Donnerstag, 25. September 2008

What does it mean to be an Iraqi ?

First, I am happy to have passed the Great Latinum - skills of Latin Language - that includes the whole knowledge of Latin language and literature. And I passed it with good and very good results - according to the local system of marks. They make in Germany a big deal about this Latinum, I had to pass it at the local county administration! Verum gaudeo ut vos in lingua latina scribam, I would come back to a country older than Rome.

After reading the latest article of Ibn al-Hawazin Aboosi, it took me to ask what does it mean to be an Iraqi? And that's why I refer to his article because sometimes your own views and ideas get sharpened by just referring to them. So let's start the Great Quest of al-3uruqah

Just loo at his party title "The Iraqi Ummah Party", the choice of phrase is significant because nobody dares to voice the view that Iraq as a 'nation' (Ummah) by itself in such a flamboyant manner, basically, no Arab country ever uses the phrase 'Ummah' except when it describes the Arab Nation, the Arab countries are mere 'republics' or 'states', parts of the whole, and this is yet another substantial portion of al-Alusi's maxims, the underlying suggestion in his party's title is that Iraqi Ummah is something quite separate from the Arabic Ummah, an uneasy thing to sell (other examples include Phoenician Lebanon and Pharaonic Egypt).

Of course, he's right about this stuff. On the other hand, I add, the word Ummah is an Akkadian word, related to Arabic 3amm - public. But that's not the point, the point is that Iraq is the common house for all its groups - no matter how they do define themselves! And what's Iraqi is the fact that maybe they were Black slaves in other 'arab' countries, too, but just in Iraq, in Iraqi history they left the mark of the "Zunj". Not to speak from Portugese colonies in Southern Iraq or the man from Georgia, Piotr Vasili,
who went to form in Iraq the ICP by inspiring Fahd.

But what sets al-Alusi's Ataturkian ambitions aside is

I don't know if it right to compare both men because the ideology, derived from Atatürk, Kemalism is very chauvinistic and doesn't give any breathing space for all its minorities. Something Alusi is quite the opposite of it, because we all witness this ideology, in Iraq called Secterianism.

that he doesn't seem to have much stock to invest in all those theories that attempt to link Sumerians to modern-day Iraqi Arabs

I don't know what Iraqis are so fond of Sumerians, just because they are the oldest known people in Iraq, that shouldn't exclude all the other ones: Akkadian, Assyrians, Caldeans, Medeans and so forth. There were also people before the Sumerians, called Proto-Sumerians sometimes in science literature. Iraq is not especial because of the Sumerian, but because of the Sumerians, too. You can also check out the discussion of the Iraqi terms Aku and Maku in the wikipedia for this Sumerian maladaise.

As seen in this article, we the Iraqis don't differate with each other in terms of origin. And only the Iraqis still employ words their Akkadian and Sumerian ancestors used like boori. You can check out some of strange words in Iraqi dialect to check out how much Akkadian and Sumerian we still find in Modern Arabic or in the dialect of Iraq like mallah - sailor, yep, it's Sumerian.

What does it mean? There was and there is still an unbroken chain of oral linguistic tradition out of the times of Sumeria up to now. To put it so: The Sumerian mothers taught their children their language and then came the Akkadians. The Akkadian mothers taught their children their language and then came the Aramaens. The Aramean mothers taught their children their language and then came the Arabs. And we still find in our dialect those traces . Let's say it so: Our Iraqi tongue is a living museum. One proof for Iraqi ears: How do we call a turtle in Iraq ? reggeh, and only we in Iraq (not the other Arabs) called it so like our Akkadian ancestors did it: raqqu. Isn't it amazing? I could go on like this for days. There are so special things you just find in Iraq and that makes Iraq unique - and not one of several states in the Arab League (behind Egypt of course).

Iraq is in the middle of the cross roads of three continents - that can be a blessing or a curse, but nothing proves this more than the variety of languages Iraqi dialect words are from: Russian, Sogdian, Chinese, Persian, Turkish, Hungarian (Sopa - heating), Greek and so on (Latin of course too ;))

which often has very hostile anti-Arab connotations,

It is Arab nationalism that is hostile to every thing non-Arab, it's Arab nationalists who denounce patriots as Shu3ubis. From all the Chauvenist movements of the times, Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, only Pan-Arabism plays a crucial role in the current world order.

And for me, all this Arab stuff is just a big lie. Maku 3arab mu aku kalimat aku. It was Elie Kaddourie who gave the hint that Pan-Arabism was introduced in Iraq by Lawrence from Arabia (from where else) and Getrude Belle. To claim that all those people from the Ocean to the Gulf are one people is like claiming all the people from Ocean (Portugal) to the Black Sea (Romania) are Neo-Romans and who of us would compare the noble families of England with the Normans of William the Conquerer. The Arabs, Arab nationalists dream off, vanished a long time. What they mean, are the Arabs of the Islamic conquest, and that is the past. Shall I term the Iraqis now as Neo-Sumerians ?

again , al-Alusi seem to be driven in that direction out of practicality ; Skipping questions regarding the validity of an "Iraqi identity"
ِAnd the Baath party called every country qatr, literally (tear, water...) drops (of a whole, of course).

A community can think of itself as a community BECAUSE it wishes so. There is no need of linguistic, genetic, racial proof of such s

al-Alusi embraces it unquestioningly and by embracing Iraq as the foremost homeland, he seeks to follow a program that can successfully reflect the desires of the entire spectrum of "Iraqis", bypassing Sunni and Shi'i identification and for the first time truly treating everyone equally ; it doesn't take a while to figure out that undertaking the mission of building a truly stable Iraqi identity where religion occupies second place is not necessarily in the interest of the tyrannical Sunni Arab countries that surround it, who have helped fuel the sectarian war alongside Shi'i Iran, all sides would not benefit from a strong non-aligned Iraq rising from the ashes. Therefore, Al-Alusi's only reasonable partner is the West.

As we have all learned in the movie "Three Kings" necessity comes first! And we have to ask ourselves what identity suits us? There is a common bond between all Iraqis, I call 3uruqah, because even here in Germany I notice that Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds have more in common than Turkish and Iraqi Kurds, in fact they are much more different. Maybe a hundred years ago not all the people wanted to live in this state called Iraq. But after those 100 years, we all share common experiences, good ones and bad ones, to link us with each other.

His unnecessary showmanship in visiting Israel publicly seems to solely convey this explicit fuck-you approach to Pan-Arabism and Pan-Sectarianism, he says this to Iraqis: I am of a different breed.

That's something I would call "sophisticated punk politics".

This approach is appealing, while I identify as an Arab, and have nothing personal against fellow Arabs, but the interference of Arabs in Iraq has always been misguided and negative, completely oblivious to what Iraqis want, and is as harmful as Iranian interference.

This Mithal al-Alusi stint led me thinking a lot about the proper position and identity we must have, between Iraq, the Arabs, Palestine and America. Until very recently, I had a soft spot for Arab Unity, but on thinking it over I've come to the conclusion that its best we worry about forming an Iraqi identity first before pondering ideas of what is in the interest of "Arabs".

The idea of childishly integrating vast countries together with vastly different economic, cultural and religious values seems only to have much weight in sentimentality.

For the founder of Arab nationalism, Husri, Arabs are because of a shared language and a shared history. Iraq doesn't share a history with Egypt or the Maghreb. Iraq's history of the past 500 years is linked to Iran and Turkey. Iraq doesn't share a history with Yemen. This approach is a model for, what one would call, selective history.

And the shared language doesn't exist in reality, it exists because of books, newspapers and, of course, because of Islam. When "Arabs" are born, they start to speak their local dialect, not the Modern Standard Arabic, the actual lingua franca in the Middle East. And every linguists, every mother will tell you: A child starts first to speak, than it starts to write or read. What Arab Nationalists did and do is to teach children a language, alien to them, and then to claim all the class constitute a nation because of the language the teachers taught. That is not an approach to reality, rather its modelling reality to one own wishes.
And for example the Iraqi dialect, it is a melting pot of all languages, especially the Semitic trinity, Akkadian, Aramaic and Arabic. To neglect this is to deny one's own identity, in my eyes.

My parents who are products of Arab nationalism of the sixties, that says all the programme from Naser to Baathism, still recall that in their childhood even Egypt wasn't considered an Arab nation, now it is its mouthpiece. Not to speak from Algeria, Tunisia or Morooco where you find also stiff resistance against the Arab culture imperialism.. I mean, I'm young, maybe we will experience that the USA or EU will be part of the Arab nation.

We experienced Pharaonism in Egypt and Phoenicism in Lebanon which is much more baseless because you won't find traces that easy like in Iraq. It's not just the language, look at the mosque of Samarra - the style, the building, the material - it's an Islamic Tower of Babylon!

Arab nationalism is nothing more than secularized Islam. You won't find Arab nationalist accounts of history about Philipus Arabs, the Arab Roman Emperor or the pre-Islamic Arab kingdoms in Southern Irak like the Lakhmids or about the Arabic queen who was sympathetic to the Manicheans. You won't find it because they consider that the Arabs' greatest deed was Islam. And that's all. Full stop. No further discussion or you are a jew, a zandiq, a persian, one who is bad for the Arab nation, that says for Islam, that says for God!

On the other hand, a shot at an "Iraqi" identity, however muddled and baseless historically that identity is, is quite possible. Indeed, it is known that Iraqi Shia and Palestinians share a mutual hatred, but are Sunni Iraqis any more loving of other Sunni countries? I've never met an Iraqi Sunni who identified with non-Iraqi Arabs more than he identified with his Shi'i countrymen. If anything, the similarities between Sunni and Shi'i Iraqis suggest it to be more doable than, say, a union between Sunni Jordan and Sunni Palestine.

Abbas proves to be a good observer. You can prove his words right if you consider that both sects intermarry whereby they don't marry Iraqi Jews, Christians or Mandaens (or rarely) etc.

To some comments Abbas posted in the news:

The elaph article is a hoax because in my eyes it is a contradiction in itself (contradictio in adiecto in Latin, I really annoy my reader with Latin) because a people rejecting democracy will quickly fall back to tyranny. And the idea that Alusi will impose Iraqism to Iraq cuts short because after all it were the Arab nationalists that imposed this slogan. I quote from "Republic of Fear" : Iraq "was a test case for pan-Arabism as it confronted for the first time the social realities about which it had such a firm view.“ (Page 151) and "Husri’s memoirs testify to the fact that Iraqis in the 1920s were „alien“ to pan-Arabism." (Page 214) and "Much of the violence in modern Iraqi politics is attributable to the structural incompatibility between political goals and the confessional distribution of Iraqi society.“ (Page 215). There is no better proof for this than the mass graves. Conclusion: Alusi won't need any violence to make Iraqi identity real!

To the rest of Abboossis article, I, Galgooli, will just say: Maybe Iraq will be alone, but rather be alone than being accompanied by these thugs. Maybe Iraq should keep an Isolanist approach and maybe Iraq should have relations with Israel because of lack of "friends" in this region. Maybe we should take an Autarky approach. Maybe, but Iraq's policy should not be dictated by pervert armchair Ideologists in Cairo or Tehran.

Some time ago, while reading about the Manicheans, I came across to the three Gnostic questions: Who are we? Where are we from ? Where do we go?

Coined to Iraq, the questions are: Who are we Iraqis ? Where do we come from ? And that will make it possible to answer the third question.

Arab nationalists referred to the first two questions by "you are arabs" and you come from the Arabian peninsula. That is wrong.

To start with answering those three Gnostic questions, I would like to paint the landscape of Iraq: In the last night before the Qadisiya, all of Iraq, we all were Jews, Christians, Gnostics, Mandaeans, Manicheans, Iraqi Hindus (they existed too) Buddhists, Zorastrians etc. And all our divisions, Shia, Sunni, Christian, Jews, etc. are a result of Iraq's Islamization. That is why you find Shia who share some views with Manichaens and Mandeans like the place of paradise and are all offsprings of the Gnostic landscape prior to Islam in Iraq. This is why Sunni Islam in Iraq took also a Sufi approach etc. This is not my idea but of Ali Wardi. And as more we will search in the tongue of the Iraqis, in their customs (it is for example known that people in the marches follow a lifestyle, similar to the one of the sumerians) in their religions, in their history etc. we will find an answer to the first question: Who are we ? And the answer is: We are Iraqis. And that's just.

It were the Pan-Arabists who wanted to turn their dreams in reality that became a nightmare for all Iraqis. It's now the task to turn reality in dreams by starting to answer those three questions.

There is a lot to write and to think about so I hope at least one Iraqi will start to reflect of what I have described. Because you can take a map and search for another country called Iraq. I bet you won't find it ;)

Dienstag, 9. September 2008

Several Shiite villages

About Putin's Shiite villages and his comparision to Georgia: