Wednesday, August 09, 2017

You really do have to have friends

Sunny and I were talking on the phone today about what made a good song for us.

For me, it comes down to realism and can I relate?

Stevie Nicks is someone I can truly relate to -- especially her epic songs.

Take "Imperial Hotel" which she wrote with Mike Campbell (ROCK A LITTLE):

Sits across the table...same glass table
And she cries to her friend...why am I so alone
He says, wo, wo, baby...oh, my baby
You have to have to know

She knows in her heart
That he will stand by her
Anywhere...don't cry, baby
I can save you
Don't cry baby, I can save you
She's at the Imperial Hotel
Don't cry baby, I can save you

Who hasn't sat across the table from a friend discussing love's woes?

Or take "Sara" (the hit she wrote -- and sang lead on -- for Fleetwood Mac):

Drowning in the sea of love
Where everyone would love to drown
And now it's gone
It doesn't matter anymore
When you build your house
Call me home

Hold on
The night is coming and the starling
flew for days
I'd stay home at night all the time
I'd go anywhere, anywhere
Ask me and I'm there because I care

Sara, you're the poet in my heart
Never change, never stop
And now it's gone
It doesn't matter what for
When you build your house
I'll come by

Who can't identify with the "When you build your house, Call me home"?  (TUSK is the album, by the way.)

Or take "Wild Heart" (from Stevie's solo album of the same name) where she captures the end of the affair:

Fire on fire...rain on my face
Fever goes higher...what can you do
Wild in the darkest places of your mind
That's where I needed you
Where I needed you most
That's where I needed you
Where I needed you most

Where is the reason
Well don't blame it on me
Blame it on my wild heart
There is a reason
Why even the angels
Don't give up at all
Where are the children
Well are they hopelessly enchanted
Blame it on the angels
Where are the reasons
Don't blame it on our wild hearts
Wild heart...wild heart...wild heart

Or the epic from her latest album 24 KARAT GOLD, ''Hard Advice:"

Sometimes, late at night
I turn on the radio
Your music fills the room
I just can't seem to get away from you
Saw a life-size paper doll of you
In a record store
My friends, as well as me
Can't seem to let you go
It was finished long ago
Sometimes he's my best friend
Even when he's not around
But the sound of his voice
Well, it follows me down
And reminds me
Another famous friend told me
"Love doesn't make a clean break"
Didn't talk about heartache
"You have to let him go" Oh
Get over it
Remember how it was
Before our infamous past
Had begun
You have to let him go
He gives such hard advice, oh
He gives such hard advice
He says, "Don't think twice
Turn off the radio
It was finished long ago
Go write some real songs
This is all wrong"

Stevie Nicks reaches me.  Her life -- in her songs -- has context.  There's love, there's friendship, there is adventure.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, August 9, 2017.  The quest for Kurdish independence continues, the brain drain continues, the displacement is expected to grow.

Let's start with the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government.

President Barzani: It is an honor to have this meeting w/Kurdistan Muslim clerics 2explain the way forward . Referandum is for independence

Now Preisdent Barzani in Erbil meeting w/1000 Kurdistan Muslim clerics.Referendum is not only for Kurds,for all other nations in Kurdistan.

President Barzani: Iraq failed 2accept Kurdistan partnership. Destruction 4500villages,Anfal, chemical bombardment,genocide, arabization.

President Barzani: The Post 2003 Iraq failed Partnership,no power sharing, 55 articles of constitution violated,marginalizing Sunnis, Kurds.

President Barzani: We contributed a lot to make Iraq a functioning federal state. In 2004 Kurds were 40% of Iraqi Army, now it is zero.

President Barzani: We hav stated many times if Iraq continues in violating constitution,not accepting consensus, we will not b part of Iraq.

President Barzani: those countries who say the referendum is ill timed, what is their suggestion for a good time? What is alternative?

If not now, then when?

KRG President Massoud Barzani makes a good point there.

Repeatedly over the years, various think tanks -- including RAND -- have warned that this issue has the potential to be an explosive one.

Which is why you don't leave it on the backburner.

If this had been addressed in 2007, for example, any fallout could have been addressed by now.

Grasp that the US military remains in Iraq.

Grasp that some will always insist that the US military remains.

The longer this issue of independence is postponed, the longer some will insist the US must remain in Iraq.

KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has scheduled and insists on holding a referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region on Sep. 25, 2017, to decide whether or not to secede from the rest of Iraq.
Barzani stated that the move toward independence is part of a peaceful process aimed at deterring violence. “The main purpose [of the referendum] is to prevent further tragedies and wars from taking place[in the future].”
Regarding the timing of the vote, the President noted that if the Kurdistan Region waited for others to accept its decision, the right time would never come.

“Independence is a legitimate claim for our people, and the referendum can rightfully be held, at the earliest opportunity, so the world can be made aware of the will of the people of Kurdistan… We do not want to spend another 100-years repeating the same tragedies tied to the Iraqi state.”

What a change that is from the Jalal Talabani -- the ridiculous Jalal.

Dropping back to the March 16, 2009 snapshot:

Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:

Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey , Iran and Syria would close their borders.          
"I tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.


Sabah got the interview and they quote Talabani stating, "Iraq will not be separated and the civil war is over" and "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry. I do not deny that there are poems devoted to the notion of a united Kurdistan. But we can not continue to dream." If accurate, Talabani's remarks will spark anger among some Kurds. And it may be a great deal of anger and it may be among many Iraqi Kurds.

Jalal Talabani, the sell out.  The only time he ever fought was to be first in line at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Regardless of how the vote turns out, no one can claim Barzani didn't try.

Dropping back to last Friday:

In familiar news, Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:
Last week, unknown assailants broke into the medical clinic of Iraqi doctor, Salim Abdul-Hamzah, in the Maamel neighbourhood of Baghdad. In other parts of Baghdad, two doctors were kidnapped: Mohammed Ali Zayer who works in a hospital in the Sadr City area and Saad Abdul Hur who had a private clinic in the New Baghdad neighbourhood. In the same week, a dentist, Shatha Faleh, was killed in a medical centre in the Washwash area.
All of the above happened within the space of just one week in Baghdad. No wonder Iraqi doctors are worried.

“The recent crime wave targeting Iraqi doctors is catastrophic for the country,” Jasib al-Hajami, a senior official in the Baghdad health department, told NIQASH. “The doctors and medical staff are the real wealth of our country and these crimes targeting them will push medical professionals out of Iraq. In fact, many of them have migrated or are thinking about migrating. More efforts must be made to protect them.”
On June 25, doctors in Baghdad and in other parts of the country organised sit-ins inside their local hospitals to protest the crime wave that appeared aimed at them and their colleagues. Their banners called upon the Ministry of Health to offer them better protection and the individuals protesting also warned of a decrease in the number of trained professionals in Iraq.


Longtime observers will read the above and nod while thinking of the "brain drain" as it was called in earlier waves.  Shi'ite militias targeted doctors throughout the Iraq War.  In part, it was a war on science.  The doctors and others with technical expertise that fled Iraq during the waves were part of a "brain drain."

This moring, Peter Schwartzstein (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Since the 2003 U.S. invasion, Baghdad’s intellectual and cultural elite has left its turbulent homeland, fleeing violence, persecution and an economy with fewer and fewer good jobs. Tens of thousands have moved to the U.S., where many have enjoyed considerable success. Over half a million others—including many of the country’s most educated people—have moved elsewhere in the Middle East. And their numbers have increased since the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) conquered up to 40 percent of the country in 2014.
ISIS has since been pushed out of most of Iraq, but many Iraqis aren’t returning. In countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf states, talented Iraqi émigrés continue to staff hospitals, design roads, extract oil and lecture students. And as the country continues to bound from one crisis to the next, in part due to rampant corruption and mismanagement, its most educated citizens are succeeding in their new homes—and finding life in exile more and more appealing.
“We needed a safe environment to work and live, and they needed skilled labor,” says Ali Nawaz, a Saudi-based petroleum engineer, who skipped out of Baghdad after a death threat in 2006. “It’s been a good match.”

Whether more will leave Iraq in the coming weeks or not, displacement with Iraq is expected to increase.  NRT reports:

 The U.N.’s humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq warned of possible evacuations of hundreds of thousands of civilians as the Iraqi forces prepare for three other operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the country.  
“We think that by the end of those military operations several hundred thousand more civilians are likely to be displaced,” Lise Grande told reporters on Tuesday (August 8) in Geneva.
Grande further said teams are moving to areas near the expected operations in Tal Afar near Mosul and Hawija in Kirkuk province to the southeast and the western Anbar province. 

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

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