Saturday, December 31, 2011

From our Neighbors to the North

In an otherwise unrelated article in The New Yorker [not free online], The Sanctuary: The world's oldest temple and the dawn of civilization, by Elif Batuman, in the magazine's Dept. of Archaeology, published in the special double issue 19-26 December 2011. Locus of article is the archaeological site Göbekli Tepe, located near the town of Şanlıurfa (formerly Urfa / Edessa), in southeastern Turkey near Syria.
[ . . . ]

After my last afternoon at Göbekli Tepe, I decided to devote the rest of the day to the other Urfa pilgrimage--the Abraham one. [ . . . ]

I reached a large park with manicured lawns, a rose garden, gushing fountains and shady tea gardens, and made my way to a rectangular stone-line pool crammed with fat gray carp, indicating the spot where Nimrod failed to burn up Abraham. It's said that anyone who eats one of these carp will go blind. All kinds of people--tough-looking men in black leather jackets, women in shapeless trenchcoats and head scarves, two girls dressed like Arabian princesses with gold coins on their foreheads--were buying fish food from the venders and hurling it into the pond by the fistful. The sacred carp accumulated in a great heap below the surface of the water, their gaping circular mouths angled upward.

[ . . . ]
Fish Haiku #15

Giant sacred Carp

Living in the lakes protect

Iraq's future hopes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


from an otherwise unrelated New York Times article about the discovery of classified documents in an Iraqi junkyard:
The 400 pages of interrogations, once closely guarded as secrets of war, were supposed to have been destroyed as the last American troops prepare to leave Iraq. Instead, they were discovered along with reams of other classified documents, including military maps showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.
Fish Haiku #15

Giant sacred Carp

Living in the lakes protect

Iraq's future hopes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Farewell to the Americans!

It had to happen. Yesterday, at a formal ceremony at Al-Faw Palace, the United States, represented by Vice President Joseph R. "Joe" Biden, Jr., turned over Camp Victory and the Victory Base Complex [VBC] to the Government of Iraq and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani, effective today. This is one of the final steps in implementing the Bilateral Security Agreement between the two countries, reached in late 2008.

We, The Fish at Al-Faw Palace, must - and will - now survive by, with and through the Iraqi people.

Fish Haiku #15

Giant sacred carp

Living in the lakes protect

Iraq's future hopes

Hat tip to BLT and NPR.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veterans Day: We Make the New York Times!

Here's the caption of a pic we can't figure out how to post: Large carp live in the canals and lakes of the complex, and the fish were cause for many rumors among Iraqis. The Iraqi government harvested a number of the fish in the waters around the Al Faw Palace to use in restocking many of the rivers and lakes in Iraq in 2009. Note: This refers to Operation Carpe Diem. From Leaving Camp Victory in Baghdad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fish Haiku #26

Fish Haiku #26

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Dead.

Soldiers leave Camp Victory . . .

Who will feed The Fish?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our first link: from The Washington Post

Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, getting ready to close, by Annie Gowen.
[ . . . ]

The base eventually came to have its own myths and urban legends, such as the often-told story about the outsize carp that still swim in the lake outside the al-Faw palace. These fish were said to have developed a taste for human flesh after they were fed Hussein’s victims, a tale that has never been substantiated. They will eat a baby duck whole, however; you can see it on their fan Web site.

[ . . . ]


We thank Annie Gowen of The Washington Post for sharing us, The Fish at Al-Faw Palace, with all humanity, as part of our World Heritage. Well done!

PS. We welcome Washington Post readers. Please check back again in a month or so.

Fish Haiku #25

Camp Victory shrinks

DFACs closing, one-by-one

Send more ducks our way!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Fish in Tripoli, Libya!

Money quote from The New York Times:
Gilded Traces of the Lives Qaddafis Led

[ . . . ]

Given Colonel Qaddafi's noted flamboyance, the residences of the House of Qaddafi were not quite as grand as people might have supposed.

They lacked the faux grandeur of Saddam Hussein's marbled palaces. There are no columns that bear the colonel's initials, or fists cast to resemble his hands or river-fed moats with voracious carp. [emphasis added]