Friday, 13 April 2007

Our Biggest "April Lie"


When we were kids there was a common tradition in Iraq known as “Kithbat Neesan” or (April’s Lie). In the first few days of April we used to be cautious from believing any surprising or unusual news from friends as we were afraid of being dragged into and caught by “April’s lie” mockery. It was seen within the context of our innocent childhood with no intention to cause any harm but I do not know why we were celebrating lying on each other. In addition, I got no clue where this myth of “April’s Lie” came from and whether other nations have the same tradition of lying and cheating in April every year.
May be for that reason I have not posted anything on the blog for the past ten days, fearing that nobody will believe a word I have written. I left many drafts unfinished and waiting hopefully to be completed and published on the site. No, I am just joking. the main reason behind my hesitation was the rapid developments on the Iraqi scene over the two weeks. These developments proved that “April’s Lie” is not only limited to Iraqi kids but shared by adults and particularly those in the Iraqi government and parliament with their American allies.
April is not like other months in Iraqi history. It is very important for the current government as well as the old regime. Look at the following dates and you will realise the significance of this month. It is already packed with many anniversaries:
1. On the 7th of this month the Ba’ath Party celebrated its sixtieth birthday anniversary.
2. On 17/04/1988, we liberated Al-Faw peninsula from the “Persian Occupation”
3. On 28/04/1937, Saddam Hussein was born.
And there are anther two but not very well famous celebrations:
Baghdad’s day is on the 21st of this month and for those who graduated from Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad, the 2nd of April is its day.

And if April was a very important month for Saddam and Ba’athists, it was much more significant for our “new Ba’athists”. Four years ago at this time we celebrated the toppling of the statue of Saddam but later on many Iraqis regrettably were disappointed with what the Americans have brought. The 9th of April is a public holiday since 2003, so another anniversary was added to the already stretched April’s list. However; this does not stop Al-Maliki from “inserting” another celebration. this time is to commemorate “the martyrdom of Mohamed Baqir Al-Sadr and his sister Bint Al-Huda”. In situations like this one, ordinary Iraqis use to say “Kim’let Al-Sib'ha Ou Chanet Bess Ay'zeh Shahool”* (the string of beads now has been completed and it was only lacking the “Shahool”). It is clearly obvious that Al-Maliki’s move was taken to please Muqtada Al-Sadr and his followers who constitute the only mass currently backing the prime minister.

Going back to “April’s lie” tradition and by looking at the above mentioned dates, most of these holidays lack the insight into the present or the future and almost completely indulge themselves in the past. The Ba’ath party is currently banned in Iraq and its ideas of Unity of Arab countries, Freedom of its people and Socialism proved to be the biggest April’s Lie that had never been fulfilled in its 60 year history. About Al-Faw, It was estimated that approximately 50000 Iraqi soldiers were killed and lost in fierce battles in 1986 for the sake of this piece of deserted land while at the same time Saddam rewarded many of Iraqi neighbouring countries with possession of Iraqi soil (the boarders’ settlement with Saudi Arabia). In mid nineties when Iraqis became accustomed to eating animal diet, Iraqi TV channels used to broadcast footages showing the President “The Necessity”, cutting a 4x3 meters cake on his birthday anniversary. In fact we were witnessing and celebrating our humiliating demise. But do things changed with the liberation/occupation of Iraq in 2003. Four years of continuous onslaught and the Iraqi government and the Americans are still coming with “April Lies” convincingly trying to make us believe them. The appointment of Ryan Crocker as the new American ambassador for Iraq replacing Khalil Zad was portrayed by the media as the magical solution for the complicated Iraqi situation whereas in fact Crocker was nothing but like “a Bedouin in a Baghdadi mosque”. With violence erupted in Diywania, curfews imposed in Baghdad and Diywania, destruction of the Sarrafiyah Bridge and the suicide bombing inside the Parliament, the Baghdad security plan seems to be on the verge of collapse and Al-Maliki’s response was only to distract people from thinking about their miseries and keep their attention focussed on past grievances. The absence of a clear prospect for the present and the future drives him and the Americans behind him to glorify events of the past. One American Lieutenant was asked about the tens-of-thousands rally in protest against the occupation few days ago, he exactly did the same thing as Al-Maliki and said “this kind of protest was not allowed for Iraqis before 2003, but now they are free to protest and express their opinions”. Most Arabic regimes and movements, particularly in Iraq, are obsessed by the idea of re-introducing past events and gain from their reflections on the present or the future. Moreover, we always tend to refer to “them” as being an obstacle preventing us from moving forward to achieve a decent and prosperous future. But in fact it is “us” who do not have any clear vision or an ideal framework to work within to achieve our aims. It is “we” who are empty. And if we ask ourselves who is “them”, the answer will be a very long list of enemies like Imperialism, The West, The Zionists…etc. the Iran-Iraq war was simply between two rogue regimes but it has been re-introduced by Saddam as a threat to our “precious” Nationalistic Arab ideals and it has been portrayed as being a war between Persians and Arabs and the diversion to the past was obvious when he decided to name that war “Qadissiyat Saddam”. Khomeini did the same but in a slightly different way. As a religious Shia’ cleric he exploited the concept of Al-Hussain Martyrdom to serve his goals and the Iranian media always referred to Saddam as being “Yazeed” and the Ba’ath regime as “Banu Ummayah”. Likewise, Al-Maliki and the Americans try to hide behind a shield of the past in attempt to free themselves from the responsibility of the current plight of Iraqi people and always try to accuse Saddam and his supporters as the main causes of our crisis. If Saddam himself was executed, what is the point of celebrating the martyrdom of Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadder? He is not the only religious cleric, whether Shia or Sunni, to be tortured and eliminated by Saddam’s brutal regime and also he is not the only Iraqi who was executed by Ba’athists. For how long we are going to gulp our past to escape a confrontation with future challenges and for how long we are going to cope with our government’s lies. It seems to that we are living our ever biggest April’s lie.


* this aphorism is usually mentioned when someone has many complicated problems, very difficult to be solved and waiting eagerly for a glimpse of hope that everything will be fine one day but instead, another miserable thing happens and adds to his ongoing despair. “Shahool” is a big and almost flat bead. Two of them are added to each string of beads to divide it into three equal parts.

9 comments:

Ramshakle1 said...

(((Moreover, we always tend to refer to “them” as being an obstacle preventing us from moving forward to achieve a decent and prosperous future. But in fact it is “us” who do not have any clear vision or an ideal framework to work within to achieve our aims. It is “we” who are empty. And if we ask ourselves who is “them”, the answer will be a very long list of enemies like Imperialism, The West, The Zionists…etc. )))

That is a very importnat and vital issue.I sense sometimes that iraqi intellectuals are now more ready to admit that fact you mentioned above.Do you know of a book or a writer who worked this concept out?

(((this time is to commemorate “the martyrdom of Mohamed Baqir Al-Sadr and his sister Bint Al-Huda”. In situations like this one, ordinary Iraqis use to say “Kim’let Al-Sib'ha Ou Chanet Bess Ay'zeh Shahool”* (the string of beads now has been completed and it was only lacking the “Shahool”). It is clearly obvious that Al-Maliki’s move was taken to please Muqtada Al-Sadr and his followers who constitute the only mass currently backing the prime minister))).

Yes,the explanation you give is very likely although Al-Maliki must have understood by now that AL-Sadr is a (burned card) and is no longer welcomed on the playground of the (political process).At least that´s what the americans are officially saying!!.

But the broader and farther explanation that I see to why we now have ( AL-Sadr senior holiday ) is that the shiit who are in power today are so politically bankrupt and their sense of their own legitimacy (being brought by the americans) is so fragile that they look right and left trying to create/find excuses to their existance to convince the demised people of their legitimacy and their right to be trusted in and followed.Ofcourse there are not so many such excuses,so what do they do ? the blow the latmia horn loud,they serve hot keema,import more Qamas(knives) ,distribute more posters of a handsome looking Ali Bin Abi Talib and posters of the severed Hussein head (muscular neck,well-lined beard,soft and glistering hair and Hussein´s very beautiful face is anguished with pain with eyes semi-closed ),they name hospitals and districts and streets after AL Hakeem,AL Sadr,ALi,Hussein, Fatima and all the symbolic shiit names they could think of .Why do they do that? because they want the people to continue living in their coma, their negativeness and their absence from what is (really ) happening to their country.It´s some kind of a dogmatic hypnosis.A typical case of the communist slogan (religeon is the narcosis of people).I´m sure you and your readers understand what I´m trying to get at.
But you know what?
It works!!!!!!!
That´s the misery of it !
That after 4 years of occupation and political failure and destruction on all levels of life ,such a silly and rediculous tactic still works !!!!
The hiding Sadr suddenly and out of nowhere says let a million shiites protest against the american occupation and the next morning you see hundrads of thousands marching off to Najf doing just what he said ! Ammar Al Hakeem (Uday´s do-alike ) is detained by the americans and the next day you see tens of thousands protesting on the streets with anti-american slogans held up high .
But did we see 100 iraqi people potesting against the criminal Oil Law proposal that Al Maliki wants passed for the sake of the americans?
Why do the shiit masses react briskly and directly when (the sect) is concerned but never move a finger when the real interests of the country ( consequently their own intrests ) are concerened?
Explanations...explanations....explanations.....I´m not intrested in !
I´m intrested in hearing an average Iraqi Shiit admit his guilt of shallowness and his /her historical failure in saving his/her own country from disintegration by exchanging Iraqiness for Shiasm .
Alas....That´s apparently very from happening.But that´s another story to tell.We may save it for another (shiit) holiday !

Have a good day !

Abu Meriem said...

Guys, I wish you write in Arabic and post, where Shiaa Arabic readers browse. I agree with you on some issues, and would like to point out the following:

Politicians should NEVER exploit religious believes and traditions to gain votes (VOTES COUNT). As you may well know Saied Mohammed Baqir Al-Saddir is the founder and god father of the Iraqi Daawa Party, also Mr Maliki is the lead representative of Daawa party (30 seats in Parlement) in the current government, but do really think this is enough for declaring a public holiday in today’s Iraq, where all the political factions have hand in all that is going on, don’t blame Maliki alone, blame the whole gang. I think the public holiday is still officially the 4th anniversary of the toppling of Saddam’s reigime, However, Saied Mohammed Baqir Al-Saddir was a great Iraqi religious scholar, scientist, philosopher and more. In my opinion he deserve every right to be celebrated not only by shiaa, but by all Iraqis, a nation who’s not proud of it’s elite is a lost nation. Now on the day off thing, I think we already waste far too much needed for development valuable time in Iraq on numerous days, national, religious etc. etc... you name it, we got it. The way I see these extra free day off treats, they are unofficial declared curfew days, because as you well know what the security status in Iraq in general and in Baghdad specifically is, Iraqis don’t leave home unless it is paramount necessity to do so, the rest is self explanatory, I guess…


On “I´m intrested in hearing an average Iraqi Shiit admit his guilt of shallowness and his /her historical failure in saving his/her own country from disintegration by exchanging Iraqiness for Shiasm .” My dear I think it will take decades before you stand a chance to hear such admission, this goes for all Iraqis. You must appreciate, what decades of oppression and ignorance can do to a deprived from the simplest human rights nation?? Don’t you?

This is enough for now; my family is waiting at the door to take them out on this glorious day.

Best wishes to you guys,

Exiled Soul said...

Dear Ramshackle,

about the vital issue of "us" and "them", I remember if ound some hints and valuable thoughts about it in writings of Faleh Abdul-Jabbar and also Issam Al-Khafaji in Al-Hayat newspaper as they frequently publish articles there.

I agree with all what you said about the Shiaa reaction when it comes to an Iraqi issue and a sect issue. I feel very saddened when you see prominant Shiaa figures nearly 100 year ago beig only proud of beig Iraqis and never expressed their sect Identity. figures like Abu Al-Timman, Mohammed Al-Shabibi, Al-Jawahiri, Hibat Aldin Al-Sharistani and many others and their ideas and works were very mature if compared to the level of education at that time, while now it is very frustrating to see someone like Al-Saddar has such a power to mobilize tens of thousands. I am regrettably losing hope but I have nothing to do just to live with a hope of change in the future inshallah.

Exiled Soul said...

Dear Avu meriem,
thanks for your comment. if Mohamed Baqir Al-Sadr was not the spiritual leader and a founder member of Al-Dawwa party, Al-Maliki will never bother himslef to mention his name. he deserves the right to be celerated yes but not to announce a public holiday first ad second not at this critical time in Iraq when sectarian divisions are on its high. if we justify such act, we will ot be surprised that the communists will announce the martyrdom of Fahad and Salam Adil and many other comrades as publich holidays. the Islamic Party will announce Abdul Aziz Al-Badri martyrdom as a public holiday "Wa Kull'un Yabki Alla Laylah" and then we will be unable to cram all these martyrs in a relatively short one year period.

Thanks

Ramshakle1 said...

I see.

Ramshakle1 said...

Dear Abu Meriam:
You said : ((I think the public holiday is still officially the 4th anniversary of the toppling of Saddam’s reigime)).
If I understood you right then you meant that 9/4 is indeed a celebration day because it matched the removal of Saddam and liberation of Iraq.
I think Iraqis have no right to celebrate 9/4 because it was not Iraqis who toppled Sadddam´s regimen but the Americans.Besides, I don´t see how one ,after all that happened and what is going to happen in and to Iraq, still thinks of 9/4 as a liberation day and not simply classical,old-fashioned criminal invasion/occupation exactly the imperialistic way (you know ,the kind of occupation we used to read about in our high school history books where the bigger empires swallow the resource-rich parts of the worlds turning natives into slaves)Or should I not refer to my high school history book because it was written under Saddam´s power?
It´s about time to stop mixing terms and to start calling things by their real names.What you said reminded me of what the Shiit propaganda have been trying to say (the articles and satellite channels who support the ruling shiite figures in Iraq),,they have a lie they want us to believe :9/4 witnessed the fall of Saddam and not the fall of Baghdad.Baghdad did not fall according to AL-Hakeem,AL-Maliki and the rest of the gang.!!! What a fabrication !

mewmewmew said...

Yes,the explanation you give is very likely although Al-Maliki must have understood by now that AL-Sadr is a (burned card) and is no longer welcomed on the playground of the (political process).At least that´s what the americans are officially saying!!.



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Most of the people think the Americans have something hide behind all this special matter. The 9th of April is a public holiday since 2003, so we'll enjoy every year the same thing and that's a excellent reason to celebrate the "huge lie"

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