Thursday, 1 January 2009

Iraqi Count Downs

Few days ago I noticed that there is couple of count downs and one count up (if there is such a thing as a count up) on the Iraqi TV stations.
The first count down is at Al-Diyar TV one of the Many Iraqi satellite TV stations which emerged right after the war. The count down if for the Iraqi provincial councils’ elections, due for Next February 2009. This election is one of the Major Mile stones n Iraqi politics and the election campaign is really starting strong and the results are really highly anticipated. Even though, the Iraqi people are really frustrated from the performance of both the Local and Central government, and many have expressed that they would never go to another election and vote for any one again, yet they also realize if they do not then they will end up with the same inefficient and corrupt politicians and officials. In addition to that, the result of this elections, if it was fair and not tampered with, will be a good indication for what the picture is gone be like in the coming general elections by the end of will be more like the Golden Globe awards which will tell you what you should expect at the Academy awards night.
The count up which I mentioned earlier is how many days the Iaqi Journalist ( Monthadhar Al-Zaidi) , the guy who “assaulted” Bush with his shoe, is being held up by the Iraqi Authorities. Al-Baghdadyia TV , which Zaidi works for, have his picture on the top left corner of the screen. The word “ Waiting” is underneath the Picture and next to it is the Number “ 19” which is how many days have past since the incident. There is a similar count up on the Lebanese Future TV run By Al-Hariri with the Number 1418, which are the days since Rafiq Al-Hariri, the former Lebanese PM, was assassinated and the words “ for Lebanon sake” next to it. Hope that Zaidi’s count up would not reach this figure..Or he might.
The other more interesting count down was the one on Sumaria TV. They had a clock on the screen counting down till it gets to the New Year’s eve. This might not sound really interesting since al the whole world will be counting down the hours, minutes and seconds till the ball drop at Time square announcing the arrival of 2009. What makes this count down special and Unique is what is written next to it. “Till sovereignty” is what was written next to the count down clock. How is that? Because once the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31st the security pact between Iraq and the United States of America becomes in action.
Why would there be a count down for sovereignty, aren’t we already a sovereign Nation? Let me tell you about the one time when I went to the President Office at the Green Zone for a press conference back in 2004. Back then It Was Ghazi Al-Yawir the President. I thought that since he is the president of Iraq, then his office would be at the green domed Iraqi Republican Palace. You could not imagine how surprised and humiliated I was when I was taken to some Building at one corner of the Greene zone which could be nothing but a Gardner house. A kitchen with few rooms in an area, which is not more than 200 Square meters, of the one level house which is called the presidential office. The Iraqi West Wing. While the great and lavished Republican Palace is now the American Embassy. That is probably why when President Talabani became a president of Iraq, e had his office out side the Green Zone, in one of Saddam’s former palaces on the River Tigris. Even Talabani could not humiliate him self and stay at the Gardener House.
Well… not any More. Today January 1st 2009 the Green zone was handed over to the Iraqi authorities. More importantly the republican Palace is No longer the American Embassy. All I can say is this is just another step towards Sovereignty and there are many more to take.