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Pax Americana
One year after the Iraq occupation

March 17, 2004

Posted by Salam Pax : :
One year ago the Americans came to my country and got rid of Saddam Hussein. Not exactly of course, they still have him, but in a different way, captive, shining a light into his mouth. How do you frighten a ruthless dictator? Pretend you're a dentist.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
Before the Americans came there was no freedom of dentistry in Iraq. In fact, before the Americans came, few Iraqis had teeth. Today you can see many people in the streets with healthy gums and teeth thanks to the Americans.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
In the West dentists enjoy freedoms their Iraqi cousins never had under Saddam Hussein. When they said "Go ahhh", people were afraid to open their mouths.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
It was forbidden to open your mouth, even during meals.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
My mother once fed me through the nostrils. What are you doing I complained. "Shhh", she said, "the ears have walls".
"What?" I said.
"The walls have ears," she corrected herself.
She pointed to an electricity socket. "Saddam," she said, twitching her right eyebrow suggestively.
One night, I crept out of my bed and tiptoed to the living room. It was dark, the floor was cold. I laid my palm on the wall and slowly felt my way to the 'ear'. I knelt and stayed still. In a hushed voice, I said: "Can you hear?"
"Of course I can, I'm an ear."
"But ears don't talk," I said.
"Well this one does."
"Even in blackouts?
"Go back to bed."
It was then that I realised the Americans should come and colonise our country for us to have a better life.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
This morning I am cooking lamb's tongue for breakfast. Slice an onion, stick in a pan with water. Boil it until cooked then peel the skin. Add salt and pepper and pretty much anything you like and simmer until succulent. Beats cornflakes.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
Tongue was outlawed before the Americans came. Not sheep's tongue, but the tongue of our people. Now, we can say what we please. "Paul Bremer is pretty," for instance. If I had said Saddam was pretty back then, I would not be here now.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
I have been asked by the BBC to take part in a Newsnight special assessing the war a year on. My report will conclude: "It wasn't easy, but it was worth it". The liberation, that is. I will parade Iraq's new free press before the cameras of the world. I will film people demonstrating and point out this would not have been possible just a year ago. I will talk to old women who have no idea what it is like to have a free press and be able to criticise your rulers. Not that I do that much of that these days, but at least the choice is there.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
I will not show in the report a single wounded demonstrator. I will not show suicide bombers or suicidal GIs. I will not show the hungry. I will not show the dead. Progress takes time. Let the Spaniards leave. They are late for their siesta. "War on terror? Mañana!"
Posted by Salam Pax : :
Bananas. Now -- there's something you couldn't get before the Americans came.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
The governing council is busy representing the interests of Iraq's ethnic groups who are living in harmony as never before -- a few explosions here and there, human debris, but it's all forgiven when we meet in the pub later. So long as electricity lights our cities and there is basic sanitation and garbage disposal, I will pray towards Mount Rushmore.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
I suggest promoting Iraq as a tourist destination to my BBC producer -- surely if we invite tourists the world will see how Pax Americana working (Salam Pax, that is!). They'll get shot in the head if they come, she says.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
My attempt at TV reportage didn't go down too well. A disgruntled viewer responded to last night's report saying I should quit my "pro-occupation stance even if that occupation is a Guardian columnist". She enjoyed reading my blog in my "pre-Rumsfeld" phase, she says, but not every Iraqi has a lucrative media career ahead of them as a result of the war.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
I write to BBC correspondent Rageh Omar to see what he would have done if there had been no war in Iraq to bring him fame.
Posted by Salam Pax : :
Rageh says would he have moved to Baghdad to start his own blog. "Haha!" I say. "For an Ethiopian you are pretty funny."
Posted by Salam Pax : :
I seem to be losing readers -- got this two-word e-mail from a former fan:
"Goodbye Pax."

Posted by Peyvand Khorsandi:
Eideh shoma mobarak!.................... Goodbye spam!

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