The Nobel Peace Prize
By Baghdad Burning
11 March, 2005
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 couldnt really see anything, but the sky seemed
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
couldnt 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. Its 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 didnt break out in Iraq. Thats garbage. Sistani has
no influence over Sunnis and he also has little influence over many
Shia. Civil war hasnt broken out in Iraq because Iraqis are being
tolerant and also because were very tired. Its 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,
theyve been worse than ever. I think, to a certain degree, we
dont 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
A debate will usually
begin about two current parties or politicians- say Allawi and Jaffari.
Someone will say something like, Well its too bad Allawi
Now were stuck with that Daawachi
Someone else will answer with, Oh please-
Allawi is completely American. Well 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
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. Its
sort of a huffy silence, with rolling eyes and lips drawn into thin
slits of scorn.
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. Its 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 whos
really bad? Ahmed Chalabi. Hes 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. Were all friends
again, and family once more. Were 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.