Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nearly Everyone Else's Eid

I woke up very early this morning, opened up Facebook and everyone was Happy Eiding everyone else. I was so happy, all I had to do was take a shower, shave and get ready for the arrival of a bunch of kids to come to the mudheef and to hand them out candy. And then around lunchtime I'd make my getaway to Baghdad and enjoy some festivities.

Come seven in the morning, and the date evaluators are in the mudheef waiting on me to come out so that we can finish off the date evaluation of each farmer which we had planned to finish after Eid if Eid was tomorrow. So while nearly everyone else is celebrating, the guys down here are celebrating it tomorrow. Which means that I'm down here for an extra day and I'm missing out on another day of Eid.

Yesterday, we went to Karbala for dinner. It was cloudy, maybe it will rain this winter which would be so good as long as it doesn't rain during the harvest which isn't for another couple of months. When we got to the restaurant, Durra al Nasrawi (or something like that), which was quite good the guy at the door recognized Fozzy and Nahida. It turned out he was the guy that lived and guarded the house opposite our own. It was surprising so much affection exchanged between the two at this random encounter considering I think they found him annoying at the time he used to live on our street. But in retrospect he was a lot simpler than the new people that moved in.

I'm quite fed up with my workload at the plantation. The amount of accounts that I have to do is ridiculous. Data inputting what each of over 150 farmers has received in terms of seeds, fertilizers, plastic pipes (which they end up tossing away anyway), cost of land repairs, cost of canal cleaning (the last two of which I haven't done yet). Then there's categorizing all the costs of which there are plenty such as operating, fixing the water pumps, diesel, handling the seeds, costs of selling the yield, administrative costs, fixing things such as step-down transformers.

There's also the adding up all the rehabilitation projects, such as building a bridge or installing a new water pump, of which I have to pay back my dad a third from the profits I make from the land I'm supposedly renting from my uncle and from which I have yet to pocket anything. But I do spend freely from my dad's money. I think my dad's going to try to cut me off next time he visits and so I'm trying my best to spend as much money as possible while I still can.

I'm going to get a Visa debit card to buy myself a Blackberry. But unluckily, Iraq's government has decided to impose duties on imports as well as on stuff that's sent through DHL and the likes. They're even trying to take duties on books from people arriving at the airport.

From what I hear the government's trying its best to mess with the work of parcel courier businesses. Something about trying to get a state enterprise to monopolize the handling of all stuff flying in and out of the country, so for example, I go to DHL give them a parcel, they then have to hand it to the state enterprise that will then fly it off to a neighbouring country from which DHL will then take back the parcel and take it where it's supposed to go. As inefficient and ineffective as state enterprises are, you can only imagine how bad it can get and how late and how lost your stuff will get.

So right now, I'm hoping a friend of mine who would also like to buy a Blackberry to see if his boss will allow him to use his APO (US military) mailing address to circumvent the whole problem. Leaving me to hope his boss doesn't take them for himself. (Quick edit: Just checked and online shops don't mail electronics to APO addresses, not only them, but (UK) don't mail electronics abroad either, for security reasons! That leaves me only one option: Western Union some money to mum and have her buy it online for me because the high street only sells them on contracts.)

I read the preview section of a book about Iraq's economy in the thirties through to the fifties on Google the other day. It looks like a good read, but for $190 bucks, I'm not so sure. It does a great job describing British attempts to control the economy and how hopeless the Iraqis are at running things on their own. I've got to get myself these history books one day. It really does help make sense of everything of what is going on today. Because at the end of the day it all begins to seem like one big re-run, leaving one to wonder if it can all work out right this time.

Od and I were hoping that things will get better by the time we graduate, and in some aspects they have such as in security and the availability of prostitutes. Though I'm still trying to regain the stupidity of giving it another go after my previous bad experiences with them. I told Od that next time we have to insist on some quality. Then there's the availability of hash which is good too, it certainly does help. But I much prefer grass. Hash satisifies the urge but isn't so pleasurable.

But on the other hand, it seems that the more the government gains its own say on the way things should be run, the more likely it is to screw up. The aforementioned parcel service nonsense or the big idea to censor the internet 'for state security' for example. Sounds like you'll soon get in jail for saying 'down with the government'. With their attempts to practice censorship, they step right into the scenario where moderate reformists are silenced and radical extremist's wills are strengthened, something which should be obvious. But then again, it's all good for those in power even though the people will suffer.

I don't know why I'm becoming pessimistic all of a sudden. I've always thought that as long as some democracy existed there will be hope for things to get better, but it does seem that those in power are trying to burn the bridge for change...

I had a good idea of exactly what I wanted to say next but Nahida brought me dinner. It was something like: Why can't this country gain sovereignty without shooting itself in the foot?

I know it's not me to talk of politics but does anyone see any sign of improvement in writing? I've been practicing.