been devoted to studies of EDI. So I was thinking: What does EDI stand for today, if not for sending 500 EU soldiers to Iraq for a long weekend so that Iraqis might begin to create the first real, bottom-up democracy in the Arab League?

Read more..

Today, I wanted to vent my disappointment with many countries. I've got more details about the Iraqi elections. I'll talk about them in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.

Most Inspiring Person of The Year

Do you consider any of the following your inspiration in year 2004?

Christopher Reeve
Pat Tillman
Cpl. Jason Dunham
Curt Schilling
Nancy Reagan
Margaret Hassan
Mukhtaran Bibi
Spc. Joseph Darby
Smarty Jones * The only horse on this list.

You have the chance to cast your vote here. I would love to see the Iraqi readers voting for Margaret Hassan. But, I leave the choice to you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Saving Leyla M.

UPDATE 12/16/2004
Cindy had a good suggestion. If you're willing to help, then read the rest of this update. We may not be able to do much. But, let's try.

Send letters to the Human Right Commission at the U.N.

Committee against Torture

Mail :
Petitions Team
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Fax : + 41 22 917 9022
E-mail: (particularly for urgent matters)


Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Mail :
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
c/o Division for the Advancement of Women,
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat
2 United Nations Plaza, DC-2/12th Floor
New York, NY 10017
United States of America

Fax : + 1-212-963-3463

Hiwa at Kurdistan Bloggers Union brought the story of Leyla M. to my attention. She is a mentally retarded Iranian girl, who is facing execution for adultery charges. The girl was forced to work as a prostitute at age 10 by her mother. Now, she's paying the price of someone else's decisions.

The independent reported yesterday:

A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for s*x before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.

The girl, known as Leyla M, is in prison while the Supreme Court decides on her "acts contrary to chastity", among the most serious charges under Iranian law. Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be executed.

In an interview on a Persian-language website, the 19-year-old says she was forced into prostitution by her mother at the age of eight. Amnesty International refers to reports that say she was repeatedly raped, bore her first child aged nine and was passed from pimp to pimp before having another three children.

She told the website: "The first time I was taken to a man's house by my mum I was eight. It was a horrible night and I cried a lot but then my mum came the next day and took me home. She bought me chocolate and cheese curls."

Read more..

I'm not sure how we could help save her life. I'm disgusted by what this human must suffer. No woman should be treated this way, especially when she's mentally retarded.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Let's Talk About The Iraqi Elections

Source: The BBC

The photo says it all, "Vote For Iraq's Future. Participation of women in the elections is a representation of democracy and equality."

I tried to compile as much information as I could find online about the upcoming Iraqi elections.

The best report I found was written by Walter Pincus and Anthony Shadid for the Washington Post. It's a must-read report to understand the election process. In short, the upcoming elections are about choosing people to write the new Iraqi constitution.

As you probably know by now, the leading Shia groups formed an alliance to run in the upcoming elections. I'm actually not against forming political alliances. We have this process in Australia too. Years ago, the Libral and National parties formed an alliance. They run under the Libral-National Coalition.

Problems surfaced after the Shia groups joined together. Gazi Al-Yawar, the Iraqi president, warned Iran and Syria to stop interfering in Iraq's interior affairs. He warned both countries stop helping terrorists cross the borders into Iraq. His other warning is elections-related. He has accused Iran of trying to influence the Iraqi vote.

I'm positive the first allegation is true. Anyone with a brain can figure it. But, I'm not too sure about the second allegation. All I can say is that I don't trust the Iranian government. But, I believe the Iraqi people are smart enough to choose the right people in the upcoming elections. Well, at least I hope I'm right.

While we're talking about alliances, I've noticed the Christian minority has a decent number of political entities on the list I translated a few weeks ago. That's good. It would be better if we could form an alliance to ensure we get enough seats. With the current Iraqi Christian minority situation, it's the only way we can protect our rights in the new Iraqi constitution. This also applies to the political entities led by women.

Elaf reported [Arabic report] that elections will also be held in 14 countries outside Iraq to give a chance to the Iraqi expats to participate in the elections. Eight-hundred-thousand eligible Iraqi expats are expected to vote in the upcoming elections. I believe this number can make a difference.

Lastly, I have my own opinion about the elections. I don't think the first election will be perfect. There is no such thing as perfect elections in the whole world. In every country, election results make one group happy and another group unhappy. What makes the difference is how many people believe their vote makes a difference. This is why they go and vote. I hope Iraqis understand this fact.

Post Links:
Iraq Faces Hurdles On Details Of Election
Shiite Groups Unite to Run in Iraq Elections Next Month
Iraqi Elections - Update I - Revision IV
الانتخابات العراقية ستجري في 14 دولة


Who Are The Iraqis

The following was written by Joe Briggs before March 2003.

By Joe Bob Briggs (Via From Baghdad To New York)

NEW YORK, (UPI) -- Every decade or so, we should remind ourselves of who the Iraqis are:

  1. Twelve thousand years ago, they invented irrigated farming. They got to be so good at it that, today, they can still produce all the food they need even when "sanctions" are [were] imposed.

  2. They invented writing.

  3. They figured out how to tell time.

  4. They founded modern mathematics.

  5. In the Code of Hammurabi, they invented the first legal system that protects the weak, the widow and the orphan.

  6. Five thousand years ago, they had philosophers who attempted to list every known thing in the world.

  7. They were using Pythagoras' theorem 1,700 years before Pythagoras.

  8. They invented artificial building materials, some kind of pre-fab-crete stuff used to construct high-rise towers.

  9. Ur, in southeast Iraq, is assumed to be the place we're all descended from.

  10. They were the first people to build cities and live in them.

  11. For thousands of years, they wrote the greatest poetry, history and "sagas" in the world.

  12. Because they were great horse breeders, they invented the cavalry in war.

  13. The Iraq Museum in Baghdad contains some of the most outstanding stone, metal and clay sculptures and inscriptions created in the history of the world. Some of them are more than 7,000 years old. If a bomb hits this place, art lovers around the world will go into mourning.

  14. The first school for astronomers was established by Iraqis. This is how the "wise men" got to be so wise. They knew how to follow the star.

  15. Beginning around 800 A.D., the Iraqis founded universities that imported teachers from throughout the civilized world to teach medicine, mathematics, philosophy, theology, literature and poetry.

  16. For the first 1,200 years of its existence, Baghdad was regarded as one of the most refined, civilized and festive cities in the world.

  17. Abraham, the father of Israel, was from Iraq.

  18. Abraham, the father of Islam, was from Iraq.

  19. Abraham, the father and "model" of Christian faith, was from Iraq.

  20. Saddam Hussein doesn't [didn't] regard himself as the heir of Abraham, or even as the heir of Muhammad. He regards [regarded] himself, first and foremost, as the heir of Nebuchadnezzar. He identifies [identified], in other words, with the enslaver, not the enslaved.

Everything we know about the rest of Iraq tells us that he is the exception,not the Iraqis.

The source can be reached by clicking here

Saddam's Aids Are On Diet

The BBC News reported:

The US military says a number of former senior Iraqi officials who are now in custody have been refusing food.

A military spokesman said seven of a group of 11 prisoners that includes Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Chemical Ali, have been refusing some meals.

He said there was no concern for their health because they were still taking water and some US army rations.

The spokesman denied reports that the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was on hunger strike.

Does anyone really care whether those criminals decide to eat or not? Are they trying to get sympathy from people?

It's funny that they stop eating after taking their breakfast. It's called a diet - not a hunger strike. They probably need to diet since they're getting such good treatment in jail. Something they denied thousands of jailed Iraqis while they ruled Iraq.

I suggest the army give them a copy of "Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein."There are stories of Ali Chemical's brutality in this book. So, it makes for a good read from their comfortable prison.

UPDATE 12/13/2004
Well, they're back to eating. Too much for that hunger strike.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Turning On The Comments

With Iraqi elections taking place in less than two months, I decided to allow comments on this blog. I'm as confused as anyone else regarding the Iraqi elections. I'm preparing a post to clarify a few points about these elections. Hopefully, I finish it tonight or tomorrow.

For the people who requested a comments section for this blog, this is my Christmas gift to you. Try to use it for the best.

WARNING: I won't accept any abusive comments against any Iraqi blogger, commentator, race, religion or ethnic group. Those kinds of comments will be deleted. We need to find a common ground where we can discuss Iraq's future positively.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Peace Bird Art School

Few days ago I read the following in a report:

Eighteen children who were injured and held hostage during the Beslan siege two months ago are in the middle of a three week visit to Israel to heal wounds - both physical and psychological.

At the time, I couldn't help but think of thousands of Iraqi children who are not lucky enough to have this kind of treatment. Then I read about an Australian lady who opened a children's center in Al-Doura neighborhood in Baghdad. It's named "Peace Bird Art School." It's a place where children can forget about war, bombing and other traumas. She describes the school in her letter:

This is a place where children can come to learn the arts and express their creativity. The aim is that they can begin to heal from trauma through their play.

They train in music, ceramics, art, computers and theatre. Pursuits they do not have access to at home or school.

The letter has details on how people can donate to this project.

And, a British solider stationed in Basra is requesting present donations for the Iraqi children. So, if you're British and reading this post, I would appreciate your help. Below is the story:

A Taunton soldier who is spending Christmas thousands of miles from home is appealing to Somerset County Gazette readers to help cheer up children in trouble-torn Iraq.

Sgt. Matt Baker, 38, a former pupil at St George's Roman Catholic Primary and Wellington Schools, is on a seven-month tour of duty with the 4th Armoured Brigade (Desert Rats) at Basra air station.

He and his colleagues are keen to light up the lives of Iraqi children and have appealed for presents to hand on to them.

He said: "We're asking for toys, football strips, non-perishable items - anything to bring a smile to their faces because they're having a pretty tough time."

Anyone wishing to send presents to Iraqi children can send parcels free of charge

c/o Sgt Baker,
HQ 4 Armoured Brigade,
BAS Op Telic 5, BFPO 641.

If neither of the above apeal to you, check here for a list of other ways to help the Iraqi people.

Post Links:
Beslan Children and Parents on Healing Trip to Israel.
Good news in Baghdad: Welcome to Peace Bird Art School!
How I can Help?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Doing It The Wiggles Way - Update III

Here is the good news of the day published on chief Wiggles's blog:

A quick update on Tabby. We have been asked to give the privacy and we have followed their wishes. So, at this time, only a quick update. Tabby has had the tumors on both sides of her face removed. Her heart has been fixed. She has had one surgery on her lip, but as she is now learning to walk, fell and split it open. It will be repaired soon.

All is well with her and her father.

Two Churches Attacked In Mosul

In the last two months, we witnessed escalated attacks and threats against the Christian minority in Mosul. Yesterday, the terrorists went further and attacked two churches in Mosul. The Scotsman Reports:

Iraqi Militants bombed two churches in Mosul today, injuring three people in a coordinated attack apparently aimed at stirring trouble between religious groups in this ethnically diverse northern city.

Police officials and church leaders said gunmen stormed into the churches and ordered people out of the buildings before detonating explosives in both.

Deputy provincial governor Khasro Gouran said three people were wounded in the first church attack, which occurred at 2:30 p.m. (1130GMT) in eastern Mosul's Wihda neighbourhood. Police officials had no details on casualties. The religious denomination of the church was not immediately clear, but it was believed to be Armenian.

An hour later, gunmen stormed the Chaldean Christian church in western Mosul's Shefa neighbourhood, forcing a handful of people out before rigging it with explosives and detonating them, according to Father Ragheed Aziz. No casualties were reported.

Area residents said several carloads of gunmen surrounded the Chaldean church before 20 militants stormed the church compound.

The Chaldean church was also the residence of Mosul's Bishop. It was called a palace for its beauty.

Emmanuel Delly, Patriarch of the Catholic Chaldean Church, said in an interview with AsiaNews:

Terrorists have destroyed the most beautiful symbol of the Chaldean Church in the whole of Iraq. Christians are increasingly worried that they will be targets of such acts of violence.

I'd like to see the American religious organizations reach out and help rebuild these destroyed churches. So far, the only help I know about is coming from St. Katharine Drexel Catholic church and two Muslim organizations in South Florida. Thank you to the three organizations for their help to rebuild the destroyed churches in Iraq.

Post Links:
Churches Attacked by Iraqi Militants
Patriarch Delly mourns the destruction of the most beautiful symbol of Iraq's Chaldean Church
Muslims to help fix Iraq churches

1,000 Fallen Heroes

At least 1,000 Iraqi police have been killed in Iraq during the last 18 months. The terrorists have continuously targeted them and called them traitors. For me, they're the real heroes.

Let's not forget their sacrifices.

Iraq Needs Your help

I received the following letter from an Iraqi-American reader. I hope someone would consider his suggestions:

In these hard days in Iraq there is a need for clearing some confusion, that is important to stop the bleeding of the Iraqi and American blood, by clearing these issues the pretext that the terrorist are using to recruit young Muslims is weakened and that will remove the misunderstanding that lead a lot of Iraqi people to have a hostile look at the present of the coalition forces in their land too.

To do this a clear statement is needed from the US president by talking in clear words to the Iraqi people and the people of the world in a televised speech setting clear these important issues:

  1. US acted to protect itself from what it believed was a grave danger presented by the regime of Saddam Hussein. By removing this regime from power it created a power vacuum that it felt its obligation to fix things before leaving the country.

  2. The presence of the coalition forces in Iraq is TEMPORARY and as soon as a democratic elected government with the ability to protect Iraq and enforce the law is created they will LEAVE.

  3. There is NO PLANS to put any prominent military bases in Iraq.

  4. There is NO PLANS to control Iraqi resources by American or multinational companies through long term contracts.

  5. There is NO PLANS to influence by any means the way Iraqis want to rule themselves, or the upcoming elections.

Many of these issues was declared before but there is a need to say it again. For many Iraqis they need this assurance before they can get over their suspicions toward the coalition and if the president's words are clear enough he will make an edge against the terrorists and win a lot of Iraqi hearts that some of them are in a gray area and they will lean to the right side.

So I ask for your help to get this letter to the American administration and the president, by e-mailing it to the president, the white house, your congressman, the media, weblogs, forums, lobby groups and as many people as possible.

for you as an Iraqi blogger you could post this letter on your blog. By doing this we will be able to save lives and help Iraq standing on its legs again

To contact The White House or U.S.A Congress, click here.

I hope many of you can help with this urgent matter. Lately, I've noticed the big gap between the two sides. It's getting wider by the day because the Iraqi people are left in the dark. Iraqis living inside Iraq need some assurance. You can give them the chance to understand you and eventually trust you again by explaining the current situation to them.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Smallest Political Quiz

I took this easy test (Via Zacht Ei) to assess myself "politically". According to the result of the test, I'm a centrist.

CENTRISTS espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice.

Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.

Yes, that's me.

I know the quiz is not accurate. But, I wanted to make it clear to everyone who reads this blog that I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat. This fact doesn't make me lean toward any of the other parties. So, please don't assume where I stand politcally just because I love Iraq and want the best for it.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dancing Iraqi Troops

In the late 90s, an Australian TV reporter traveled to Iraq and spent a week with an Iraqi family documenting their daily life. He did a great job showing the negative effect of the U.N. sanctions on the ordinary Iraqi people. The documentary ended with his Iraqi host taking him to an Iraqi wedding. The wedding guests were dancing and singing loudly. They looked like they owned the whole world. Most of us, who watched his documentary, would always remember his closing statement:

This nation will never die.

Why I'm telling this old story?

Today, I watched a video of dancing Iraqi troops (Via Operation Truth) -- You need to setup your browser to open .WAV files with Windows Media Player. These are the new recruits of the new Iraqi army. They look full of energy and happiness. It made me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because it asserted the above statement in my head. Sad because of the continuous suicide bombing against the Iraqi people.

But, you know what? Nation of Iraq will never die. For the terrorists who made Iraq their holy ground, there is no place in heaven for you.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Margaret Hassan Is Gone - Update I

The dental tests were negative on the mutilated body of a Western woman found in Falluja two weeks ago. It was not Margaret Hassan's body.

The questions are "Whose body was that?", "Where is Margaret?" and "Why couldn't anybody save her life?"

The last question bothers me a lot. Iyad Allawi's three relatives were released within a week of being kidnapped. The kidnapped Polish woman made a surprise appearance in Poland less than two weeks ago.

Conclusion: It all boils down to who is or isn't willing to negotiate with terrorists and pay a big ransom.

Post Links:
Body found in Iraq not Margaret Hassan
Iraqi PM's cousin 'free'
Polish woman hostage is released
Margaret Hassan Is Gone