Thursday, 4 August 2011

Fractured lives


I had been expecting this for some time but somehow the event was still a turning point in the whole parent child relationship.

For years now I have become accustomed to the calls, in clinic, on wards.

The face will light up for a fraction of a second before the tone and the screen shows the caller; nursery or school; please come and pick H up he has had a fall and his face is badly bruised, come and take H+ home she is feverish and crying.

This time it was different.

“Come and help me” she cried, I have fallen and cannot get up on my own.
Are you hurt? No
Are you safe? Yes
Are you warm? Yes
I will be there as soon as I can

When she arrived here with her suitcase, it was with an enormous sense of relief.

Everyone was pleased, she was out of harm’s way, she would return at some point to sort things out, once everything had settled down, once it was safe.

How many times have we uttered those empty words?

When we went to look at the flat, she tried to smile, but I sensed her despair.

The previous occupant had ripped the carpet off the ground, stripped the skirting board, and removed the light bulbs.
I tried to be positive, I tried to help her visualise how it would be, how it could look.

It was hard work, but homely it eventually became.

Over time we have had run ins with the nosy neighbour, and the racist neighbours.

And over time she has gradually filled the tiny space.

At first it was the essentials, but with time have come other things.

Not one set of plates but nine.

Not one bookcase but three, and all loaded with books.

Not a few sets of bedding but twenty, and enough curtains for the glasshouses at Kew.

They are all bought for a reason, “the pattern is just like my green set at home”, “you never know when I might need it”, “it is the same make as the one I left behind”.

All bought on the cheap, all bargains, all from markets, many second hand.

This is not just buying bargains for the sake of it.

This is a sickness she shares with many others like her.

Obsessive collections.

An inability to discard anything.

A suffocating surrounding of herself with "things" for the “home”.

Replacements for all of her losses, the contents of a home, built up over decades, cherished gifts, family heirlooms, thirty years of items and the memories associated with them, thirty years of home improvements.

I tried to intervene but to no avail, as she spent the past few years desperately recreating a warped version of the old family home, in a tiny flat, in a little corner so many miles away.

People her age tell me about their retirement activities, their dancing, their holidays, their walking trips, their plans.

Our parents’ speak of different things, they have run out of plans, they surround themselves with layers and layers of “things” that will never replace what they lost.

Five years worth of “things”, with rugs in layers on the ground, and tables overflowing, it was an accident waiting to happen.

The first fall was six months ago.

I knew it would not be her last.

Revolutionary surgery


Oh people
Our calamity is such that
If we speak
Our problems expose us
If we remain silent
Our illness will kill us

Where should we turn?
Direct us oh doctor

Oh doctor
Me my family
My children and wife
Were never ill in our lives
Never took medication
Or saw a doctor before

But over the past few years
We have continuous ill health
With chronic illness that
Made us forget the meaning
Of peace and happiness

For God’s sake
Please treat us
Our disease is from within
Our fever starts in our limbs
We will take your bitter pill
If cure us it will

Oh people
Our calamity is such that
If we speak
Our problems expose us
If we remain silent
Our illness will kill us

Where should we turn?
Direct us oh doctor

The ailments we suffer
Will not be cured by
Nor calcium
Or potassium phosphate
Not sodium bromide
These help physical ailments
Ours are not of that subtype
Our ailments divided
And subdivided
Into nameless conditions

For God’s sake
Please treat us
Our disease is from within
Our fever starts in our limbs
We will take your bitter pill
If cure us it will

Oh people
Our calamity is such that
If we speak
Our problems expose us
If we remain silent
Our illness will kill us

Where should we turn?
Direct us oh doctor

Doctor the body is fit
Free of feared illness
‘tis the soul that is sick
Wounded with seven wounds
Can you cure the soul?

Make our dreams come true

We do not need speeches
We need actions

For God’s sake
Please treat us
Our disease is from within
Our fever starts in our limbs
We will take your bitter pill
If cure us it will

Oh people
Our calamity is such that
If we speak
Our problems expose us
If we remain silent
Our illness will kill us

Where do we turn?
Direct us oh doctor

Trust in God
And take action
To cure us of this
We have had enough
You must find a cure

This disease has gone on for too long

You must do something
Bring out your scalpel
Amputate arms and legs
Discard the harmful parts
Just leave the healthy
To move forwards

For God’s sake
Please treat us
Our disease is from within
Our fever starts in our feet

Only major surgery will save us now

Oh people
Our calamity is such that
If we speak
Our problems will expose us
If we remain silent
Our illness will kill us

Where do we turn?
Direct us oh doctor

The song is from a previous revolutionary era; an updated version omits the radical surgical style solution to the problem.

Surgeons nowadays are more into conserving as much tissue as possible, minimal surgery carried out by minimally invasive techniques leaving minimal tissue damage and little or no scarring is the ideal.

When an experienced surgeon is presented with a patient who has already undergone several radical surgical procedures, he will be aware that the scars will cause more complications during any further surgery, and most will be even more conservative in their approach.

If surgery is inevitable the surgeon would want to be up to date with current surgical and medical expertise, and always be guided by the principle of “First do no harm”.

Because if any procedure is carried out by someone who has spent more time delving into historic methods of solving problems rather than modern ones, or indeed spent most of their time outside medicine, they may resort to outdated approaches, amputating legs to deal with gangrenous toes, radical excisions for localised abscesses, ineffectual cautery to bleeding major blood vessels and loss of vast volumes of blood, and they probably would not be very concerned about modern antisepsis leaving wounds exposed to be rapidly colonised by liberal numbers of maggots and parasites.

All progress takes time.

Maybe we will start one day.

The train terminates here, all change…all change.

FRIDAY, 11 JULY 2008

I was at a meeting yesterday, and travelled there by train.

As has become my habit, I use the time to read a few more pages of the book I am still trying to complete (I am half way through and realize I should have been born in the 30s I would have been a great communist!)

As I read the words and turn the pages with the old photographs over I can’t stop thinking about a recent email exchange I have had.

It all started with a “classmates” site.

I found the site sometime in the 90s, as is usual it was mainly occupied by younger generations, but there were also some of my peers, and even a few older.
At the time they included only those dispersed like myself, it seemed a harmless thing to do at the time, and I entered my details.

When I returned recently to remove them I found I had mentioned Arian’s sister’s name as someone I would like to contact.

I was reminded of this site ten months ago
“Who is KH?” asked M
I don’t know I replied
“Well someone by that name has sent you an email”

And so they had, with an accompanying photograph confirming identity.
A colleague from college, and a “locker neighbour” in the first years, a “bench neighbour” in the laboratories, a “group member” in the clinical years, and a “lecture neighbour” for six years.

I replied, we exchanged updates, and swapped pictures from our days as students.

A little later I became included in the “email list” and four months after that first message I heard the first warning bell, a poem.
I decided not to respond.

Six months and two visits to Baghdad later (with many heart wrenching pictures of no-longer familiar sites) and we both eventually “came out”, albeit by email.

This time the poem was more provocative, the message specific, and the accompanying images touched a raw spot.
Try as I could to be polite I could not withhold a response.

After the initial “aha I caught you out” the reply was three pages of multicoloured text, and the kind of taunts I find myself unable to ignore “the American soldier was the most honourable person to have ever been in that room”.

I did of course have the "last" word, which has been followed by silence.

I realise it has gone really quiet, and look up from the unread pages of my book, to notice that the train has stopped.
Everyone has got out, and the cleaners are emptying the bins.

There are no more stations to travel to together.

The train terminates here, all change…all change.

A decade of letters


Nowadays email, mobile phones, text messages and online chatting with or without cameras mean maintaining contact with people back home is a totally different experience compared to how it used to be, faster, easier and maybe more personal, but call me old fashioned, Ithink there is still a place for letters.

I received my very first email from home in 2003, all communication before then was via phone calls or snail mail (and with the average transit time of several weeks the term was very apt).

I have been packing boxes of letters unopened for several years, and for the past week or so instead of just filing them away I have spent hours re-reading them, letters from friends, from parents and from siblings.

Over a decade worth of letters with everything from problems at school, to problems at collage to those at work, from girly gossip to broken hearts, from hopes and dreams to exam results, but as well as all that within the lines and in the covers of my letters is the story a of a decade in our lives.

Some arrived by hand, in plain envelopes, others arrived with stamps

Most start with the Bismilla, reliably ornate and beautifully written

The content often drifted to the shopping bills

1992“…Tomato puree has gone up to 19-20 ID, eggs now cost 40ID for a tray! Imagine and I used to complain when they were 22 ID, and I still remember all the fuss when they became 2ID! Those were the days weren’t they?…. “

“… I have been to the souk, I am trying to get rid of all the 50 ID, the 100 ID has been pulled out of circulation, and the 50 ID will be discontinued at the end of this month….”

“…Your father and K were weighed today, lots of dieting, and diuretics for the past few weeks, worked wonders, 6kg underweight…we will never hear the end of it now…”

“…I read your letter to Baba…he is right, your Arabic is terrible…you are forgetting already…”

1993 “…Even the shops in Mansur are empty, Iraqi shoes cost 250 ID, wrapping paper costs 2 ID a sheet, and a bottle of Pepsi is for 5 ID and tastes like urine with sweetener…”

“… I went to see Dr K last night, he had my leg X-rayed, he has recommended some medication that I cannot get here, I am taking the alternative but could you send me some V please….”

“…. We are in a mess, Baba sold the car, thinking he could get a less expensive one instead, but he is no expert and everyone says they paid him too little for it, and now all the cars are 40,000 ID more expensive, and we are stuck….”

1994“…I am knitting like mad, and hoping to be able to sell everything so I will have some cash for the winter….”

“… Thanks you for the offer to buy the dress, but you know once you add the cost of actually getting it in it is not such a great idea, the suitcase is till in Amman, no-one is travelling, and no-one is willing to pay the extra $200 tax to bring it in, so it may not even get here in time for the wedding….”

1995“…. Do you remember L, she got married two weeks a go, you thought my wedding was متخلف you should have seen hers, they had the hall divided into two with a curtain between the male and female guests, she did not even sit next to her husband, she sat behind the curtain…ah well each to their own…”

“… I remembered you the other day in كمب we saw a bar of the yellow chocolate, can you imagine it costs 3500 ID now…we did not buy it….”

1997 “…We are busy getting everything ready, imagine baby powder is 3500 ID, baby lotion is 3250 ID, and I am asking friends to get me nappies instead of presents at least for the first few days, 48 nappies cost 15000 ID, the same nappies in Jordan cost 7-8000 ID… Can you send me some sterilising tablets for the bottles please…? ”

1998“…We have electricity timetables now, so from the 1st to the 21st of November we will get 2-4 hours in the morning, from the 2nd to the 22nd December it will be from 3-6 O’clock in the afternoon and so on, every ten days it changes… but I think they forgot the timetable this week, we have had no electricity at all today….”

“…We cannot travel, A طالبين مواليده and anyway there is no way we can afford it, the cooker is not working, the fridge is not working, the toilet is not working, but I think we will spend our money on a small generator this year, for lights and a fan during the summer, we have become used to the heat without electricity, but for the baby it will not be possible…”

“…We have had no water today, and the electricity situation is worse, in addition to hours without any electricity, when it does come it is cut for ten minutes in each hour…the situation in the heat is unbearable, every time I need to wash the clothes I need to carry eight buckets of water from the garden tap…having no water and no electricity is driving people mad, the man next door beats his wife up when she turns the tap on downstairs whilst he is in the bath and we can hear them…. the neighbours on the other side are the same, he came home from work, there was no water and no his son broke the door handle, he started hitting him repeatedly and shouting that will cost me 5000 ID where will I get that from?…….”

1999“…. I sent you some photos of E… I hope you get them; otherwise that was 9,000 ID down the drains…. I had everyone over for Christmas, it was a sort of Christmas فطور and in the dark, with a rather dark Christmas tree, anyway candles made the room look nice… I don’t like the nursery he is at but what can I do, if I take one day of work they cut 1/8th of my salary…”

Some things just lose it in translation
As she wrote this little poem on the light of her kerosene lamp, she felt obliged to remind me what they looked like

ألله يا لالات
إشتاكينالج يالحبيبات
جنا نعثر بالظلمات
جيتي ضويت الممرات
حسدنج الشمعات
حسبالهم بس هن بالكليبات
خو دخانج الي على البردات
ما يروحها ألا مسحوق التايد
فوك الثلاجه و التلفزيون تنحطين
طاح حظ الي يحجي عليج بالموزين
و خليتي الناس بكزازج مبتلين
مرة فتحة و مرة كصيفة
مرة تنفطرين و مرة تنكسرين

Other situations just go better with English nursery rhyme style

Its raining its pouring
Bombs from the skies are falling

We went to bed
To get some sleep

But at four in the morning
The sirens started roaring

Windows shattered
Doors rattled

E is crying
A is swearing
And me in the middle exploding

Jump out of bed
Tape the windows
Open the doors

Rockets over our heads are passing
We pray we will see each other in the morning

Somewhere around the new millennium “stamps” became just that

2001“… She is enjoying her new job, the pay is 20,000 ID, that is enough for a pair of shoes, or barely covers her transport fees but she is getting some experience, and maybe will be able to use it one day…”

By 2003 we started receiving emails

2003Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 8:41 AM
Hi every body, we have just had the fright of our life, at 8.12 the college of technology was hit, at 8.30 the ICRC red cross was hit, at 9.20 about 100 m from the Care organization the police station was bombed, Care’s ambulance with the driver got killed, the whole office shook, all the International staff are going crazy. And now as i am writing another bomb went of in Al Ghazalia police station, it is all happening today, Yesterday about 11.15 at night 5 (MEDF"A HAWEN) were hit from Adamia, we were just saying that things have calmed down and then all hell let lose. I don’t know when all this will end, they are just not able to stop what is happening, I can hear the ambulance as they are going to the station, they say that more than 10 people are killed and lots of people injured.
We have just now been told that the Ministry of health has been hit and the main market in Al Shaab was hit more than 20 have died.
Hope you got the Ramadan greetings, if not well I wish you all a happy Ramadan and hope things workout for the best
Oh yes did you get the prayer rug that A sent you?

But not everyone could or wanted to use it
“…. I have a lot of spare time on my hands now, I have been spending some of it jotting down the family tree, I am sending you the scribbled results of conversations with several members of the family and have managed to piece together both sides of my family going back over two hundred years. I hope you find it entertaining…”

Intervening letters describe the changing situation in the street, the area and the country and my last letter is dated May 2004, just before our home was finally vacated

“…There is no water, the orange trees are dying, we have dug a 90 foot well and I hope we can save some of them…”

Throughout all of this, the letters would end. …Hope to see you one day…. and be sealed with a thank you note to the postman…


Laura said...
Thank you for sharing those snippets, 3eeraqiM. Thinking of all those years of struggle, love, longing, pain cuts to the heart. (a good thing.)

I hope all the writers and readers are well, and that happier, easier, more peaceful times soon will be theirs.

07 July 2008 08:35
sami said...
Dear 3eeraqimedic I liked the photos and the post alot. It was the photos that attracted my attention first, then that poet in arabic which is wonderful and real, then I read the post. Thank you for letting us share this experience with you. Sami.

08 July 2008 13:45
3eeraqimedic said...
Dear Psych team (he he he)
Thanks for visiting, sorry so long in responding (computer problems and busy at work)

I also hope that Iraq and Iraqi wherever they are can one day see better times.

I am pleased you liked the pictures, it was the stamps that actually started me thinking about posting, the "poet" is my sister and she laughed when I read it out to her!

09 July 2008 20:22



In the “bad old days” in secondary school we had a weekly ceremony.

It involved speeches, occasionally the mention of a local or national prize won by the school in sports, or the particular academic achievement of a class, always culminating in the raising of the national flag, and singing the national anthem.

During the first war, in addition to this there was the “honour” of being selected to shoot blanks from a Kalashnikov, a privilege bestowed on those with particular political activities, or as a reward for some other achievement.

During one such event, a high-ranking government official visited our school.

The preparations took several weeks, in addition to the events within the school grounds, girls from the fourth and fifth year classes, me included dressed in hired military gear would be lining the route to the school ground, starting from the school entrance opposite the river.

We had all been training, and took our places in line silently, sweating under the camouflage berets, our blotchy trousers held up with the cream belts, khaki boots on chalk marked lines, and oiled machine guns held parallel to the trouser seams.
The entourage arrived, a few words of acknowledgment before they entered the school proper.

Once everyone was in place, we formed a line under the trees and with the school ground clear, and to the piped drums we started our marching.

I guess for some that was a frightening or unpleasant experience, but at least we did not go to school fearing the visiting minister’s guards would shoot us.


A&Eiraqi said...
I won't e surprised if someone says that the minister was attacked by the terrorist; it's always like that.

Isn't it surprising that the minister on your days would dare visiting the school while girl are holding weapons!!
While Al-Khuza3i visited an exam center but was scared and keen to fire th others.
How scared they are!!

28 June 2008 21:18

Abbas Hawazin said...
very nice way of posting about this.
wouldn't it be nice if everybody decided to boycott the exams?

30 June 2008 11:36
3eeraqimedic said...
He did!
It was all self defence
خطيه المسكين

30 June 2008 19:16
3eeraqimedic said...
After the shock, disgust, anger and sorrow I could not help but remember this story.
I think ministers who do not feel safe in certain parts of the country, and have trigger happy American trained "self defence experts" for gaurds should do what they did as students.
Boycott the schools.

30 June 2008 19:20



My first memories of television are of the 6:15 pm cartoons, a family of morphing creatures that could take up any shape they desired, a superhero who could become invisible, and some prehistoric creatures. All of these flickered from the small screen, in shades of black and white and grey.

The television was made in Russia and like many things made in Russia its designer had no intention of making it look good, all that was necessary was that it should last, and last it did for very many years. Eventually the time it took to warm up before we could see anything became ridiculous, and by the time it was moved into someone’s bedroom the channel dial had become so wonky it would only stay in one position if propped up by an overturned oversized torchlight (probably also made in Russia).

As colour TV arrived so did an interest in films, Disney favourites for special dates, musicals and songs.
Somewhere along the line a second channel started to air, so called channel 7 was distinguishable from the original channel 9 by its somewhat more art and culture focus, foreign films, and a selection of soaps and dramas were on offer, with more than one choice and ample opportunities for family disagreement the era of channel switching had arrived.

At eight O’clock both channels would join for first of two news bulletins, the music from Um Kalthoom’s “Baghdad”, and the image of a whirring planet Earth signalling the start of a serious list of events that would be read out, the head of some small state or other was visiting, the reporters struggling with the names of Chinese and African leaders, the musicians struggling more with foreign anthems and we would watch the people descended the steps of the plane wondering “where on earth is Trinidad and Tobago anyway?”.

Gradually the content of the news bulletin became more lengthy, there would be a visit to some village to cover “with the compulsive fridge inspections”, at other times a special occasion to be commemorated, an elaborate party with lots of carefully selected children, little girls wearing balconies for skirts twirling around, and little boys with earnest faces and semi-raised palms reciting long poems, on other occasions there were the speeches, and with the national anthem played repeatedly and multiple advance warnings of imminent coverage of said event being aired every few minutes our hearts would sink knowing that was the end of the evening’s entertainment, and that the eight O’clock news would merge uninterrupted into the ten O’clock news, and the coverage would probably continue until the snow started falling on the screen.

During the eight years of the first war, there would be periodic “pictures from the battle” and daily communiqués, the following day it would be our duty to transcribe these onto the classroom board.

Over the years that I was away, a new channel was introduced, with more entertainment, and for some time I received an annual top up of “video clips” of new songs.

In the meantime I had acquired a taste for English soaps, and documentaries.
Programmes about Iraq were infrequently produced, I remember two in particular, one I watched in the late 1990s a poignant film produced by Channel four which followed the daily difficulties of a Liverpool football club supporting Iraqi minder to the British journalist called Kiffa7, the other was many years earlier, in October 1993 I saw the first feature length documentary on the risk of extinction of the Marsh Arabs, a programme titled "Saddam’s Killing fields", produced with help from Ahmed Chalabi, Yuosif al Khoei and Mohamed Bahr al Ulum.

For the most part and particularly when there was some new military flurry we felt trapped in a vacuum, far from the news, frustrated by the meagre coverage offered by the terrestrial TV, until that is we discovered satellite TV.

A combination of a visit to Amman where virtually every building sported an enormous dish that needed to be manually turned when a different set of channels was to be viewed, and my discovery of MBC whilst on duty in a clinic catering for rich Arabs, convinced us this was what we had been waiting for.

We acquired our very first dish, with receiver and card from a reputable source, and hired “one of our own” to fix it to the wall.
The excitement was short lived, the channels limited, the reception variable, and the dish became completely detached after the first proper gale force winds.
We learnt our lesson and resorted to smaller equipment, more stable fixtures, by more reliable workmen and for a little while at least we were blissfully distracted by Rotana.

And when things went horribly wrong we could now see it vividly transmitted from somewhere close, and the other side of the story was now being laid before us.

As the war machine moved ever closer, a flurry of channels were added to our list, for the first time we discovered Fox TV and realised that not everyone did propaganda in the highly effective subtle British way, we also started receiving the Iraqi national satellite channel for a while. In fact for longer than anticipated, until eventually and abruptly the transmission stopped, leaving behind the very distorted face of the presenter frozen on our screen for days.

Many moths later a new channel started to advertise, the faces were familiar, there was even comedy and music, and after a wobbly few months Al-Sharqyia with its red and white logos became compulsory after work entertainment.

Shortly after that a number of "Green" channels were added, and in June 2005 after a particular explosion one of these channels aired a commemorative programme with the "soon to be supreme" ruler of Iraq watching, a group of children sang a little song threatening the residents of Al-Latifiya and we entered a whole new era in televised enlightenment.

And now?

Well for the past week or so we have been stuck between two extremes on our channel hopping, at one end is a choice of one of the four "Green" channels, which have been spasmodically oscillating between misery and exhilaration on the anniversaries of the death and birth of the greatest woman to ever exist, culminating tonight in a lengthy lecture on the subject of women in celebration of “Iraqi women’s day” given by none other that the Iraqi heir apparent, addressing an audience of black tents, he explained how women were transformed from -and I quote- “animals in the form of tempting women to allow procreation” into “humans” by virtue of religion and the sacrifices of one blessed woman.

Whilst at the same time on one of the "Red" channels we have had several days of heated debate with much retraction and retreats to bring forth “published evidence” over the exact mode of death of the same woman.

We have come a long way haven’t we?


Abbas Hawazin said...
this is a great post, but could you be a little less subtle, what exactly did you mean by the Green and Red channels?

Keep on writing.

27 June 2008 12:05
Anonymous said...
Truth Escapes Satans Grip

I had a dream.
I saw satan swimming slowly, languorously, smiling,
wafting down a river of blood.
More and more as he spread his blood drenched arms
across each bank, people murdered themselves
and murdered their neighbors.
Their blood poured out filling the river deeper and deeper,
and satan patiently, willfully, joyfully
screeched a hideous cry of encouragement.
The unwitting souls on the riverbank, stood
with their eyes firmly fixed on the heavens
spoke the name of God,
then committed self-murder,
and satans fingers, dripping blood, dragged their souls
into his hell bound torrent.
Occasionally a bright beam of truth
would shine upon one of the souls on the riverbank
and they would simply walk away.
And satan thrashed and screamed each time
as another soul escaped his grip.

Through Grace Peace

27 June 2008 16:30
3eeraqimedic said...
Abbas thanks for appreciating!
Too subtle??
"Green" I am sure is self evident, but just in case I meant the obscene Al-Forat.
And I am not sure why I chose red to describe the deceptive Al-"Mustaqilla", maybe because I hope that anyone with sense watching the debate would start to question more than just the difference in "opinion".

27 June 2008 16:48
3eeraqimedic said...
You should make sure you keep warm when you sleep!

27 June 2008 16:56
Laura said...
Dear 3eeraqimedic:

you have your feet firmly on the earth and i like you very much.

Best to you always,


Dim sum


They say friendship is at its most pure when it develops during student years, a time of freedom before responsibilities of work and family set in, and commitments make free time a luxury, before colleagues and networking become necessary survival tools and take up time and effort leaving little for the true friend, a friend you meet with no ulterior motive, no gain, other than the pleasure of time shared.

It started during a period of study, before the children arrived, before our world exploded.

Four research students, cooped up in a small room, two surgeons and two physicians, meeting after work, then meeting with “other halves”, getting together all over the city, and in each other’s homes and gardens.

One favourite Sunday pastime was for dim sum, the Chinese Malaysian couple knew where to go, what to order, and how much, three hours of conversation interspersed by little packages of fish, chicken, and vegetable, noodles, dilute tea and sweets.

Nothing however stays the same.

Research came to an end, “proper jobs” meant moving, children started arriving, one couple broke up, and then regrouped, and the meeting became less frequent.

The English couple were the first to outgrow the friendship, what is acceptable company for trainees is not so for established pillars of society, and when the people with the know how were also unable to make it, because they where in the middle of arranging for the their long awaited return home, we wondered if maybe non-Chinese food would be more appropriate now.

As we sat around the table explaining the difference between sambusak and kubba, he starts telling us of his recent trip home, the capital is a great place to live, vibrant modern and safe, the health service crying out for expertise, and the hospital project going ahead in the near future, the pay would be good, and lifestyle very comfortable and “if I was a foreigner I would go now”.

But and it is a large but, “if I went home there would be family, and family of family, they would be all be around, all requesting favours for themselves, their families and their friends, and they would in return part with regular advice, advice on life, advice on love and advice on future, advice I cannot live by”.

He cannot go home because of choices he made in the decades he has been away, away from home, away from the eastern influences of family and friends, and so he keeps moving around, seeking a replacement home, once he talks of Europe, another time it will be Malaysia, then again why not the Gulf.

And as we part I think to myself, I have always envied him his choice, he has a country to return to, but maybe even if one day we had a country we could return to, we may well find we would not either.
Laura said...
Dear 3eeraqiM: In a poem to his wife, the wonderful poet, Wendell Berry wrote of "the life I have let live for love of you...." That line came back to me as I read your post. Sometimes, it seems as if there is a certain reason that we do something and then, years later, there's a shift and hey, presto, the reason we've been telling ourselves over and over like an eternal talisman turns out to have been only incidental to the reality our feet and hands chose for us while our minds were otherwise occupied. And what was chosen--oddly enough--turns out to have been so right, even though we didn't know it. The life love lived for us, the life love lived us through.

Perhaps this is not true in your case, or will not turn out to be true. I'm just murmuring here, thinking how, sometimes, the miracle of our lives overtakes all our expectations. We turn a corner and see the rose in full bloom, every petal glowing in the setting sun.

I'm really not all that poetic. Can't think why both my comments have been so...dreamy-ish. (Have you caught up on your sleep? ) ; )

I hope all is well.

It is lovely to be able to visit your blog.

22 June 2008 07:10
3eeraqimedic said...
Thanks for visiting once more, the block was not personal, this blog has become my personal counselling couch and every now and then when my mood is dipping dangerously I need a break to think things over. After a while I return, often after a few good nights sleep and a glimmer of hope brought on by some good news (a family returning to their home in the “wrong part of town”, a story of palm trees planted in public gardens, a tone of hope in voice of someone I care about)
Thank you also for the quote, this is for me one of the most pleasant aspects of visitors comments, when a name I have not previously heard of is mentioned I go in search of more, and end up listening to a new style of music, reading an incredibly touching novel, or discovering an American male who writes about love, life and peace.
Yes for today at least there is hope.
22 June 2008 11:19
Laura said...

Dear 3eeIraqiM:

I think you will enjoy this poem of Wendell Berry's (from his Collected Poems, 1985):

The Peace Of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lied down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great . heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(peace to you and yours, L.)

22 June 2008 18:05
sami said...
Good evening 3eeraqimedic, I was happily surprised by your blog new look, it is shining, and I smiled happily when I first saw it.
You are a precious person for us (your blog readers) take good care of your self. sami.
24 June 2008 20:39

Sleep deprivation


Sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture, take my word, it works.

I have been sleep deprived several times in my life, sometimes self-inflicted, as in the forty darks days in the 1980s, a blur of coffee induced insomnia, and anxiety driven over-revision for what at the time seemed like the most important set of tests I would ever have to navigate. Oh the naivety of the time.

Another test of stamina was my first weekend on call in 1990s, I remember sitting on the desk staring at a chart trying to focus my mind on the task at hand. A simple prescription for medications, which I seemed unable to complete, my eyelids drooping 80 hours after I had started my shift, and a senior member of the team snatching the chart from my hands before I finished writing the wrong dosage that he would end up taking the flak for.

I recognise the various stages of sleep deprivation as I pass through them now.

That initial rush of adrenaline as my body prepares for what it assumes will be a brief period of need, the heightened awareness of everything that often arrives around two or three in the morning of the first sleepless night, during which all manner of boring and long neglected duties can be completed.

The first phase is replaced by a sluggish, muzzy head phase that reaches its peak by the second or third day without sleep. During this stage the world seems to be moving more slowly and people and events merge into each other, I sometimes find that the line of demarcation between reality and imagination becomes less clear.

Immediately after I had the children I had no sleep at all for four days, by the evening of the fifth day I had started talking to non-existent people in the room.

Eventually my mind starts to clear once more, and after the first week I reach the final phase.

I have been unable to sleep properly for the past three weeks.

It all started with an email, a request for help, an exchange of information followed by the arrival of the database.

A series of entries, numbers events and treatment outcomes, stark facts that need ordering, untangling and then weaving into a coherent tale, a tale of eight years of work, eight years of sweat and blood, eight years of pain and tears, eight years of battling the odds, eight years of unsuccessful attempts to retrieve breath from the claws of death.

In the sterile environment I have become accustomed to patient data is presented in anonymous format, people become “unique identifying numbers”, poisons become “courses of treatment”, symptoms and diseases are described in sanitised clinical terms, my mind has developed ways of re-classifying pain, bleeding, and a host of other forms of suffering into “events”, even death seems less shocking when described as “mortality”.

The raw information I have been sifting through is different, columns of names, columns of cities, columns of detailed descriptions, and a final column of stark words “dead / taken home to die”

Pouring over the information started out easy enough, but sleep deprivation made it more difficult to ignore the names, oddly more personal for their familiarity, and my mind starts to play tricks on me as I visualise the description, and wonder: Did he have anything for the pain? Did she have anything for the fever? Who was with him when he bled? Who carried her home? How did they travel? Did they have water to drink?

I have not had enough sleep, and when I have not slept everything seems different. I cannot concentrate as well, and I get irritated more easily, everything takes a sharper edge, and every encounter seems to be less simple.

It is the sleep deprivation that meant I had less patience with the third round of long-lost friends who have tried to rekindle youthful relationships, only to be disappointed by my exposed hair, and by the absence of any imminent or otherwise plans to wrap myself in a white sheet and get some much needed exercise in a hot climate.

It is the sleep deprivation that makes me read something sinister when the day after a panorama programme about the $23 billions dollars of Iraqi money that has been stolen over the past five years
Someone who recently returned from a “lighting” visit to the “beautifully organised” “green zone” and with whom I had previously maintained a polite professional relationship occasionally flavoured by nostalgic reminiscing about the good old days, shows me details of a $3 million dollors house he plans to buy before the end of the year.

Sleep deprivation is torture; forget the physical effects, without the escape of dreams, the world is so much more ugly when viewed through sleep-deprived eyes.

A&Eiraqi said...
الله يساعدج

11 June 2008 22:54
Laura said...
We do need other realities than this one, other truths and other wells. I hope you are able to sleep and dream and replenish yourself in beauty and other truths and times soon. It is dangerous and painful only to be awake in a single reality....

May peace and goodness be always with you.

12 June 2008 03:50
3eeraqimedic said...
A&E Iraqi
I expect He is also getting no sleep, but thanks for your concern.

12 June 2008 18:11
3eeraqimedic said...
Oh dear! I am sorry that you find me in this frame of mind on your first visit, but welcome to my black sometimes bleak blog.
From prior experience I expect to be sleeping a little more within a week or two, and I still live in hope that one day I may even have a pleasant dream.
Thanks for visiting, and for your wishes.

12 June 2008 18:15
Laura said...
Dear 3ee: Not my first visit, just the first time commenting. I've been appreciating your writing for several months. Thanks for the welcome. Sweet dreams!

Pride and Arrogance


Isn’t it odd how once you get a concept in your mind you start to see it all around?

It started a few weeks ago

“I was so afraid of making a mistake and being mocked, that I preferred to do nothing, say nothing, remain silent, remain unnoticed and small, but later I hated myself for not speaking, for not acting”.

You were afraid of making a mistake, that is rather arrogant don’t you think? She said with surprise

Proud yes, but arrogant?

“He had just arrived, they were tightening up on people like us, he was offered a trial period, but he was asked to work at a lower grade, to work night shifts, he kicked up such a fuss, and refused point blank to do it, the chief wrote a terrible report and he has been blacklisted since…. the Egyptian and the Indian who started at the same time as him have now been promoted twice while he remains…. ah well that is Iraqis for you…. you have to respect him though…. we all seem to have this pride, not the easiest people to deal with they say…that is Iraqis all the same…..

Pride or arrogance?

I have not behaved that way for several years, quite the reverse I seem to have spent the entire time wearing a pair of false lips with permanently upturned corners, I may not always demure but I will often remain silent. Suffocating my pride, (then brooding and blogging about it) but I justify this to myself as necessary for livelihood.

Yet within the same week I have shown very little sympathy for someone who behaved in a similar way in the face of a different set of circumstances (and a different set of people).

“He has met with his father, who says he has forgiven him, it is the first step, when he is ready maybe he will see me and our son”

I seethe but bite my tongue. I must not antagonise her.

What I would really like to do is shake her until her teeth rattle, and slap her until her eyes open. I want to rip away the veils, real and metaphoric from her head.

What on earth happened to her pride?
Why on earth does she accept being treated like this?
Damned arrogant fools, looking down at her. I curse the times that let them meet, the circumstances that made this happen, and damn the brainwashing that allows it to continue.

She thinks I am arrogant.
I think she has no pride.

On the outside at least I hate arrogance more than many other vices.

Possibly as a result of a lifetime of overheard condemnation,
“You are so arrogant, all you ------s are, you have nothing left to be so arrogant about, it is all history, but you just cannot see it”

On the inside I am not unlike my demoted friend. Pride, particularly national pride is “an essential ingredient in the diet of every Iraqi infant”

But it is rather confusing all the same, most religions regard pride as a great sin, mainly because only God/Gods have the right to be proud, so in addition to the terrors of excessive personal pride

“Pride goes before the fall” and ان الله لا يحب كل مختال فخور

They go on to explain the harmful sequel of pride on mere mortals:

“Pride supports a whole array of sins, such as jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability, revenge motivation, revenge tactics, self-pity, conceit, inordinate ambition and competition, slander, gossip, and maligning”.

Back on planet earth and in scientific terms what is the point of pride and what is the difference between pride and arrogance?

According to one prolific researcher
the answer is there are two versions of pride “authentic” and “hubiristic”.
Put simply pride in some real achievement is healthy, pride in the absence of said achievement is hubiristic, it is this latter which is detrimental to the individual / society or in religious terminology sinful.

Authentic pride (“I’m proud of what I did”) comes from attributing events to internal, unstable, controllable causes (“I won because I practiced”), whereas hubristic pride (“I’m proud of who I am”) results when events are attributed to internal, stable, uncontrollable causes (“I won because I’m always great”).

On an evolutionary basis the pleasurable feelings that accompany a pride experience may reinforce the pro-social behaviors that typically elicit the emotion, such as achievement and care giving

Interestingly although there is universal recognition of pride as an emotion and of the physical postures of pride there are cultural differences in the expression and experience of pride.

In particular, collectivistic cultures (which apparently applies to all non-westerners) tend to promote the group over the individual, such that individuals are more prone to accept status differences rather than try to change them and assert the self. Such values seem inconsistent with pride, an emotion geared toward enhancing and affirming the self. In fact, several studies have found that pride is viewed more negatively in collectivistic, vs. individualistic, cultures.

Perhaps it is not surprising I have such conflicting feelings about pride

However pride is much more likely to be accepted and valued in collectivistic cultures—as long as it is pride about one’s group instead of one’s individual self.

And back to my original question

Is pride one emotion with two facets, or are there are two distinct pride-related emotions.

In terms of the way people conceptualize and experience pride, there are two facets so distinct as to have unique cognitive antecedents and entirely opposite personality correlates. However, both facets are reliably associated with the same nonverbal expression, suggesting that, from a behavioral perspective at least, there is only one pride.

Well that explains it doesn’t it.

Maybe despite all the research it is really simple, regardless of who we are, what our culture tells us, or what the context is, ultimately we define something as pride or arrogance depending on who is exhibiting it (and whether we like or dislike them, and agree or disagree with the basis for their pride / arrogance).



They sit silently
On the kitchen shelf
Resting quietly
Beneath the biscuit tin

Wrapped up tight
In silver sheets
Tucked away
With days
On the bedstead
In their white box
They sleep

Hidden from prying eyes

Taunting me
Reminding me
Of pity
And contempt

I walk past
I tell myself
Convincingly that
I forget them

I savour the coffee
Then pour another
One day will not matter
Two or even three
Surely I will manage

When I no longer sleep
Because they have slept too long
I wake one
And down it

I throw the white box away
But keep the very first one
A white card memento
For our fifth anniversary


Beanz meanz friendz


The children are now visiting their friends’ homes without Mama tagging along.
H went to play with his best friend N, and H+ had her friend M over to play.

With the kinder weather they have moved their games and many toys into the back garden. Distracted in the kitchen trying to prepare something delicious, nutritious, quick and with no visible greens for the children, I did not notice what they were doing until I heard the crashing noise, followed by her yelp then the scream. I rushed out to find her on the ground wailing as her brother fussed around her, bright eyed and red with guilt.

Her red hands and the two sharp splinters of wood from the fence embedded into her palms needed immediate attention, and after wiping away blood stains and tears, and lots of hugs and kisses their story was told.

They wanted to go next door and play with the children and decided the shortest way was over the wood fence, and so had moved the plastic chair close to the edge to climb on.
When the height was not enough decided to give each other a helping push and H+ was to go first.

When I eventually went next door to collect them an hour later, and was invited in for some dosa I remembered another set of childhood friends

Within a week of moving into the house my brother had met the boy next door, and through Allawee I met the girls and my mother got to know Um Allawee.

Initially there was some confusion. Like us Allawee’s dad was away a lot, unlike us Allawee’s mum had two sisters who would regularly come to stay, at least one of whom seemed to be there all the time. Mama Nabeeha and Mama Sabeeha took care of the children and went out with the children and for a while my mother would wonder which one exactly was Um Allawee?

We started by playing in the courtyard in front of the house, racing down the road on our tricycles, and then chasing each other into the first front door we came across. With time we devised ways of getting into our neighbour’s garden.

Jumping over the tilted red bricks that marked the boundary of the lawn into the carnation and snap-dragon flower beds, between the orange trees, sprinting up the lower branches and hopping onto the wall, a careful wiggle later and we would slip into the “sandpit” next door.

They had workmen in the house and the back garden was full of mounds of pebbles and sand, and in the corner an old cement mixer. We spent hours making all sorts of “food” from the mud, and “cooked” it in the mixer.

At lunch time the mothers would start recalling the children, and most of us would willingly return for sustenance. Most that is except my brother, who would repeatedly refuse to return, arriving home after protracted arguments and many tears. It later transpired that this was only partly due to his attachment to Allawee, it was mainly because of what Um Allawee was offering for lunch, a sample of which was brought across, with instructions on how to make the meal.

The next time we had white beans in tomato sauce in our home they were served, not on toast but with meat and rice.

I am still waiting to meet an "Um Someone" who will one day transform my cooking in such an enriching way!


Sami said...
I liked this title alot, it is so clever....Beanz Meanz Friendz....It could be a title of a wonderful drama familly movie talking about relations between family and their neighbour...
Thank you 3eeraqimedic for giving us such nice posts that help us contemplate our life...Beanz Meanz Friendz....yes you are right 3eeraqimedic cause Beanz Meanz Friendz....

02 June 2008 16:38
Sami said...
And you knoww what 3eeraqimedic, it is me who need someone to teach him how to cook...because I cook so bad dear...
02 June 2008 16:40
3eeraqimedic said...

He he he Sami.
I am afraid it is from my "thaqafty il ingileezya" it is based on a very well known advert for a particular brand of tinned baked beans which ran in the sixties (yes yes last century)which went "Beanz Meanz Hienz". Glad you liked it.

Another May

I met her in Amman, on a warm day late in the summer, in an intimidatingly smart hotel foyer, we chatted for a while, and I nervously handed her the most valuable papers I had been able to lay my hands on in twelve years.
She was on route to Baghdad, and promised to pass them on.

When do you plan to return? She asked
When the babies are a little older I replied confidently.
Looking back I think I had started to doubt my own words, the dreams of returning were becoming blurred, the timing had already slipped twice.

They were planning some sort of documentary, and she showed me the manuscript of the interview, I jotted down the address, yes of course I would look it up, and yes next February sounded like a possibility, if all went well we would meet at the house on the river.

I thought my Internet addiction was recent, but remembering that day, I did not wait to return home and check, I paid for 30 minutes of connection at Safeway’s and downloaded the piece she had published in May 2003.

The final words, spoken by my grandmother
"People here have pride, don’t step on our pride."

And those of my father
'We may have lost, but now we will see Iraq changed into a modern country. Now there is a chance.'

As I read those words today I wonder about the survival instincts, was it naivety or denial that protected us from seeing what had really happened.


Summer holidays

FRIDAY, 9 MAY 2008

I opening my eyes with a jolt, it took me a few seconds to register what had woken me, and where I was, then I heard it again Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, a call to prayer I had not heard for four years.

I rolled over and looked at the scene, the entire floor of the room was covered with plastic bags and wrappers, the small table covered with food remnants, and mounds of pistachio and watermelon seed shells, two oversized suitcases full of essentials for my family sat unopened in the corner, the other two suitcases lay gaping at the end of the bed, in exactly the same spot where the night before they had been opened and the contents passed around, they were now filled with reciprocal packages, date molasses, nuts, elaborate long dresses, and two canvas paintings of a street from home.

We had only moved into the rooms the night before, the past twenty-four hours had disappeared, and already we were into the second day.

But at last we had made it, we had talked about this get together for ages, planned and then re-planned, scheduled and then cancelled, we even got as far as the airport the year before but never boarded the plane when at the last minute it became clear that people could not make it out.

But here we were, all together in two rooms in a simple hotel, up a rather steep hill in Amman, I had taken the advice given by my mother’s friend and booked the rooms without thinking too much, it was only later that I realised the reasons she had recommended it, it was inexpensive and relatively close to the embassy.

The flights from Sana’a and London had arrived soon after each other, we had been held up for ages while someone in green (who had clearly attended the تفضل ويانا academy( interviewed M in a separate office, and tried repeatedly to extract from him details of trips to Damascus he had never made. When we were eventually released and having deposited the luggage we set out to the bus depot, a central point where buses of all sizes and private hire taxi arrived from Baghdad.

The bus arrived, almost two days after they had left home exhausted and dusty they descended the steps, tears of joy mixed with sobbing and sighs as one by one they were passed from one hug to another to yet another, before the trip back to the hotel for the night.

This morning we would go in search of a flat, we were here for only one week, the rest would be staying for a month and would need more space, two taxis and many false starts later we found a suitable place in Jebel Hussein and agreed the rates.

This was to be the first of many such snatched trips.

One week in the summer, for us a week of the almost familiar, the almost home, for them the week of almost normal, of almost free, one week minus six hours flight both ways, minus six nights of about three or four hours each, one week to cram everything in.

Months of preparation, coordinated leave, applied for six month in advance where bureaucracy ruled, and changed half a dozen times where uncertainty about everything was the norm, leave to travel that was bribed for, begged for, signed for by heads of departments, and more, hundreds of thousand of dinars raised, a brother’s house as guarantee, and several weekends of shopping had gone into preparing for this week.

“Give me a list of what you want,” I had pleaded, “give me your size again”, and “how long do the skirts have to be”, as the years went by it slowly became more difficult for me to imagine the sisters I had said goodbye to wearing what they were asking for, in my mind no-one changed for many years despite the photographs.

Clothes, shoes, and hair products were the staples, and at the airport just before departure, but after the excess baggage had been paid for, kilos upon kilos of chocolates, enough to be rationed for a year.

In that first visit we walked for miles during the day, up the steep hillside to the post office to send all those international application forms that burnt up so much cash and so many dreams, down to the centre of town after Friday prayer in the mosque, travelling out of Amman to a variety of hospitals, and countless universities in the desert, as well as schools nurseries and charities in search of any employment for anyone, and a good many of the evenings were spent in the open cafes of the Hashemite square beside the ancient roman amphitheatre.

Over the years we moved up in the world into the “Gardens”, attended concerts in Jarash, swam in the Red and the Dead Sea, and visited the incredible pink city in the rocks, but one place we returned to virtually everyday, in every visit we made to Amman was the phenomenon of Safeway’s.

The name we knew even before we arrived, the store we did not, but with time, it is incredible how fond of the place we became, eventually even collecting points on the loyalty card to help save for some piece of electrical gadgetry, for several years we would browse the pirated software on display within this store before starting the shopping proper, down the aisles avoiding the smiling holiday tour representatives desperate to get people to go to a presentation or enter a competition.

On the second floor as well as perfumes, clothes, and shoes were the books, and household items, and tucked away round the corner the yellow signposted room, where we headed at least once a day on that and subsequent trips, the internet café.

This was where emails could be accessed, and elusive replies awaited, where exam results could be checked, this was where news was searched for, and people found, long lost friends, long lost jobs, long lost opportunities.

The later it got the busier the store seemed to get, babies and toddlers still out shopping at midnight, and as well as the families there was another phenomenon associated with this store, as we queued waiting to pay or access the bureau de change I could see the entrance with the shawarma kiosk, and just within the front doors the ice cream and magazine stalls, all would be surrounded by single-sex groups of youngsters milling around in their “casual” wear, with full “shopping grade” hairdos, makeup and sunglasses, carefully “ignoring” each other from a distance.

On the first few days the shopping trips would be an opportunity to spoil everyone, they tended to be long, leisurely and loud, subsequent trips would be for essentials, brief, with arguments at the check-out, towards the end of our stay the final visits would be sombre, slow and silent, the shopping for returnees, and those waiting for their return was different, tins and jars and long dated everything, special treats, and vital sustenance, gifts for friends and relatives, and “gifts” for those on the various official stops on the way home.

For many years it seemed that every summer there was a new shopping centre to be toured, and every time there would be more horror stories, less confidence in imminent improvements, more urgency for escape, and deeper depression as the days of freedom ran out, but on that very first year, that very first trip and that very first supermarket visit despite all the trouble getting there, everything seemed so different.

A&Eiraqi said...
Don't know what to say, but your post touched the wound.

Summer holidays
Spending a long time waiting for it,fighting for the annual leave ,booking the flight as early as possible,collecting money and arranging things.
Then, simply, we're not sure when the exams are.
They should be soon, but they're still not sure when.
Possibly it will be something I should keep dreamin about.

Spending time with them is different; it's quite different, and This is going the first one after getting a job.

You've said once that the first ten years are hard.
Seems you're right.

Allah kereem
09 May 2008 23:13

3eeraqimedic said...
Yes time with friends and family is the most precious, and it makes no difference where that time is spent.

What is all the fuss about?

SUNDAY, 4 MAY 2008

I could kick myself for not making the connection earlier.

I receive emails with attachments from a relative on a regular basis, some are jokes, others articles and news stories, yet others charities or individuals asking fro help, when the email contained news of the death of one of Iraq’s best known and loved surgeons arrived on the 18th April, I did not notice the second attachment, and missed the chance to make the connection between a letter written by Dr Omar Al-Kubaisy an Iraqi cardiothoracic surgeon and my February 2008 “blogs of note” find.

Here is the letter, written in Amman where he describes how he came across a family in his clinic who were on route to Tel Aviv for surgery, he then shows the ruins of the Specialist Cardiac / Cardiothoracic hospital (well established cardiology hospital that was opened in 1993 during the years of sanctions and provided interventional cardiology and cardiothoracic services at a level unavailable to this day in several neighbouring Arab countries, and fully equipped to treat these children), he then makes the connection between the sending of Iraqi children to Israel for treatment and the destruction of medical institutes and murder and displacement of Iraqi medical expertise since 2003.

أطفال العراق يعالجون في تل أبيب!! ألا يُخزي هذا وزارة الصحة العراقيه؟.

الدكتور عمر الكبيسي
عمان – نيسان 2008

شئ لايصدق !! تمنيت ان اموت قبل ان ارى اطفالأ عراقيين مع امهاتهم في عمان وصلوا من بغداد وعلى وجبات وباعداد تفوق المائه طفلا لغرض تقييم حالتهم من قبل اطباء اسرائيليين وترتيب تواقيت وصولهم الى تل ابيب لاجراء تداخلات جراحيه لهم بسبب اصابتهم بتشوهات ولاديه في القلب .اطفال من شمال العراق ووسطه وجنوبه شخصت امراضهم في العراق ونظمت لهم تقارير وفحوص وسجلات طبيه في مستشفيات حكوميه وتم اختيارهم وارسلوا مع امهاتهم او ابائهم ليحصلوا على تراخيص سفر اسرائيليه بتوصيات من منظمه اسرائيليه طبيه ,يتم بعهدها سفرهم واجراء تداخلات جراحيه لهم واعادتهم الى العراق.أرجوا ان يصًدق القراء ماذكرته لأنه الحقيقه كما رواها لي امهات الاطفال الذين زاروني في عيادتي في عمان للتأكد من تشخيص مرض أطفالهم وذكروا لي كل هذه التفاصيل وهم على نية السفر الى تل أبيب خلال أيام ويقيمون في عمان الان على نفقة الجهه المعالجه.في إسرائيل.

أستذكر جيداً يوم 8 نيسان2003 عندما دخلت الدبابات الامريكيه بغداد ووصلت ساحة المتحف بحلول الساعه الخامسه مساءً توجهت واحدة منها وداهمت مدخل المتحف العراقي لتحدث في مدخله فجوه كبيره إيذاناً بنهبه وسلبه في حين توجهت دبابه اخرى الى مركز صدام لجراحة القلب (مستشفى بن البيطار) واقتلعت الباب الرئيسي والناقله الكبيره التي وضعت بالعرض في مدخل المركز كاجراءحمايوي وسمحت لمجاميع السلب والنهب لدخوله وامام جمع من اطباءه ومنتسبيه وبالرغم من تشبثهم بحمايته,وكانت ضمن مجموعة الجنود الامريكان اعداد من الاشخاص الناطقين بالعربيه والمرتدين للباس الجيش الامريكي ومنهم نقيب اسمر اشرف بعدها على حرق البناء الجاهز للمركز(يمثل80./0 من بناء المركز)بطريقه فنيه وسريعه من خلال تمرير شريط على طول سقف البناء واشعاله وخلال اقل من ساعه واحده. وأذكر جيداً كيف هاتفني اكبر جراحي ايطاليا في القلب الدكتور دومنيك في حينها على جهاز الثريا للمركز وكان قد زارنا لمرات عديده لاجراء عمليات قلب للاطفال خلال فترة الحصار يناديني لترك المركز مع كوادري لانه مستهدف بشكل مؤكد واكد لي انه يرى المركز الان على الشاشه وسيضرب وفعلاٌ تم ذلك قصفاً بالطيران قبل 48 ساعه من دخول القوات ولم استطع في حينها تفسير سر هذه المكالمه وهو يكرر قوله انا لست بعيداً عن المشهد يادكتور عمر!.

مركز جراحة القلب بعد احراقه في 8/4/2003

هذا المركز أنشا في زمن الحصار البغيض عام 1993 ولمً شمل معظم كفاءات العراق في اختصاص امراض القلب ويقدرات عراقيه ودعم متميز اصبح فيما بعد اكبر مركز في الشرق الاوسط للقلب وكان يجري بمعدل 7-8 عمليات قلب مفتوح وبحدود 25 حالة قسطره وتداخل علاجي قسطاري يومياً وكان يستقطب كل حالات امراض القلب من العراق ومن اقطار عربيه اخري وتكامل عمله في حينها مع افتتاح المركز العراقي الساند والوليد في الجهه الثانيه من النهر في مجمع الشهيد عدنان خيرالله كل هذا التطور والأنجاز تم خلال فترة الحصار المقيت.

عودةً الى بداية المقال, ألا يثير تسفير الاطفال المعتلين بتشوهات خلقيه في القلب من العراق الى اسرائيل مروراً بعمان وهم مزودون بكامل الفحوص والتقارير الصادره من مراكز القلب في العراق ومن ضمنها مستشفى ابن البيطار بالذات, العواطف والقييًم والمُثل؟.من يشرف على هذا العمل المنظم والمرتب في زمن تغيب فيه كل مؤشرات العنايه والرعاية الطبيه في العراق؟.هل ان وزارة الصحه طرف منظم فيه ام انها بعيدة عن كل مايتعلق بمصير وحياة هولاء الاطفال؟ هل من المعقول ان تجمع المنظمات الانسانيه او تتصرف بهذا العدد من المرضى وترسلهم الى الخارج دون اشرافها او علمها؟.اذا كنت لاتدري فتلك مصيبة وان كنت تدري فالمصيبة اعظم .
خزيُ وعار والله على وزارة الصحه وعلى حكومة العروبي المالكي ! أن يتم ذلك في العراق بلا حياء .بماذا تعييرنا أرواح يوسف النعمان ومؤيد العمري وجعفر الكويتي وعادل العاني وهم في قبورهم لهذه الفضيحه؟. مارد فعل أبطالنا الجراحين الصامدين في بغداد أمثال العاني وحبه وسرسم والأنصاري في بغداد؟.أين أنتم أيها الصروح المهاجره والمغيبه في بقاع الارض من هذه الصاعقه؟. اين الورد والمشاط وسرسم والصافي والدليمي وجحيل وشابا؟.صروح وخبرات عراقيه و عالميه بجراحةالقلب تنتشر في بقاع الأرض معظمها بلا عمل وكفاءات مهاجره بلا هويه, أين الكفاءات العربيه من هذا الحدث؟.أين مجدي يعقوب وحمدي السيد وداود حنانيا ومحمدالفقيه وسامي القباني ومؤيدالناصر وبسام العكشه وكثير غيرهم مما يحدث؟.ولماذا اسرائيل بالذات وهي التي تقتل أطفالنا وتجوع أهلنا في القطاع وأرضنا المحتله ليل نهار, تمدُ اليوم يد العون لأطفال العراق وتستقطبهم للعلاج من دون كل المراكز المنتشره في العالم؟.أليسَ في هذا تحدٍ وإهانه لكل إبداعات الأمه وقدراتها الطبية والعلمية والأنسانيه والماديه؟ وماذا يعني أن يكون معظم هؤلاء الأطفال من كردستان ؟
أليس لحادثة حرق مركز جراحة القلب في بغداد وما جرى للمستشفيات الأخرى وإستهداف الأطباء والكفاءات في العراق, ومن ثم إستقطاب إسرائيل لعلاج أطفال العراق في مستشفياتها, من صلة ٍ وربًاط؟. ليس لي إلا أن أردد قول شاعرنا المرحوم اليازجي قبل أكثر من قرن من الزمان :

تـنبهوا وأستـفيــقـوا أيهــا العـــــربُ فقد طغى الخطبٌ حتى غاصت الركبُ

I have just listened to an interview with Mr Al Kubaisy on Al-Baghdadyi station, and although he repeated much of what he wrote in this letter he did not name the charitable organisation that is organising the treatment trips.

His rather oblique warnings of untraceable HIV or Hepatitis infections in these children are clearly scaremongering, but as with recent opinions in the Arab world regarding the Bulgarian nurses in Libya many will accept them, but the question of a larger plan for the systematic destruction of medical institutes and murder and displacement of Iraqi medical expertise, well many already believe that to be true, but I am not sure these cases really prove anything…yet.

The Iraqi ministry of health is denying any knowledge of the transfers.

The Americans will have some trouble denying knowledge, as some of their own senior officers are mentioned clearly in the blog entries of the person blogging about the nine months he spent in Iraq organising the whole process

According to whom the funding is raised by the sale of “Kalas” hand made in Kurdistan, and sold over the internet

I think there may be an Israeli-American / Jewish-Christian agenda here, but it may just be a hearts and minds one (in other words divide and conquer).

I guess I had not done my homework properly, there is clearly a heavy religious element to this whole “save children’s heart”, and now we have a major scramble between the powers that be while the families caught up in this whole tug of child game sit waiting in Amman for treatment.

And I guess I am sort of nearer to understanding what all the fuss is about, contrary to my first impression this is not isolated to the Kurdistan and Kurdish children and has been going on for much longer than the past year.

A&Eiraqi said...

I think there are more than one aspect about this subject of sending Iraqi children to Israel.
I wouldn't be surprised hearing many people shouting that no one has got the right to say anything(Why didn't Arabs offer treating those children rather than just talking).

Well; the correct question is why would "the kind" Israel offer such thing for Iraqi children rather than for the closer Palestinians who are starving???

I also don't think that we (Arabs) no enough about Kurds and Kurdistan.
I think they're torn.
Muslims but not Arabs, always ruled by Arabs, brought up being told that they're oppressed, so they should fight for.....

I think the whole fuss is about creating a fuss.

04 May 2008 23:25

3eeraqimedic said...
I agree there are many elements, Dr Al-Kubaisy he does raise many of them in the letter.
As far as Arabs offering treatment I think once it became public both the Jordanian and the Algerian governments have offered to take the children currently waiting trnsfer in Amman.
As far as the choice of surgeon / location well there is a well established and respected charity called Chain of Hope that provides cardiac surgery for children with congenital anomalies as well as adults, it is run by Magdy Yacoub and he and his team operate in Cairo on an anual basis, so the charity could have sent the children to them.
As far as the Kurds are concerned you are right and I did say I was not sure how many people think this way, but I do think that many have grown up with the belief that Arabs are the enemy this feeling can be used by those (in this case American Church based charity) who want for their own political agendas, just as we (at least my generation and maybe even yours) have grown up with the belief that Israel is the enemy and this feeling can be used for those (in this case someone with ties to Islamic political parties) with their own political agenda.

05 May 2008 08:27
3eeraqimedic said...
I stand corrected
This has indeed been happening for some time, since December 2003 apparently.

05 May 2008 09:11
Treasure of Baghdad said...
God help us! What have we done to hear and face such news? I am so heartbroken.

They are trying to win our hearts and minds to be on their side. They are using I-will-save-your-life method in order to make us sympathize with them.

When are we gonna wake up? When?
07 May 2008 05:37

3eeraqimedic said...
Dear Treasure
I think "we" have woken up, but we have no control over what the majority see or hear and think.
The truth is both sides (i.e Islamic and Jewish-Christian) have more in common than they would care to admit, the methods used vary but medical treatment has long been used as a method to gain support by Christian missionaries, as well as by Islamic groups, the families of sick children caught in the middle are used as pawns by both sides and that is what I find so offensive about this.
08 May 2008 13:48

Two from a thousand

FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2008

From indecision
Ten years he waited
Until there was nothing left to lose

From pride
Three years he tried
To grip this foreign ground

From mental torture
Two years he endured
Before something snapped

Three hours he cried
Before he could explain

I snapped
Today I quit

Three years


The call that

Broke his back

We walked to the edge………

We couldn’t take the car………

We stayed with him………..

But had to return tonight………

It was the road behind ours………

He hadn’t returned from work…………

The house is still standing……….

She and the baby died……….

We buried them in the garden



We have been house hunting, and visiting the home of a Greek colleague, and for the first time in many years I have seen gardens with fruit trees.

This time of the year they have clouds of blossom and the ground is carpeted with pink and white flowers.

We have never had a garden large enough for fruit trees in the UK, but the story was very different in our gardens back home.

A large "Tukee" tree in the back with fruit we could collect by leaning over the roof wall formed the outer margin of the grape vine supporting trellis or "qamaryia", an orange tree to the front, a lemon tree to the back and a "lalengee" tree in the middle just outside the kitchen window were all well established when we arrived.

The pear tree in the front corner was planted by my mother, and the date palm in the rear corner by my father when there was some rule or other that date palm planting was a national duty, but I have no idea who planted the Seville orange trees or when.

They ran in a row, just outside the front wall of the garden, four or five trees packed together just beyond the bougainvillea. Creating a screen of branches and leaves, and a shady area in the front garden where delicate flowers and herbs flourished.

Our Narinj trees were different to the ones in my grandmother’s house in that they had been left to their own devices, and not used to cultivate alternative fruit, one of her trees had a branch of oranges and another of sweet lemons, our Narinj trees produced only Narinj.

After the blossom had been and gone, the fruit, with it distinct smell, and thick craggy orange peel would be plentiful, hanging heavily dragging the branches down. Eventually almost all would fall onto the pavement outside the house or occasionally onto the flowerbeds below.

Passersby would collect some of the sour oranges, the neighbours would be offered some, a few jars of marmalade would be made, and the rest would usually go to waste.

Until one year, for one reason or other parents decided that waste was a bad thing, and that we children would be tasked with collecting all the fruit, squeezing the oranges and then storing the tart juice in a variety of methods for use during the months that followed.

Friday arrived, and the job started, collecting all the fallen fruit, and then climbing up the borrowed ladder to remove the remaining orange balls from the trees, with three or four large tubs full of fruit and water we doused each other instead of washing the fruit, and for several hours after that sat on little chairs in the garden squeezing hundreds of half oranges with the small glass and plastic manual juicers, then decanting into a selection of brown and green bottles salvaged from storage, and sterilized with boiled water.

Some of the juice was used fairly soon after that as an alternative to lemon juice or vinegar, and went particularly well on our Friday morning fried eggs, and of course with the boiled chick peas we would sometimes buy from the” lebleby lebleby” shouting man with his little mobile stove-in-a-trolley.

Someone had suggested the bottles be sealed with a layer of oil to keep them from spoiling, I am not sure what we did wrong, but when we eventually brought these bottles out from the storage cupboard under the stairs the fermented content had become wine like, and it was virtually all discarded.

My mother, having her doubts about this storage process and with years of experience freezing dates, whole grapes and berries decided to freeze some of the juice and thankfully not all was lost, the bags of frozen juice kept us going for a year, and two jugs of sweetened juice were converted to a summer’s supply of refreshing ice lollies.

saminkie said...
Oh dear, what can I say about this post? It is wonderful how you talked about those memories. I smiled so wide, so deep when I was reading your description for those memories. You pinched my memory between your fingers and throught it high, in the sky, where it started dividing into small colored balls, to let tham fall all in my uncles garden where I grew up. My memory balls started bouncing around the garden while you described experiences that I, and many Iraqis, share. It was so nice. You expressed it so well. I especially liked that "leblaby..leblaby ". Thank you .
27 April 2008 14:17

3eeraqimedic said...
Dear Sami
I am so pleased you liked this, it strated with a lemon tree that propted a single memory, but somehow a few other things got triggered along the way into a cascade of word, smells and smiles.
Take care

27 April 2008 18:31

Muslim Doctors Beware


It has been many years since I last wore the necklaces with Quranic text, or the Allah, but in the eyes of many of those I work with or treat I am still a Muslim doctor.

And to date I have only been asked whether I am Sunni or Shia by one “charming” Israeli colleague, but the time may come when it becomes part of the “equal opportunities” questions as it has already become at my local general practitioner’s clinic.
If you are a Muslim doctor wanting to practice in the UK and would like to know the “safe” answer to this question “other than refusing to answer it” read on.

Last year the headlines were full of the three stark words Iraqi, Doctor and Terrorist, as the suspects in the Glasgow airport bombing attempt go to trial, the British Journal of Medicine publishes a comment on a study published by the Centre for Islamic Pluralism last month titled the Scientific training and radical Islam. (Made possible through the donations of an anonymous donor).

The link and interest from the BMJ (which is the journal that carries the classified adverts for virtually all medical jobs in the UK) is curious, as to all intents and purposes only about 50% of the content actually relates to medical professional, and despite the title not all of that is related to Islam.

What the 66 page document does provide is a brief synopsis from a team of seven researchers (five of whom are born Muslim) lead by a Californian intent on promoting one or two versions of Islam over others is a profile of a number of medical doctors who became members of a variety of Islamist / Islamic movements active in the Middle East and Pakistan, from the Muslim brotherhood, to Al-Qaida, as well as a couple of Pakistani groups.

The basic goal of the document seems to be to induce fear by highlighting the “risk” from the “widespread” infiltration of radial Islam into the circles of many Arab and “Asian” physicians (according to this report there are 90,000 foreign-born doctors practicing in the UK) and Iranian engineers.
I glossed over the final section covering Muslim Iranian engineers intent on acquiring atomic energy, but I did note that it did at least consist of interviews and opinions sought by an Iranian researcher, a lot of the information on the doctors was gleaned from the press.

The first part of the report, which attempts to explain the reasons why Muslim doctors appear to be overrepresented in the “visible” face of religious organisations, is based on three elements
1. The overarching intertwined link between religion and science in Islam, “For Western doctors, medicine may draw on religious ethics; for Muslim doctors, it draws also on the Islamic view of the universe."

2. For the Egyptian doctors it is the doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood, which states that the revival of Muslim science will result from the dominance of a fundamentalist view of religion.

3. In the Pakistani medical personnel it is the disparity between medical training in the West and the Muslim world. Reinforced by specific political and other events, including relief projects and recruitment to the anti-Indian jihad in Kashmir.
Western medical education is increasingly centred on technology that is often unavailable in Muslim countries except to the most prosperous elites, as in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Sates”

“Islamist radicalism has mainly developed in ‘third-world’ countries. It is true that fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from Saudi Arabia, and that functionally and economically; the Saudi kingdom is not considered a poor country. Nor is Iran known for a post-colonial or deeply impoverished status. Still, oil revenue is not the only criterion for deeming a country to have escaped the third world. One must examine the general national outlook and standard of living; to the degree such things are measurable".

This sort of analysis sets the theme for the entire document, with repeated elaborate explanations based on interpretation rather than actual study of individuals, the interpretations will often not fit exactly but no attempt is made to reconcile this contradiction, the document describes several doctors or medical students who became involved in murder rather than healing, they studied in Russia, Germany, and Yugoslavia, but for some reason these are seen to be different “Dr Zborowski was clearly atypical of medical anthropologists; Guevara epitomized neither Argentine nor pre-revolutionary Cuban doctors. But Dr Al-Zawahiri comes to us as the representative of a wide social stratum and a large ideological milieu similar to those of the German concentration camp bureaucrat Dr Mengele or the Yugoslav Communist functionary Dr Karadzic”.

Having started with a historic perspective on murderous doctors I expected the study to try and find the common thread between all these bad doctors possibly in events or conditions these people faced during their youth in whatever country, rather than concentrating all the attention on religion, third worldism or a shortage of Western technology.

An interesting point of view specifically relating to the medical professions “it must not to be forgotten that doctors are typically among the first to see the effects of atrocities inflicted by tyrannical regimes in Muslim countries. The armaments of modern countries are designed to cause maximum injury… and their effects are horrible to behold. When such weaponry is used by a Muslim regime allied to the West, a physician who comes into contact with the victims can only be appalled at the severity of the injuries, the brutality of decapitated bodies, etc. In most humans, the basic reaction will be to hate the perpetrators of such violence, and in a culture where everything may be conveniently blamed on the ‘other’ — real or imagined — this creates a fertile soil for the transformation of a caring physician into a terrorist agent".

The use of weapons by “Tyrannical regimes” and not “Foreign armies” makes one a radical, but I guess they are right, when buildings fall down through actions of others the natural response is to hate the perpetrator, and this clearly can create a fertile soil for the transformation of ordinary people into a blood thirsty warmongering nation!

And the solutions to the “problem” suggested are:
Monitoring radical Islamist groups, and pressuring Muslim governments to stop supporting these groups, encourage moderate Muslims to join the struggle, encourage Sufi inspired psychology, upgrade medical training in Muslim countries by involvement of India, ex-USSR states, Israel, and Singapore, and set up Sufi inspired charitable organisations similar to those in Indonesian to compete with Muslim brotherhood based works.

But what exactly is a moderate Muslim? Well maybe he is one who follows the fatwa given in the second page of this document:

A message sent to Muslims in Western nations, urging them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live.
"Muslims have undertaken to obey the laws of the country of their residence and thus they must be faithful to that undertaking," the statement read.
It condemned all acts of violence and encouraged imams to keep a watchful eye on what's going on inside their mosques.

The fatwa was delivered at a Montreal news conference of prominent Shia Muslims on behalf of Ayatullah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani.

And to those who wonder what the expert of bioethics does all day he is apparently pondering the use of genetic engineering for cosmetic purposes!

A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, a Shia Muslim manual reflecting the guidance of the moderate Iraqi Ayatollah Ali Sistani, addresses bioethical issues in much greater detail. In a separate chapter titled ‘Medical Issues,’ the volume specifies that organ transplants, even from dogs and pigs, which are considered unclean by Muslims, are permissible, in that the human body will, by ‘rejuvenation’ of the organ, purify it. The same text authorizes the use of insulin even if extracted from swine, as well as ‘genetic engineering’ to make human beings more physically attractive.

Ultimately this document read as yet another piece of pseudo-research from this organisation whose sole motivation seems to be the division and distinction in the mind of all who read it between good Muslim doctors i.e. Arab Shia, Indonesian Sufis, and Indian Barelvi on one hand, and bad Muslim doctors i.e. Sunni Arabs, and Indian Deobandi.

So there is the answer to the “equal opportunity” question.

It is perhaps relevant to note that the author, a Christian who converted to Islam in 1997, apparently strongly supported the invasion of Iraq and was in attendance at the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the 18th June 2007 debating the Bidden plan for “soft partition of Iraq”. A plan he apposed, primarily because by dividing the country into three parts it would be treating all three groups of Iraqi’s as equal, and therefore would not punish one group sufficiently for the crimes committed against the other two.

Sami said...
thank you dear 3eeraqimedic to tell us about that sensitive issue who really we did not know about. We have a capacity to talk about sensitive issues in a very nice neutral way that really seems professional I think. Keep up the good job. Thank you. Sami.

23 April 2008 22:21

The third generation


Sixteen years is a long time, many things happen, many things change, waistlines stretch, hairlines recede, and there is grey everywhere.
But it was nice to see some things remain the same.

For the past three days we have been touring London, visiting all the places we have not seen for fifteen years, acting as guides for friends from college days visiting from Qatar.

Hours of reminiscing, chatting and laughing, smiling at the innocence of times long ago, laughing at the antics of youth, and admiring each other’s children.

In memories even times of unpleasantness are reduced to treasured moments of reckless abandon, months at a military training camp dissolve leaving behind only the hours of freedom that followed an elaborate escape through a trench under the barbed wire, and a hike in a vegetable truck to the nearby city to eat, drink and spend a decent night’s sleep in a room in a tiny hotel before being accompanied back to camp.

The day hours seem too short for all the memories, and as the evening draws in and we sit around a table in the basement of the Iraqi restaurant eating lentil soup, Iraqi Kababs, Qeema and Bamia while Nathim El-Ghazaly sings in the background we start the painful process of naming the dead.

It has become part of our ritual now, a solemn almost religious ceremony that must be observed, at the end of each gathering of friends from childhood or youth, an increasingly lengthy list of names, the stories are personal, we have learnt to dwell on the personality, the quirks, the best aspect, and gloss over the final event, we concentrate on their lives and achievements and not the grisly ways they met their end.

We start as is the norm with the older generation, those who trained us, the nationally renown neurologist and his exceptional lectures, the best orthopaedic surgeon, the young rheumatologist, and the list continues, we then move on to our fellow trainees maybe one or two years our senior, the surgeon, the physician, the radiologist, and finally on to our closer friends, friends from university, friends from school, friends from the neighbourhood. This is where it falters a little, our farewells are said to those whose fate we already know, the names of others we have lost contact with are whispered softly, fearfully, hoping for the reassurance of safety in Yemen, in Libya, or maybe even in Dubai, but usually it is from the continued collective ignorance that we derive a little hope.

We conclude our evening with a brief visit to their family on the outskirts of London, a family of the 1970s generation of émigrés, whose grown up children cannot speak Arabic, and whose grandchildren will not understand it.

As we compare notes, and find out who was whose neighbour in Baghdad, and who is living where and how they are finding it, there is a bitter sweet familiarity, all our stories are so similar, so many families have members of several generations living outside Iraq, some left in the 70s, others in the 80s, our generation left in the 90s and many left more recently.

Several of them are dotted around the Arab world, in Jordan, Syria, the UAE, and Egypt; on route they have passed though Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

What unites them all is that none of these countries have accepted them on a permanent basis, and so they live, work, bring up children while all the time planning, applying, saving, negotiating and waiting for somewhere else, Canada is the dream, Australia a close second choice.

The ultimate we all want for our children is “not to live what we lived through”, what we all want to leave them is security, not simply the absence of war, conscription, visits in the night, accidental bullets, or general mayhem, but the security of belonging beyond the exact duration of the job contract, the belonging that come with the right to settle, to live to have roots.

For cousins, thirty years after arriving in the UAE, the paperwork finally completed, and Canada beckons, thirty years of work, thirty years of investment; in time, effort energy and thought, time to retire, time for the children to start their lives, and time to move on for the last time.

For others, ten years after arriving in Amman, the papers finally arrive, the plane is booked, after ten years of work, ten years of investments in ten generations of graduates, and an additional five years of unpaid work, time to move on, time to settle elsewhere.

When exhausted and disillusioned we eventually find alternative “homes”, our children cannot understand why we try to keep something of Iraq alive in them, we try to convey the sense of the place, but they are accosted continuously by alternative imagery, we try to pass on the language, but they have picked up that we are not embraced by those who share the tongue, and we so fear they will be disadvantaged that we reward them most for their English, and finally we pass on the religion, perhaps the most vital link for some of us to pass on.

I wonder how much of this, for how many of them, will be worth passing on to the third generation.

saminkie said...
ldear 3eeraqimedic, since your post 1991, and you are really writing a posts that are really great. Did you ever thought of publishing them in a book? cause they really disearve to.

09 April 2008 14:42
3eeraqimedic said...
Dear Sami
thanks for visiting, and thanks for your kind words.
In a way we are all publishing much more than books.
Take care of yourself and stay safe

10 April 2008 06:56



On a wrist recently returned from Amman

Little Penguin said...
Do you think it could pass as a 50p coin?

It's beautiful.. if only such things were made available in London...

08 April 2008 02:18
3eeraqimedic said...
Little Penguin
It was I suppose the equivalent a nuss dinar, and the bracelet was on sale at the airport, It made me sad as do so many similar reminders.
08 April 2008 19:29

Abbas Hawazin said...
this is rubu3 dinar i think
12 April 2008 15:26

3eeraqimedic said...
He he Abbas
I was waiting for someone to put me right! trust you to be the one
12 April 2008 19:52