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[political] Baghdad Diaries

 
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Not really political, but some people come here to have fun, so an honest warning has to be issued. If you are looking for fun, close this thread now.
I personally know people who believed American troops would be largely welcomed by Iraqis as "liberators". After reading this book you might get an idea that the reality is far more complicated and this is good. I loved the book and believe everybody should read it. I'll put some quotes.
These are Nuha Al-Radi, an Iraqi artist, diaries, she wrote in Baghdad in 1991, during the Gulf war, she was 50 then.
[ September 05, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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"19 January 1991
On the eve of the war I went to the Rashid Hotel to pick up a letter that Bob Simpson had brought from Charlie in Cyprus. He also sent me some seed packets of Italian vegetables, a tiny leak in the UN embargo. They will come in handy when we have water again. His room was full of hacks nattering away and waiting for the big moment. I told him very authoritatively that there would be no war.
'Wish I could believe you,' he said.
I'm not sure why I was so definite that there would be no war - my positive attitude had friends and family phoning me up for reassurance until the last day. Perhaps I simply couldn't believe that in this day and age leaders could be so childish and/or plain stupid as to think that war could solve any issue. I underestimated the destructive instincts of man and the agenda of the forces allied against us. Not that we are angels, after all we did the first wrong. But one cannot rectify one wrong by another of even bigger proportions. At least that's what I thought. After all, I witnessed at first hand three revolutions in Iraq, the Suez war in Egypt and some of the Lebanese civil war. Man's follies have no limits. In this instance, nobody wanted to communicate to allow for a compromise. As an Iraqi expression has it, one hand cannot clap alone. Obviously there is room for only one bully in this world.
The last six months of pre-war days were all the same, days sandwiched with nights; with the start of the war, days and nights became one long day. I don't have a 1991 calendar so I can't even tick the days off. It is all one. This is the third day of the war; it has taken me that long to realize that war has actually begun and I am not dreaming it. I have decided to write a diary, to keep some kind of record of what is happening to us. After all, this kind of thing doesn't happen every day."
 
Mapraputa Is
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Day 1
I woke up at 3 a.m. to the barrage of exploding bombs. I let out a huge groan that I can still hear. I couldn't believe that war had started. I went out on the balcony, the sky was lit up with the most extraordinary firework display — the noise was beyond description. My dog, Salvador Dali, was chasing frantically round the two houses looking up at the sky and barking furiously. I couldn't get an answer from Ma and Needles' phone so tried Suha who answered in a hushed voice from her shelter under the stairs, and told me to put out my lights. 'What for?' I asked. 'All the street lights are still on.' Suha, being a fastidious and efficient person, had taped all her windows and doors against nuclear fallout, and organized the windowless room under the stairs as her shelter and stashed it with provisions. I refused to take any such precautions, but Ma insisted on it and made a variety of designs on my windows, scrimping on the last ones as she ran out of tape.
Later on I ventured outside to put out the garage light. Salvador was very nervous. Shortly after that we lost all electricity, I needn't have bothered with putting the lights out. The phones followed suit and went dead. I think we are done for, a modern nation cannot fight without electricity and communications. Thank heavens for our ration of Pakistani matches. Thinking of you Handy, glued to the television in Karachi - are you with us? Why are we being punished in this way?
With the first bomb, Ma and Needles' windows shattered, the ones facing the river. It's a good thing their shutters were down otherwise they could both have been badly hurt. One of poor Bingo's pups was killed in the garden by flying glass - our first war casualty. Bingo is the mother of Salvador Dali. Myra, Ilham and the boys came in the morning, went and then returned to stay the night.
 
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Let me get this straight. You are quoting a book about what happened 12 years ago to shed light on how folks feel TODAY? :roll:
And your point is apparently that because war is terribly rough on the population, that that automatically means that we were wrong to do it?
I am at a loss as to what you mean here.
 
Mapraputa Is
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I wasn't going to comment in this thread, this is my first and last comment, to "get this straight".
Let me get this straight. You are quoting a book about what happened 12 years ago to shed light on how folks feel TODAY? :roll:
Read this, "Have You Forgotten?" entry.
And your point is apparently that because war is terribly rough on the population, that that automatically means that we were wrong to do it?
I have no point to make. I do not want to "mean" anything. But I think all war supporter should be able if not look at *what* exactly they support, then at least read about it.
I am at a loss as to what you mean here
Absolutely nothing, honestly! What a flower in your garden means? Nothing, it just "is". The same about Baghdad in 1991, it just is.
-----------------
"I'm constantly struck by the fact that people whom I try to reach often deeply resent me for even trying to reach them"
George Monbiot
[ September 05, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 2
Myra, Ilham and the boys went off to Khanaqin, they think they will be safer there. Amal and Munir, whose house is also on the river, lost all their windows the first night they moved in. Ma and Suha come and stay the nights, during the day they all go off to check on their own houses.
Today, all over Baghdad, government trucks threw bread to the thronging crowds."
 
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It would be interesting to read "Kuwait City Diary" from 1991 I think.
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 5
We are now all going to the loo in the orchard, fertilizing it and saving ourselves some water which no longer flows out of the taps. Janette comes by every day. She says everyone has gone oft to the countryside because it's the best place to be during a war. Then she said, 'But your house is like being in the country anyway, and that's the best place to be in. Lucky you.' She's so right. None of us is budging from this orchard paradise, which it truly is. She is looking around for a bedfellow today, quite crazed. I said it wasn't uppermost in my mind right now."
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 6
The entire country has collapsed and disintegrated in a few days. They say that outside Baghdad everything appears to be normal. I wonder how long we can survive this kind of bombardment. This afternoon Muwafaq and Ala brought a hysterical, crying Hind. They wanted to come and stay here. Hind screamed and cried all the time. She insists on dragging everyone down to their cellar every air raid, now she wants to drag the entire household (grandmother, mother, brother, fianc� and herself) to Khanaqin. No one wanted to go there; the alternative was to come here. Poor Maarib, who is not well and has trouble with her eyes, does not want to be parted from her own bathroom. In normal times she takes about five baths a day and puts cream all over her body after each one. I go to their car. Hind is still crying. I am very stern with her - rules of the house are no crying, no guns, no smoking. She continues to howl, saying, 'I'm scared, I don't want to die.' No stopping her waterworks, they leave undecided.
Today is the sixth day. I hope we get water tomorrow."
 
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you don't happen to have any diaries of Kurdish families, do you?
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 7
Following Suha's recipe for basturma, Ma began making her own. None of us has ever made basturma before and we thought that it would be a good way to preserve our meat. We minced raw meat and mixed it with a lot of different spices and salt, and then stuffed the mixture into nylon stockings (in lieu of animal intestines, which were not available). Suha's hand mincer was resurrected and put to use. We are using Dood's house as our fridge - all that marble, what a come-down. My bread covers all the tables and the basturmas hang above.
We have to eat an enormous amount of food so as not to throw it away. This means we shit so much more - all is done in the garden. If we use the bathroom, we fear that the sewage will back up on us — I have only now discovered that electricity moves it. One takes so much for granted. Wonder whether the Allies thought of such things when they were planning the bombing. I don't think we will be seeing electricity for a long time to come.
We got some water today but the pressure was too weak to get it up to the tank on the roof. Never mind. I'm not complaining. At least we got to fill up all the buckets. All our drinking water must be boiled now."
 
Thomas Paul
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From the amazon review:
The author rightly addresses the devastation of war, the inevitable violence wrought on innocent civilians. But she does not address the context in which the Gulf War and the embargo took place. Mention of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and ruthlessness toward his own people is reduced to a bare minimum. Al-Radi singles out Israel for criticism of its policies regarding Lebanon and the Palestinians, at one point comparing Israeli policies to Nazi tactics. There is no question that war is brutal, and al-Radi touchingly portrays the Iraqi plight, but in her eagerness to cast blame, she loses sight of the bigger picture.
A one-sided view that makes the US look bad. Wonder why Map liked it.
 
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Yeah Map, where are the other diaries?
I made up some "genuine" entries!
Diary of a Filipino maid in Kuwait:
Day 20
Raped and beaten by my employer again.
Day 30
I asked for my wages today. I was locked in a room upstairs instead.
Day 40
Tried to escape by jumping out a window. Accused of attempted suicide by the authorities.
Day 50
Managed to get to Phillipine embassy after employer sent me on an errand. Now I can go home without any money and my employer getting off scott-free.

Diary of a Palestinian in Kuwait
Iraq invaded.
Fired by the government.
I fought with Kuwaiti resistance. Many killed.
US have driven out Iraqi army.
After PLO's opposition to the Gulf War, I am now classed as an Iraqi collaborator. Have not been re-employed. Government has forbidden banks etc to hire Palestinians. Private firms following suit.
Visited by the State Security Intelligence Police. They suggest I "get the hell out of Kuwait" or face "consequences" along with tens of thousands of others.

Diary of Kuwaiti woman
Election day
Had to stay home again. Maybe I can vote next time ... its only been 12 year since we were liberated after all.
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 8
Silence reigns. It's six in the morning, and no air raid. I ate so much last night that I couldn't go to sleep. Depression has hit me with the realization that the whole world hates us and is really glad to ruin us. It's not a comforting thought. It's an unfair world. Other countries do wrong. Look at what Russia did in Afghanistan, or Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, or Israel taking over Palestine and Lebanon. Nobody bombed them senseless the way we are being bombarded now. They were not even punished. Iraq has had many high and low peaks in its long history, we have certainly become notorious. This will be neither the first nor the last time. 'Too much history,' as Sol always says. At least Baghdad is now on the map. I will no longer have to explain where I come from."
 
Mapraputa Is
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"Day 9
Funny thing, since the war started I have not been able to read a word, not even a thriller. Instead I'm writing this diary, not something I normally do. Ma, who usually never stops knitting, can't knit. Instead, Suha and Amal, who have no talent in that direction, have started to knit. Fastidious Asam, who normally changes her clothes twice a day, now does so every other day. She also sleeps in them. She hid all the scissors in her house in case someone attacks her with them. I asked what about the knives? A shrug of the shoulders was all I got in response. She also placed her jewellery in boxes that were heavily wrapped in plastic bags and buried them in the garden, hoping that she will remember the exact spot.

Today, Abia Jalila, sitting upright in true Ottoman manner, sirens wailing outside, says to me, 'Why don't we take the Taurus Express train and go to Istanbul?'
I said, 'What makes you think the trains are running? Nothing else is.' Admittedly, she is becoming a little deaf and since she left her house to stay with Talal seems even more distracted than usual. Her house is in the firing line, fairly close to Henry's. I passed by him to convince him to come and join us; he opened the door ashen-faced, but refused to move out of his house. His real fear is being caught in a bombing raid with his pants down. He has to think carefully every time he goes to the loo."
 
Thomas Paul
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Map, I am afraid that what you are posting is going beyond "fair use" and is heading into copyright violation. We don't allow people to post newspaper articles. Do you think it is fair that we allow moderators to post books?
 
Thomas Paul
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From another review:


This is an impressionistic chronicle, and anyone looking to learn more about the rich ethnic and religious mosaic that is Iraq will not find it here. Although its author does not say it, "Baghdad Diaries" is told from the point of view of Iraq's traditionally privileged minority based in the capital. Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes.
Some of the author's friends and acquaintances had low-level jobs in Hussein's government. One of her friends worked for Uday, the more notorious of Hussein's two sons, and was told to wear "a smart dress and make-up" for work. Another friend's nanny worked inside one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. "She said that when someone was caught stealing, they gathered the staff together, brought in a doctor who chopped off this guy's hand, and immediately dunked it into boiling oil to cauterize it."



another:


Less arresting are al-Radi's political insights, which gravitate between resentment and pique. "How many people have to die, and for what?" she rails. "Bush says he has nothing against the Iraqi people. Does he not know or realize that it is only the Iraqi people who have suffered? It's us, and only us, who've been without electricity and water--a life of hardship." Like many artists, her writing can be more passionate than sophisticated: "I can understand the Kuwaitis hating us but what did we do to you, George Bush, that you should hate us with such venom? One can hear it in your voice. Is it because we stood up to the U.S.A. and said no?" These self-aggrandizing rants occasionally border on the comic: "This new loo has been fixed at least five times and the handle has been changed twice, and yet it still leaks. Life is very hard."
During one night of bombing, al-Radi gives her home the ironic nickname "Hotel Paradiso." Considering what fellow Iraqis elsewhere suffered under Saddam, the name may not be ironic enough. The diaries cannot recover from the fact that al-Radi, ensconced with friends and relatives in "my Baghdad orchard with 66 palms and 161 orange trees," remains relatively untouched by the sufferings of the region. She relates the privation of war and the embargo--well-dressed men begging in the streets, women darning their nylon stockings, students writing on receipts for lack of paper--but her greatest trouble is finding a good dentist before she jets off to London or Mexico to exhibit her art. And while she discusses the talk of robberies, kidnappings, and rapes, her news is as secondhand as anything on the BBC. (In fact, al-Radi is interviewed by reporters from both the BBC and The Washington Post, granted introductions by powerful friends.)

 
Thomas Paul
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And another


There is something about the Middle East that seems to require even of people who should know better a blind, bullheaded partisanship that is obstinately tribal�as if not only two peoples, but two ideas cannot occupy the same space. For all of its considerable charm, al-Radi�s �Baghdad Diaries� lacks nobility�it doesn�t embody the most generous view of one�s adversaries. These journals feel as if they were written (and published) with fear so deeply internalized by the writer that they don�t seem deeply revealing about the intersection of politics and the soul. Is that a failure of al-Radi�s? Or is it also the consequence of living under a regime that tended to abridge not just books but lives?

 
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Ahhhh, I haven't posted a single message about visas today, and already I'm in a better mood!
There was something cathartic about that thread, just as there is here. No offense to Map, but this is the crucial quote to me:
"Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes."
Yes, there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after, and they're pissed off. Those are most likely the tiny minority of Iraqi elite - the ones with laptops and Internet access. And thus, eveything we hear through the web is from a rather un-representative group of folks.
What I would truly like to hear is somebody taking the risk to go out among the regular Iraqi people and find out how they feel. Unfortunately, the civil order that we had (naively, I think) hoped would rush in to fill the void left by Hussein's removal has not materialized, and it's too dangerous to go out on a "meet the people" mission for most foreigners (heck, it's probably dangerous for a lot of the natives).
The biggest mistake we made was the same mistake made every time a bunch of military folks make plans: they planned the war perfectly, but forgot to plan the peace. But that still doesn't change the fact that the only people on the 'Net - and the voices that a lot of people are using to get their view of the war - are the privileged few who actually prospered under the brutal Hussein regime. What else would you expect these people to say?
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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Joe: There was something cathartic about that thread, just as there is here. No offense to Map, but this is the crucial quote to me:
"Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes."
Yes, there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after, and they're pissed off.

Joe, may I ask you, have you actually read this thread before calling it cathartic? This is about 1991 war, not 2003. "there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after" -- do you mean to say that most Iraqis did better after their country was bombed, infrastructure destroyed and economical sanctions imposed? Are you serious?
I do not understand your animus toward elite. Aren't they people too? Her father was an ambassador to Iran and India. He retired in 1958. She is Western educated as a ceramist and painter. How exactly does that bring her into disrepute? She had a big house? Is this a crime? Is this why you have no sympathy for her?
You think poor Iraqis liked bombings better? If you are poor, you only suffer more.
If I am not mistaken, Bush did not come from a ghetto either, right? Well, I guess it tells me all I need to know about him. :roll:
I liked the book because it is written from very low-level point of view - right from the ground. What life is under bombing. What does it change if the author is poor or not? Do you think that poor people had water and electricity running and did not hear explosions? You do not like the picture? This reminds me an anecdote about Picasso: "Did you do that?" "No, you did." Sorry for such a comparison, I am maaaaaaad!
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Joe, may I ask you, have you actually read this thread before calling it cathartic? This is about 1991 war, not 2003. "there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after" -- do you mean to say that most Iraqis did better after their country was bombed, infrastructure destroyed and economical sanctions imposed? Are you serious?


He is sure. Some people call them Kurds but they are still Iraqis. Or don't they count?
 
Joe Pluta
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Joe, may I ask you, have you actually read this thread before calling it cathartic? This is about 1991 war, not 2003. "there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after" -- do you mean to say that most Iraqis did better after their country was bombed, infrastructure destroyed and economical sanctions imposed? Are you serious?
Yes, I read the thread, Map! It's some whiny Iraqi elitist in 1991 complaining about not having a working bathroom, as opposed to a whiny Iraqi elitist in 2003 complaining about gas prices being so high. My point is that the Iraqi elite - such as the folks with Internet access - probably don't represent the entire Iraqi people. They didn't then, they don't now.
And yes, the Iraqis who are currently not being hunted by death squads, or raped by Hussein's sons, or otherwise brutalized and terrorized, are all doing better than before the war.

I do not understand your animus toward elite. Aren't they people too? Her father was an ambassador to Iran and India. He retired in 1958. She is Western educated as a ceramist and painter. How exactly does that bring her into disrepute? She had a big house? Is this a crime? Is this why you have no sympathy for her?
Again, you insist on focusing on only a small part of my statement. I don't hate all elite, but I have a problem with these particular members of the Iraqi elite. And you know why I don't like them, I've said it over and over: because they lived in prosperity while their countrymen were being slaughtered.
But I'm not going to get my knickers in a bundle today. After the absolute crap I went through in the visa thread, I am no longer going to try to get people to agree on what is reasonable. It's no good for my digestive system .
You think poor Iraqis liked bombings better? If you are poor, you only suffer more.
This is insulting, Map. At this point, I would ask you to quit with the sarcasm. You KNOW I don't think poor people like being bombed. But I do believe they'd take a few weeks of bombing over a lifetime of death squads. Don't you?

If I am not mistaken, Bush did not come from a ghetto either, right? Well, I guess it tells me all I need to know about him. :roll:
More sarcasm. Your comments, which I normally look forward to, are kind of lazy today. I'd expect this from other writers, not you. I'd really rather read your comments when you take the time to actually think before you shoot, so to speak.
I don't understand what you're mad about, and frankly I'm not going to worry about it. Even if I didn't like wealthy people just because they're wealthy (which is not true - some of my best friends are wealthy ), even if I did feel that way, why does that matter to you? I like dogs better than cats - are you going to get mad about that? I like spinach, love portabella, and don't really care for wax beans. I love cumin but hate ginger. Are you mad yet? In any event, I'm okay with you being mad today.

Because today I am going to be happy. We did a good thing to get Hussein out of power, no matter what you or the Iraqi elite say. We gave Iraqis a chance for freedom. What they do with it now is their business, and I hope we can help them forge a true democracy. If they cannot, if they drift back into a more fundamntalist state, then I feel sorry for them. But it's up to them. And it's up to me to be happy or not with what happened. Trying to convince someone of something here in MD is sometimes as productive as baying at the moon.

Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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Yes, I read the thread, Map! It's some whiny Iraqi elitist in 1991 complaining about not having a working bathroom, as opposed to a whiny Iraqi elitist in 2003 complaining about gas prices being so high.
I thought that's what diaries are about. If a bathroom doesn't work, it doesn't work. If gas prices are high, then they are high. This is what I am reading diaries for -- for these little details, otherwise I would read political pamphlets. Do you really need to use "whine" word? Would you like it if somebody used it to respond to some of your recent posts?
My point is that the Iraqi elite - such as the folks with Internet access - probably don't represent the entire Iraqi people. They didn't then, they don't now.
No single person can represent the whole country. There is nothing to argue about. To respond to her story with "cathartic" word is a totally different matter.
This is insulting, Map. At this point, I would ask you to quit with the sarcasm.
No sarcasm was intended. I honestly tried to understand your logic.
You said: No offense to Map, but this is the crucial quote to me:
"Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes."
I started this thread because I was stupid enough to think that her inartistic prose is touchy enough for people to be able to actually sympathize. To see better what Iraqis had to go through and why their feelings now might be a little more complex than pure joy. (I have been stupid before, this is not the first time, and not the last) What difference does it make is it a poor person being bombed or a "privileged" one? So I asked you if you think that poor like bombings better or what is your point in saying "this is the crucial quote to me"??? If that war in 1991 was intended to remove Saddam from power, it would be another matter, but it wasn't? Do poor people understand why they are being bombed better? I am not being sarcastic, I am asking for clarification.
As for "This is insulting" your implying in another thread that I do not understand the difference between the USA and some terrorist organizations was insulting also. This is the nature of communication, misunderstanding happens all the time. It takes a lot of time to understand another's frame of references and to make sense of it.
If you want an apology, though, I'll give it to you.
You KNOW I don't think poor people like being bombed. But I do believe they'd take a few weeks of bombing over a lifetime of death squads. Don't you?
Joe, 12 years after a few weeks of bombings death squads were still there. When she wrote her books they were still there! She isn't a foreteller, she couldn't see in 1991 what will happen in a few years and joy about it! We are discussing the book and its author, no? Or are you just making general comments?
If I am not mistaken, Bush did not come from a ghetto either, right? Well, I guess it tells me all I need to know about him.
More sarcasm. Your comments, which I normally look forward to, are kind of lazy today. I'd expect this from other writers, not you. I'd really rather read your comments when you take the time to actually think before you shoot, so to speak.

I never told what I think about some of your comments, because I did not want to insult you. Why do you think you can insult me? How do you know if I took the time "to actually think" or not? In fact, I did. I do not understand your tendency to judge people you know little about and refuse them in sympathy based on some formal circumstances of their lives. So I tried to apply the same logic to mr. Bush. -- now you call it "sarcasm".
Joe, instead of calling my comments lazy, could you point out what kind of fallacy did I commit? You can use this document for references. For example, your dismissing of an Iraqi girl concern for the future of females in Iraq by mentioning only a small and relatively unimportant part of her text "she cannot wear jeans" is called "Proof by Straw Man (Straw Man Fallacy) (see p.8) Your dismissing the book under discussion on the ground "Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes" -- and you do not even know how well she managed to live, maybe not so well -- is called "Proof by Abuse" see p.1.
Your
"And yes, the Iraqis who are currently not being hunted by death squads, or raped by Hussein's sons, or otherwise brutalized and terrorized, are all doing better than before the war"
-- is called "fallacy of Ambiguity", more precisely "Equivocation" - the same term is used with two different meanings. (This one isn't in our fundamental document, here is a definition) "doing better than before the war" -- which war? There were two different wars. You substitute one for another.
Etc. This would be a more constructive approach, I believe.
I like dogs better than cats - are you going to get mad about that? I like spinach, love portabella, and don't really care for wax beans. I love cumin but hate ginger. Are you mad yet?
Your ration seem pretty vegetable, so you are Ok. As long as you do not eat cute little creatures... Kidding. No, I am not mad. Peace.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Tom: Map, I am afraid that what you are posting is going beyond "fair use" and is heading into copyright violation.
I know. I was going to delete old entries, and I probably should do it now because I need space for new ones!
(actually these were only 9 out of 217 pages quoted sparsely!)
Tom: From another review:
That's why I posted quotes, so people can make their own opinion rather then rely on reviews! Like this one:
Some of the author's friends and acquaintances had low-level jobs in Hussein's government. One of her friends worked for Uday, the more notorious of Hussein's two sons, and was told to wear "a smart dress and make-up" for work.
Oh. I believe this is a paraphrase of this entry:
"Isabel's appointment yesterday with Uday was cancelled after a wait of seven hours. The said they would call her again, and the next day they gave her a 6.30 p.m. rendezvous. The woman who came to pick her up was horrified by her casual outfit and insisted that she put on a smart dress and make-up. Isabel said, 'That's the way I am, take it or leave it.' The woman started to plead with her, saying, 'You have to be nicely dressed.' At that point Isabel refused to go and slammed the door in the lady's face while she was still pleading with her."
 
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Review: (In fact, al-Radi is interviewed by reporters from both the BBC and The Washington Post, granted introductions by powerful friends.)
"Journalists are playing a lot of attention to me. They read about an exhibition by an Iraqi artist, called 'Embargo Art', and came in droves. Usually they don't like what I say. It doesn't suit their purpose. The CNN correspondent was totally uninterested in my art. She just wanted to know whether all Iraqis were rallying around Hussein Kamel. 'What for'? I said. 'But I will explain some of my sculptures to you if you don't censor what I say. These particular sculptures are made of large coiled springs from lorries that I have painted to look like snakes; inside these coiled springs are a few stones painted to look like animals. The snakes symbolize dictatorship.' I told her they swallow people whole, not just our sort of dictatorship but all of them, yours included. 'In fact,' added, 'yours is the biggest of all because it has swallowed up the whole world.'
 
Joe Pluta
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No sarcasm was intended. I honestly tried to understand your logic.
I don't believe you are. I think you're just going to argue with every point I make, not unlike Mr. Singh. Heck, you turned the word "cathartic", into an insult. So, no more from me on either war. Or on visas. Or on anything else that really matters to me, because this is simply the wrong place for me to discuss it.
Joe
 
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JP: I don't believe you are.
Thanks for you generosity. I am. I am still struggling to understand you, your intellectual laziness notwithstanding.
I think you're just going to argue with every point I make, not unlike Mr. Singh
Don't abuse Mr. Singh's name please. If you do not understand what he has to say, whose fault is it? His, I guess.
I am going to argue with every point you make -- wasn't it you who accused me in ignoring your posts? So I tried to address each your concern. Now this is my fault also? Are you going to respond by any chance? :roll:
"this is the wrong place for me to discus it" -- and why so? Because you cannot defend your own position?
 
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Joe, I answered you post, didn't I? I mean I spent my <@#$%^> cheap time to think about it. You preferred to ignore mine (as you did before) and yet somehow keep high profile -- why on the earth I wasn't born as an AMERICAN? I could be arrogant, yet to think million about myself also... Damn parents.
I don't believe you are.
There is no need to believe or disbelieve -- just ask me! Heck, I am here!
[ September 07, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Joe, I answered you post, didn't I? I mean I spent my <@#$%^> cheap time to think about it. You preferred to ignore mine (as you did before) and yet somehow keep high profile -- why on the earth I wasn't born as an AMERICAN? I could be arrogant, yet to think million about myself also... Damn parents.
I don't believe you are.
There is no need to believe or disbelieve -- just ask me! Heck, I am here!
[ September 07, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]



You already are.
 
Joe Pluta
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"this is the wrong place for me to discus it" -- and why so? Because you cannot defend your own position?
Because it's unproductive. You see, Map, you simply bring in these other folks' diaries and make arguments based on them, but you don't make a point of your own. Thus, when we say something, you can attack our positions, and when we make our own conclusions, you can always fall back on "you don't know anything about these people".
This is the weakest form of argument. Instead of quoting someone else's words, why not take the time to set out your opinion? At that point, I may be interested in connecting.
All I have said about these diaries is that they are from the Iraqi elite, and that I don't believe they reflect the Iraqi people. You agree with me on both of those points. I also said I don't like the Iraqi elite because they prospered while their countrymen were butchered and did nothing. You don't agree on this, which is bizarre, because it's the only unassailable fact.
Anyway, my point is this: the visa discussion is over. I know where certain people stand, and it has given mean incredible insight into the makeup of some of the people here. I have said all there is for me to say and I will no longer continue with that particular thread.
As to the issues surrounding the Iraqi war, I will no longer respond to your posts from rich Iraqis, past or present. I probably know more about Iraq than you do, because my daughter-in-law is Iraqi. I won't share her experiences because they are hers and personal, but in any event, I don't believe your posts reflect the will of the Iraqi people.
And then you attack me for forming an opinion of these people, because "I don't know who they are". If you're not going to allow us to form opinions based on their words, then you shouldn't bring their words into the argument. And it's that technique of yours that I will no longer respond to. You bring in third-party testimony and draw conclusions from it, then blast other people when they draw different conclusions.
This is not discussion, this is propaganda, and I will have no part of it.
I hope I've answered your questions.
Joe
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
"Journalists are playing a lot of attention to me. They read about an exhibition by an Iraqi artist, called 'Embargo Art', and came in droves. Usually they don't like what I say. It doesn't suit their purpose. The CNN correspondent was totally uninterested in my art. She just wanted to know whether all Iraqis were rallying around Hussein Kamel. 'What for'? I said. 'But I will explain some of my sculptures to you if you don't censor what I say. These particular sculptures are made of large coiled springs from lorries that I have painted to look like snakes; inside these coiled springs are a few stones painted to look like animals. The snakes symbolize dictatorship.' I told her they swallow people whole, not just our sort of dictatorship but all of them, yours included. 'In fact,' added, 'yours is the biggest of all because it has swallowed up the whole world.'


No wonder no one pays attention to her art. It reminds me of the "artist" that displayed thousands of Barbie dolls with their heads removed to symbolize the plight of women. She's a bad artist and she is annoyed because no one pays attention to her art. Poor baby. My heart just bleeds for her.
:roll:
 
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Because it's unproductive.
I cannot agree. I found it very useful to have your position attacked -- this way you can see which of your arguments are weak and should be abandoned, and sometimes even that the whole your position is wrong.
You see, Map, you simply bring in these other folks' diaries and make arguments based on them, but you don't make a point of your own.
My whole point was in looking closer at certain period in Iraq's history to be able to perhaps better understand what's going on now. You once again started to blame a messenger. How productive is this?
Thus, when we say something, you can attack our positions,
I am doing a service to you
This is the weakest form of argument. Instead of quoting someone else's words, why not take the time to set out your opinion? At that point, I may be interested in connecting.
My opinion about being bombed? But I do not have this experience, that's why I quoted someone else's words!
All I have said about these diaries is that they are from the Iraqi elite, and that I don't believe they reflect the Iraqi people. You agree with me on both of those points. I also said I don't like the Iraqi elite because they prospered while their countrymen were butchered and did nothing. You don't agree on this, which is bizarre, because it's the only unassailable fact.
Some members of the Iraqi elite were butchered too. I believe, there is a lot of poor unprivileged people that did nothing "while their countrymen were butchered" -- you don't like them either?
As to the issues surrounding the Iraqi war, I will no longer respond to your posts from rich Iraqis, past or present.
You do not know what a wonderful, sarcastic, deeply offensive comment I just wrote and had to delete. Ok. No more sarcasm. About a month ago I read Guderian's memoirs, heck, he was a privileged member of Nazi elite. You think I shouldn't have read it?
I probably know more about Iraq than you do, because my daughter-in-law is Iraqi. I won't share her experiences because they are hers and personal, but in any event, I don't believe your posts reflect the will of the Iraqi people.
I have no idea how much my posts reflect the will of the Iraqi people, and even if there is such thing as "the will of the Iraqi people", or they all have their own wills. I knew that you daughter-in-law is Iraqi, you said it before. That's partly why I was so mad with you -- instead of saying something concrete you utter sentences that I construed as very high-level rhetorical figures. Why you don't ask your daughter-in-law to write down her experience? She could even write a book, then we could read something besides recollections of members of Iraqi elite!
And then you attack me for forming an opinion of these people, because "I don't know who they are". If you're not going to allow us to form opinions based on their words, then you shouldn't bring their words
into the argument.

I am attacking your opinions because they look so badly grounded to me, so I wonder how you made them at all. I do not know what to think about this woman, her diaries do not provide enough information for me to decide if she is a "good" or "bad" person, even in these very broad terms. In this circumstances I prefer not to have any opinion. It's like with math, if there is not enough data to solve the problem, it cannot be solved. Why to come up with guesses or "opinions"?
And it's that technique of yours that I will no longer respond to. You bring in third-party testimony and draw conclusions from it, then blast other people when they draw different conclusions.
Well, that's a discussion.
This is not discussion, this is propaganda, and I will have no part of it.
"Propaganda" is information intended to mobilize people for some actions, and I did not plan to mobilize MD population to anything, besides simple feeling of compassion. For me "propaganda" is beautiful, high-level concepts, like "democracy" or "liberalization". I am trying to fight this propaganda by bringing in damn concrete all-complicating details, and you accuse me in "propaganda"! I believe such first-hand evidences are the only cure from propaganda!
I hope I've answered your questions.
I have new now.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Tom: No wonder no one pays attention to her art.
Let's read again, together:
"Journalists are playing a lot of attention to me. They read about an exhibition by an Iraqi artist, called 'Embargo Art', and came in droves."
She complained that one single CNN correspondent "was totally uninterested in my art".
Poor baby. My heart just bleeds for her. :roll:
Tom, you must had been such a bad child. How did your mother cope with you?
 
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Map, I will no longer argue about either woman's diaries. I have set down my position in concrete terms: according to what they write, I believe they do not care about their fellow countrymen. I can only go by what they write, because that is what you have brought into evidence. I cannot read their minds, and I cannot question them. This is the problem with third-hand evidence.
Here's how third-hand evidence works: you bring it in, we both make our judgments on what it means, and then we continue on. You object that I do not know what the women are thinking, but I counter with fact that neither do you, and BASED ON OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE, either one of us is just as likely to be right.
So, without any actual evidence, what you are really doing is questioning my judgment. That's not your option. If we were on a jury, we might deadlock over this issue because we see it differently, but you must respect my opinion, as long as it is well-formed and articulated and based on the facts at hand.
And I've articulated my position in no small amount of detail � I believe both women to be self-centered. I base this ON THE EVIDENCE YOU GAVE US. The fact that you disagree with my conclusion doesn't make it invalid. Yet you claim that because I don't know all the facts that this somehow repudiates my point. Not true. I know the facts YOU GAVE ME, and they lead me to my conclusion. You're the one supplying incomplete information, not me. I'm only drawing a conclusion based on facts in evidence.
In normal circumstances, people with differing conclusions from the same facts review those facts and see where their judgments differ, and/or bring in other people to test their opinions. This is true discussion, and even if it doesn't lead to agreement, it often leads to a better understanding.
You, however, attack me personally and attack my judgments. You start using terms like "Straw Man Fallacy" and "Proof by Abuse" which do not address the facts, but instead attack my judgment and intelligence. Your statements stop just short (if that) of accusing me of being intellectually dishonest.
I won't stand for that. I am an intelligent man. I am thoughtful, and earnest, and I truly strive for understanding. I wish to better myself, and to larn more about the people and the world around me. I am compassionate and caring, and I take the time to view all sides of an argument. To have someone belittle me, my opinions, and my intellectual integrity, is more than I am willing to put myself through.
And since you regularly use other people�s words to set up these sorts of attacks, I will no longer respond when you do so. If you want to discuss something with me, use your own words. Do not cut and paste whatever you find on the Internet that happens to agree with your position. Instead, take the time to make your own opinion before you decide to start whacking at mine.
I hope this makes my point crystal clear, Map. Because you do not respect my opinions of third party information, then I will no longer present those opinions. Thus, I will no longer respond to your quotes, only to your own words.
Joe
 
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Hi
I think everyone should take a step back and take a deep breath.
Both sides do have valid points. Yes, this particular author is only relating one person's experiences (her own). But surely in a democracy her view is as valid as anyone elses?
Yes the author was priveledged. But that is all we know. Trying to infer whether she is a good or bad person from that meager information is not possible.
Yes, it would be very valuable to get other perspectives as well as this one. But we should not discount one author's experiences just because we do not yet have other perspectives.
The story the author relates does not validate or invalidate the reasons for either war. It is just a relating of her experiences.
The local papers here have been describing the tribal killings that are now occuring in Iraq. Again they do not validate or invalidate the war, but it is important that these stories get told.
I believe we need to be aware of what the repercussions of acting the way we did are. Faced with a similar scenario again in the future we may have to act the same way again. But we need to be able to make proper decisions about how to act, and we cannot do that if we just ignore the voices of those whom we can pigeonhole into "ignorable" categories.
Regards, Andrew
 
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So, without any actual evidence, what you are really doing is questioning my judgment. That's not your option. If we were on a jury, we might deadlock over this issue because we see it differently, but you must respect my opinion, as long as it is well-formed and articulated and based on the facts at hand.
Why cannot I both respect your opinion and question your judgment?
Yet you claim that because I don't know all the facts that this somehow repudiates my point. Not true. I know the facts YOU GAVE ME, and they lead me to my conclusion. You're the one supplying incomplete information, not me. I'm only drawing a conclusion based on facts in evidence.
The first case: I did not supply anything, I just gave a link. You have absolutely the same information I have. The second case: admittedly I am supplying incomplete information -- as Tom thoughtfully noticed, I cannot post the whole book. I honestly do not think that if I posted the whole book it would change your opinion, though. The quotes I posted are quite representative.
You, however, attack me personally and attack my judgments. You start using terms like "Straw Man Fallacy" and "Proof by Abuse" which do not address the facts, but instead attack my judgment and intelligence.
The document about logical fallacies is written by the owner of this site and one of our sheriffs! A link to it is posted at the top of this forum! We are *supposed* to use it! And we did used it before several times, I do not remember anybody being offended by that. It's not that I used it as my personal weapon to attack you. And I started using terms like "Straw Man Fallacy" only after you called my comments lazy and implied that I did not think before posting. Compared to that, terms like "Straw Man Fallacy" and "Proof by Abuse" are more constructive, I honestly believed!
Your statements stop just short (if that) of accusing me of being intellectually dishonest.
To make mistakes and to be intellectually dishonest are two completely different things. Why on the earth would I accuse you of being intellectually dishonest? You see my intentions much worse than they are.
I won't stand for that. I am an intelligent man. I am thoughtful, and earnest, and I truly strive for understanding. I wish to better myself, and to larn more about the people and the world around me. I am compassionate and caring, and I take the time to view all sides of an argument.
If I thought bad about you, I wouldn't talk to you!
To have someone belittle me, my opinions, and my intellectual integrity, is more than I am willing to put myself through.
To point out what I think is a logical fallacy doesn't mean to belittle you
and your intellectual integrity. Nobody's thinking is perfect, especially in this kind of informal discussions. You are invited to find holes in my arguments any time you want. In fact, I did invite you to do just that and used some of your arguments as examples! Why to see it as an insult?
And since you regularly use other people’s words to set up these sorts of attacks, I will no longer respond when you do so.
Could you give an example of when I did it? I'll try to explain why I used other people’s words instead of my own. I couldn't imagine this would aggravate "attacks"...
If you want to discuss something with me, use your own words. Do not cut and paste whatever you find on the Internet that happens to agree with your position.
I had been misunderstood so often, that I started to suspect I am not very good at expressing myself clearly. I am using other people's words whenever I think these words express my point of view better than I could myself. If you insist, I will use my own words, I am just not sure it will improve communication between us.
Instead, take the time to make your own opinion before you decide to start whacking at mine.
If I quote someone it doesn't mean I did not make my own opinion.
I hope this makes my point crystal clear, Map. Because you do not respect my opinions of third party information, then I will no longer present those opinions. Thus, I will no longer respond to your quotes, only to your own words.
I respect your opinions on any information. I wouldn't respond to you if I did not. If I disagree with your opinion and try to point out what problems I see with how you made it -- is this disrespectful? Some of my posts in this thread were in bad taste, I apologize for them. This is because of my frustration with what I saw as miscommunication, I did not want to hurt you. There is some tension between being polite and being sincere, and I sometimes prefer to be sincere with my friends.
Hope this will clear some misunderstanding...
 
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Map, I said what I needed to say. In order to avoid further miscommunication of this type, I'm simply not going to respond to your third party quotes, and that should remove this area of disagreement.
I'm not going to carry this thread any further, nor am I going to repeat myself. I really can't be any clearer than I was in my last post. I took the time to compose it offline and really express all the points I wanted to in simple, clear English. I'm done explaining myself.
Hopefully we'll continue to have interesting fact-based discussons. And I'll leave the opinions to others for now.
Joe
 
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Okay, I lied.
Since you were so sincere-sounding about asking why I found your comments to be unproductive, I will give you ONE example. Here's the one that just finally got me mad:
"If I am not mistaken, Bush did not come from a ghetto either, right? Well, I guess it tells me all I need to know about him."
Let's see here. I had said that I found the women to be self-centered because:
1. They said nothing while their government slaughtered their countrymen
2. After the bombing stopped and the people (Kuwaitis or Shia) were freed, they were more worried about leaking toilets than the freedom of the oppressed
Neither of these points has anything to do with President Bush. And even though I went out of my way to explain my position, you ignored it completely and commented as if I had said I dislike all rich people, and attacked the President of my country at the same time!
Well, that finally made me angry. I'm tired of one or two people here ignoring and/or twisting my words, and in these threads you have been doing it a lot, Map.
Okay, NOW I'm done. I hope that helps explain my frustration.
Joe
 
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Okay, I lied.
I am so glad you lied!
1. They said nothing while their government slaughtered their countrymen
"They said nothing" -- you mean they did not protest against it publicly or they said nothing in their diaries?
Actually, Nuha Al-Radi had some anti-Saddam comments in her book, and here is something about prisons:
"Today Rifat told us a story of his prison time in Baghdad. He asked the chap beside him what he was in for. He answered, "I dreamed one night that there had been a coup, and Ahmed Hassan Bakr was killed. So the next day he related his dream at the office, a security chap reported it and there he was in jail!"
I do not know if this will change your opinion about her personality or not.
2. After the bombing stopped and the people (Kuwaitis or Shia) were freed, they were more worried about leaking toilets than the freedom of the oppressed.
She wrote about leaking toilet during the bombings, not after! And she did admit that they did wrong: "Not that we are angels, after all we did the first wrong" -- this is from her first entry.
 
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Ok, last explanations before signing a peace declaration...
Joe said: Neither of these points has anything to do with President Bush. And even though I went out of my way to explain my position, you ignored it completely and commented as if I had said I dislike all rich people, and attacked the President of my country at the same time!
I was confused by your mentioning "elite" thing then. Here is your words I read before I made my anti-Bush comment:
"No offense to Map, but this is the crucial quote to me:
"Compared with most other Iraqis, this elite has long managed to live reasonably well even under so-called revolutionary regimes."
Yes, there are Iraqis who did better before the war than after, and they're pissed off. Those are most likely the tiny minority of Iraqi elite - the ones with laptops and Internet access. And thus, eveything we hear through the web is from a rather un-representative group of folks."
There wasn't anything besides these words in this thread, so I was confused. I did not transfer your earlier explanations from previous thread, as I believed this is a different case. I'll try to listen better next time instead of getting
Regarding me attacking the President, you said yourself, it was intended as sarcasm. This means I did not mean it seriously. In fact, I asked in this forum not to use the word "idiot" when talking about the President, and these were Americans who used it. Not that it had any particular effect, but I plead not guilty in attacking the President!
[ September 08, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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