Singing the Bite Me Song


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August 06, 2005

An eye-opening story from Iraq...

Khalid is the brother of Raed: http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/ ("Dear Raed", known in the U.S. as the "Baghdad Blogger" from earlier in the war)

Link: Tell Me a Secret: I found myself....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I found myself...

Sleeping in a grave-size space, defined by two walls touching both my head my and feet, and surrounded with human bodies touching me from both sides, in a way that hardly leaves any chance to move at all during the long… long night, in a 12 square meters room stuffed with 35 people trying to sleep, and to hold themselves together in order not to fight…

The whole thing started when I went to the university to pay my tuition fees, the thing is that the engineering campus is separated from the rest of the university with few kilometers, but for such administrative issues, students should go to the headquarter, and this is what I did. I entered the main campus and went to the financial department to pay money. I started the paperwork process, and then reached to a point where we needed the director’s signature to finish the paperwork, but she was in a meeting. So, the employee asked me to go and waste an hour inside the campus till the meeting is over, and I did.

What would you do in such a case? Go to the café? I tried, but was totally bored after less than 15 minutes, and then I don’t remember how an idea flashed in my head like a big light bulb: internet!
Of course, what is better than the internet to kill time?

I remembered there was an internet café inside the campus. I rarely came to this campus during the last five years. I think I came like three or four times only. Anyways, so I went to the internet café and did my regular tour: raed in the middle, riverbend, etc etc..and then I was bored again. I left the internet café heading towards the financial department again.

In my way, I was stopped by an old man, with a hateful face. “tfa`6al” he said (it means something like: “how can I help you?”) I was a bit surprised, I said “inta tfa`6al!” (meaning: “how can I help you?”) he said: where are you going? So I knew that he must be some kind of a security guy. I should have guessed from his tone, he sounds like a typical saddam-style security-man.
“to the financial department, to pay my tuition money” I said.

“where were you right now?”

“ in the internet café !”

“where is your ID?”

“at the campus entrance reception, with my mobile phone” (this is common now, in all governmental buildings you have to leave your mobile phone in the reception, you cant take it with you).

Please people; don’t be surprised because of all these questions. It used to be very common in “Saddam’s Iraq” and it’s very common in today’s Iraq.

Anyway, the old hateful man decided to escort me to make sure I was telling him the truth. Once we entered the financial office, the employees there talked to me spontaneously, so he knew I was there before and he left. I paid the money, took the receipt, and left. When I went back the campus entrance reception to take my mobile and leave, I found out that the mobiles’ closet was “mistakenly locked” as I was told. They were waiting for the guy that has the key. “He’ll be here in any moment” I was told.

I sat there waiting for my mobile phone to be freed. Then suddenly, after few minutes, someone came and asked “where is the detained guy?”

The other security guard pointed at me!!!

I was like: ehhhhh..sorry there is misunderstanding here, I am not detained, its only that the mobile phones closet is mistakenly locked!

“come with us, we have some questions please” they said, and I went with them, searching for answers inside my head…

[...]

Go read the rest here. It's long and detailed, but also absorbing and downright Kafkaesque.

August 6, 2005 at 09:01 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Interactivity, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism, Writing | Permalink

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