... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...
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Baghdad, April 9th, 2005
Many areas in Baghdad were cut off today for security reasons and to accomodate the demonstrators, I suppose. There were some Sunni demonstrations but the large majority of demonstrators were actually Shia and followers of Al Sadr. They came from all over Baghdad and met up in Firdaws Square- the supposed square of liberation. They were in the thousands. None of the news channels were actually covering it. Jazeera showed fragments of the protests in the afternoon but everyone else seemed to busy with some other news story. Thanks to E. for sending me this link. Check out the protest here.
BBC and EuroNews were busily covering the wedding between Prince Charles and the dreadful Camilla. CNN was showing the Pope's funeral. No one bothered with the demonstrations in Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar and the south. There were hundreds of thousands of Shia screaming "No to America. No to terrorism. No to occupation. No to the devil. No to Israel." The numbers were amazing and a little bit frightening too.
Ever since Jalal Talbani was named president, there have been many angry Shia. It's useless explaining that the presidential chair is only symbolic- it doesn't mean anything. "La izayid we la inaqis." As we say in Iraq. "It doesn't increase anything, nor does it decrease anything." People have the sense that all the positions are 'symbolic'- hence, why shouldn't the Shia get the head symbol? The disturbing thing is how the Kurds could agree to have someone with so much blood on his hands. Talbani is known for his dealings with Turkey, Britain, America and other and his feuds with Barazani have led to the deaths of thousands of Kurds.
The weather is warm now. We often turn on the ceiling fan (or panka) in an attempt to move around the muggy air. April is a month of fresh beginnings all over the world but in Iraq, April is not the best of months. April is a month of muggy warmth and air thick with dust and sand- and now of occupation. We opened the month with a dust storm that left the furniture in our houses sand-colored with an opaque layer of dust. We breathed dust, ate dust and drank dust for a few days. The air is clearer now but everything is looking a little bit diminished and dirty. It suits the mood.
Two years and this is Occupation Day once more. One wonders what has changed in this last year. The same faces of April 2004, but now they have differing positions in April 2005. The chess pieces were moved around and adjusted and every one is getting tired of the game.
Who was it that said April was a cruel month? They knew what they were talking about...