Few days ago and when I was going to work with a colleague of mine, we passed by a gas station in Karrada near the headquarters of Abdul Aziz Hakim, the prominent Shiite leader who runs the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. At 8:30 a.m. and when most of the people were going to work and school on a rush hour, I saw something shocking. Two SUV’s that belong to “Badr” troops blocked the street. Four masked men were directing their rifles at the people. Literally, people were scared. Do you know what the Badris were doing? They were filling their vehicles with fuel and they blocked the street fearing possible attacks occur against them. It was really insulting. Even Saddam, the worst dictator on earth, did not do it.
Now this area is not Iraqi; it’s Hakimi and Badri. All what you see is Badr, Badr, Badr wherever you go. And if you don’t like it this way, go to hell. You might be taken to the Jadriya prison which is the office of Mr. Minister, who is a member of the Hakimi religious party. Moreover, his Excellency the president lives in the same area. He might be bored of the Green Zone where his other colleagues live. He feels he wants to be among “his people” who “love him” without taking into consideration that these people might be killed, just because his convoy passes by in a rush hour every single day.
There are many Iraqis that were killed in this area because of the presence of the peshmarga and Badr. And please do not tell me they are called army and police now. They ARE NOT. The army and police’s loyalty should be devoted to the country, not to the parties.
Once, Hakim had an anniversary memorial of his dead brother. He blocked the whole Karrada area. They made it impossible for the people to go to work because they were afraid the mourners would be attacked. OK, if he was afraid, why didn’t he choose a quieter time in the day. Why did he make it difficult for people to go to work and schools? It took me 3 hours to reach the office and I had to walk for half an hour!!! While I was walking, a Badr trooper put his gun towards me. I was frozen. “What the hell you are doing?” I asked. The trooper laughed and said, “I am trying concentrate incase there is someone wants to attack us.”
Today when I was going to work, I passed by Mustanssiriya square in Baghdad. Before the US-led invasion, statue of Saddam riding a horse and the monument of an Iraqi soldier, his arms tied between two vehicles pulling them out of their sockets marked the area. After the war, these were taken down. Do you know what replaced the statue and the monument? A huge picture of the Hakims hanged on the base where the former dictator’s statue used to stand. And now, how happy I am to see the image of the three clerics wearing turbans hanged on the monument that showed how the Iraqi army soldier was tortured. “The soldiers of the Marjiya,” says the new poster hanged instead. Huh!! I think if they change the name of Republic of Iraq into “The Turban republic of Iraq” would be better for them to make the seculars, Christians, and Sunnis leave the country and make the country theirs only. Maybe they can invite the Iranians to live in it and make all women wear Abayas and all men wear dishdashas and grow beards. For God’s sake!!! What is happening in this country? They changed the name of a famous street in Karrada by calling it “Badr”.
What is happening to this beautiful city? These areas used to be the best before the “liberation”. They were full of lights, restaurants, shops, and clubs. But now they are full of people carrying weapons just to protect his “Excellency” and his “Samahat”. For God’s sake! If they cannot protect themselves, how come we expect them protecting us?! I don’t see any change happened. Saddam’s pictures were taken down and now they are replaced by other people who opposed him. They don’t understand that this country is free now and should not have any symbol of any leader unless he is a patriot. Do they think they are patriots and they toppled the dictator? No, they are not because the Americans were the one who toppled him, not them.
Why are they doing this to this beautiful city? I think because of all of them were not born in Baghdad and will never feel that they belong to it.