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Friday, December 12, 2003 Meanwhile... We heard the latest statement from Washington about Germany, France, Russia and Canada not being allowed to have anything to do with the reconstruction. Iraq no longer feels like a country- it feels like war spoils: the winning team gets the pickings. So how is the world supposed to be involved in the reconstruction of Iraq when they are being deliberately excluded? It's a decision like this one that brings to light the complete uselessness of the Governing Council. Why is Washington calling the shots on the reconstruction issues? This means that even after a military occupation, we'll be under an economic occupation for years to come. Why aren't any of the new ministers or GC members saying anything about this? Somehow, I have a feeling that if they have anything to say, it'll be in accordance with this latest decision. There was a demonstration in Baghdad yesterday of about 4,000 people. The parties who are a part of the GC took part in an 'anti-terror' protest. The roads were closed for security reasons and helicopters were hovering over head. There were a couple of women's groups… I recognized some women from Al-Da'awa Al-Islamiya- Al-Jaffari's party. The Iraqi communist party and SCIRI were also involved. The irony is seeing SCIRI members hold up the "NO TERROR" banners (they could start by not terrorizing the Al-Iraqiya station because the anchorwomen don't wear hijabs…). There were other demonstrations in some provinces, and they've all been lobbed together with the one in Baghdad. The truth is that some of them were actually anti-occupation demonstrations, like the one in Khaldiya. There were large crowds demonstrating in Khaldiya, demanding the release of boys and men who have been detained for over 3 months in American prison camps. Today (well, technically, yesterday) there was another large demonstration in Baghdad which was a peaceful anti-occupation demonstration. The demonstrators were mainly university students and teachers who were opposing the raids occurring in some colleges and universities. They were demanding the release of three women who were detained when the Technology University in Baghdad was raided. Their spokesperson, a professor, I think, said that this was going to be the first demonstration in a long series of anti-occupation activism being organized by teachers and students. There were some loud explosions a while ago... I just read it might have been inside of the 'Green Zone'. - posted by river @ 2:22 AM Kerosene and Gasoline... The electricity has been terrible lately- it comes in fits and starts. The moment it goes off, we start running around the house unplugging things and flicking off the power switches- you don’t want anything to be turned on when the power comes back either too high or too low. That's why I've been blogging less often. Every time there's electricity, we remember a long list of things that can only be done in an electrical world… like vacuum. Some say it's not only Baghdad- the north also seem to be having continuous electricity problems. The most popular guy in the neighborhood these days Abu Hassen. He lives on our street and he's going to purchase one of those large generators that will, supposedly, provide electricity to around 20 houses. The problem is that it can't accommodate any more than 20 houses (probably fewer) and anyone who wants to has to 'sign up' for the electricity. When E. went to get us registered for a few amperes, Abu Hassen told him that he already had 30 families who wanted to sign on but he would put us on a waiting list (!). Since the generators are expensive, Abu Hassen has been hesitant to buy one. E. says he has a nephew who works at one of the electric power stations in Baghdad who convinced him it would be a *great* investment because the power situation promises to be very erratic for a while yet. The big problem now is that gasoline is hard to come by. This is a very frustrating issue for Iraqis. Gasoline was like water here. In fact, bottled water used to be far more expensive than gasoline and admittedly still is. The lines at the gas stations are long and tedious. E. and my cousin sometimes go to fill up the car and disappear for hours at a time. The gasoline is necessary for running the generators and now they're going to start rationing it. This will mean that within days, the price of gas is going to go up because people will start selling black market gasoline. Kerosene is also hard to come by these days. Every time the kerosene man comes banging down our street, representatives from each household instantly run outside and stand impatiently at their gates, some greeting him with an energetic "Hello, habibi!" We need the kerosene for the 'sopas' or the kerosene heaters, and the kerosene lamps. The weather is nice during the day, but it gets somewhat chilly during the evening. We light the kerosene heaters in the rooms and watch them carefully so that they don't start giving out poisonous fumes from burning kerosene. There have been entire families that died in their sleep from CO poisoning from kerosene heaters. The nicest thing about the heaters is the fact that there's always a kettle of water on top of them. This accomplishes two things it once: it keeps the air in the room from getting very dry, and it provides a ready kettle of hot water for the tea ritual during the evening. The sopa is also fantastic for heating bread. At night, when there is no hope of electricity, we sit around on the rug, a little distance away from the sopa, and drink sweet tea, with warm bread and some famous Iraqi salted white cheese, while listening to the radio or just talking about family matters, or political matters. The sun sets quite early these days and, if there's no electricity, it gets a little bit depressing. E. and I often go out to the roof to enjoy the last few minutes of sun every evening. Sometimes, the electricity will return at night and the lights will flicker on suddenly, leaving us too dazzled for the first few moments to do anything but sit there, allowing our eyes to adjust to the abrupt change. - posted by river @ 2:21 AM __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard http://antispam.yahoo.com/whatsnewfree _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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