Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Warmth of a Hug

Unfortunatley, I am still suffering from the flu. But this is no ordinary flu. This is an iraqi flu.Harsh and unpredictable just like Iraq's situation now. Just when I thought I was recovering, I end up being awake the whole night spluttering with a sore throat and headaches.
So no doubt I was not in the best mood this morning. I smile all the time,but today, despite my smile, I looked like I "had awaken from the grave". I just *love* compliments.

So, since yesterday, I have had small butterflies tickling the inside of my stomach- even if you hate politics or know nothing political, today was supposed to be a day that would forever define Iraq's future. No such luck I'm afraid. Again the government delivers an impeccably spotless disappointment of an agreement. That is, the news and the neighbours claim that the agreement has still not been signed.

There was much talk of curfews, not going to school/college/university to either celebrate with limitless joy or scream with unmeasured frustration. I don't live in the greenzone, but despite this, american panzers and army stuff can be seen to be occuring. Not today though. Not even a flag was seen. Today is perhaps the first day of my stay in Iraq, that I have actually seen no sign of americans at all in Baghdad. I didn't realise this, until I nervously passed an armoured check point thing, inhabited entirely by iraqi troops. No whirring helicopters, no swearwords shouted, (which the americans assumed were not understood :D), no flags flying from jeeps. Just nothing. Its clear though why. If the governemnt had signed anything today, the reaction would have been as unpredictable as weather reports.
Today was a classic day for what iraqis clearly love to do- watch the t.v nervously all day, and then discuss the events deep into the silent night. Since I am pretty bad at talking, I thought I'd type it all up instead. :)

Older people reminisced of days gone past that had defined Iraq, whilst the younger generations hung in cafes, sipping tea or coffee while shouting with their friends at the t.v in the corner. I didn't do either, but my reliable sources are my brother (the cafe is in all practicality his home) and old neighbours/ my new friend- the old man of the corner shop. He decidedly wanted all americans out- he missed all his family who had relocated into Jordan for security reasons.

Today I also noticed that the usually cheery, and often wide awake iraqi army troops looked tired and on edge. The reason? They were worried of the backlash. This caused me to further speculate into some 'ridiculous' claims that had been made as soon as the agreement had not been signed. These claims? That the agreement had actually been signed, but the government wanted to grease Moqtada Sadr's gangs, and ease their, well, anger.
Touta silently guffawed at such rumours. Another, was that Washington had already decided what it would do regardless of whether the Iraqis signed or not. This was not such a laughable rumour, and was rather depressing.
As the day grew longer, the conspiracy theories stretched further and became more imaginative. At one point I felt like saying "Israel has dibs on Babel, according to the agreement, and they signed it!", just to see how far it would spread. But around an hour ago, the child like excitement of everyone seemed to fade away. Most of the rumours were laughed at, and discarded carelessly, while some rumours have been circulated on national news.

To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone cares for any rumours any more, or talking, or anything really.
We are all just holding our breath, silently waiting, silently clenching our jaws, as uncounted days pass by. Did I mention, an excellent occurance has occured, because of the tangible atmosphere of improvement, people are slowly beginning to remember normality. It won't be long until I can actually start to have a 'life' again. Not that I ever had one to begin with-my boredom just increased over the past few days because of the tension. Actually boredom is the wrong word to use, its not boredom, as much as a feeling of confusion and pure emptiness.
Personally, I blame the iraqi flu. Its so vicious it makes the day pass dizzily. Well, either that, or I need to start organising my hectic sleeping times. Why do I sleep in the awkwardest hours? Well the story began with the warm hug of the duvet at 8pm. I get so tired, I end up sleeping from 8-12. Then I wake nervously at 12.30am, remebering the work for the next day. Oh well, its 9.00pm now, and I may succumb to the warmth of the hug of the duvet again. *Snorrrre*
(I think the word *snorre* excellently sums up this slightly political post about what was supposed to be a momentous day...if you get my drift).


Bruno said...

[touta] "Another, was that Washington had already decided what it would do regardless of whether the Iraqis signed or not. This was not such a laughable rumour, and was rather depressing."

That's a pretty solid "rumour".

From the mouth of the Americans themselves:

""three officials in Washington said the administration of US President George W. Bush has withheld the official English translation of the agreement to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the parliamentary vote. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the official English language text of the agreement was designated as "sensitive but unclassified." "There are a number of areas in here where they have agreement on the same wording but different understandings about what the words mean," said one US official.""

In other words, the Americans want the Iraqi parliament to approve the SOFA and THEN they will tell you what they, the Americans, think it means. And obviously, going by what has been said, they already know that what Iraqis think it means is different to what Americans think it means. This is typical, typical US foreign policy doublespeak. Iraqis had better watch out what they are signing on to.

Bruno said...

And listen, for the flu', we had a real vicious one in South Africa this year. I found raw garlic, 1 clove every three hours, helped a lot, together with vitamin C.

touta said...

Unfortunatley, most iraqis have come to the conclusion, that the SOFA agreement has been signed, and the parliament are just delaying the news.-I want what's best for Iraq, but an agreement can always be interpeted in so many ways, that I myself have lost count of the 'negotiations', and what they are about. And unfortunatley it's not Iraq who's signing- its the politicians. I still think that the nation has to be listened to by its governemnt.
As for the flu- every three hours?! Fine, but everytime someone backs away I'm going to blame you, not my personality. :D only kidding, and thanks for the advice.

pepe said...

So americans don't trust the iraqi government. I really would like to know at what level the trust goes. I mean, do they trust the high rank staff, or only the ministers, or only the prime minister, or nobody?

touta said...

Realistically, I would have to say there is no trust. And vice versa, but its more the iraqi people who don't trust the american government, rather than the iraqi government who don't trust the american government.It is quite easy to undertand- the iraqi people have to put up with no electricity, dirty water and menacing tanks, while the politicians lounge in the green zone. As if there would be any other reaction to such a situation.
well, that's the impression I get, but then again, I'm 17, almost everything leaves me dazed. :D

Jeffrey said...


The good news is that all Iraqis will get to vote next summer on a referendum on whether the US forces will stay until 2010 or 2011. It's not much, but it's something. The bottom line is that the future of Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqis now, for better or worse, as it should be.

Good luck, Touta. Iraqis have surprised people before (the huge turnout for the first elections, for example, despite the threats of death by AQI to anyone who tried to vote), so they may surprise people again and create a functioning representative democracy. Then again, maybe not.


touta said...

I suppose everything must be taken with baby steps.
"A functioning representative democracy". Hopefully yes, and I see no reason why this is not a feasible action. :)

C.H. said...

Touta...I just woke up this morning and saw that the SOFA agreement has been signed. It was one of the top stories, in addition to the tragedy in Mumbai right now. Personally, I think the Iraqi parliament has made the right decision.

touta said...

WHAT?! News here is that it still hasn't been signed!?
Thanks a lot for the update- I need to sit down in front of the t.v for the next few hours and check.

touta said...

It's true- the nine o'clock news have it all over. Our whole neighbourhood was holding its breath- we thought this was yet another rumour circulating, political talks are going to be held in Baghdad. if I attend, i'll post.

Miss Violet said...

I really liked the music player on your blog Touta :)

C.H. said...

My mistake Touta...I woke up early and was still half asleep. I don't think anything has been signed, but I'm hearing that the pact has been approved by the parliament. What are you hearing?

touta said...

Miss violet,
haha,thank you. :) Its the fog al nakhal song!
We're hearing that like 150 parliament has approved the pact,but its yet not finalised. Which actually makes no sense- its pretty much been approved, i think that maliki has to sign it or something. I think the details should be discussed though, as its all a little hazy to the general public. :)

C.H. said...

The "Touta's tunes" feature was a great idea. I like it :)

Bruno said...

Well, Touta, it's been signed, for better or worse. Let's hope that this really is the beginning of the end. I notice that few US news outlets published the news of the referendum when I last checked. I don't know whether it is an oversight or whether is on purpose.

As for the garlic, its terrible - I just about gagged on it - but chopping it up and downing it with water did the trick. And it really does seem to kickstart the body's immune system.

PS - Interesting music choice! ;)

pepe said...

Hi touta, i'd like to recommend a very good documentaries channel on youtube, lots of material about iraq:
I liked the player too, specially the fog el nakhal jazz version. :)

touta said...

For better for worse, who knows? Baghdad has been rocking with the sounds of bombs and gunfire. And the electricity has gone down multiple times today. As for the garlic, I've been swallowing it whole :D, it has helped. :)The referendum is next year, in febuary i think.
Music :D hehe. If only you knew what other stuff I listened too.
I'll go see youtube, but I'll doubt I'll hear anything- people here are very erm loud today. :) i think the fog al nakhal song is my favourite one. ;D. Thanks