Thursday, November 15, 2007

HW 35: Letter to My Readers

When looking back at my blog and seeing the posts that I have maintained for the last 13 weeks it is pretty startling. I never knew I had these many thoughts and ideas about topics that at first seemed not to interest me. Seeing the posts made me think that if I do just start writing and putting down ideas then a final thought or conclusion can be made. It is cool to have a written history of my thoughts too, which makes me think that I should do it more often. But to think of the question of what will people get out of my blog is kind of scary. I do not think that when people read my blogs they shouldn’t go for the overall information but the fact that writing helps clear the mind. When writing the blogs it helped open up space in my mind, I felt like there wasn’t all these thoughts and concerns swirling around and making me over think everything. Maybe if the reader can see that it worked for me and try and apply it to their life, which would be my ultimate goal of this blog. To say that I will keep going and keep up with the blog after this class is a long shot but I will definitely try and maintain. But more important I can look back at this blog and feel like I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to achieve.

HW 34: Tea and Gold

After reading Baghdad is Burning I have found a new appreciation for gold and tea in the country of Iraq. Let us first start with gold, for Americans gold is a sense of status or how much money you make. But in Iraq Riverbend explains how gold is like paper money for Americans. See the Iraqi Dinar began losing value and was not reliable to have as a means of money for Iraqi’s. Riverbend explains the only solution, “people began converting their money to gold-earrings, bracelets, necklaces-because the value of gold didn’t change” (Baghdad Burning, 100). Now the American troops will confiscate these gold items because they did not think that Iraqi’s could own these fine items. Another part of the reading that interested me was the evening tea ritual that takes place in Iraq. What amazes me is how seriously they take their tea, and how Americans may insult them with our customs. “Iraqi tea isn’t a simple matter of teacups and teabags. If you serve ‘teabag tea’ to an Iraqi, you risk scorn and disdain- a teabag is an insult to tea connoisseurs” (Baghdad Burning, 108). They have a very extensive way of making their tea, which for us Americans would seem pointless but to them it is important. When tea is served, there is no light talk; they speak about real issues and politics. There is always time for tea also, no matter if there is bombings going on a couple of miles away they will still sit down and have tea and talk about the issues at hand.

HW 33: Iraqi Teen's Work Response

The post I have decided to review is, “Iraqi Teens Work to Help Their Families.” This is from the series ‘Alive in Baghdad”, and was published on October 15, 2007. This podcast deals with Iraqi teens painting and helping their family with the workload, but these kids are not ordinary. They are very young for their age and very intelligent about world affairs and what is going on in their country. Mustafa Malek is 14 years old and in the 6th grade but is already helping his father and uncle paint furniture. He learned how to paint from just watching his father and uncle do it for some odd years, which is very impressive for a young child to do. He touches upon the fact that the security situation is difficult and that it is very hard for people in Iraq to protect them. Other teen talks about how it would take an hour to get to work now, when it used to only take a half an hour. This is depressing to hear that kids are put in these situations but from what I see in the background of this podcast it seems that they are very good at what they do. I saw all sorts of different projects they were working on; chairs tables and etc. The one message that you have to get from this podcast is to stop supporting terrorism and smuggling of objects into their country because it directly affects these children. But no matter how bad their situation is they are able to make a negative a positive and help for the common good of Iraq.

HW 32: Akila Al-Hashimi

The most interesting part of this week’s assigned reading for me was the part about Akila Al-Hashimi. Akila was leaving her home in Jihad Quarter to go to work, when two trucks cut her off. These two trucks had armed men in them and they opened fire on Akila. When the neighborhood heard the gun shots they came out with guns in hand, and they exchanged fire with the gang. Akila was rushed to the Al-Yarmuk hospital where the wound from her stomach was operated on. Then for some odd reason she was rushed onto the American army ambulance and was taken to the Baghdad Airport. She was not just wounded in the stomach but also in the foot and shoulder, she is in stable condition though. For Riverbend this was a devastating, “It’s depressing because she was actually one of the decent members on the council” (Baghdad Burning, 75). This is not the only reason that Riverbend is upset because it also brings up the fact that no woman is safe in Iraq.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HW 31: Ahmed Chalabi, Our Guy.

After doing the assigned reading for this week and reading what Riverbend had posted in the month of September, I have found a subject I would like to look further at. I have chosen to look at Ahmed Chalabi; he was on the council for the INC (Iraqi National Council). This council was funded and backed by the United States Government because it was geared toward kicking Saddam Hussein out of power when he was the president of Iraq. Riverbend often refers to Ahmed Chalabi as a “puppet” and he in some sense was our puppet. He gained intelligence for the United States while we were investigating the actions of Iraq pre-invasion and his information led to our invasion. Chalabi has had a falling out with the United States because of some statements that he has made on national television about his involvement with the war. After the falling out with the United States Chalabi has since attempted a seat in the parliament, but has failed to do so. Recently he has been in the news for being selected with others to head the Iraqi service’s committee. This board has the task of repairing health, education and other aspects of Baghdad that need attention.
Wikipedia, “Ahmed Chalabi”, Wikipedia, 11 November 2007,

HW 30b: Response to Scott Ritter

While at the Citizenship Symposium at Keene State College, I decided to drop in on the symposium entitled “Citizen Soldiers’ and Global Warriors: Challenges of Iraq.” The speaker for this session was former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. Mr. Ritter was very focused on the constitution and how it pertains to the American people. He says that we as citizens are here to defend the constitution and to protect our country. Ritter seemed a little too raw for me and while I respect that he has his own opinion and that he is not afraid to express it, I do not agree with his views. I feel that even if you were not born in the United States you can be classified as a U.S. citizen. It is not fair to exclude someone because they are not born in a certain place, a citizen should have more meaning than that.