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Chalabi For The Nobel Peace Prize

By Baghdad Burning

11 March, 2005
Baghdad Burning

We woke up this morning to a huge explosion. I was actually awake and just lying there, staring at the ceiling, trying to decide if today would be a good day to go shopping for some things we need in the house. Suddenly, there was a loud blast and the house shuddered momentarily. In a second I was standing in front of the window in my room, hands pressed to the cool glass. I couldn’t really see anything, but the sky seemed overcast.

I rushed downstairs to find E. and my mother standing in the kitchen doorway, trying to see beyond the houses immediately in front of our own. “Where did it happen?” I asked E. He shrugged his shoulders indicating he couldn’t tell either. We later learned it was a large garbage truck of explosives in front of Sadeer Hotel, a hotel famous for hosting foreign contractors- some of a dubious/mysterious reputation. It’s said that the foreign security contractors stay at the hotel, like former South African mercenaries, etc. Since the hotel is quite far from our home, we assume it was a very large explosion. Immediately afterwards, black plumes of smoke began to drift into the sky.

I got an interesting email today telling me about an internet petition to nominate Sistani, of all people, for the Nobel Peace Prize. That had me laughing and a little bit incredulous. Why should Sistani get the Nobel Peace Prize? Because he urged his followers to vote for a list that wants to implement an Iranian-styled government in Iraq? Is that what the Nobel Peace Prize has come to?

Someone once told me that they thought Sistani was responsible for the fact that civil war didn’t break out in Iraq. That’s garbage. Sistani has no influence over Sunnis and he also has little influence over many Shia. Civil war hasn’t broken out in Iraq because Iraqis are being tolerant and also because we’re very tired. It’s like we spent our lives in conflict with someone or another, and being in conflict with each other is not the most tempting option right now. Sistani is an Iranian cleric quietly pushing a frightening agenda and we're feeling the pressure of it every day.

If ANYONE should get the Nobel Peace Prize, it should be my favorite Puppet- Ahmed Chalabi. No, really- stop laughing. Ahmed Chalabi is the one Iraqi politician we can all agree on. Iraqi political debates were never pretty. Lately, they’ve been worse than ever. I think, to a certain degree, we don’t really know how to debate. Sometimes, a debate will begin over a subject both debating parties actually agree upon and then it will escalate into a full-blown yelling match. It never fails to happen with politics.

A debate will usually begin about two current parties or politicians- say Allawi and Jaffari. Someone will say something like, “Well it’s too bad Allawi didn’t win… Now we’re stuck with that Da’awachi Jaffari…” Someone else will answer with, “Oh please- Allawi is completely American. We’ll never have our independence if he gets power.” A few more words will be exchanged in a ‘debating’ tone of voice. The voices will get sharper and someone will drudge up accusations… In no time it turns into a full-scale political brawl with an underlying religious intonation. No one knows just how it happens- how that frightening thing that is an Iraqi political debate develops and escalates so quickly.

At some point there is silence. This is the point when both sides are convinced that the other one is completely inane and ridiculously intractable. It’s sort of a huffy silence, with rolling eyes and lips drawn into thin slits of scorn.

I’ve learned the best way to mediate these arguments is to let them develop into what they will. Let the yellers yell, the shouters shout and the name-calling and innuendos ensue. The important part is the end- how to allow the debating parties to part friends or relatives, or (at the very least) to make sure they do not part sworn enemies for life. It’s simple, no matter what their stand is, all you have to do is get a couple of words in towards the end. The huffy silence at the end of the debate must be subtly taken advantage of and the following words murmured as if the thought just occurred that moment:

“You know who’s really bad? Ahmed Chalabi. He’s such a lowlife and villain.”

Voila. Like magic the air clears, eyebrows are raised in agreement and all arguing parties suddenly unite to confirm this very valid opinion with nodding heads, somewhat strained laughter and charming anecdotes about his various press appearances and ridiculous sense of fasion. We’re all friends again, and family once more. We’re all lovey-dovey Iraqis who can agree nicely with each other. In short, we are at peace with each other and the world…

And that is why Ahmed Chalabi deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.











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