Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wonderful Sunshine

Whether it rises on a lake in North Bay, Canada or
on the Tigris River in beautiful Mosul, the sun is ours to stay,
bloody wars or not.

Her name is Sunshine, she was born on a glorious January 29 in 1992, in Iraq.

Considered to be the Best Young Iraqi Blogger at age 14, Sunshine from Mosul has experienced a few cloudy days recently with her mother in need of an operation, her Great Grandmother passing away during surgery, and her friend losing several family members in a terrorist/insurgent attack. However, despite the recent difficulties, toils and troubles, of being a young woman growing up in a rebuilding Iraq, Sunshine, like the sun, rises warm and sunny every morning, each day a new learning experience for this bright studious girl, a cornerstone of Iraq's future potential.

Sunshine From Mosul, Days of My Life - Best Young Iraqi Blogger

Hello Sunshine, how are you?

Sunshine: Hello sir, I am fine thanks.

- Can you tell us what a typical or average day for Sunshine is like?

Sunshine: Well, I wake up early in the morning, I go to school at 7:30, & come back at 1:30, I take my lunch & study till bed time …. In the holidays or weekends I sometimes wake up early too if we have electricity, I work on computer (& of course if the voltage is high enough), & I like reading, I am not too interested in watching TV, actually I don't have enough time, but I like Oprah show, Dr. Phil, & the reports.. I love reports...

- Can you describe some of the changes that have occurred for your family and you since the War began?

Sunshine: Since the war we spend most of the time at home, no more fun, no more picnics, no birthdays with guests, my parents discusses policy in most of the day, and watch news many many times during the day...

- What is the most important thing to you in life and why?

Sunshine: I believe that the most important thing in any ones life is education, Iraq needs re-building, & I want to share in rebuilding my country...

- Sunshine, what does Love mean to you?

Sunshine: Well, I don't know, I am still too young, but I think if you love someone you should trust, respect, & to be honest with your lover... Love is important in humanity to make life peaceful … Life without love makes people the same as dolls...

- You mentioned during the recent Iraqi Election that you would have voted for Allawi, List No. 731. Can you tell us what you liked about Allawi? And were you happy with the election results?

Sunshine: Yes I would have voted for Allawi, because he is educated, courageous man, as well as the other members with him & that what we need. I am not happy with the results I am very upset...

- Sunshine, are you worried that Iraq is heading down a more Fundamental Islamic path? Five years from today, will you have to wear a Abbaya when you venture outside?

Sunshine: Well the word " worried" don't describe what I am feeling now, but "terrified" does… but I assure you that no one in this world can makes me wear al-Abbaya...

-Does the World Media (Television, Radio, and Newspapers) present an accurate view of what's happening in Iraq?

Sunshine: NO, they don't. I hear many explosions everyday, many people die, sometimes people we know, but the media don't show that, and don't give a related view... Few days ago, a suicid bomber exploded himself in our neighborhood, all the windows were broken and no one mentioned that at all. In my mid-year exam there was a mine near my school, no one talked about that too, so many things happen every day and no one talk about them... No one show the real people's condition, not even in the Iraqi media, I don't know why?! When they make a questionnaire, for example, they ask poor, uneducated people such as an old woman with Abbaya or a cadger... They don't ask a doctor, professor, engineer, they don't do that in universities or in hospitals... I can barely recognize my country, while listening to the news or see reports about Iraq...

- Do you feel that the present conditions in Iraq and Mosul restrict your ability to learn?

Sunshine: Yes sir, absolutely. Sometimes I can't reach school and I miss classes, sometimes I can't concentrate, I keep thinking about tomorrow; my safety, orI think about my parents' safety or about sad stories I heard...

- Iraqi Schools and Teacher Qualifications: You are critical of the Iraqi schools and the educators. Can you discuss some of the problems you've experienced or heard about concerning the schools and teachers?

Sunshine: Well, most of the teachers, but not all of them (I can't generalize) are not qualified to teach. Sometimes intelligent pupils amend or correct for the teachers!!! Few months ago I saw an interview in Al-hurrah TV, with the Iraqi minister of education; he said that most of the teachers are not qualified morally nor vocationally to teach!!! When I heard that, I was shocked. Let me give you an example, I have a relative who is my dad's cousin. She is 19 years old, she didn't pass the third class for so many years, so her parents decided to send her to the teaching institution!! I talked to her few times, I saw that she has not been unenlightened at all and she can't even make a conversation!!! How could anyone imagine that she will elevate a generation!!! That what I can't understand!! The other thing that is annoying to me is that unfortunately some teachers are very extremist, especially the religion teachers. This year, I had problems like that. I had to talk to my mom and she talked with the headmistress. My teacher used to tell me that I would go to hell because I don't wear al-hijab. She always hurts my feelings and treats me like I am a bad person. My sister who is 7 years old, feels terrified from the religion teacher, she don't want to go to school and she cries a lot, because her teacher keeps telling them stories about agony and death. My sister complains from nightmares all the time!!!

- So, what's your least favorite subject in school? What subject do you really dislike?

Sunshine: I don't enjoy studying chemistry & geography...

- If you could meet any person on the planet, any person Sunshine, and have them over for dinner, who would it be?

Sunshine: I want to meet soooo many people, like Oprah, Lance Armstrong, Dr. Phil and of course, my regular readers & commenters .

- What's your favorite food or junk food?

Sunshine: I like everything that does not contain cauliflower and the peas, I love the potatoes chips and meat balls with vegetables & curries soup, and I like chocolate cakes, yummy!

- Can you cook, Sunshine? Does your mother let you prepare meals? Do Iraqi girls learn how to cook early on in life?

Sunshine: Yes I know some simple things to prepare like my delicious macaroni and my mom allow me to work in the kitchen in case I promise her to wash the dishes. I know how to make delicious desserts. Some Iraqi girls learn to cook early and some don't even know how to boil an egg for breakfast!!! Depends on their desire...

- Sunshine, you like country music. Do you ever think about putting on a cowboy hat and forming the first Iraqi All-Girls Country Music Band? Do you have a favorite country singer?

Sunshine: I love country music, I very much enjoy listening to it. I like many country singers like Shania Twain . But I won't form the first Iraqi country music band!

- Tell me one intriguing place in the world that you would love to visit and why?

Sunshine: I would love to visit America because I have relatives & friends there and I might visit you, sir ... Visiting Europe would be great too... and I would like to travel around the world someday! To see how the people live and to learn more about their countries, traditions, religions & cultures.

- If you couldn't live in Iraq, where would you like to live?

Sunshine: I would like to live in any peaceful place, with beautiful nature, good people...

- You have a Great Uncle in the United States. Would you like to see him some day?

Sunshine: Yes, this is my dream. I wish I will be able one day, but unfortunately, Iraqis can't step into USA easily.

- Sunshine is there an Iraqi equivalent of a Nerd or a Geek?

Sunshine: Here in Iraq we call them "bloggers", hehehehe…

- Your home in Mosul has been inspected twice by American Soldiers. Did the inspections upset you?

Sunshine: The first time, I was upset because of the bad behavior of one of the soldiers, although the others were nice. The second time, things went okay for everyone, we talked and sat for a long time together, the soldiers were polite and we showed good hospitality.

- Did you feel the soldiers were intruding into your personal space?

Sunshine: I know that the soldiers are doing their jobs, but I don't feel comfortable to know that someone is searching among my clothes & personal things.

- Were the American Soldiers civil and polite?

Sunshine: In the first inspection one of them was rude, but in the second time they were all polite.

- Can you describe to us what an inspection is like?

Sunshine: Well, when we see some tanks "panzers" in the neighborhood, then we know that we might have an inspection and sometimes the soldiers suddenly enter the house! We all stay in one room or outside the house, the soldiers ask us if we have guns or any weapons, two or three soldiers stay with us and the others inspect the house, I like to talk with the soldiers and try to leave a good impression.

- How did your other family members react to the soldier’s presence?

Sunshine: All my family members cooperate with the soldiers. But some of the relatives feel nervous & uncomfortable and others don't. Few days ago my relatives had a home inspection, their boys played basketball with the soldiers and had a nice time.

- Does it snow at all in Mosul?

Sunshine: I saw it snowing twice during my life, but my mom said that the day I was born, it was snowing, but it snows every winter in Kurdistan...

- Have you ever been in a snowball fight or made a snowman?

Sunshine: Yes I did once, I had lots of fun & I took some pictures too.

- Do you have a favorite video or computer game you like to play?

Sunshine: I don't have any, but sometimes I try to play with my friends, each time I don't feel interested nor do I find it fun. When I was in grade two at primary school, my parents wanted to buy me a present , they asked me if I want a play station or computer , I preferred the computer, although some of my friends considered me crazy, but I am so happy with my choice.
MG: How important is the internet to you?

Sunshine: It is very important to me, it is my life and through the internet, I met so many gorgeous people and became more enlightened.

- How did you become interested in blogging, and how did your blog "Days of My Life" originate?

Sunshine: First when I had internet for the first time, my aunt Rose, gave us her blog address, her husband's & Najma's, just then I started to learn about blogging... I always wanted to have friends around the world & to show them that the people in Iraq are just like everyone else & share with them my suffering, success, diaries, my happy & sad moments.

- Can you tell us about some of the other Blogs you like to read and can recommend?

Sunshine: All the bloggers that I made a link for, are my favorite . I also read the blogs that are mentioned in Iraqi blog account.

- Sunshine, there seems to be a lot of warmth and affection between the commenters at your blog and you. Does that give you a good feeling?

Sunshine: Of course, I feel so happy when I read the comments, whether the commenters agree or disagree with me, every time I publish a post I can't wait till I receive the comments .

- Many people consider you to be the best young Iraqi blogger. That must be rewarding and I suspect that this won’t get you a swell head or a big ego.

Sunshine: Am I?! Well, it is my honor & I would love to be the best blogger. I don't think that I will be a big ego or get a swelled head, although sometimes my mom ask me to do some housework, like wash the dishes, for example, I answer her "come on this is moi, Sunshine, the famous blogger!! " but of course I say that just for fun , and I do what my mom wants me to do.

- Do you feel pressure to write something creative every time you post?

Sunshine: Every time I write a post, I hesitate, I want my readers to love the subject even the title of the post. I try to find something that attracts the readers. I usually read and check my posts for many times before publishing it, to make sure that there aren't any mistakes in my spelling or grammar.

- You're a member of the largest clan of interrelated bloggers in the Iraqi blogosphere. There's you, Mama, Dr. Truth Teller, Najma, HNK, Raghda, your Aunt Rose, Hassan, Dalia, and I know I'm missing on or two... This is one big extended blogging family.

Sunshine: Yes, we are all relatives and everyone encourage the others to write and also encourage the other members to start their own blogs. You can see we sometimes have different point of views, but that does not conflict with the fact that we are all one happy family.

- Does your cousin Raghda, the famous Iraqi Cat Blogger, really love cats.

Sunshine: Yes she does, she loves cats so much and she also have three in her house, Raghda is a good friend of mine and I wish her all the best.

- Do you have any pets yourself?

Sunshine: No, I don't, but my dad had two chipmunks when he was in my age and my mom had lovebirds. I like the small puppies and I wish that I can own one someday!

- Sunshine, I am curious, do Iraqi children and teens love Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia too?

Sunshine: First I didn't know who is Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia untill I searched on the internet. However, my information about them is still limited because most of the websites I visited are not free, and I don't have an account… Second the majority of the teens don't know English well, so they can't read English books. Unfortunately books are the last thing teens of my age might think to buy, most of the boys prefer video games and girls like to buy magazines, containing subjects such as beauty, actors, fashion, jewelries etc…

- Sunshine, what are some of your favorite TV programs?

Sunshine: I like 20/20 , 48 hours, 24 hours, Oprah show, Dr. Phil, Super Nanny and I also like the comedy series, investigation programs and all kinds of reports.

- You like watching Oprah. You even wrote a letter to her. Can you tell me what you like about Oprah?

Sunshine: I wrote so many letters to her, I admire her and her show a lot, she inspired me in so many ways and I like her spirit and her generosity. She was poor, she tried to improve herself in every way and she succeeded. She helps the paupers and encourage people to help each other. So many series of her show contain very inspiring stories which I believe. This makes me a better person and improved my ability to give and help the others. Once, my mom and I saw a show about “Christmas generosity", she was helping children in Africa; my mom and I were touched. We purveyed clothes & toys and put them in bags. On the next day, my mom went to her work and gave those things to the children in the village. I also like her advises very much… She has a good show although she allows advertisements to those people who sponsor her show.

- Suppose, Oprah invited you to appear on her show. Would you come to America with your parents?

Sunshine: That would be nice of her, but Iraqis are not allowed to come to America!! If I could, I would love to appear on her show... and to come to America with my parents.

- What's the best book you've read in the last two weeks?

Sunshine: Lately I read two books, one of them was in Arabic (it was a miscellaneous book about history, poetry, aphorism and religion) and the other is in English it's name "How to stop worrying and start living" by Dale Carnegie , I have not finished it yet.

- Sunshine, you are a very gifted writer. Do you aspire to be a novelist or journalist some day?

Sunshine: Journalist?! That would be wonderful, especially if things turn out to be better in Iraq.

- Tell me about your family's garden: What sort of interesting trees, plants, flowers or fruits do you have growing in it? Is it a peaceful place where you can seek some solitude for study?

Sunshine: We have a very big garden (240 square meters). We have so many kinds of flowers and some are rare. My grandma used to take care of it, she likes gardening. I have grown a mandarin tree once. We have 17 orange trees & 4 mandarin trees, one Japanese orange tree, one apple tree, a grapefruit tree and a lemon tree. We have as well spearmint plants & many plants of "Itra"; it's a kind of herbs that we put in tea and it makes the tea tastes & smells good… However, unfortunately even our own garden is not safe; we found many slivers and bullets in it, due to the many attacks against the nearby police station.

- Thanks very much for a nice In T View, Sunshine, and final question: Have you ever seen a Ghost?

Sunshine: Thank you for making this very nice T View with me. It was my honor. I see the Ghosts in the movies only. My favorite is "Casper". I like films & series that contain ghosts like "Charmed"!

Interview by Mister Ghost

Most photos are Sunshine's, Days of My Life
Sunrise on the water - Rose, Leap Frog
Women's Rights are Human Rights, Amir Normandi - Testing Human Rights
Chipmunck for Sunshine, Mister Ghost
Layout and photo-montage "Bébé Sunshine dans les Fleurs du Canada", Diane - Arts for Democracy


At 10:12 AM, Blogger D.C. said...

Thank you Sunshine for this wonderful interview.

Now, I would like to ask you another question, the same I ask all the young people I know, what do you want to do later as a profession?
It would be great if you could answer this here.

Thank you so much!

Your friend,

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

What a fabulous In T View! I must add her to my sidebar. Thank you for the insight. Have a wonderful day.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous sunshine said...

Hello sir ,
well I love to be an engineer.
I want to do so many things I was thinking to be a dentist, soldier !!!! , translator , and so many other things !!!!!!!
I am very unpredictable .
But engineering is what i am thinking of.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous sunshine said...

sorry , not sir , Ma'am . heheheheh :"> .

At 2:46 PM, Blogger D.C. said...

This is great!!!

You can do any of these things with great success.

Thank you Sunshine.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Amir Normandi said...

Sunshine shall bring light to any dark dungeon even the ones bleow ground.
MARHABA(salute)Sunshine. MG and DC grate work very nice.


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