Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remembering Iraq

I am really angry right now.

I am a fan of Wikipedia, have contributed both in terms of content and in terms of moolah to it. But, I went back to the page on Al-Qa'im today, and was astonished to see that most of the past information had been removed. And the fuckers are complaining that the article is a stub, and that we can help by expanding it! No donation from me you moron, Jimmy Wales.

I spent 2.5 precious years of my childhood there. I still remember the person who used to give me chocolates every time he would run into me. I still remember running away from the people celebrating Holi with masalas. I still remember discussing Sridevi, and Mumbai rains, with the local grocery-shop owner. I still remember being (almost) sexually abused by an idiot who was my father's subordinate (I had the good sense of forcing myself out of his house after he emerged in his underwear and started touching me inappropriately).

No, my wiki contribution was not about these personal experiences. It was about the cement plant run by ACC that got us there and provided many local people employment. It was about how the place became a curious melting pot of Iraqis, Romanians (who were handing over the plant to ACC) and us Indians. It was about how that weird chemical plant a few kilometers away used to give us bad asthmatic attacks once in a while. It was about how I saw my first tanks and first sand-dunes.

These are bound to be hazy memories - these events occurred a lifetime ago. But, I remember seeing VP Singh's visit to Baghdad being covered on the national channel and thinking - Man, why aren't our leaders remotely as charismatic as Saddam Hussein.

There, I have said it. I wasn't very happy when Saddam was executed.

During those years in Iraq, way too young as I might have been, I had heard of the cruelty of his regime. I knew he wasn't exactly adored, even though his portraits and posters covered every street in every town I visited. But, things moved smoothly.

Cities were clean, hospitals were efficient, there was freedom (at least before the First Gulf War; that's when we came back and that's when I hear the place got more fundamentalist) and petrol was almost as cheap as mineral water.

I hated coming back to India. Not only because it robbed me of this perceived exotic identity that I had put on over the course of my stay there (and which used to come very handy when interacting with cousins here), but also because India was a shock to me. When we moved to Iraq I was a little over 6 years old, just beginning to grasp the import of stuff happening around me. When we moved back, I was a fairly worldly wise 9 year old, who had seen stuff (including, but not limited to, extremely violent movies, novels not meant for children, that man who used to touch me, and, quite amazingly, female friends who used to play Ghar-Ghar with sticks, making them lie together and do all sorts of scandalous things).

But, recovering from that major diversion, I absolutely hated coming back to India. It was humid. There were mosquitoes. Every place was filled with people. And everyone else was an Indian too. No fun.

Am watching this film called The Devil's Double. Just brought memories back. During our stay there, we once heard this story - apparently, one of Saddam's sons had killed someone. As per Islamic rules, Saddam's son (don't remember if it was Uday or someone else) could be forgiven only if forgiven by the victim's family. Saddam (apparently) agreed with the death sentence. But, (apparently) the victim's family forgave the son, out of 'natural compassion'.

Yep, so Iraq was twisted. Frankly, I don't think how they can not be unless they are all bombed out. With that much oil and those many tribes, it seems your idiotic God is having a lot of fun there.


Tabish said...

2 parts to it: Anger over wiki and nostalgic over Iraq. Can understand the anger over the wiki page. 2nd part was also good, but the usage of "As per Islamic rules" is not ok. It should be "As per Saddam's rule".. Great going, Arnav Ji.

Devika Rajeev said...

You still have the Wikipedia badge on the left, though. :)

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