The War in Iraq Etc


By Naazish YarKhan

Spring is in the air. How would I know if I were oblivious of the longer days, the warmer weather? Well, I’d know because I’d have allergies. Yes, tis’ the season for sneezing and wheezing, but I guess I take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. Naw.. it’s not like everyone else I know is in the same boat… it’s just the multitude of commercials selling anti-allergy prescription medicines that are suddenly hitting the air waves, that tell me I am not alone.

This week hasn’t been impossible. I only have to finish up a few pages of proofreading the magazine I work for, Halal Consumer magazine, and send it to the designer. Anyone out there, who wants to advertise to Muslims in Chicago, give me a holler and I’ll send you the rates. Halal Consumer Magazine reaches 40,000 Muslim families and organizations in the US and abroad and according to Business Week,( Jan. 2007), "59% of Muslim adults in the U.S. have a college degree, compared with only 28% of all American adults. Surveys show that median family income among America's Muslims exceeds the national figure of $55,800. And four out of five eligible Muslims are registered to vote, slightly higher than the overall rate." So it’s a great audience, to market to.

This week I did get, and then lose, a contract to do some web content, leaving me feeling very dashed at the lost, potential income. The deflated hopes flitted around my head despite my telling myself that if I lost the project, I’d have more time to actually work on my novel and sell it. So this is the last time I am going to think of the loss. Split milk. No crying. After all, I do have other work, other income.

Last week wasn’t that bad either. The weekend however was choc-a-bloc. Attended a Peace Rally to Bring the Troops home from Iraq. About 50 people were in attendance that crisp, chilly, sunny Saturday morning. Bush’s ratings are at an all time low of 30 percent and he has nothing to lose since there’s no reelection on the horizon, so he continues to do as he pleases.

Talking of politics, Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton are already doing fundraisers for the 2008 presidential elections and their respective campaigns for the seat. Hillary hasn’t apologized for voting to invade Iraq when the idea was first presented to Congress, four years ago, so I won’t be voting for her next year. That aside, what kind of woman, stays with a husband given to extra-marital affairs? Monica Lewinsky made the most news, but there have always been women in former President Clinton’s life, and as much as I am impressed by his/her work ethic, I am not quite sure if I’d vote for a woman who stayed in a relationship for, what to me seems, like little more than political gain. Why wouldn’t you leave a man who constantly cheats on you? It’s not like Hillary didn’t know what Bill was up to. But then again, ask me if I would vote for Bill Clinton, and I’d say, “Yes. He makes a great president, why drag his personal life into the picture.” Go figure!

Barack Obama doesn’t have my vote for president, so far, either. I am not going to vote for someone, just because they happen to be a charismatic person of color. While President Carter is going blue in the face calling the situation in Palestine ‘Apartheid’, and while the media can’t stop hating his guts for doing that, Congressman Obama still comes out in favor of Israel ‘having the right to protect itself.’ Sure, let Israel protect itself I say, but then when the Palestinians ‘protect’ themselves, don’t call it ‘terrorism.’ I am disappointed that Obama choose to tout the party line instead of thinking for himself. My naivete annoys my husband. ‘He’s a democrat, representing the democratic party. Of course he’s going to spout the party line. That’s why it’s called a party line,” my husband reminds me. Well, yes. And in the end, everything is political, but I’d like someone who has the courage to stand up for the truth as well. To see things as they are. I guess the consequences are dire, for doing things like that when you’re a politician.

To those not in the US or not into following politics, all this talk of an election that’s going to take place in Nov. 2008, must seem so ludicrous. But really, it’s not. The main issue, is Iraq. The Democrats won both Houses of Congress in November 2006 because of Iraq. It was a mid term election with the largest turnout of voters, because of Iraq. Iraq continues to be a defining issue and hence, all this early interest in the 2008 presidential elections. On this the 4th anniversary of the Iraq War, 500,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. Tens of thousands have escaped to Syria and Jordan. Only 500 were permitted entry into the US. 2000 plus U.S soldiers have died. Where does the candidate stand on this issue, is what’s on everyone’s mind. How soon will the troops be brought home? What is to become of the Iraqi people? Big Questions. How our presidential candidates answer them, could potentially make or break their bid for president.