The Fat Whiner is me me me! Next Question.

I fucken hate “hello from picasa”. why can’t I post pictures the old way, each picture is a seperate entry. sorry about that.

Now watch me get all serious as I put together a 450 words pitch for a 15 minutes film based on what I have from Najaf and Sadr City. I can’t remember the last time I was that serious, by allah if you are going to make fun of me I will start crying.

The current Iraqi interim government, the Allawi government, really had to accomplish two main tasks. The first was to prepare the country for elections to be held in December/January and the second task, and this is something the Iraqis including the Governing Council insisted on, was to restore security to the country. Their main argument was hand over the security file to us, the Iraqis, and we will be able to solve our problems better than the foreigners.

To the disappointment of many Iraqis this never became a reality, which to be fair, is not entirely Allawi’s fault. Recruits to the Iraqi police and army have not been enough and those who do join have become targeted by opposition groups calling them traitors and collaborators. Many policemen and soldiers refuse do be filmed.

At the same time Moqtada al-Sadr, son of a much respected religious figure who assumed leadership of what is known as the militant Hawza, decided to up the ante. Whether he is being influenced and supported by a foreign country (the Allawi government points an accusing finger at Iran) or not, he and his militia (the Mahdi Army) have managed to hijack Iraqi politics. The last weeks have been about him, it seems we have forgotten all talk about developing a working democratic model here in Iraq and all we think about is how to keep the box of explosives on which Moqtada sits from erupting.

What I have been trying to do is to take a closer look at the people who support him and are prepared to fight for him, the Mahdi Army. Many of whom come from the disadvantaged and poor Shia areas in Iraq. You won’t find any Moqtada supporters in Najaf or Karbala, where the Shia “aristocracy” are. But in the poor southern cities like Amara and Nasiriyah and the huge slum in Baghdad known now as Sadr city. In Najaf and in Sadr City meeting the men who form the Mahdi Army has made me reconsider my view of them, they are simple people, always very friendly and welcoming. It is their leaders who worry me.

Those people never had hope for a better future, now they see someone who has lived among them championing their cause. They see a hand extended which they have not seen by the Iraqi government. What I fear they don’t see is how Moqtada al-Sadr and the people he listens to are using those masses in a dangerous political game which might disrupt the future for all Iraqis.

Putting on my Salam Pax hat; this is a film about riding in the back of trucks with the Mahdi Army, watching kids in Sadr city play with toy RPG Launchers, walking in narrow roads in Najaf while they show me the front line and trying not to get shot by an American sniper.

Now we can all go sing A Minha Menina and be silly again.

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