Sunday, February 22, 2004

A meeting in Basrah... 

I attended a meeting when I was in Basrah last week, the meeting was in the district to discuss the problems and what projects should be done for the district that would be presented to the governor and then to a Minister.
I had to attend the meeting because our boss had an appointment in the Health Center of Basrah. I went there early, the district’s chairman was very happy as he saw me, the doctor is very respectable in the districts.
Then the representatives of the water office and the telecommunication office arrived, and the rest of members arrived behind time.
The meeting began with the chairman’s words: “ Today, we have a new member, Dr. Ays, he is the dentist of the district, we are grateful to him for his attendance. Thank you Dr. Ays”. “ Thank you” I replied with a smile as he was pronouncing my name hardly, cause it is not familiar in such areas !
Then the question directed to the IP Captain about what troubles they faced at their work in keeping the district safe and secure.
The Captain said: “ We are facing some troubles with the tribal customs and their wrong thoughts and behavior when bad guys from their tribe commit crimes, they used to defend their guys even if they were mistaken”.
After that the chairman suggested a plan to drop by every tribe and explain the police work for them then taking a word from every tribe elder or the ‘Sheikh’, he should sign not to support the bad guys.
Then the telecommunication representative talked about the project that will join the district with the rest of cities, but he didn’t give a proper time to begin the project.
The chairman said : “ Now, let’s talk about that problem with the Danish troops”.
I said: “ what problem ?!”
The chairman: “ That guy who has been killed by the Danish troops ..”
I said: “ Pardon, but I did not hear anything about him”.
The chairman: “ Oh sorry Dr., we should keep our arms and never hand them to the foreign troops in order to get ready to any unexpected attacks….. here is the story…..”
“ A couple of weeks ago, the Danish troops killed one of the guys of a tribe over there, the tribe got mad and threatened those troops with the troubles they would face if they didn’t come and make up for that trouble, they swore to kill one of the Danish for what they have done.
So the Danish troops attended to a meeting with the Sheikh, they APOLOGIZED for what happened and they asked for forgiveness ! then they COMPENSATED them by giving money to the tribe.
So we should keep our AK47’s and the arms to get ready for such things.” !!!!
I said: “ Please, I want to know what that guy did in order to be shot, is there anyone can tell me what he did?”.
One of the members answered: “ Yes, Dr., we know what happened”.
“ That guy was drunk and he was carrying a rifle at night and yelling, when the Danish troops went by he shot them ! and continued to shoot, the Danish soldiers replied by shooting to air, then near his feet, but he was still shooting hysterically, then they shot him on his leg, but he continued to shoot at them, then they killed him”.
“ He was drunk and shooting at them” !! I replied amazedly.
They said: “Yes”.
All of them were nodding their heads confirming the story !
I turned to the chairman and said: “ Ah.. sorry.. I think you said we should keep our arms in order to get prepared for a fight.. didn’t you?”
“ Yes I did” he answered
Then I said: “ Huh ! why don’t we be realistic and talk with a rational manner, let’s discuss that trouble… What do you expect them to do when they face such an idiot man ? What they should do? I think this is the right reply for such an impetuous, even if they were the IP they would do the same thing.. so we don’t need the arms Mr. And we should cooperate with the coalition, they were very polite when they went to the Sheikh, apologized and make up for it, you are good people, so the Danish and the British, they are here in a mission, we must help to make the city secure, and I see that this district is very safe and the people here witnessed a large difference and they are getting happy every day, right?”
“ Yes Dr. but……..”
“ please let me finish..” I replied “ so we must treat the coalition as we treat the IP, you’ve just said that you will make a treaty with the Sheiks of the tribes, let’s do it both for the IP and the coalition, that guy was breaching the peace and behaved wrong and he deserved that.. right?”
“ Yes Dr.” they replied.
“ Am I speaking wrong?”
I intentionally asked this question because I saw them paying attention and gazing at me strangely !
They said: “ Oh..yes..no.. your speech is right, Dr.”.
I felt like I gave them an idea that had never been heard before !!
The meeting took an hour, then the chairman said :
“ Thank you all.. I am sure you have works to be done, thank you Dr. Ays and everything you need just tell me and I’ll carry it out at once..OK?”
“ Thank you very much Mr. I’ll do my best to help the people here, we are a family.” I replied.
Then we got out of the room, and I went back to the health center.

I’ll ask the boss to let me attend the next meeting.. I want to continue this task.. I want to change their thoughts and make them deal with such troubles using logic.. I hope that.

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