Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [IRAQHistory] Follow up on President Aref's Documentary film

Expand Messages
  • Hassan
    Dear Wafaa’ and group, I read with interest Naser’s comments and can’t help but be surprised at the attempt to selectively write history. I don’t know
    Message 1 of 138 , Nov 2 1:28 AM
    • 0 Attachment

      Dear Wafaa’ and group,


      I read with interest Naser’s comments and can’t help but be surprised at the attempt to selectively write history. I don’t know how old Naser is, but if he was an adult in 1968, then he should know what I was talking about.


      I must mention first that my original message on the subject was to comment on Wafaa’s documentary on the late president Arif in which I mentioned my memories of the student strikes of 1968. This is how the exchange of messages proceeded


      History, as I tried to say, is facts not imaginary things nor wishful thinking. It doesn't change because we want it to nor because someone tells us to do so. I will thus try to address Naser’s remarks in the same order.


      I stress again that my information is not false nor politically motivated. Naser doesn’t know me, yet he has granted himself the right to judge (and condemn) my political motivations because I dared criticize the Ba’ath, without knowing what I think. What he doesn’t know is that I was myself a Ba’thist (probably before he himself became one!) and in close contacts with many prominent members and leaders in the party from the early 1960s. But that should have no effect on presenting the facts of history as they are and pointing out the mistakes which occurred.  If we are not able to face our mistakes, we will not be able to learn from them and will continue to repeat them. Unfortunately, the modern history of Iraq is full of unlearned lessons and repeated mistakes.


      Naser states that “history is a history not opinions” yet what he wrote is mere opinions and slogans, driven by political affiliations that have colored his vision. I tried to present the facts of history like I lived them and,  when facts were not clearly explained, added what I believed were my deductions.


      When I mentioned the alliance of the Ba’th with the Communist Party, it was in reference to Naser’s remark that Communists colored Iraq’s history with blood. I was thus questioning the policies (and mistaken conclusions and alliances) of the Ba’th regime in Iraq in general. The Communist Party indeed changed after 1963 and it did change its leadership, but that was not because of admission of faults but because the previous one was practically wiped out by the Ba’th in 1963, and because Moscow so wanted. But the new leadership was no better: complete subjugation to Moscow’s orders and diktats. And that leadership eventually switched sides in 1991 and started cooperating with the Americans and British and continues today, which takes us back to square one: wrong assumptions leading to wrong alliances. Other faulty and mistaken calculations of the Ba’th are its alliance with Jordan (which cooperated with the Americans in 2003); its alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt (which cooperated with the Americans from 1990 until now); its previous alliance with Kuwait in the 1980s(which ended in a catastrophe in 1990-91), etc…


      I did not refer to the 1961 or 1962 student strikes in my original message, because I was addressing the era of Abdul-Rahman Arif and those happenings were before his era. I referred to those strikes only in reply to a question by Walaa regarding Allawi’s alleged role in student strikes.


      I didn't try NOT to mention the Ba’th as Naser claims; on the contrary I did mention the National Union of Iraqi Students, the arm of the Ba'th Party, and that it was established in the college of medicine in November 1961.


      What surprises me is that Naser twists facts of history to suit his political affiliations, giving people a bigger role than they really had.


      The first President of NUIS was Muqdad Al-Ani from the College of Medicine. His deputy was Adil Abdul-Mahdi, whom Naser surprisingly claims was not a leader. Instead he mentions Al-Shakra, Dabdab and Al-Mulla, without telling us what their positions in the hierarchy of the leadership of the NUIS or the student movements in 1961 was….


      The reason why Naser mentioned those names (in my opinion) is because they later became Ministers in the Ba’th governments, while the original founders of the NUIS and the leaders of the student movement of the 1960s had either left the party or were purged during the several purges of the party in the 1970s and 1980s. This way, those who are not part of the regime are not given any credit and are pushed into the back, and are then replaced by people who had a small role or no role at all. This is how history is re-written!


      I already mentioned that in 1961 Allawi was not a leader but a junior party operative. But those who know the history of the NUIS would know that Adil Abdul-Mahdi was a leader, and his later changes and twists shouldn’t be a reason to change history! So either Naser has not lived that era and thus doesn’t know the facts firsthand, or then for some reason he is presenting a wrong picture of people and events.


      The biggest surprise I got from the message was when Naser mentioned that he couldn’t find any support to the news of the students strikes of 1968! Either Naser was too young to have known the happenings, or he was not in Baghdad at that time, or that he did not attend university in those years. A happening of that magnitude does not disappear from the records of history and I am certain that a search in the internet would yield results. But surely Naser must remember the ONLY students election in the 1960s in the University of Baghdad?


      The demonstrations of 1967 were mostly instantaneous as a reaction to the defeat of the Arab armies at the hands of Israel. Arif’s regime was not responsible for the defeat, and the demonstrations included all factions of the Iraqi society. The strongest political movement at that time were the Arab Nationalists (Nasserites) who formed the largest number of demonstrators. The demonstrations reached the Presidential Palace and attacked the American Embassy which was next to it and tore the American flag. As such they were not demonstrations of opposition to the regime nor is it fair to give the credit to Al-Bakir or the Ba’th.


      Naser tries to compensate for his lack of knowledge (or inability to refute facts of history) with sarcasm, and I will not bother with such remarks! And yes I am certain of what I am saying and I personally saw Nadhim Kizar (with is gun!) enter one college and threaten strikers and was told by friends how Saddam himself entered another college! So yes, I am an eyewitness!


      But if Naser doesn’t know about the students strikes, how does he know whether or not Kizar or Saddam entered colleges? Is it simply because he is loyal to the party? And is that how history is to be written; as the party itself ordains?


      Then Naser again tries to present two messages of mine as contradictory, while he himself misses the point.

      I explained earlier that when the elections of 1967 were annulled, the students went on strike. The Ba’th was cooperating with Ibrahim Al-Daoud and Abdul-Razzaq An-Naif to overthrow the Arif regime. An-Naif sent the army to storm the college of education and arrest, beat and harass students. The deans of all the colleges of the University of Baghdad defended the sanctity of the university campus and threatened with mass resignation should the army or police enter another college. That threat brought results and the security forces backed down and remained outside the college buildings. The student strikers remained inside their colleges afraid to go out lest they are arrested by the security forces as happened to some of their colleagues. For that reason and because the attempts to break the strike from outside by force failed, and in what was seemingly a coordinated move, the Ba’th sent its men to put pressure on the students from inside their colleges and force them to back up. So in a sense, the Ba’th collaborated with the Arif regime by collaborating with An-Naif, no matter how that collaboration is explained later on. The harassments, threats, arrests and intimidations brought the results envisaged and the strike withered out and ended.  


      I did not say that the Ba’th had no role in the political activities during the Arif era or that it was against these activities. I said that it was a small party with a weak base which did not have wide support among the people. When it took over in 1968 its membership was only a few thousand and Naser should know that. Ahmad Hasan Al-Bakir had already in 1965 publicly announced his retirement and withdrawal from politics and his concentrating on tending to his family and caring for his cattle! If one is to believe what Al-Daoud (one of the leaders of the 1968 coup) said, then one would believe that Saddam Hussain and Karim Al-Sheikhly both worked as informers for the security police! But these are allegations whose authenticity can’t be proven either way, and if any documents existed then they would have long since disappeared together with the people who knew anything about them!


      The strikes would have been in the benefit of the Ba’th had the party been behind them and had the strikes been started and steered by the Ba’th. But the Ba’th’s involvement in the coming coup was going to happen through its military branch (officers like Al-Bakir, Hardan Al-Tikriti. Sadun Ghaidan and Salih Amash) and not through its political civilian wing. The student strikes might have made other officers of other political affiliations (including the Nasserites), dissatisfied with the way things were going, to move and take over the presidential palace, which was all that was needed to overthrow the regime. This was not in the best interest of Al-Daoud, An-Naif or Al-Bakir, who wanted to rule themselves


      Everybody who knows the history of the Ba’th in Iraq knows also that the party suffered a split following the takeover by Abdul-Salam Arif on 18 November 1963. This was preceded by an attack by officers (some were Ba’thists) on a conference of the leadership of the party on 13 November 1963 and the arrest of several members of the leadership (including its secretary general) and their deportation outside Iraq. Behind the whole move were Ba’th leaders, Hazim Jewad and Talib Shibeeb, who wanted to take over the party.

      In 1966, when elements of the Syrian Ba’ath took over the Party and the state in Syria and ousted Aflaq and his group, the  Ba’ath in Iraq also split along the same lines, with the (Rightist) Ba’ath of Al-Bakir siding with Aflaq and the other group (Leftist) Ba’ath siding with the new Syrian leadership.

      Terms like “legitimate leadership” are political jargon and a matter of interpretation, but do belong to the facts of history. The coup of 1968 was originated by officers in the army who were connected to foreign countries (An-Naif and Al-Daoud) and the Ba’th joined in through its officers and then took over. I am not saying that the Ba’th worked for or with the CIA, but it perhaps used the opportunity to come to power knowing what affiliations those officers had. The Ba’th itself later accused some of those officers of collaborating with foreign security agencies!


      After 1968, the faction called (Leftist Ba’th) ended up crushed in Iraq; some joined the new regime, some were imprisoned and some left Iraq. Animosity between the two factions of Iraq and Syria reached a stage of setting car bombs in each others’ cities, assassinations and in Syria standing against Iraq during its war with Iran and then when it was attacked in 1991. Yet Naser wants us to believe that the Ba’th did not split!


      For those members of the group who do not know, it should be mentioned that “Mohammad Younis Al-Ahmad” to whom Naser referred was a member of the Ba’th Party of Iraq until the collapse of the regime after the invasion. He was not a member of the so called (Leftist) Ba’th faction of Syria, and thus mentioning him in this context is misleading and has nothing to do with this discussion. We are not to discuss events after the 2003 invasion.


      I hope I have managed in shedding light on some issues. I apologize if the discussion is moving away from its original path, but that is not my doing!

      I stand by my words and kindly ask Naser to check matters that he admits he doesn’t know before writing about them.


      Best regards



      Do You Yahoo!?
      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
    • Wafaa' Al-Natheema
      Thank you, all, for your participation in the discusion and in providing the information. I may not be able to comment on everything being presented, so I will
      Message 138 of 138 , Feb 28, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Thank you, all, for your participation in the discusion and in providing
        the information.
        I may not be able to comment on everything being presented, so I will
        follow up later:
        Walaa', thank you so much for starting a Wikipedia account.  Indeed some
        advance matters related to editing and discussion in Wikipedia need further learning.
        I agree with you completely on the fact that we should create a team of those who
        are Savy on the Internet world and programming to help us make our writing/editing task
        easier and most importantly effective.
        Indeed, the CIA has been reported to tamper with information on Wikipedia and
        those who maintain it found out from the IP code.  A couple of articles were being
        circled on the internet last year about this matter.
        George,  many thanks to you for providing the information about Rumi.  It was
        a mistake (and I don't know why I wrote it) to state that RUMI lived in Balkh,
        Afghanistan all through his teen years.  Indeed his family left (with him) when he was
        a young child; some sources indicate only that, others specify that his age was
        five or six.  He was born in 1207 CE (604 hijriya - Islamic year). 
        Rita and Amr, thank you for your interest in Jabir bin Hayyan al-Kufi.  Being an
        Iraqi born and raised, his accomplishments should be highlighted here as he
        is the most suitable (of all the previously mentioned scholars: RUMI, al-Farabi
        and Ibn Sina) for our group's purpose.
        Thanks again,
        Wafaa' Al-Natheema


        Rita C-S <cohen_sharaf@...> wrote:
        Thank you so much, Wafaa', George and others, for this oceanic information and interesting reading.
        I too got involved in reading over the Internet about Avicenna, Al-Kufi and Rumi.  Both Avicenna
        and especially Rumi are popular in the west.
        About your information, George, I think you forgot to mention Damascus as one of the cities
        Rumi's family had visited and lived in for some time before they settled in Qunia.  But due to my

        Arab pharmacist husband, we both would like to study this great chemist, Jabir b. Hayan Al-Kufi,
        who is sadly unknown in western popular culture!   Also English speakers who
        don't know Arabic may not know what "Khalife" means (which is used in George's note).  It is usually
        written "Caliph", which means 'successor'. 
        I hope the information and discussion attract some interest in other subscribers in this group to learn about him

        and share their knowledge, discuss al-Kufi or make inquiry about him.
        Thanks again for activating this group AGAIN,
        Best Wishes,
        Rita Cohen-Sharaf

        To: iraqhistory@ yahoogroups. com
        From: georgemichael1956@ hotmail.com
        Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 19:09:27 -0500
        Subject: RE: [IRAQHistory] Urgent + Rumi

        Dear Wafaa:
        Your emails for the past two days have been greatly educational and informative.  Thank you so much.
        I have always known Rumi to be Persian and indeed not one English source (and I have four books about his Sufi poetry) mentions his Arab anscestry.  I don't blame you for being concerned and even angry.  So I decided to look into Arabic sources.
        My Arab son-in-law has two volumes on Rumi written by Abdul Salam Kafafi, which detailed his life, education, poetry and wisdom.  In this valuable source, it indicates that Rumi's;
        father's name is Mohammed bin al-Husain al-Khatibi and his lineage goes to the Khalife 
        Abu Bakr al-Siddiq
        mother's name is unavailable, but she was documented as being from the Khawarizm Shah family, which is most probably Persian.
        In this Arabic source, it indeed indicates that his nickname RUMI was given to him because he lived
        most of his Sufi adult life and died in Anatolia (in Greek) or Anadolu (in Turkish). 
        So you are right he should be considered half Arab/half Persian, and right about the fact that he was
        born in Balkh/Afghanistan and died in today's Turkey.
        When Jalalul Dine Rumi was five years old, his father left Balkh to Niasapur, then to Baghdad and later to Mecca, then they left to Larand, and finally settled in Konya (also spelled Qunia), which is in Anadolu, today's Turkey and died there. 
        What was interesting in this new piece of information that you provided, and thank you indeed, was
        that when both my son-in-law and I googled his name in English, we found not on written article indicating
        that his father was an Arab or that he was an Arab or Afghani (due to his birth and early childhood). 
        We were surprised to even find this article in Arabic on Islam on line  http://www.islamonl ine.net/arabic/ history/1422/ 08/article24. shtml that according to my son-in-law, it points his birth being in Persia and it does not specify his father's Arabness or mentions his name.  In fact it states,
        "it has been said that his family goes back to Khalife Abu Bakr al-Siddiq."  Using "it has been said" does not necessarily make it factual information.  Yet it does not use the same terminology "it has been said" with pointing the name of his mother's family/clan, insteadit provides it as a fact!  
        When he explained to me these different uses, I remembered the language they used in English to argue al-Farabi's origin in the link you provided.  They provided sources for his Persian origin, yet for his Turkic origin,
        they used the term "claim"
        We too googled the Iraqi Arab chemist guru and could find nothing about him on Wikipedia in both Arabic and English.  I read few pages about his accomplishments in other English sources and was very, very impressed
        by his discoveries, which we, the public, know nothing about here in the USA.
        Thanks again,
        George Michael

        To: IRAQHistory@ yahoogroups. com
        From: aboutfromiraq@ yahoo.com
        Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 08:09:38 -0800
        Subject: Re: [IRAQHistory] Urgent + Welcoming New Member

        Dear Ellen:
        Thank you so much for forwarding my email to Audrey.
        I hope you forwarded the other email I sent yesterday under the subject title of
        "Urgent -- Save History" and not the one with subject title "..+ Welcoming New Member". 
        In that other one, and I hope you received it, you will read that I was not only concerned about the Arab or Iraqi origin of Islamic scholars, but MOSTLY about Persianization; relating every great thing and person to Persia with no concrete evidence, but propaganda, claims and favoriticism.
        Because Ibn Sina and al-Farabi are not known whether they have came in
        from Arab or Persian parents, to claim them Persians is INVALID.  They
        both were born and raised in areas far from today's Iran, such as Afghanistan
        and Uzbekistan.  Yet westerners, who favor Persians over Arabs, and Iranians
        (and some Indians and Pakistanis) would commit Persianization in their
        I have been concerned and angry at the writers and historians in the east and west who claimed RUMI to be Persian including the Indian infamous doctor (living in the USA) Deepak Chopra when he published a book of poetry on Rumi.  This categorization is beyond DEADLY WRONG.  The man was born and raised during his childhood and teenage years in Balkh, Afghanistan.  His father was a reputable Arab, known to be a wise religious man, and [RUMI] had lived a large chunk of his life between Baghdad, Damascus and Mecca and then lived for many years and died in a city in today's Turkey.  His mother was rarely mentioned in documentation, historic sources and there is descrapencies about her origin, YET HE IS CONSIDERED PERSIAN JUST BECAUSE HIS MOTHER MAY HAVE BEEN PERSIAN AND THAT HE WROTE MOST OF HIS IMPORTANT WORK IN PERSIAN LANGUAGE.  This is nothing, but corrupted history documentation.  Even if his mother was a Persian, he should not be considered PERSIAN only, he would be categorized as half Persian/half Arab. 
        The contradiction is that we live in a male-dominated world whereby the religion and ethnicity of the father is SUPERIOR to that of the mother (which personally I disagree with
        and don't think it is fair) and passes to the offsprings, yet this rule is true with all, but not with Arabs.  If the mother is anything else, her background counts.  That is how much discrediting and discrimination have been taken place with regard to Arabs.  In fact in the 20/21 centuries, the nationality (not the ethnicity) of a person is being determined by the location (city and country) in which the person is born.  Knowing where Rumi was born, shouldn't he be considered an Afghani?   Perhaps an Afghani of Arab descent? Or because there majesty the industrial west is at war with Afghanistan, then it is fine to slash them out from history pages!!
        I hope you forwarded the other email to Audrey, which is entitled "Urgent -- Save History".
        All I hope from those who spend so many hours of their time on the Internet is to spend 15 to 20 minutes daily monitoring Wikipedia, and at least the links that I have provided yesterday, which requires serious editing, and perhaps other links related to the subject matter of Iraqis and the history of Iraq.
        Thanks again for forwarding my email,
        Wafaa' Al-Natheema

        EWasfi@... wrote:
        Dear Wafaa',
        I have forwarded your concerns about information available on Arab women musicians in pre-and-post Islam as well as on the Arab origins of Moslem polymaths and scholars to Audrey Shabbas of Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services (AWAIR), based in California. Hopefully, she has access to resources which can be of assistance.  I have know Audrey for many years and at one time I contributed to a chapter on the role of women in Islamic Spain in a volume she edited called "A Medieval Banquet at the Alhambra Palace." I believe I have mentioned her name to you in the past.
        I hope this is a fruitful connection.

        Delicious ideas to please the pickiest eaters. Watch the video on AOL Living.

        Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

        Shed those extra pounds with MSN and The Biggest Loser! Learn more.

        Need to know the score, the latest news, or you need your Hotmail®-get your "fix". Check it out.

        Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.