Friday, January 28, 2005

Answering some of the previous posts' comments

Mister Ghost
That description was for a typical day in our ordinary life before the war. I hope I could find time to describe a typical day after the war. Because my daughters have a break now and I can't find time to work on the computer.
Yes, we tried pancakes but with honey, we don't have maple syrup, it is delicious anyway. Thank you.

The residency for junior doctor in Iraq, consists of 6 days a week, 24 hrs a day. Only one day off each week. they should stay in the hospital all the time, but not necessarily in the ward. Only when they are on call, they have to be ready for any emergency.
Nowadays, it is unsafe to stay in the hospital all the time, so every hospital made a special arrangements to minimize the working hours for the employees.
About the rice, it is basmati long grain and white.
Thank you very much.

Hi, Thank you for your stop to read my post.
I have been in the USA and I had an idea that the people there were open minded and civilized in a away that the personal thinking and ideas have no effect on their relationship. That was 25 year ago, I still hope that it is still working any way. Specially if you put yourself in Najma's shoes and see what she saw and hear what she hear in daily bases. If you had two nephews serving in Iraq, she have many relatives, neighbors, and persons she used to see them every days killed or injured during the time when the American were supposed to keep the civilians safe.
Thank you again for your hope, the details of our journey to Baghdad, you can read it at Najma's blog.

Papa Ray
Thank you for your greetings, I am totally with you that our life will never be the same as it used to be. But I don't believe that my life will be any better in the future, I am 57 years old, and I have to go to work every day (this carries a very high probability of being killed in your way). In addition, in the last 18 months, the progress is almost always in the negative direction. I only care for my daughters, can they manage it alone?
The assay about The war against WW IV, was too long for me to complete, and full of political terms I didn't understand. So i am sorry for not reading it in full.

What you read about al-salam hospital is correct.
But my personal opinion, they took it temporarily for safety purposes, not as a headquarter.
It is the city biggest hospital and the only general hospital in the left bank of Tigris. The patients and the medical staff were driven out. The medical staff were prevented from entering the hospital again.
All the appliances and medicines are still in the hospital, ( that mean it is a temporary action) maybe till the date of elections.

To those who want to know about the condition of the hospitals in general after the war.!!
Before the war, we were living in a very severe and strict sanction, inhuman and illogical in any way, eg. Most of the drugs are forbidden, they prevent the sublingual trinitrate used for angina. Because it contain nitrare(an explosive materials).
So any thing will look better than before. But is it like what everybody hoped from a local hospital? definitely not. There is a great improvement in the outlook of the building, they repaired it and painted it, now they started supplying it with new furniture.
We had a lot of the medical staff fled, for many reasons, the most important: safety and security
of their lives, a lot have been killed, for no reason other than to make them fled. Not only the medical staff but also the scientists of different specialties.

Anonymous at 5:32 AM.
Thank you sir, I found blog very interesting. And I really believe, if all the American soldiers are open minded like him there will be no war between the Iraqis and the Americans. the way that we feel here that the American soldiers are doing their job, and they don't have other choice. At the beginning of the occupation there were some communication between the Iraqis and the American soldiers, but this was ended totally (at least in Mosul) when peoples saw in the medias and heard from the people arrested by the Americans about the way they treated them. To be a good citizen you have to obey the law, But what to do when there is no law..?

Monday, January 17, 2005

A typical day in Mosul

A description of a day in my ordinary life as a citizen of Mosul.

I will start from the early morning and in a usual day.

Usually I wake up at about 5:30 AM before the sunshine, then I will go to the nearby mosque for the prayer of the Fajr (The morning prayer). The females usually do their praying in the house.

When I get back home, I take a little nap and wake up to find the breakfast ready, all the family take the breakfast together. The breakfast usually consists of a cup of tea, some bread and dairy products (cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt) or eggs.

At 7:45 AM, we start to move toward our work. I drive my daughters to their school, my wife to her place of work, then I go to the hospital where I work. Our work usually starts at 8:00 AM. The city is small and half an hour is enough to do this round in an ordinary day. The work hour is from 8:00am – 2:00pm

Going back home, I collect my wife and daughters and if we need any shopping we may do it then, if the stores are in our way. Or just postpone it to a later time. Reaching the house, my wife starts to prepare the lunch, which is usually half prepared from the previous day.

Incase the wife is a housewife; she stays at home doing the daily cleaning up and cook for the family. She may go to visit her neighbors, and exchange food receipt and ideas with them. And when the rest of the family is back they take their lunch together.

The lunch in Iraq and especially in Mosul is different from the western countries. The main dish is usually rice. Rice is very popular here and is cooked in a delicious way, and usually served with another dish, we called it “Maraq”, it consists of vegetable (different kinds give different Maraqs), cooked in Tomato sauce with special spices. We usually prepare the Maraq the day before because it takes time to ripe, but the rice is prepared at time, it takes about 15 minutes to be ready.
Iraqi people can’t live without rice for more than few days, when I traveled abroad; the only food I missed was the rice.

After the lunch, if there is time, I usually take a short nap, then prepare my self to go to my clinic where I stay there to about 7:00 PM, then go back home and may do some shopping in my way home.
The dinner is usually late at night and consists of light food, followed by a cup of tea.
Then the family sits either watching TV or the girls prepare their homework for the school.
Late at night there is a serving of fruits, and we all go to sleep.
We don’t stay awake after 12:00 PM, unless there's a really good movie, or maybe cartoons!

This is a brief description of typical day in Mosul, off course before the war.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Visit Mosul .....A great adventure!!

One of the friend asked me if it is safe to visit Mosul?............ My answer was it is unsafe.
Some people have a different idea. This what I found in one of the sites at the internet.
I recommend you to read it. but don't visit Mosul right now. Wait till the end of the Election.


This document if can freely by published, reprinted, distributed without permission needed.

Introduction: By Andy

I entered Iraq in August of 2003 at the Silopi, Turkey border. This trip started with zero recommendations to proceed. Each step of the way I proceeded knowing that all my friends, family, and fellow travelers considered this too dangerous. But my instincts and my trust in humane nature told me they were wrong. After 7 years of traveling the world I believe that the normal citizen of any country is good.
But with full knowledge that if I was wrong, it could cost me my life I entered further into Iraq. Mosul is located on the cusp, or the Kurdish lands, and the Arab Lands. A semi no mans land where the two cultures collide. They agree or disagree in this city.
To my surprise and quite by accident I was come up on a group of Scholars. I call them the “English Scholars” because they study and taught the English Language at the University in Mosul. They were jovial, fun, serious, knowledgeable, energetic, and great host.
While still concerned for my safety I soon realized that the war was not part of my world, or the Scholars. It was easily avoided like staying out of a bad neighborhood.
I saw the real ravages of Sadaam and his regime. He robbed these Scholars of the world. I walk the world in freedom, but the people of Mosul and Iraq have spent the last 20 years with little or no knowledge of the outside world. All newspaper, television, internet, and even their conversations were censored.
I visit the entire world. This is not possible for the Scholars from Mosul, Iraq. They will remain a hostage of Iraq until the legacy of a Dictatorship and Terror ends and the world invites them to visit.
I have brought this invitation for the world to visit Mosul out of Iraq. 56 English Scholars signed this in utmost seriousness. They wish to be friends again with the world and extend their invitation to visit Mosul, Iraq.


Visit Mosul by

Khalid of Mosul, Iraq

Mosul is a beautifully unique city. It is the salad of different tastes. Wherever you look, you find something that reminds you of its ancient history. It is the manifestation of Orient. In its markets and bazaars you see and feel the flavor of Arabian Nights with its merchants, passersby and women dressed differently like no other place. Here you can find various beautiful fashions, accents, languages and colors that meet all to gather and create a fine harmony of a melody like a Persian carpet. You might ask a question: how such variation of colors, fashions, religions, sects, accents and languages, turns to be a fine harmony. The best pictures of seasons can be found here in Mosul, especially nowadays where the second spring embraces the city, usually we call it city of two springs.
It is a symbol of all oriental cities and the West in its modern looking. Its river, Tigris, flows with pride and dignity since olden times. It takes you back to Nimrud, Sinharib, Assur Panupli, Hadba mosque, Bashtabya, Qara Sarai and walls of Assyrian Empire, etc. In Mosul, you can hear of other names for the city : Hadba (hunchback), Um Arrabi’ain (mother of two springs), Nineva (ancient name), Rimah (spears). The people here are quite generous, calm, respectful, curious and they love foreigner and feel very keen to help and host visitors, regardless of their nationalities or religions. They are peaceful with themselves and with others. Mosul is not like other cities of Iraq where you fear about yourself. In it, you can find good and cheap hotels, transportation and delicious meals at any time of the day. And as Andy says it is the “no-pay city”. One visit to Mosul makes you find that this description and words are very poor compared to its richness.

Now what you think, to visit or to wait, the choice is yours.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The city of two Springs

More information about Mosul:

The following part is copied from a site in the internet about Iraq.

" Mosul is Iraq's third largest city and is situated 396km north of Baghdad. The city was an important trade centre in the Abbasid era, because of its strategic position on the caravan route between India, Persia and the Mediterranean.

Mosul's chief export was cotton, and today's word muslin is derived from the name of the city.

In the 13th century, Mosul was almost completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion, but rebuilding and revival began under Ottoman rule.

Mosul was once a walled city, and the remains of part of the city wall are still in existence at Bashtabia castle, on the western bank of the Tigris.

An ethnically diverse city, Mosul has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities, and contains several interesting old churches, including the Clock and Latin Church, which contains some fine marble and stained glass. The Chaldean Catholic Church of Al-Tahira was built as a monastery in AD300 and became a church in 1600, when various additions were built.

The Mosul Museum contains many interesting finds from the ancient sites of Nineveh and Nimrud. The Mosul House is a beautiful, old-style building, constructed around a central courtyard and with an impressive facade of Mosul marble. It contains displays of Mosul life depicted in tableau form.

An interesting mosque in the city is the Mosque of Nebi Yunus, said to be the burial place of the Biblical Jonah. It is built on a mound beneath which are thought to be part of the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh. Any attempt to verify this is impossible, however, as the site is sacred and cannot be disturbed.

The Great Nuriddine Mosque, built in 1172, has a famously crooked minaret standing 52 metres high. It is built of very elaborate brickwork and is named after its builder, Nuriddin Zanqi."

The nature of the city is very beautiful especially in spring when every thing around you is green and the smell of th air is the smell of the flowers which grow naturally in all the lands around the city.
The real spring lasts for about two months (March and April) , while the last month (May) is so hot that it is considered to be summer. The summer begins from (May to August); it is very hot and dry. They say here that the higher degree of temperature in the world was recorded in Mosul. This perhaps was in the middle of July, when the hot weather was untolerable.

What the people did in the past when there were no electricity?
The houses were built up of stones and Gypsum, the walls were about 40- 50 cm thick, the roof was built in the shape of dome about 4 - 5 meter high. There was some space in the middle of each house without a ceiling and all the rooms have windows opened to that space( I dont know the name of that space in English) but we call it "Hoosh" in arabic.
In this Hoosh, most of the times, there is small garden planted with flower and some trees. In the afternoon, this Hoosh is usually sprayed by water and it get too nice to sit there without fans or airconditions.
In addition almost in every house there is an under-ground room 3- 4 m deep and this is the the place where the people spend the afternoon and at noon. This deep room is called "Rah- Rah" I think the name is Turkish, in Arabic it is called "Sirdab"

In Septemper and October, the temperature starts to drop considerably and the air will smell like it does in spring, so the people called these months "the second spring". So we have two springs in mosul, and the city gained the name of "the City of two spring" or "Um Al-Rabeeain". Novemper is too cold so it is considered as a winter in addition to Decemper,January and February.

So we have 4 months winter, two months spring, 4 summer and 2 springs.The design of the houses is called "the eastern design" and the same is found in Syria specially Aleppo " Halab", which looks very much like Mosul. The summer is too dry, and nowadays we use evaporating water cooler to cool our houses.

In spring and winter we have plenty of thunder and rain, the interesting thing in spring is that, the clouds accumilate in few minutes and the rain starts heavely, then suddenly stops and the sun shines again as if there was no clouds in the sky. The sewage system in the city is very primative, most of the streets drown by the rain to be empty few hours later.

This is our city and we used to the type of life going on here, we don't complain of the hardness of the nature as far as it is from God.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Something from the past... cont.

No need to remind you that this description is from my own memory and I was so young to understand the situation correctly.

after the revolution in 1958, two of the leaders of the revolution shared the responsibility of leading Iraq. The first was Abdulkareem Qasim who had a higher position in the army, the second was Abdulsalam Aarif.

They were only few months after the revolution when the conflict started between the two, Qasim (supported by the communist) overcame the rule and put Aarif (supported by Arab nationalist and Baathist) in prison. Qasim started to take the side of the communists which had a strong organization in the south of Iraq. While in the north most of the people were Arab nationalist and against the communist. Another revolution started in 1959 in Mosul against Qasim. But it couldn't stand the large number of communist who were sent to mosul in the name of peace supporters. The revolution ended with a massacre, the communist with Qasim supporters used the Kurds and some villagers from outside Mosul to loot and spoil the city. Something that I didn't find an explanation to , is that, the Kurds and the Christians shared the communist in their crimes (that is the beginning of discrimination between different nationalities and religions), they killed all the rich peoples in the city, all the religious men and looted their houses, the city streets were filled with dead bodies, nobody dared to bury them. In short, the situation was worse than it is now during the American invasion to Iraq.

In 1963, another revolution started against Qasim, and that time, Aarif took control supported by the Baath party, and killed Qasim and became the president of Iraq. The baathist started gradually to overcome the situation, which forced Aarif to make another revolution to regain the control again and to get rid of the Baathies. Few months later, he died in an air-plain accident. His brother Abdulrahman Aarif become the president.

In 1968, Baathies started a revolution and took control over the government, Saddam was one of the leaders of the revolution. Ahmad Hasan Al-Baker become the president, and Saddam the vice president, but actually, he was the one who controlled the government.

In 1979, Al-Baker resigned and Saddam Hussein became the president of Iraq.

The end of the story is well known by all of you, I think!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mosul in the history

I found these few lines about Mosul in one of the internet sites. I hope they will be of interest to you.

"City in Iraq with approximately 570,000 inhabitants. Situated in the northwestern part of the country, on the west bank of Tigris, and close to the ruined Assyrian city of Nineveh.

The economical base of the city is production of cereals and livestock, oil production, oil refineries, cement factories, cotton products, textile mills, and tanneries. Even though muslin is no longer produced here, Mosul is the city that named the product.

Mosul has many ancient buildings, of which the Great Mosque, the Red Mosque, and the Mosque of Nabi Jarjis are the most famous. The town centre is dominated by a maze of streets and attractive 19th century houses.

8th century:
Mosul grows into becoming the most important city of northwestern Mesopotamia. The city serves as an important stop on the caravan route between the Mediterranean Sea and India.
Mosul becomes the capital of the Zangid dynasty.
1222: The Zangids are sacked by Sultan Badru d-Din Lu'lu'.
Mosul is destroyed by the Mongols under the leadership of Hülegü, and Sultan Badru d-Din Lu'lu's forces are driven out of town. This marks the end to Mosul's prosperity.
1534: The Ottomans take control over
Mosul, turning it into a commercial and administrative centre for its region.
1918: The British take control over
1926: A border settlement makes Mosul Iraqi, overlooking the Turkish claims on the city."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Something from the past

In 1958, when I was 10 years old, at that time we had a king in Iraq. He was a young man called Faisal the second. He was a nice, intelligent, educated man. And he was the son of a very faithful and honest man (King Ghazi), who was killed in a car accident few years earlier.

In July 1958, a revolution started against this type of government and as a result, the king and all his family were killed. The Kingdom of Iraq changed to the Republic of Iraq; this was the start of the endless problem we lived since that time.

Before that, nobody thought of politics or security, the people were poor and peaceful, nobody had a gun in his house. There were no thieves and no rubbery. I remember that nobody bothered himself to lock the door at night; even the cars were left overnight unlocked. To make a long story short, the life was so nice and sweet.

After the revolution, the people started to import ideas from outside the country; we started to hear about communist, ba'athist, nationalist and foreign countries' agents.

The most important thing to me, and to you as I think, is the relation between different religions and nationalities. There was no kind of differentiation between religions, all the people were like brothers, we even dressed the same; and the same was with the Kurds.

*I had to stop writing for a moment there was a lot of shooting in the neighborhood and I had to check my family, the house, and the neighbors…..But I am back now. There were two bullets that penetrated the window of the house next to us and hit the class buffet and changed it to smash, nobody got injured.*

Going back to our subject, Muslims, Christians, Arabs and Kurds all lived in a friendly environment. By the way I was 10 years old and at the time I didn’t even think that anyone is different from the other just because of his religions or nationality.

More on this subject, next time..

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Hi every body

This is the first time for me to write in a blog.
I have recently read some of the Iraqi blogs. And as most of the blogger are young age so I decided to add some old insight to the blogs.

I am 57 year old man lived in Mosul, Iraq. Graduated from the medical college , university of Mosul about 30 years ago. I worked for the ministry of health since I get my license.

I hope that I can write some posts about my city, as it is very famous now, describe the life of ordinary Mosul citizen and he relation between different nationalities (Arabs and Kurds) and religions (Muslims and Christians). by the way I am Arab and Muslim and I spend almost all my life in this city.

The nature of this city is some what differ from other places, it is too cold in winter and too hot in summer. The temperature varies from as low as -8 c at winter to as high as + 55c at summer. this variation made the temper of its people also varies from very calm to very excited.

This is the end of this post. I wish Happy New Year to every one and good bye.