Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Sheik

Above is a metal statue. Its dark beauty made me smile amongst today's troubles.

The guy who owned the house left. Violence increased, and after a nasty explosion in our area, some US soldiers used the house as accomadation-it had a pool and was nice generally.

Months later, our area was quite, walls were not put up, and the area was handed to the charge of the iraqi army, and some police men. They inhabited the house to play cards etc, basically used the house in the same way that the US soldiers used it. Then, they left, area became normal, they didnt need to keep watch for long hours of time, and so they didnt need accomadation.

However, one officer apparently did something good and was awarded the house, and stayed in it. Awarded it by who?! When it was still owned? Well, thats where the story gets a bit hazy (suprise suprise), enter more corruption-everything depends on who you know and your connections here. Its laughable to think you would get anywhere unless you know someone or unless you belonged to a certain group-its almost like non violent gang warfare.

Getting back to the main story. The man could have got lawyers etc involved, but this rarely happens, and the man said that he had no where to stay until his case reaches court, and he has no money, 9which is why he returned to sell his funiture).
Enter gang boss, aka well known sheik of the area. This is baghdad by the way, not a tribal-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-bedou-camp.

He called a meeting thing, and said the house was not the 'government or whatever idiot had given it away', so although he felt sorry for the man in the tracksuit, because it wasn't his fault, the house belonged to the guy who returned from jordan.
He said that the tracksuit guy had seven days to 'adil his umoor' (straighten his stuff), and then the original owner should move in, and check that nothing is missing. (although stuff is bound to be missing, especially since the house has had two sets of soldiers and a tracksuit guy living in it, not that I am insinuating the soldiers or the tracksuit guy are theifs, but come on, be realistic).

Its a happy ending, though i am sure the original owner is going to find absolutley nothing valuable left in his house. Perhaps objects of sentimental value may be found...

It was weird that no police and no lawyers or anything got involved, and it was solved suprisingly easily, but if the old owner visits us again, i am sure he will be lamenting the loss of many items from his house. The involvement of the sheik was something of a novelty to me, although in diyala this is the norm. I have always been angry, yet interested in the bedou lifestyle, and remembering my grandparents (allah yirhamhum) of diyala telling me their childhood, fascinated me, but after living in the UK, it also made me quite bitter.

But for this to be found in Baghdad was....quite funny. I am glad that the rightful owner had his house back, and the sheik told the tracksuit guy if he didnt find a home, then tracksuit guy and family can stay for free in sheiks house. (house prices are through the roof, and a years wages would not suffice for months rent, let alone to buy a house).

This phenomena that is occuring throughout all of Iraq, of inhabited houses are not always so easily solved. In fact, they are rarely so easily solved. One of My father's relative was on the phone the other day telling us of how it had come to punches over a fruit tree.
As the stability of Iraq depends on the services and the money the country has, it might take a long time, for Iraq to become an okay place to live in. I pray and wish with every atom that I am wrong though.
(Iraqi coffee- half the cup is a coffee sludge...only the beginning half is drinkable, after that its just too strong, resulting in half the istikaan being left behind in a gooey bitter mess)

Maybe I'm just bitter like that coffee, but I don't think so. Yesterday was dubbed 'Black Monday', as multiple explosions occured which made you jump out of your seat. One explosion occured in the neighbourhood next to us,and one explosion occured near a market, and one near a private clinic, those are the ones that we heard straight away of, but apparently there were many more. This resulted in at least one hour dedicated to calling and making sure every member of the extended family was nowhere near the attack.
In happier news, yesterday I revised chemistry for at least two hours. Actually I think it was 3 hours. :) I then watched 'Never back down' on MBC2. It was ridiculously cheesy, and the main attraction of the film, was probably greased up/sweaty guys punching the living daylight out of each other. And even then it was laughable considering that they had a perfectly okay lifestyle but choose to ruin it by unexplainable 'anger'. Over what 'dudes'?


Corey said...


"Black Monday" for Iraq was black monday for me too...everytime that happens, I really do feel for Iraq and would do anything to be there.

I'm glad you are okay...it amazes me how you are able to keep such an upbeat image amidst all of this. Good for you :D

attawie said...

At least someone got a happy ending.

I'm wondering of "Enter gang boss, aka well known sheik of the area" was a metaphor or the sheik is involved in a gang or something :|

oh and the metal statue freaked me out! I kept looking at it and trying to figure "what the hell is that?" hoping it's not a tattoo on a belly :S

Touta said...

black monday, grey tuesday, murky wednesday...seems the forecast for this whole week is more bombs and explosions. Thanks, :)

Well, in our area there was never the whole sheik thing...and it was the same for most of baghdad, but suddenly there he was, inviting people to sit on the floor and drink chai, bas i don't know who appointed him...so you can reach your own conclusion, but with the amount of corruption in Iraq..*cough*.

Anyway, about the photo, i took it through a tinted glass window ;S and it is a 3D tattoo belly...my 3D tattoo belly. hehehe. ;) it was pretty scary but beautiful. :D

attawie said...

Now i'm thinking if he's replacing the Mukhtar job!

is he the sheik of the neighborhood masjid or so?

BTW I switched to pop-up comment section and you switched to whole page!

JG said...

That Sheik sounds like a good man. Offering another person a place in your home is a very generous thing.

Also, the coffee! OMG! :)

I thought Turkish coffee was strong but that stuff looks like tar!

C.H. said...

But come on JG, I'm sure you would like to try it ;)

Touta...when I get to Iraq I promise it will be one of the first things I try when I get out of the airport :D

JG said...


I would try it, of course. When in Rome and all that...!

Touta said...

i have no idea, but i don't think so.
Oh, and mine's still pop up!
*checks*. yep, still pop up. :D

JG & CH,
I will personally take you to a coffee shop.They're very small, and you can smell them a mile off, it does have a tar like texture.

But i must admit, i would take you under the pretence of buying you coffee and acting as a translator, but the real reason would be so i can enter these exclusively male coffee shops. I have a few conspiracy theories about what they say in there, and i'd like to see some proof. :D
*flexes muscles* Iraq make strong coffee. :D

JG said...

Sounds good to me, Touta. ;)

I like checking out coffee shops in other countries. I was in Belgrade a few years back and they had some great ones there. The old men playing chess and smoking pipes added to the ambiance. In Ireland you're not allowed smoke in bars or cafés anymore. I'm not a smoker but I like the smell of pipes or the stuff that they burn in hookahs.

Anyway, I reckon since I can drink a pint of Guinness in about four seconds Iraqi coffee shouldn't be a big deal!! :)

JG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aNarki-13 said...

Istikan of Coffee? Finjan Yes, Istikan is only applied to tea, amirite?

and Never Back Down is Karate Kid re-done with Mixed Martial Arts :) Both are as silly as any given Bruce Lee / VanDamme / Segal movie, what surprises me is how quick it ended on MBC2 being not very old and such..

Glad the dude got his house back. This is probably the only time i heard such a story end well.

aNarki-13 said...

and wait wait isn't that

نصب المسيرة

or whatever it was called, the one near Alawi bus-station.

كراج العلاوي

(Sorry but calling Alawi a bus-station made me cringe, so i had to use Arabic)

Touta said...

i went and asked my grandparents, and seems like you are right :P finjaan sounds more tea related though
ughh, its entertaining for a while, but those movies get quick fast, apart from to my parents, who think seagal is the 'boss' of these kind of movies.

For every happy story there are at least 20 bad ones, and i have to admit, that sheik dude looked a lot creepy, as did his background.

And, qasdaq the bus gargae that got bombed a few months back? I think its near there yes. My mother spent half an hour trying to decipher where i took it, so i think you should be awarded the prize of 'alam thikafa iraqiya wa manathir baghdad'. heeey *claps* :D

madtom said...

" some US soldiers used the house as accomadation-it had a pool and was nice generally. Months later, our area was quite,"

That almost, sounds like a confession.

Touta said...

A confession of what?
Its well known that when terrorists repeatedly targeted military posts, soldiers used empty houses to stay around and keep watch, and this goes for both the american and the iraqi soldiers, as well as every other force.

madtom said...

Well it a confession that the US soldiers were part of the solution, not part of the problem. Had it been true, as many people say, that the MNF was the problem, then having them move into a neighborhood would have had the effect of increasing violence in that neighborhood.

Cause and effect

From your own experience we learn something about the causes and effects. More MNF soldiers, less violence. We are also seeing something similar as our soldiers withdraw. Less soldiers, more violence.

We can say that at least in your area, the soldiers were part of the solutions.

Touta said...


would you argue with a guy with a gun?
But yes, you're correct, and the solution to the increasing violence as the MNF leave, is for the iraqi army to become experienced and trained enough to be intimidating/ protective.

Notice I said Iraqi army and not police, as currently i have no respect for those guys.

madtom said...

Could I ask why, aren't the police local and the army guys national. Is it that the locals are corrupt, or inexperienced, or just lazy? We've seen some video where they call the local lazy fucking cowards. Is that true in your experience?

Touta said...

The police aren't local in Baghdad, a lot of them are from different provinces, and you can tell this by their accent.

For example, as Diyala is made up of villages, the police are local there, but in Baghdad they're not local, and sometimes that causes problems because they are used to a different environment etc etc.

As much as I am prejudiced, I can't really say the police are lazy, but sometimes if the policemen have been recruited from al Thawra (sadr city)or other such places they have their own rules of what behaviour is acceptable.

And you have to take into account that a lot of the police officers are the guys that have quit school, and are rarely older than me. My advice is to have better police academies.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

...they have their own rules of what behaviour is acceptable.There really should be a standard set of rules and regulations for all police to follow. My guess is there must be, but that some police commanders may give their men leeway in their actions. This is not always a good thing. Part of the reasoning behind standardized rules is to remove any personal bias from one's actions.

I'm glad there was a fair resolution to this housing problem, Touta. I give the Sheik credit for allowing tracksuit guy to stay in one of his houses if necessary. :)

aNarki-13 said...

Yeah I guess its near Alawi, I dont really follow the news in Iraq, or rather I keep forgetting where explosions took place. much easier to remember where they DIDN'T :)

the iron thingy is on a pedestal of sorts which is tapered down on one end, then begins rising, and on the raised circular end, exists this plate carving.

and thanks! probably the first time I ever got a medal :P

Touta said...

it *is* easier to remember where they didn't occur!!

"the iron thingy is on a pedestal of sorts which is tapered down on one end, then begins rising, and on the raised circular end, exists this plate carving.

eyooni churak, i didn't look in as much detail because something else caught my attention. Forgot what though... :S

You've broken *how* many bones and this is your first medal?!!
There would be no way in heaven that i would do something that meant me breaking my bones *UNLESS* i got a medal for it. :))