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July 26, 2007

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Iraqi's Celebrate Soccer Win

Iraqis Celebrate Soccer Win In Streets


A carload of soccer fans wave the Iraqi flag in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq after Iraq defeated Vietnam 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, July 21, 2007, providing a welcome relief from the daily violence facing Iraqis. Iraq, having snapped a run of three successive exits at the quarterfinal stage, will next play the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal between Iran and South Korea in Kuala Lumpur.



BAGHDAD -- One Sunni man drove 30 minutes through the dangerous streets of Baghdad to watch the soccer game with his Shiite friends whom he hadn't seen in months.

A 40-year-old Shiite couldn't contain his tears when he joined three Sunni friends who used to play on a local soccer team with him in a local coffee shop to watch Iraq face off against Vietnam in the Asian Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

They weren't disappointed as Iraq won 2-0 to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1976, causing hundreds of people from across the sectarian divide to overcome fears of violence and take to the streets in a spontaneous celebration.

Men of all ages waved Iraqi flags and did a jig in the streets, while others jumped on top of cars and rode around, horns honking.



Iraqis said Sunday the jubilation over the victory showed they can come together despite Al-Qaeda insurgents.

"None of our politicians could bring us under this flag like our national soccer team did. I wish that politicians could take a lesson from our team, which is made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who worked together regardless of their backgrounds and won," Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Hassan said.

Abdul-Hassan, a 40-year-old Shiite education ministry worker who lives in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Kazimiyah, joined three Sunni friends watching the game in a coffee shop. He said it was the first time he had seen his former soccer teammates in some two years because they had fled the predominantly Shiite area due to Al-Qaeda insurgents.

"Ahmed, Naji and Abdul-Karim were there with us," the father of three said, giving only the first names of his friends. "We kissed and hugged each other and recalled our days when we were part of the local soccer team in Kazimiyah and how we were playing in an organized fashion regardless of our religious and ethnic affiliations."

Sami Talib, a 54-year-old retired teacher who is a Shiite living in western Baghdad, agreed.

"The Iraqi soccer team made us happy despite all of our deep sorrow," he said. "The win unified Iraqis and uncovered their real core ... I hope our politicians do the same and put aside their political disputes to win also and achieve the security and stability in our beloved country."

Salim Alwan, a 30-year-old Sunni, drove about half an hour to the predominantly Shiite Zafaraniyah area to watch the game with Shiite friends whom he hadn't seen for half a year, having only spoken with them on the phone because of Al-Qaeda insurgents.

Marwan Ahmed, a 23-year-old Sunni tailor in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, called Saturday "the most beautiful day in Iraq since the fall of Saddam."

He said people from a variety of religious backgrounds gathered in a casino to watch the game and the revelry went well past midnight.

"All the people at the casino congratulated each other, even those who didn't know each other. I felt like this team helped clean our hearts from hatred as all were thinking only of Iraq and nothing else."

"The politicians should learn from and see the joy on the Iraqi streets when our soccer team won ... and all of us realized the national unity of Iraqis," said Salim Abdullah of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni bloc in parliament. "But the difficult question is whether the Iraqi politicians can play as one team, regardless of results?"
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Well Way to go Iraqi Soccer Team!! And to think those in Congress would begrudge the Iraqi's a chance to be free, have Soccer matches, and would be willing to let Al-Qaeda take over that Country and slaughter everybody in it, and turn it into one huge Terrorist haven! Congress is insane.

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8 Comments:

Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Hmmmm sounds like normalcy in the country and that the surge is bringing security and peace.

I'll bet Reid and Pelosi hated seeing this one because it emphasises their lie!

July 26, 2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Joanne said...

BAGHDAD, July 25 — It took an errant kick bouncing off a goalpost half a world away for Iraq to feel, however briefly, like a nation again. A divided, violent one, yes — but a nation nonetheless.

As the Iraqi national soccer team eked out a 4-3 shootout victory over South Korea on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets in a paroxysm of good feeling and unity not seen in years.

It was more rapture than celebration, a singular release of the sort of emotion that has fueled so much rage and fear and paranoia. But this evening, at least at first, it seemed diverted into nonstop car-horn bliss; spontaneous parades clogged streets from Erbil to Karbala, from Basra to Mosul, from Ramadi to Baghdad.

Then, just as suddenly, the moment passed in places, and the fractured Iraq re-emerged. As throngs of people danced and shouted in Baghdad, insurgents took quick advantage of the unguarded revelry. Two suicide car bombs ripped through cheering crowds in Mansour, on the western side of Baghdad, and in Ghadir, on the city’s eastern side. Together they killed at least 50 people and wounded 135 more, according to an Interior Ministry official.

Another dark underbelly resurfaced: The police in the capital said they arrested several men who had used the cover of the crowds and the fusillades of celebratory gunfire to shoot and kill several people against whom they apparently harbored old vendettas. At least one bullet-ridden body was seen being carried near Sadoon Street in central Baghdad.


Sorry.

July 26, 2007 5:09 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

joanne,

Your point only makes me want us to fight all the harder for the sake of our country and for the well-being of the Iraqis who do want to live in freedom and prosperity.

Here's something else that got little attention by the mainstream:

Thousands of protesters also rallied in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, waving Iraqi flags and the black and green Shiite banners with slogans such as "Death to al-Qaida" in a show of unity following the bombing that brought down the twin minarets of a revered mosque in Samarra.

July 26, 2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Joanne said...

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...
joanne,

Your point only makes me want us to fight all the harder for the sake of our country and for the well-being of the Iraqis who do want to live in freedom and prosperity.


After almost five years of our fighting very, very hard and losing almost 3600 Americans, wounding over 20,000, and watching Iraqis leave their country by the millions (not to mention the millions who cannot because they are DEAD), why do you think more of the same will change anything?

According to the PENTAGON the number of violent episodes occuring all over Iraq is now higher than it was in 2003, it has not improved even though our brave military men and women have tried harder and harder to do the impossible.

This is not the American Revolution, where a ragtag army, headed by a very smart man, faced and triumphed over the world's biggest and best military. That is not what is happening in Iraq.

We are the greatest military force in the world fighting against a ragtag group of insurgents, civil war fighters, and jihadists. We've been at it for almost 5 years. You think we haven't quelled the disaster in Iraq because we're not trying hard enough?

The Bush administration never had enough troops in Iraq to do this right, and never planned for the violence that would follow our invasion and occupation. Never.

History is full of lessons that the Bush Administration (and specifically Rumsfeld) ignored about occupying a country as huge and difficult as Iraq (See T.E. Lawrence's "7 Pillars of Wisdom," for one example)>

It is not our fighting men and women's fault that they have the misfortune to be serving under such an incompetent civilian leadership.

Our very own Pentagon has reported the violence and incidences of attacks against our troops have increased, INCREASED, even with the "surge." And our very own NIE report has stated that we are more at risk now NOW for an attack from Al Qaeda--we are NOT safer. Fighting them over there has NOT made us safer over HERE.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

You want to "win" in Iraq? Then ask the Bush administration to send in 400,000 more troops.

July 27, 2007 8:16 AM  
Blogger Obob said...

don't worry, this is the last slaughter, really.
And Iran is making nukes for peace, Kim Jong Il is a misunderstood genius and Lyndsey really don't know the coke was in her pocket.

July 27, 2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

We are not doing the same as Joanne has stated. Donald Rumsfeld has been relieved and is gone. We have hired a new General to clean up after the mess that Rumsfeld created with his flawed strategy. This is the way things go sometimes and to just give up and go home because things are difficult is not the answer. We must prevail in this conflict and establish a government that is strong enough fend for themselves. If we wanted to plain defeat Iraq and be conquerers then that would have been quite simple. All Iraqis would have been designated as the enemy. That's not how we have done things it is much more difficult than that.

A new strategy has been develpoed and is being employed and it must have time to work. I don't understand the rush, we have already been fighting there for 5 years and have sustained very small numbers of casulaties coonsidering the size and scope of the operation. Lets keep thing in perspective. How is it that al qaeda guys are killing our troops but backwards thinking people are mad at the Prez and not at the guys doing the killing. That makes no sense at all. Does anyone believe if we pulled out of Iraq that al qaeda won't stuill be killing Americans in every way they can? They have already proved they will do anything to kill Americans no matter where they are located.
That's all I can write for now. Time for sleep.

July 27, 2007 6:02 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Thank you Marie for reminding us that despite the constant hum of anti-Iraqi propaganda this country DOES have a national identity that they cherish.

This bears repeating:

"None of our politicians could bring us under this flag like our national soccer team did. I wish that politicians could take a lesson from our team, which is made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who worked together regardless of their backgrounds and won," Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Hassan said.
...
"The win unified Iraqis and uncovered their real core ... I hope our politicians do the same and put aside their political disputes to win also and achieve the security and stability in our beloved country."


The jubilation reminds me of the purple stained fingers Iraqis proudly waved after their first elections.

Way to go Iraqis! Be proud, be strong and BE FREE!!!

July 29, 2007 4:32 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

ITM captures so very eloquently the mood of the nation of Iraq:

The fear is gone, the curfew is ignored, tonight Iraq knows only joy...

Sure makes the emergence of the worlds' youngest democracy from the worlds' oldest civilization worth any effort.

Unless, your name is joanne

July 30, 2007 8:19 PM  

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