Saturday, February 25, 2006

Queen Amidala Reporting From Basra

Queen Amidala sent me the following e-mail regarding the situation in Basra:

I've heard the audio file Zeyad published on his blog It's really frightening to listen to it. God help them.

Here -- I mean in my area -- is much more quiet than that. But last night around 7:30pm, we went out to buy some food. We saw strangers on the streets. They were wearing all black clothes with scarves on their heads in a strange way.

I'm at work today. I will keep you updated.

She sent me another e-mail three hours later:

Actually the situation here is getting worse by the minute. Yesterday, its seems that they killed one of the most important Sunnis in Basra. This morning while my father was at the market, he heard that they killed another one. If this is what I heard happened in my area, then what else is happening in other parts of town?

And I was back home as soon as I sent you the previous letter as I found myself the only one at work today. I called my father to come take me back home. The streets were almost empty. We saw very few shops open on our way back home.

I'’m sure the situation here isn'’t any close to Baghdad; but the city is boiling.

I will try to keep you updated.

I think it depends on your part of town. Her neighborhood has been relatively peaceful for the last three years.


Best Description of The Iraqi Situation:

"Everybody seems to be imprisoned in their own sectarian or political affiliations. They don't seem to be able to rise above these things."

-- Adnan Al-Pachachi

I could have not said it better than Al-Pachachi. This has been Iraqis problem for many centuries. I don't believe it will diminish in the near future.


UPDATE I - Feb. 26, 2006
I sent the Queen the militia pictures Zeyad published on his blog yesterday. I asked if the men in black roaming her neighborhood look like them. She sent me back this reply:

Yes, they wear the same clothes.

They now control the streets at night like the real military. At night, they wear all black and cover their faces with some kind of a black mask like the one in the photographs.

Also, there's no fuel in the city. We can't buy it from the fuel stations for a while now. We always buy it from people on the streets for higher prices -- black market. But, they are no where to be found for the last three days.

Add to that there isn't electricity 24/7. And now we can't let the generators work like before because of the fuel shortage. So we are back to the dark ages, only this time it's much more worse.


UPDATE II - Feb. 27, 2006
Here's the Queen's latest dispatch from Basra:

Last night, a nine years old boy was kidnapped. Nobody knows why was he kidnapped.

Everyone is saying the country is heading toward a civil war. We [The Christians] will be stuck in the middle. We'll be attacked by all parties for sure.

The men in black are still in the streets. The bombing hasn't stopped yet. Just two nights ago, they bombed a Shia shrine near Assad Babil at the end of Al-Watan Street.

Bye for now.


UPDATE III - Feb. 27, 2006
An Iraqi friend sent me this e-mail after he talked to his relatives in Mosul:

He [His relative] mentioned that the situation is quite tense in Baghdad and Basra, with a number of gun men in the streets creating problems. He said there are gun men, who wear all black, including black masks who are certainly bad guys. They believe them to be thugs associated with Moqtada Al Sadr.

The cousin believes most of the mosque attacks to be by former Saddam supporters, who would like to see a civil war start. He mentioned also that the main mosque in Samara, could have been bombed by Iran’s henchmen. He said as soon as the US started putting pressure on the Shiaa groups in Iraq, to give more opportunities for Sunni participation in the government, there were several attacks targeted at fomenting Sunni-Shiaa hatred. He seems to think that Iran may be the main source of these actions.

Asked about the possibility of civil war, he said that although there were tensions and there were some killings, they were generally isolated and were the result of young street thugs fighting with each other, not the general population. He thought there would be continued efforts by current leaders to reduce tensions. He mentioned several leaders of the Shiaa and Sunni communities made an effort to clean one of the mosques together and pray together.

They have had curfews in place now for three days, and may not lift them until after tomorrow. Such curfews do reduce tensions but also are not easy, because often times, people run out of food, if they are not able to go to market. So people are anxious for the curfews to be lifted.

A major problem is the lack of reliable electricity and also insufficient gasoline and kerosene supplies, which is a major hardship.

If you ask me, this theory makes more sense than any other theories.


UPDATE IV - Mar. 1, 2006
At last I heard from the Basrawi Fair Lady. I was getting concerned. Thanks God she's fine. And, here's what she wrote me in her e-mail from Basra:

[...]
Life here is becoming so unbearable. At least in Basra we had some security. Now there is none of this. I have a lot of negative feelings, anger and hate. all the good we do and hope for Iraq is not strong enough because the real and active players on the scene and behind the scene are aiming against that. Whether it is his own benefit or someone else's; but sure it is not our own, the "Iraqi people."

I am so frustrated by all what is happening. and I know it will not stop soon.
[...]

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