Dubai, paese moderno e di m...

 

  By: GZ on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 12:20

Dopo l'esemopio di Mohammed Bouazizi che dandosi fuoco a Tunisi ha scatenato la rivolta che ha fatto scappare il dittatore ^tutti i giorni ci sono uomini che si danno fuoco in Egitto e altri paesi arabi#http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347999/Tunisia-riots-copycats-6-men-Arab-world-set-fire.html^. Gente a cui hanno negato sembra la loro quota di frumento o pane sovvenzionato o semplicemente gente che a 30 anni vive senza lavoro con la madre e ha come unica prospettiva immigrare in europa

 

  By: gianlini on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 12:06

ma perchè, non vi ricordate Chips!?? ambientato in California, l'unico un po' scuro del gruppo era Poncherello! adesso sarebbe difficile metter su un cast di 5 persone bianche laggiù!

 

  By: pana on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 11:26

alevion , non ti mai venuto il dubbio che l 'America che cercavai NON E MAI ESISTITA se non nei film di Hollywood ?

 

  By: alevion on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 11:20

tradeoscar seondo me e' una brava perona e un valido trader, purtroppo temo che sia condizionato dalla inevitabile nostalgia per un mondo che non esiste piu', per l'america di happy days, o di film soavi come quelli anni 60, un america che tre anni fa io ho cercato e non ho mai ritrovato girando per tre settimane in lungo ed in largo con mia moglie in una chrysler pacifica che ha macinato 15000km, un america che adesso e' stata fagocitata da questa cricca apolide (sono sue parole!) che fino all'ultimo continuerà in questa rapina storica dell'umanità e la porterà al baratro.

 

  By: defilstrok on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 11:04

Meno male che Zibordi c'è! Viva Zibordi!

 

  By: shabib on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 09:47

FINALMENTE HO RILETTO QUI UN'ANALISI OTTIMA DI ZVANI COME NEI MIGLIORI SUOI PERIODI , ed anche se per i ciechi non ci sono indicazioni immediate operative , per me vale tanto oro a parola...........

 

  By: traderoscar on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 09:41

Il "momento Sputnik". "E' giunto il momento Sputnik per la nostra generazione", dice Obama, riferendosi agli sforzi che gli Usa devono fare per tornare ad essere i primi, come quando superarono i sovietici nella corsa alla spazio dopo avere perso la prima battuta.

Bernanke sta lavorando per la rivoluzione - GZ  

  By: GZ on Mercoledì 26 Gennaio 2011 02:31

Bernanke è in realtà un rivoluzionario, sta lavorando per la rivoluzione Bernanke schiaccia a zero i tassi di interessi nel 2008 e in più stampa 2 mila miliardi di dollari e li gira alle banche, direttamente e indirettamente, le banche li girano ai loro clienti istituzionali e ai loro desk di trading e speculano sulle materie prime, le borse e i bonds. Il dollaro si deprezza ovviamente e questo fa salire le materie prime perchè sono denominate in dollari. In parallelo la Cina stampa un 2 milia miliardi per pompare l'economia e assorbire i dollari che le entrano ed evitare che lo yuan salga così esporta da matti r(ovinando molte industrie americane ed europee) I miliardi di dollari stampati defluiscono subito dagli Stati Uniti e finiscono sui mercati globali tramite Goldman Sachs, Soros, JP Morgan, Barclay's.... mentre la disoccupazione arriva al 16% in America e milioni di persone hanno la casa pignorata. Salgono tutti i mercati paesi emergenti, i bonds spazzatura e le commodities e a Wall Street guadagnano come prima della crisi e a Natale incassano 300 miliardi di bonus. I consumi di lusso a Tiffany, Saks, Luois Vitton, Nordstrom o i gadget da 500 dollari di Apple vanno alla grande. Il Nasdaq sale. Gli americani che non lavorano in finanza o sono top manager o hanno patrimoni la prendono in quel posto perchè non ricevono niente sui loro risparmi con i tassi a zero e in più gli aumenta il costo della vita. Il numero di americani che riceve buoni alimentari dal governo per mangiare sale a 43 milioni. Il malcontento si diffonde e alle elezioni per il Congresso il partito di maggioranza e del presidente Obama subisce la maggiore disfatta del dopoguerra. Cambia il gabinetto di Obama, escono personaggi di Wall Street e ne entrano altri (sempre di Wall Street). I repubblicani che hanno vinto come segnale di cambiamento spingono una riduzione di tasse per i ricchi e per chi specula coi soldi della FED. Nessuno si ribella perchè Obama, Democratici e Repubblicani spendono altri 800 miliardi, dopo averne spesi 1.000 addizionali l'anno scorso e li distribuiscono a casaccio in modo clientelare per tamponare la situazione. Bernanke compra tutto questo debito pubblico addizionale che va in asta (stampando moneta) per paura che le aste vadano deserte. Il Dow Jones sale a 13mila punti e i consumi di lusso crescono del 15% in un anno Ancbe petrolio, gasolio, Soya, riso, frumento, olio di soya, mais, cotone, zucchero, caffè, cacao, carne salgono alla grande, anzi raddoppiano in un anno, l'inflazione sulle derrate alimentari sia in America che in Cina, India o Indonesia o medio oriente va da 10 al 20%. In Inghilterra dove hanno pompato moneta prima degli USA l'indice dei prezzi al consumo delle famiglie schizza al 4,5%, in India l'inflazione ufficiale è al 9.5%, in Cina è al 5%, per gli aimentari l'11% e le cifre vere sono più alte.... anche McDonald e altre multinazionali avvertono che i loro costi di materie prime stanno salendo. Bernanke al Senato dichiara che l'aumento delle commodities dipdende dalla maggiore domanda di miliardi di consumatori in Asia e terzo mondo. Mentre parla gli cresce il naso come Pinoccio (ma lo inquadrano di fronte così nessuno se ne accorge). Il Nasdaq sale del 30%. Per sfig... di Bernanke, Trichet, Hu-hsia-ching e il resto in Australia, Cina e altri paesi i raccolti siano devastati e danneggiati da inondazioni o siccità, i governi dei paesi poveri cominciano a fare piani di accaparammento e razionamento dei cereali. Scoppiano rivolte in diversi paesi poveri del Medio Oriente ed Asia, dimostrazioni anche in India e Cina (censurate). In Tunisia un uomo di 32 anni che da quando ne ha 10 lavora per mantenere la madre e i fratelli piccoli perchè orfano viene preso di mira da una poliziotta per strada che gli vuole togliere la carta che consente di lavorare, lo insulta e picchia davanti a tutti (come è normale in Tunisia). L'uomo disperato si da fuoco in piazza, gli amici e parenti tengono una manifestazione spontanea e le immagini circolano su internet, si hanno altre manifestazioni spontaneee, il presidente tunisino Ali Baba (detto "i 40 ladroni") allarmato va a trovare il disgraziato ustionato in ospedale con tanto di tv intorno, ma la mossa è controproducente, l'uomo muore il giorno dopo e e tutti ne parlano, il suo funerale viene vietato, ma centinanai di persone sfidano le autorità che tentennano e non arrestano e massacrano di botte tutti come al solito. Il giorno dopo sono migliaia in piazza, poi decine di migliaa e Ali Baba prepara l'aereo per scappare mentre la moglie passa alla banca centrale tunisina e si fa dare una tonnellata e mezzo di oro. Rischiando di far cadere l'aereo per il peso scappano in Egitto Manifestazioni simili si moltiplicano in Albana, Yemen, Algeria, Egitto alimentate dai video su internet e dalle reti come AlJazeera e in medio oriente in particolare i despoti locali pensano a come evitare la fine di Ceaucescu e loro mogli si chiedono se faranno in tempo a caricare tutto l'oro sull'aereo come Ali Baba a Tunisi. Nonostante la paura della feroce polizia segreta del regime di Mubarak che se ti prende in cella ti castra oggi ^migliaia di persone senza armi al Cairo mettono in fuga la polizia antisomossa#http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc000YDVY5o&feature=player_embedded#!^ (continua)

 

  By: GZ on Martedì 25 Gennaio 2011 03:13

Una storia di ^una coppia di canadesi andati a lavorare in Dubai#http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html^. Il più avanzato e moderno dei paesi arabi, il Dubai, resta un paese barbaro e di m.... E questa è la storia di due canadesi sfortunati (il marito si ammala di tumore al cervello, non gli pagano tutta la liquidazione, siccome ha accumulato qualche debito gli bloccano tutti i conti, li sfrattano e gli danno sei mesi di prigione.... Poi ci sono quelle di centinaia di migliaia di indiani che lavorano come schiavi 14 ore al giorno... ------------ ...Karen came here from Canada when her husband was offered a job in the senior division of a famous multinational. "When he said Dubai, I said – if you want me to wear black and quit booze, baby, you've got the wrong girl. But he asked me to give it a chance. And I loved him." All her worries melted when she touched down in Dubai in 2005. "It was an adult Disneyland, where Sheikh Mohammed is the mouse," she says. "Life was fantastic. You had these amazing big apartments, you had a whole army of your own staff, you pay no taxes at all. It seemed like everyone was a CEO. We were partying the whole time." Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. "We were drunk on Dubai," she says. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances. "We're not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. It was so unlike Daniel, I was surprised. We got into a little bit of debt." After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour. One doctor told him he had a year to live; another said it was benign and he'd be okay. But the debts were growing. "Before I came here, I didn't know anything about Dubai law. I assumed if all these big companies come here, it must be pretty like Canada's or any other liberal democracy's," she says. Nobody told her there is no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt and you can't pay, you go to prison. "When we realised that, I sat Daniel down and told him: listen, we need to get out of here. He knew he was guaranteed a pay-off when he resigned, so we said – right, let's take the pay-off, clear the debt, and go." So Daniel resigned – but he was given a lower pay-off than his contract suggested. The debt remained. As soon as you quit your job in Dubai, your employer has to inform your bank. If you have any outstanding debts that aren't covered by your savings, then all your accounts are frozen, and you are forbidden to leave the country. "Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment." Karen can't speak about what happened next for a long time; she is shaking. Daniel was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. "He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn't face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him." Karen managed to beg from her friends for a few weeks, "but it was so humiliating. I've never lived like this. I worked in the fashion industry. I had my own shops. I've never..." She peters out. Daniel was sentenced to six months' imprisonment at a trial he couldn't understand. It was in Arabic, and there was no translation. "Now I'm here illegally, too," Karen says I've got no money, nothing. I have to last nine months until he's out, somehow." Looking away, almost paralysed with embarrassment, she asks if I could buy her a meal. She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars. "The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems," Karen says at last. "Nothing. This isn't a city, it's a con-job. They lure you in telling you it's one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it's a medieval dictatorship."

 

  By: GZ on Mercoledì 29 Giugno 2005 20:18

in Italia sono più di un milione e tra i nuovi nati nel centro-nord gli emigrati sono il 20-21% di cui i musulmani sono la maggioranza In Emilia ad esempio almeno il 10-12% dei bambini nascono da musulmani e sommandoli all'emigrazione vuole dire che tra una generazione saranno il 20% della popolazione In USA essendo il medioriente lontano è difficile per loro emigrare, saranno forse il 5% degli emigrati correnti, mentre in Italia sono il 70% degli emigrati che arrivano. Dato che il tasso di fertilità italiano è 1.2 per donna e quello americano vicino al 2.0 per donna l'impatto inoltre è molto minore nel tempo in ogni caso, mentre da noi è enorme. Qui da noi vedi solo donne con il velo e non ce n'è una che sia una che può sgarrare, tutte con l'aria sottomessa al marito che le ha fatte arrivare dal Marocco tramite un accordo con la famiglia che ha arrangiato il matrimonio. Stanno buone e zitte e se non si mettono il velo fino alla caviglia rischiano botte o l'ostracismo della comunità, non parlano con nessun italiano al di fuori delle mura di casa, escono solo per fare la spesa e per il resto fanno quattro figli, a casa stanno tutti con la parabola per sentire la propaganda di Al Jazeera. Immagina i figli che allevano. E' gente diversa da quella che vedi in buona parte degli USA: in California ad es i musulmani sono tutti iraniani scappati negli anni '70 quando è arrivato Khomeini, gente della classe media ed educata, nessuna donna iraniana americana l'ho mai vista il velo, vedi minigonne e short e bikini, lavorano come le altre americane, escono alla sera, divorziano e prendono la pillola, è gente integrata nel mondo occidentale, anzi non vogliono avere molto a che fare con il mondo degli Iman. Perlomeno gli iraniani, irakeni e kurdi (i palestinesi no) sono contro gli ayatollah e bin ladin, non guardano al jazeera, ma anzi hanno stazioni TV che dagli USA trasmettono in medio oriente e specialmente in Iran cose contro il regime degli ayatollah

 

  By: DOTT JOSE on Mercoledì 29 Giugno 2005 19:56

in Usa ci sono circa 6 milioni di musulmani in italia circa 1 milione facendo le debite proporzioni non mi pare che in america siano messi meglio che da noi,...forsa la differenza la fa il fatto che la Fallaci non ha il mufti sottocasa che canta le preghiere come da Zibordi.. (ecco la comodita di abitare in un grattacielo...!!! e si spiegano i prezzi da 40 milioni di dollari!! )

 

  By: GZ on Lunedì 27 Giugno 2005 02:44

Il Wall Street Journal che con circa 2 milioni e mezzo di copie vendute e' il giornale internazionale (nel genere serio altrimenti ci sarebbero la Bild e simili) piu' diffuso al mondo ha dedicato all'unica scrittrice italiana letta all'estero un ampia intervista intitolata : "Profeta del Declino" . Visto che di scrittori/scrittrici italiani che vendano centinaia di migliaia di copie in tutto il mondo al momento non ce ne sono penseresti che magari tra un matrimonio di Totti e una dichiarazione di Casini qualcuno la riprendesse. Ma OOPS!... si tratta di Oriana Fallaci che e' radiottiva, l'invidia per chi fa fortuna all'estero sbattendosene andare a leccare in Tv, nelle case editrici e redazioni politicizzate italiane (RCS-Corriere della Sera e le manovre di borsa ?...) e la vigliaccheria che fa stare alla larga di chi si espone a dire la verita' sull'islamizzazione vincente (Oriana e' stata condannata a morte da diversi gruppi islamici stile Rushdie) prevale sulla decenza. Comunque leggendola purtroppo si capisce che l'Oriana ormai e' alla fine con la sua malattia e quindi questa e' una delle ultime occasioni di sentirla dal vivo, ma restano ovviamente i suoi libri e ^in particolare il capolavoro del 1992, "Insciallah"#http://bur.rcslibri.corriere.it/sclibro.php?idlb=1359^ il libro contemporaneo in italiano che mi porterei appresso nella proverbiale isola deserta avendo (che gia' dieci anni fa anticipava tante cose) -------------------------------------------------- Prophet of Decline By TUNKU VARADARAJAN June 23, 2005; Page A12 NEW YORK -- Oriana Fallaci faces jail. In her mid-70s, stricken with a cancer that, for the moment, permits only the consumption of liquids -- so yes, we drank champagne in the course of a three-hour interview -- one of the most renowned journalists of the modern era has been indicted by a judge in her native Italy under provisions of the Italian Penal Code which proscribe the "vilipendio," or "vilification," of "any religion admitted by the state." In her case, the religion deemed vilified is Islam, and the vilification was perpetrated, apparently, in a book she wrote last year -- and which has sold many more than a million copies all over Europe -- called "The Force of Reason." Its astringent thesis is that the Old Continent is on the verge of becoming a dominion of Islam, and that the people of the West have surrendered themselves fecklessly to the "sons of Allah." So, in a nutshell, Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs -- which is one reason why she has chosen to stay put in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment. It is a shame, in so many ways, that "vilipend," the latinate word that is the pinpoint equivalent in English of the Italian offense in question, is scarcely ever used in the Anglo-American lexicon; for it captures beautifully the pomposity, as well as the anachronistic outlandishness, of the law in question. A "vilification," by contrast, sounds so sordid, so tabloid -- hardly fitting for a grande dame. * * * "When I was given the news," Ms. Fallaci says of her recent indictment, "I laughed. Bitterly, of course, but I laughed. No amusement, no surprise, because the trial is nothing else but a demonstration that everything I've written is true." An activist judge in Bergamo, in northern Italy, took it upon himself to admit a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch. The complainant, one Adel Smith -- who, despite his name, is Muslim, and an incendiary public provocateur to boot -- has a history of anti-Fallaci crankiness, and is widely believed to be behind the publication of a pamphlet, "Islam Punishes Oriana Fallaci," which exhorts Muslims to "eliminate" her. (Ironically, Mr. Smith, too, faces the peculiar charge of vilipendio against religion -- Roman Catholicism in his case -- after he described the Catholic Church as "a criminal organization" on television. Two years ago, he made news in Italy by filing suit for the removal of crucifixes from the walls of all public-school classrooms, and also, allegedly, for flinging a crucifix out of the window of a hospital room where his mother was being treated. "My mother will not die in a room where there is a crucifix," he said, according to hospital officials.) Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty." Such words -- "invaders," "invasion," "colony," "Eurabia" -- are deeply, immensely, Politically Incorrect; and one is tempted to believe that it is her tone, her vocabulary, and not necessarily her substance or basic message, that has attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites). "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Ms. Fallaci's. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: "The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavor of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed. When I ask her what "solution" there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, Ms. Fallaci flares up like a lit match. "How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It's like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did?" She then says "Phwah, phwah," and gestures at slashing her wrists. "He committed suicide!" Seneca was accused of being involved in a plot to murder the emperor Nero. Without a trial, he was ordered by Nero to kill himself. One senses that Ms. Fallaci sees in Islam the shadow of Nero. "What could Seneca do?" she asks, with a discernible shudder. "He knew it would end that way -- with the fall of the Roman Empire. But he could do nothing." * * * The impending Fall of the West, as she sees it, now torments Ms. Fallaci. And as much as that Fall, what torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward its precipice of choice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!" -- a reference to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the conservative father, with the radical Garibaldi, of Modern Italy. Ms. Fallaci, rarely reverent, pauses here to reflect on the man, and on the question of where all the conservatives have gone in Europe. "In the beginning, I was dismayed, and I asked, how is it possible that we do not have Cavour . . . just one Cavour, uno? He was a revolutionary, and yes, he was not of the left. Italy needs a Cavour -- Europe needs a Cavour." Ms. Fallaci describes herself, too, as "a revolutionary" -- "because I do what conservatives in Europe don't do, which is that I don't accept to be treated like a delinquent." She professes to "cry, sometimes, because I'm not 20 years younger, and I'm not healthy. But if I were, I would even sacrifice my writing to enter politics somehow." Here she pauses to light a slim black cigarillo, and then to take a sip of champagne. Its chill makes her grimace, but fortified, she returns to vehement speech, more clearly evocative of Oswald Spengler than at any time in our interview. "You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why all the other civilizations have collapsed -- from an excess of welfare, of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality." (She uses "welfare" here in the sense of wellbeing, so she is talking, really, of decadence.) "The moment you give up your principles, and your values . . . the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period." The force with which she utters the word "dead" here is startling. I reach for my flute of champagne, as if for a crutch. * * * "I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger." I had asked Ms. Fallaci whether there was any contemporary leader she admired, and Pope Benedict XVI was evidently a man in whom she reposed some trust. "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. It's that simple! There must be some human truth here that is beyond religion." Ms. Fallaci, who made her name by interviewing numerous statesmen (and not a few tyrants), believes that ours is "an age without leaders. We stopped having leaders at the end of the 20th century." Of George Bush, she will concede only that he has "vigor," and that he is "obstinate" (in her book a compliment) and "gutsy . . . Nobody obliged him to do anything about Terri Schiavo, or to take a stand on stem cells. But he did." But it is "Ratzinger" (as she insists on calling the pope) who is her soul mate. John Paul II -- "Wojtyla" -- was a "warrior, who did more to end the Soviet Union than even America," but she will not forgive him for his "weakness toward the Islamic world. Why, why was he so weak?" The scant hopes that she has for the West she rests on his successor. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote frequently on the European (and the Western) condition. Last year, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci reads this to me: "The West reveals . . . a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West . . . no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure." "Ecco!" she says. A man after her own heart. "Ecco!" But I cannot be certain whether I see triumph in her eyes, or pain. * * * As for the vilipendio against Islam, she refuses to attend the trial in Bergamo, set for June 2006. "I don't even know if I will be around next year. My cancers are so bad that I think I've arrived at the end of the road. What a pity. I would like to live not only because I love life so much, but because I'd like to see the result of the trial. I do think I will be found guilty." At this point she laughs. Bitterly, of course, but she laughs. Mr. Varadarajan is the editorial features editor of The Wall Street Journal.

La storia del soldato Dakel - gz  

  By: GZ on Venerdì 04 Aprile 2003 16:21

La storia del soldato irakeno Dakel Abbas, raccolta in un ospedale kuwaitiano nel 1991 dall'unica scrittrice italiana letta all'estero Oriana Fallaci. Questa gente rispetto a noi vive su un altro pianeta da qualunque punto di vista. I discorsi generali servono a niente se non si prova un attimo a immedesimarsi a come vivono laggiù. (A partire dal divieto di portare qualunque indumento bianco, incluse mutande e canottiere, per qualunque soldato irakeno...) ----------------------------------- Dakel Abbas's soliloquy (Wall Street Journal 2/4/2003) ---------------------------- "...Listen to me, I beg you. Don't go. I am so alone. Besides, when I talk I feel less pain. Listen to me and look what they have done to me. Twelve shots, twelve. One at the right shoulder, one at the left shoulder. One at the right arm, one at the left arm. One at the right hand, one at the left hand. One at the right hip, one at the left hip. One at the right leg, one at the left leg. One at the right foot, one at the left foot. Yet Abdul was waving the white flag, he really was. He had taken off his white underpants, he had fixed them to a stick, and while waving them he screamed: "Don't shoot, don't shoot! We surrender!" Abdul the Kurd, I mean. My pal, the guy who disobeyed orders and wore white underpants. In the Iraqi Army we cannot wear white underpants. It's forbidden like wearing white vests or white socks or white handkerchiefs. Do you know why? Because with white underpants and white vests and white socks and white handkerchiefs soldiers can make white flags and surrender. Yet Abdul never took off his white underpants. Never. Not even to wash them. If an officer confiscated them, goodbye white flag. But those wicked guys shot us all the same. The guys with the red armband, I mean. The guys of the Kuwaiti Resistance...Ya'Allah, Ya'Allah, who ever heard of a Kuwaiti resistance? And who ever imagine that they would be so nasty? After piercing me with ten shots they also beat me. And while beating me they yelled: "You raper, you thief!" Useless to answer: "No, no, I did not rape anybody! I did not steal anything!" Well... Once I did. I was so hungry. For weeks the army had been feeding us only with two slices of bread in the morning and two slices of bread in the evening. Nothing else but water, and when I saw that Kuwaiti woman with the bag full of eggs and cheese and bananas I didn't control myself. I stretched my hand and said: "Give it to me." Thus, she gave it to me. At once, without a word. I mean, I did what soldiers do. I have been a soldier for one year and four months. That is, since the scoundrel who spies for the chief of my village came looking for me and asked my wife: "Where is Dakel?" "In the field picking cucumbers," she answered. "Then call him and tell him that within two hours he must be at the district to enlist," he said. Ya'Allah, Ya'Allah. I don't like to be a soldier. Not even in peacetime. I don't like to stay in the soldiers' barracks, in the cities where people read the newspaper and repeat like parrots what the newspaper writes. I am a peasant. I like to stay on my land, to raise cucumbers and onions and eggplants. Moreover, soldiers go to war. In war we die. We get wounded, mutilated, or we die. My father was a soldier and died in war. The war with Iran. My uncle, too. Yet I went all the same to the district, I could not refuse... The chief of my village is so evil. He always says that Saddam is a great man, a great leader who wants the glory of Iraq, and if you say the contrary you are dead. The previous chief of my village, no. He was good. He hated Saddam and said that Saddam is a liar, a buffoon, a bandit surrounded by bandits, a criminal who builds his palaces at the people's expense. So one night they arrested him. They executed him. And in his place they put the one who spies on us with his spies. I went. So they enlisted me and sent me to Basra where people read the newspaper and repeat like parrots what the newspaper writes. Here they gave me a uniform and put me in an artillery unit where everybody came from other tribes, spoke other dialects, and I did not understand what they said. But I found Abdul who spoke my dialect though he was Kurdish. He was so nice, Abdul. So kind, so merciful. Last July it was Abdul who translated for me what the colonel said to the troops. He said that we would occupy Kuwait to defend it from the Americans and from the Israelis who were planning an invasion to steal the oil wells. And would you believe it? When I heard those words I felt better. I felt proud to defend Kuwait. Because during the war against Iran the Kuwaitis had helped us Iraqis a lot. With money, meat, rice, fruit. Oh, I have never eaten so much fruit as during the war against Iran. All Kuwaiti fruit. Besides, I am a Muslim. And Kuwait is a Muslim country, a brother country. I also felt happy because I thought that they would be happy to see us arrive. That they would applaud us, throw flowers at us. But when I arrived, at the end of October, I immediately changed my mind. I immediately understood that Saddam had told my colonel a lie. I understood it because the Kuwaitis were looking at us with such rancor. Women looked frightened, children never smiled, and one day... You see, at the end of October we had candies. So one day I kneeled in front of a child, I handed him a candy, I said: "Do you want it?" And the child burst in tears. He ran away crying: "Mommy! Mommy!" I understood it also because Abdul explained to me that the whole world was against us. That only the Jordanians and the Palestinians were on our side, and that the Americans would soon attack Iraq. Besides, in my unit everybody hated Saddam. They cursed him like the good chief of my village used to curse him before being arrested and executed. I mean, openly. They called him terrible names, they wanted to desert, to escape... I wanted too. To Iran. And the reason is that once my father had said to me: "Dakel! If I die, remember that those who hate Saddam are right. He does not give a damn for us soldiers. He considers us animals for slaughter and that's all. Dakel! If he makes another war, you must desert. Escape. You must go to Iran. Cucumbers and onions and eggplants can be raised in Iran as well as in Iraq." Abdul, no. He did not want to escape to Iran. He said that the Kurds are butchered in Iran more than in Iraq, that he preferred to escape to Saudi Arabia, and did not do it only because the road to Saudi Arabia was a mine-field: and he would blow up. As for me, I escaped nowhere because deserting is dangerous. If they catch you, they shoot you on the spot. They also arrest your family, they rape your wife and your mother and your sisters and your cousins. Then the Americans made the war. And in my unit everybody began to say: "No need to take the risk of deserting. Saddam will withdraw. He will leave Kuwait and get us home." Everybody, yes. Including the officers. One night Abdul and I walked around the commander's tent and the colonel was yelling: "He will, he will! He has realized that this war is lost since the moment it started!" The captain said: "Agreed, agreed. Let's be ready, then! So we surrender to the Americans and we go to New York, we get rich." Only one objected. He said: "Nonsense. Don't forget that we have the gas." We had it. True. We had the one we launch with the artillery shells. Some helicopters had brought it in December, and though the captain said that the gas is very risky because if it is launched when the wind blows in the wrong direction it kills the Iraqis not the Americans, those shells gave us a sense of reassurance. They made us feel almost safe. But one day the commander reviewed the unit. While he reviewed the unit we saw that the officers kept a little bag tied to their belt, and Abdul asked the sergeant: "What is that bag?" "It is a gas mask," the sergeant replied. "And why do the officers have a gas mask?" "Because the Americans too have the gas," the sergeant replied. As a consequence we got angry. "It is not fair! If the Americans too have the gas, we must have the mask like the officers!" we protested. We also became impatient to use those shells, and I don't understand why we never did. Not even at the last moment. I mean, when the Americans came and...I don't remember when the Americans came. I was so scared, and my head was as empty as an empty pumpkin. I only remember that we did not fight. There was no time to fight. There was a tremendous confusion and that's all. The officers ran like goats in a storm, and one yelled: "The orders! Where are the orders?" Another one yelled: "What orders? We no longer receive orders! We have lost all contact!" Then we heard a scream: "Let us leave, let us leave!" But at that point the officers had already left on the cars requisitioned from Kuwaiti civilians. The trucks for the troops had left too with their plunder. TV sets, food, garments, merchandise stolen from Kuwaiti shops. We soldiers had to go by foot, and Abdul said: "Trust my white underpants, boys. Follow me." I followed him along with ten comrades, each of us carrying the Kalashnikov and the ammunition. But it was a very dark night, the smoke coming from the oil-wells in flames made the dark even darker, and instead of taking the road that goes to Iraq we took the road that goes to Saudi Arabia. At the frontier with Saudi Arabia the Saudis opened fire, and killed six of us. Two from Basra, two from Bakuba, one from Suleimaniya, one from Samarrah. The one from Samarrah was sixty years old. They had drafted him though he was sixty years old. The one from Suleimaniya was sixteen. They had drafted him though he was sixteen. What happened next? Well: it happened that only four of us remained alive, and being alive we ran back. We ran and ran until we found the right road, the road for Jaharan. Here Abdul sat on the ground, and said: "Boys, we cannot go on this way. We are too tired, too hungry. Either a car gets us to Iraq, or I take off my white underpants and we surrender." He said it, yes. And at the same moment a car appeared. It stopped and the man who drove it, a very elegant man, addressed us with a big smile. He said: "Are you Iraqis? I am Palestinian. Do you want to go to Iraq? I get you to Iraq." Then, while we were joyfully crying thank-you-sir, thank-you-sir, he raised his hand and snapped: "One hundred twenty-five dinars each!" Ya'Allah, ya'Allah! One hundred twenty-five dinars each! Five hundred dinars in all! Who gave us so much money? The Iraqi Army pays a soldier fifteen dinars a month, and in the last two months nobody had been paid a cent. We nervously emptied our pockets. We put together eighty dinars and fifty cents, we nervously handed the amount to him, and in doing so we were sure that he would say: "All right, I'll get you there all the same." Aren't the Palestinians our friends, our allies? But he didn't. His big smile became a big laugh, his car left. So fast that we couldn't even kill him. The rest is tragedy. Sorrow, fear, tragedy. Because blind with rage and frustration we threw the Kalashnikovs and the ammunition away. We started again to walk and at dawn we reached the frontier with Iraq. Well, not really the frontier. Between us and the frontier there were two or three hundred yards. Yet for me it was already Iraq. I felt as if I was already in my village with my wife and my cucumbers, my onions, my eggplants. In fact I did not see the red-armband guys. I did not hear their bawling "Stop! Don't move or we shoot!" I only heard Abdul who said, "Boys, the moment has come for me to wave my white flag." Then he took off his trousers, took off his underpants. He put on the trousers again, he secured the underpants to a stick, he made a white flag. He waved it, he screamed: "Don't shoot, don't shoot, we surrender!" And, while he was waving it, none of us noticed that it did not look like a white flag. That the never-washed white underpants had become very dirty and were no longer white. They were black. So the flag he was waving was not a white flag. It was a black flag. And they shot. They pierced me this way, and they killed Abdul. They killed him, yes. And I cannot go home. If I go, the chief of my village tells Saddam that I have thrown away the Kalashnikov, the ammunition. And Saddam executes me. Please ask the Americans not to send me home. Please explain to the Americans that if they do I am a dead man. Please! I beg you, please... (da: Oriana Fallaci, WSJ 3/4/2003)