Saturday, 18 August 2007


It started with an article on various Iraq blogs on Blogspot. But while writing this I have 8 tabs open (I use Firefox) of articles that I will be using.

I think I will work with data first before I head into the real life stuff.

This is the earlier of the two polls.

The main trends that you will clearly see is that people are thinking in 2007 about life overall has mainly been a decrease in all areas apart from 'somewhat worse' which has increased by about 10% from 2005 (this is the poll on the left). However there seems to be a slight increase in the 'about the same' section from 2005 (the poll on the left). However the poll on the right seems to show a few different trends. The 'somewhat worse' answer did increase, but the 'somewhat better section' shows a decrease. What the two polls do show is that there seems to be a pretty close split between people thinking that life is slightly better or slightly worse. That would probably depend on the location of these people.

A large number of the people believe that Iraq is controlled by the US. And surprisingly there seems to be an increasing number of people who think that attacks on the coalition forces is acceptable (51%).

Most people have experienced more violence from coalition forces (~45%) in their area compared to car bombs (~32%) or factional infighting (~25%). As well as this only about 26% of people feel safe in their neighbourhoods.

More people seem to believe that a democracy is the best answer for the state at the moment, but a strong leader is the second option.

This is some data taken after the 'surge'

Although the statistics look somewhat promising, looking carefully you see that only the US forces received any reduction, the civilians had an increase from the previous week and Iraqi police and military deaths and woundings has increased dramatically.

Power supplies seem to be rather non-existent while the price of fuel has jumped horribly while people wait in queues to get fuel to power generators.

This article has statistics regarding post-war Iraq. What they seem to show is that electricity is less then the pre-war level but it is nowhere near reaching demand. Also it seems that regardless of where they are in the country about 25% has daily problems with receiving fresh water.

Now the problem that this data is showing is that the reconstruction efforts isn't working well enough. The low level of security shows that the people might be turning to militias for the protection that they are not getting from the coalition forces.

On the 13th the US forces launched a new offensive.

Called Operation Phantom Strike it was supposed to make the country safer by removing Al Qaeda forces in the country. This is at the same time that people are claiming that the national unity government has become useless and politicians are pressuring Maliki to hold an emergency meeting.

And while the US is trying to defeat Al Qaeda they have most likely struck back.

A truck bomb was used to attack some Yazidi villages.

The Yazidi are, simply, a group of Kurds who follow a religion that is an amalgamation of many religions. The Extremists consider them heretics and want them dead. The Yazidi say that they are not in any way heretical.

Recently there has been some trouble with the Sunnis and the Yazidi, with an attack by people believed to be Sunnis against the Yazidi in April where 23 people were killed after they were taken off a bus and executed.

What the news is reporting is that the minority groups, Christians, Yazidi and other small groups, are being targeted by the fanatics of the bigger groups, not like a big fish would eat a smaller fish so don't think that. What is happening is that the terrorists are trying to cause more discord by attacking smaller groups, they think they they are an easy, or easier, target, and, as noted by Iraqi bloggers, ruining the peaceful co-existence of these people before the country went to hell.

An article written on Thursday is discussing whether the attack was based on the surge that the US started. What this means is that the US is pushing the terrorists around, as they leave an area the terrorists just come back and get back to where they left off. At this point the number of dead was said to have been around 250 - 400 people.

Yesterday (Friday) the toll was at 344 dead, around 400 wounded and 600 people were made homeless.

Now this is really sad to hear. These people have gone through hell. And what I find more annoying is that the news here gave it less space then information on:

  • A new surge in Afghanistan, and information about a German convoy being attacked (about half a page)
  • News on Madeline McCann (about a quarter of a page)
  • That woman who won the British Lotto (a half a page)
  • Something about Elvis (same page as the 'article' about these bombings and most of it)
  • Something about that golfer Greg Norman and his wife's divorce (same size as Elvis)
What annoys me even more is that it had less time to it then Mark Ricciuto's retirement which took up:
  1. Front Page
  2. Pages 4 and 5, part of the 'proper news'
  3. Pages 106 - 107, sport section
  4. Page 43, front page of the AFL supplement "main game"
  5. Page 44 - 45 of the supplement "main game"
The "main game" supplement is part of the paper proper though.

And all we get from such a horrible event is a very vague description that the BBC has been writing articles on.

I guess there may be something in this mornings paper when I get it but I suspect that it will still be far less then the retirement which will probably take up half the entire paper. My God Australians are shallow people...

I honestly feel sorry for these people, to have had stability in their lives finally thrown upside down in a world that was on it's side to begin with. I am so pissed off at the newspaper though. People are suffering horribly but they don't seem to care. We don't seem to care, to us it is just "Another bunch of Iraqis died today". If it were Australians we would be going "Oh shit diggers were killed today" but because it is a bunch of Iraqi people it doesn't count as news.

These people have gone through hell and most of the world who should be caring will never know. The people who should really see what their governments actions has achieved will be able to shrug it off.

These people, with ties to the land they are in, who have a rather unique culture and religion my end up fleeing like many of their fellow citizens, and their culture will be damaged, their persecution used to fuel the fires of hatred, for those people to try and use them as an example of why people should believe what they, the fanatic, believes and all others are wrong.

I found the article that started this off.

It is a bit old, but the views are perfectly valid. These people know far better then I do about the problems facing the Iraqi people because, at least in the examples in the article, they have fled, in the process of leaving, or are still in Iraq, each one brings something new to the table, viewpoints, conditions, little known facts and write with a wide range of emotions.

If you want to know more about the Iraqi people, by all means read the newspapers, look at the online editions because they are not as bound as the printed media, look at other countries news sites, but most of all, read the blogs. You can go through life on a soundbite, but when you fail to take the opportunity to read what people are saying in the areas that are affected, or are now watching on the sidelines as their country that they had, and probably still do, love, fall to pieces around them, you really can empathise.

The problem is that our society is a self-centred one of bad news that really isn't so bad when you think about it, and pointless drivel. What we have created is a society that is losing one of the most important things that makes us human.

The ability to empathise with others.

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