Olive Branch Optimism
what a wonderful world...
Monday, February 27, 2006
Iraq Violence: a message to Baghdad
Iraqi's will get through this all-out war between the extremist elements who will fight one another to their mutual deaths. This is the extremists and outsiders pushing with their entire influence to take power over one another. It is an all-out fight for Baghdad (note that other area's like Mosul are still in comparative calm).

The Interior Ministry forces are towing one line, who knows how to describe it except for "ugly".

Extremist Salafi's are playing the role of immitating Sunni Insurgents (the shrine bombing) so as to provoke Interior Ministry troops, the militia's and general Shia population. They are also killing off members of Sunni resistance groups in their struggle to maintain influence in Sunni dominated regions.

Sunni groups seem to be holding their own; but the general Sunni population in Baghdad is tense with rumours of many assasinations and kidnappings of Sunni individuals around Baghdad in recent days.

Those killing reporters, hunting Sunni's or bombing shrines will cause their own deaths. They will weaken rapidly in their all out struggle, at this time is when Iraq's intelligent class from which their are many leaders must take a stance saying "ENOUGH. STOP OR GET OUT".

It is the first time since the invasion in 2003, where there is an example of greater trust and faith being places in the new Iraqi Army, with some Sunni dominated area's requesting police be
replaced by the National Guard in their areas, since these police are often considered inefficient and corrupt.

These extremist elements have been harboured and paid off by too many people to this day.
Iraqi communities will no longer be tolerate this and will soon be forced to make their move.

I pray for the protection of the Iraqi population in this coming struggle. They say every revolution has a tipping point. Their time is coming.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Sorry I haven't blogged for a while.

Trouble at home... Have to look for a new place somewhere in kelmscott, I can't leave. It's my home. I love it.

Why must it end this way?

anyone from kelmscott read this?? give me an email ;)

anyway- blog will return soon
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Mohammed Cartoons: Where to from here?

So we finally reach some conclusions regarding the Mohammed Cartoons: the world now understands what freedom of speech is about.

The term “You reap what you sew” comes to mind.

In some sense it is good to see even conservative Muslim’s speaking out vocally against the series of cartoon’s in which the Prophet Mohammed was portrayed as a suicide bomber, among other historically incorrect and religiously disrespectful caricatures.

Though the reaction has pushed religious tensions across the globe to extremes, it also represents the first time in my memory where so many millions of Muslim’s around the world have stood up united against any one action or event. It’s kind of cool to hear them say “We will not tolerate this abuse. FUCK YOU” because so rarely do I hear vocal Muslim voices in the community.

Even the Iraq war was supported by many Muslim’s both inside and outside Iraq for various reasons, particularly because of Saddam Hussein’s poor treatment of many Muslim’s of all sects. But the Prophet, he was no suicide bomber. He was the most patient man in Muslim history, the man they all wish to base their way of living on (IE. Their attitudes, NO I am not saying they want us to go back to the 6th century).

The Prophet was every bit as wise, kind and forgiving as Jesus is presented to be in the bible. It should be obvious that presenting such a man as a suicide bomber amidst the already highly-tense environment would exacerbate troubles.

I would compare it to being a Pakistani military officer dressed as Mahatma Gandhi draped in a Soviet Union hammer & sickle carrying a sign saying “towel heads” with a fake suicide vest strapped around your chest walking through the streets of New Delhi.

Or being a white man walking the streets of Johannesburg with a T-shirt stating “Apartheid: OK”. You just know what you are going to get. Don't do it.

Why must people be so ignorant as to provoke one another into violence just to say “I TOLD YOU SO”, while standing around and watching our neighbours become victims? If you don’t want a fight, why start one?

This is not me approving of the deaths of more than 20 people or the burnings of embassies or bashings of Christians. This is me condoning the right of our Muslim friends to stand up and say “FUCK YOU! I’VE HAD ENOUGH”. After all they have spent years putting up with discrimination, isolation and western meddlings in their internal affairs.

And regarding those who commit violent acts in the name of Islam: they will go to jail, if not- we all know they will burn when it comes to judgement day.

Like I said before “You reap what you sew”.

Thursday, February 16, 2006
Mohammed Cartoon Saga - round 2
I have just fininshed reading a brilliant post I found at "The Mesopotamian", relating to the insulting cartoons of Mohammed displayed by newspapers across the globe. The timing of these pictures being re-printed, let alone the ferocity of the response even amongst usually somewhat quiet Muslim communities has a suspicious feel about it, and in this post Alaa expresses similar concern and suspicion.

The argument to back what is said is very logical, intelligent and draws also on Alaa's experience
with religion and extremism.

Basically it appears there are people out there (I am not going to level accusations at any one group here, it is a lot of people, on all sides of the spectrum) who want to increase the rift between Westerners and Muslim's world-wide, and it appears they have hijacked the "Cartoon Saga" in an attempt to push the situation over the edge and out of control.

Fortunately they hadn't counted on the increase in strength and influence of rational communities across the globe the last year or so, which have ensured ties between Muslim communities and the rest of the world will never be severed no matter what strain is put on them. I will never give up on my friends in the Middle East now, not after the experience of being in amongst the emotions of Iraqi (and other) bloggers.

I will fight against this kind of extremism and segregation of minorities until the day we can get along, are you with me? Go read Alaah's post and leave a comment:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Abu Ghraib photos: previously blocked by the US administration
The images below prove claims US soldiers had forced Abu Ghraib detainees into rape and homosexuality. Writing "I am a rapeist" on the leg of one victim, and you can decide for yourself what is oozing from the mouth of one detainee (saliva isn't THAT white, or THAT thick, is it?):

- - -

More Abu Ghraib photos released straight after the video of UK soldiers beating 4 Iraqi teenagers to a pulp is released, interesting timing. While on the topic of Abu Ghraib and Human Rights abuse here's a little about the Geneva Conventions (to which the United States of America is a signatory, as is The United Kingdom).

The Geneva Conventions provide protective laws not just for civilians and prisoners of war, but for those held as "spies", political criminals and ANYONE NOT ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN ARMED WARFARE. Including those formerly involved in "resistance", official armed forces, militia's and "insurgent groups"; who have been detained or downed weapons. Here's the paragraph which matters regarding who is protected under Geneva Conventions:

Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. [source]

Thus terrorism related or not, the actions at Abu Ghraib and on the recent bashing video are internationally outlawed, and those responsible legally international criminals. The perpetrators and the superiors allowing these actions to happen should be forced to face the International War Crimes Tribunal. These actions are not the "decisions of a few", they are representative of a whole culture of masculinity, egotism and hostility which is dominant within the US military.

This "thug" culture is not only the result of military doctrine, but also a result of complacency in the general public regarding such actions and attitudes (the kind of attitude that says "Hey, if it's not directed at me who cares?"). It is also the responsibility of the media for idolising soldiers in war films, who are so often depicted as ignorant, brutish- "Jarhead" is even a movie about US troops in Iraq. The United Nations, Military Police and Human Rights Activists have all failed to contain this culture, let alone counter-act it.

Now it's the blogosphere's turn- we either fight to stop this culture, we spread the truth and break this complacency and ignorance by showing the world in it's real light; realistically, truthfully and with passion... Or we join the list of those who failed or given up on this fight.

The choice is ours; and I damn well know which choice I made.

[olivebranch out]

Interested in Iraqi Culture??? Learn more about it: http://olivebranchoptimism.net
Hah! brrreeeport blog popularity ;)
Want to get in the top 10 on a technorati search??? this little trick will get you past the A-List bloggers! time for the masses of intelligent people to prevent the internet ever being held by one particular view or group

Nerds are just too smart!

type brrreeeport in your blog for extra hits today!! :D
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Valentines Day (want to celebrate a suicide?)
May I ask you a question?
Do you remember what you are celebrating on valentines day?

Valentines day is a day commemorating the sorrowfull sacrifice of a man's life- for the woman he loves. The commemoration of a suicide- not of the giving of a gift, but of the breaking of ones heart.

It's a reminder of love for all yes, that is true- infact it even reminds me to do something special for Gee , but not the kind of something you pay for.

You see the best valentines day present is not to get carried away this once a year,
but to be yourself for this whole day; to be honest and loving to your partner, to celebrate the shared life you have; and how well it works on a day to day level rather than conflicting and being impossible.

It is also a day where any sefless person can go to a sad lady or man, and tell them a few kind words to make them feel better for days. You see a girl at the train station sitting alone with no flower, no card and a glum look.

You ask her "what is wrong? did your boyfriend forget valentines day?".

If she cries and she has no valentine- you tell her she can be your valentine and give her a hug, (or visa versa if the person upset is a male!). Automatically their day is better. Something strange and exciting happened that day. It was not just a dull, lonely day where he/she was moping all day while friends were off eloping.

I know this was kind of off-topic for this blog, but there is so much attention payed to this day I thought it still important to say:

I am sure Iraq has no valentine today
Dear Iraq- don't cry today, someone loves you.
Somewhere. Here.

[olivebranch out]
p.s I love you lots&lots&lots Geeeeee
Monday, February 13, 2006
Thug culture: Iraqi Teenagers brutally bashed by 8 UK soldiers
Recently a video was released showing the horrible work-over given to 4 Iraqi teenagers who had been involved in stone-throwing riots. They were beaten senseless in a fashion beyond the terms "human rights abuse" or "war crimes"--- by 8 professional, trained and fully clad UK soldiers. (see this ARTICLE)

These violent aggrevated bashings were not crimes related to "war" but rather were crimes related to egotistic "Thug Culture"- the us versus them theory. The "look tough in front of your mates" culture. The culture where peopl humiliate others to make them selves feel bigger.

The same culture responsible for gang-rape on the streets of New York, racial bashings in Cronulla, or the abduction of innocent people from the streets of Baghdad for money *hey, if the insurgents can do it, why don't we?*.

The same kind of attitude "popular" high-school boys have when surrouning an a-grade student with glasses. This culture of egotism and masculine competitiveness runs strong in the US military and even has hold in the Australian Defence Forces (though not in the highly professional SAS).

In the UK military until recently this kind of culture was thought to be isolated while the majority forces were considered professional, polite and efficient. Recently the true extent of this culture within the British armed forces has come to light through the "Prisoner Abuse Scandal" and now through this shocking, degrading video.

I don't think I will say anymore about this. I don't want to. You should know exaclty what kind of behaviour and attitudes make this kind of thing to happen and if you don't know now, then read this and maybe you will understand:

[excerpt courtesy of News of The World online edition]

DRAGGING four weedy rioters—all apparently in their early teens—off the street and behind the high walls of a secluded army compound,

BEATING them senseless with vicious blows from batons, boots and fists,

IGNORING their pitiful pleas for mercy, until the incident climaxes with what appears to be an NCO delivering a sickening full-force kick in the genitals of a cringeing lad pinned to the ground.

All the while the callous cameraman delivers a stomach-churning commentary urging his mates on, cackling with laughter and screaming: "Oh yes! Oh yes! You're gonna get it. Yes, naughty little boys! You little f***ers, you little f***ers. DIE! Ha, ha!"

[end excerpt]

Lets pray the military men can stamp this out of their culture before it gets any worse for those who aren't involved. [olivebranch out]
Friday, February 10, 2006
Jill Caroll was abducted nearly a month ago and sadly the all attempts to negotiate her release have been obstructed by the refusal of the US adminitstration and military to quickly release female prisoners. In fact no effort to appease the requirements set for Jill's release have been made by the military or the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

CNN had the first article I was directed too:Captive reporter is "very short of time"
The video shows Jill more composed- a good sign I guess, and it re-iterate's the demand for the US military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry to release all female's detained in Iraq.

Why can't they at least release a list of their accused crimes to show they are criminals who can not be released? Is it becasue they are innocent, but their release is being delayed to ensure Jill's death (whoops did I say that? I meant to say so because the "do not negotiate with terrorists").

Please head over to the Christian Science Monitor website and leave letters of support and condolence for Jill. Every little thought, prayer or bit of pressure helps.

While your at it, if you are in the US- call and write and email and annoy your local Congressman or Senator. Let them know it's on their shoulders too.
The Olivebranch Network is looking for writers or professionals with knowledge about or experience living in Iran//Iraq to research and present a wide range of important cultural, political and economical topics. The Network's blog can be found here: http://olivebranchoptimism.net

The network aims to build a broad, realistic picture of the internal and international aspects of Iraqi and Irani culture, eventually we hope to spread the scope further through the Middle East, but for the purpose of setting achievable goals we are beginning with these two hot-topic nations.

The writing team so far consists of four people: Baghdad Doctor, Olivebranch, Sharham Kohldi and Zeinab, Please take the time to follow each of these links for more information.

Here is a list of the topics we need people to write for (Iraq only):

Iraqi Politics
- Important developments (past & present)
- Physical changes as a result of the political process in Iraq
- fraud/corruption/abuse of power (present & past if related to a current individual/group/etc)
- the players (who they are, what is their past, ideologies, alliances)

- Who are they? (who are the “terrorists” as opposed to the “resistance”; who are the militias?)
- Differences (history, activities, loyalties, support bases)
- Ideological goals and motivations (particularly the differences)
- Changes & Events (Terrorism chased out of Anbar by resistance, Badr joining political process)

The fate of Iraqi women
- The role of women in Iraqi society (past & present)
- Womens constitutional rights in Iraq (past & present + changes)
- Physical changes on the street (past & present)
- Important events//dates (past & present)
- Islamic Law//Tribal Law in regard to women

Iraqi Hospitals//Health Care issues
- Cancer in Iraq (past & present, causes)
- Availability of supplies//medical equiptment for Iraqi hospitals//doctor’s surgeries
- Assasinations//Targetting of doctors and medical professionals
- How you can help

Iraqi Universities
- Quality of education and availability of resources
- Security conditions at Iraq’s universities
- Assasinations//Targetting of Iraq’s educated population
- Activism // Islamification // Women
- How you can help

Security forces // Coalition forces
- development of Iraqi police force (past & present)
- development of Iraqi “National Guard” (past & present)
- conditions & attitudes of US//coalition soldiers in Iraq.
- important events//dates (past & present)

- Contracts
- Actual development
- Deconstruction
- WAR damages & possible reperations

Iraqi Blogosphere
- Importance of the Iraqi blogosphere inside Iraq
- Global importance of the Iraqi blogosphere
- Development of the Iraqi blogosphere (past & present)

Islam in Iraq
- Role of Islam in Iraqi society (past & present)
- Important figures (past & present, who they are, what is their significance, who supports them)
- Traditions//Celebration//Mourning periods

Iraqi Children
- Education for children (past & present)
- Health conditions for children (past & present)
- War experiences and the effects (past & present)
- (need more topics for this important, under reported subject)

If you are interested (or know someone) who can write accuractly about one of these particular topics please e-mail Olivebranch with a little about yourself and we will get back to you ASAP.

want to know more? visit http://olivebranchoptimism.net


On March 28 the US administration has plans to strike targets inside Iran according to an official from the Russian Parliament. March 28 marks the Israeli election and I for one believe the US//Israel will try and bait Ahmadinejad (hope I spelt it right!) into saying or doing something stupid should Kadima win the 17th Knesset (Israeli parliament), so as to domestically justify a "pre-emptive strike" against Iran (otherwise, they will strike anyway; maybe a little later).

If what the Russian official says in this article is accurate we are facing a probable Israeli//Arab war break-out and a new turn in the "Long War" (war on terror's new name). This time it will be terrorists & Islamist extremists in Europe blowing everything(themselves?) up.

Imagine with current tensions over the Mohammed Cartoons and accusations flowing from one side to another what a military strike in Iran could really mean.

Imagine the Irani response internally. Militia men on every street corner, Sadr's Mehdi army in Iraq kicking up a HUGE fuss and the US facing a whole new battle for Baghdad... This time with an embedded determined islamist opposition with the backing of 1 1/2 oil-rich nations and their respective militiamen(Mehdi Army, Basiji Militia).

There would be an immediate response on Israel's borders from Jordan, Syria & Lebanon. Not to mention Saudi Arabia. An attack would break the already weak relations between the Russia, China, India & the US.

The end all out-come could be one of only a few things-
including death, destruction and Nuclear warfare.

We can only pray the politicians//activists//writers and everyday humans globally do the right thing and put their foot down and say NO to the rising pressure for an attack against Iran.

I pray today for Jill Caroll,
but today I pray for Iran's people too.

I pray someone will think of them,
amidst this firefight of ideologues.

I pray Persia's culture may thrive-
or at least survive and...

I pray a day comes when Arabian nights,
and Arabian days- are hotter than hot,
in a lot of GOOD ways.

Luke(y) - [olivebranch]
Monday, February 06, 2006
The Prophet Cartoon Saga (my two cents).
A good friend of mine, an Iraqi girl living in New Zealand said something which really struck a chord with me today and to begin this post please read what she said:

"I don't enjoy seeing muslims with banners held up 'behead those who insulted islam'", and then go read her blog post(s) here (to understand better where she sits on this): http://iraqiblogger.blogspot.com

This friend (Z), pointed out this simple fact: the Quran (holy book) does not support these kinds of actions and is against striking out at those who insult you. It is against the spreading of vengefull words and accusations. This is not to say there are none who believe they are following the Quran when they undertake such actions, but those who do are acting against their faith(you know, like BREAKING THE LAW, like ANY OTHER MURDERER etc). For those of you who would not trust her word (for whatever reason), see it for yourself.

As a non-muslim (even if it is disrespectful to some for me to do so) I am going to interperate a couple of quotes from the Quran into plain, easily understood english. Here goes:

[16:126] And if you punish, you shall inflict an equivalent punishment ([olivebranch]: If you punish, you will punish yourself as well). But if you resort to patience instead of revenge, it would be better for the patient ones ([olivebranch]: It is more rewarding to remain patient, rathern than strike out in revenge).

[24:15,16] You fabricated it with your own tongues, and the rest of you repeated it with your mouths without proof. ([olivebranch]You told them lies and they followed blindly) You thought it was simple, when according to God,gross ([olivebranch] You thought it was simple, but according to God it was so wrong). when you heard it, you should have said,"we will not repeat this.Glory be to You.This is a gross falshood." ([olivebranch] When you hear lies you should know,and you should say "I will not repeat this it's bullshit")

ahh you will have to mind any religious/political incorrectnesses here, it was never my intent to cause any anger to anyone- In fact the idea was the opposite.

The recent Cartoon Drawings of the Prophet have enraged millions of people and fair enough I can understand how some of what was drawn was offensive. Not because the Prophet should not be drawn (*i couldn't care less about what people want to draw for their own purposes*) but because if you are drawing such an important figure, you should undrestand what you are drawing. (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE FRICKEN NEWSPAPER)

When you are drawing "your interpretation of the Prophet" you are drawing (in the opinion of millions) your interpretation of Islamic culture as a whole. When you picture him as a suicide bomber, you are saying those who follow the Prophet are following a suicide bomber. That is insulting a whole religion suggesting a whole religious population support the indiscriminate killing of innocent(often civilian) targets.

The reality couldn't be further from the truth.

Freedom of speech & all that Jazz- sure. Freedom to humiliate millions and increase the cultural divide already existing between the West and Islam? At your own fucking risk, not mine. If you want to draw a derogatory picture of the Prophet to show to your mates for a little joke, I guess you can go ahead. But if you are going to wave it in the face of already isolated, probably edgy Muslim teenagers, you better expect a backlash.

It's like walking through New York city holding a fake ignition switch in your hand, with a chord leading to your belt. You have to expect fire when there's a spark on a hot day in the bush.

I call for a calm, intelligent legal persuite on the basis of racism//prejudism by religion of ALL the newspapers publishing these cartoons. Under Australian "sedition laws" their publication in Australia could make you liable for any possible compromise of our nations security.

I call for an end to the violent destruction the kind those idiots who have the tenacity to display these pictures in papers across the globe prefer, or the equally stupid idiots calling for the "execution of those who drew the cartoons", or those holding signs "Freedom go to Hell", "Europe is the Cancer, Islam is the answer".

This just positions you against whole races, nations(continents!!!) of people indiscriminantly. It is the same kind of ignorant, reactionary thinking as those who displayed the cartoons in the first place; there is no difference. If you are not one of us you are one of them. You are the problem we have the answer. Selfishness, stupidity, ignorance whatever your chosen word; it's all the same.

- Can you think of a whole race, religion or nation who truely thinks this way about you & yours?

If you can you really should look at yourself and say "Is my logic a little like swiss cheese???"

Jill Caroll (& my heart)
For some reason I just can't get my mind off Jill.

I never met this lady nor knew a word about her until the day Baghdad Treasure returned home to find she had been abducted. But now it feels like she is a part of me of my own body.

And the part I imagine her as is my heart.

Since the day I heard about Jill I lost a small piece of my heart into a backwater part of Baghdad wherever she may be being held. Everyday since it feels like I have been fighting off a bit of depression, winning the fight but non-the-less fighting it.

The longer it goes on the more I feel down; not exclusively because of Jill.

I feel so isolated from every other person in my own real world, the world of my work, my home and the city of Perth. My friends seem so little like me it scares me sometimes now. I sit choking back tears remembering how I used to have so much fun and contemplating how my new found concerns so deeply isolated me.

The things which bring me incomparable joy now are not what they once were, and the new ones take time, patience, persistance and a little bit of anxiety. It's easier when I can talk to someone similar, who understands what I am saying; or even if they don't someone who just listens.

The people who always played this role in my life no longer have huge presence in my life and I am feeling it.

Gee doesn't want to hear it; about my blog, or Iraq, or Iran, or Israel, or my new found friends across the globe. She tries sometimes; but it's obvious she doesn't care for my interests- she just cares for me. She loves me with her whole heart its true and I love her just as much too.

But I need someone to listen to me when I want to tell them about what I have learnt.

are you this person?
then msg me...

I pray you all say a prayer for Jill.
For the sooner her perdicament is over,
the sooner the world will be a better place again.