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Iraqis suffer in the Lok


Beep, beep, beep. Then the text comes: "President Bush calls for a timetable for the withdrawal of the Iraqi people from Iraq." It's not a news update. It's Omar Abdul Kareem's relentlessly beeping cell phone - and one of the 20 or so humorous text messages he gets every day from his friends.

In a city bereft of entertainment, text messaging and swapping ringtones are all the rage for young Iraqis trying to lighten their lives. Most restaurants, cafes and movies have closed due to the country's security situation.

The content of the text messages and ringtones speak volumes about the state of affairs here: jokes and songs about suicide bombings, sectarianism, power outages, gas prices, Saddam Hussein and George Bush. Cell phone shops, the only crowded stores these days, sell special CDs with ringtones at about $2 apiece. Collections of short jokes especially written for textures are best-sellers.

Iraqis fiddling with their cell phones on the streets look like New Yorkers hooked on iPods. "It's not like there's much to do around here," Abdul Kareem said. "It's perhaps the only venue to express ourselves. "He used to buy $60 worth of prepaid phone cards a month to text to his girlfriend - until they broke up. After sending her a lot of "I miss you" texts, he's moved on. Now he sends his aunt dozens of jokes, most of them at the expense of ethnic Kurds.

The daily reality of violence and explosions has influenced every aspect of Iraqi life - including love notes. "I send you the tanks of my love, bullets of my admiration and a rocket of my yearning," one popular message reads. A popular ringtone features the music from Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise." But the local version includes a voice similar to Saddam's rapping in English: "I'm Saddam, I don't have a bomb/Bush wants to kick me/I don't know why/smoking weed and getting high/I know the devil's by my side. "The song concludes with: "My days are over and I'm gonna die/all I need is chili fries" as a crowd yells "Goodbye forever, may God curse you."





rén

zhōng
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嘟--嘟--嘟!短信来了:“布什总统拟订将全体伊拉克人赶出伊拉克的时间表。” 这不是一条新闻,而是阿布杜勒·卡里姆收到的一条手机短信,卡里姆每天都会从朋友那里收到20条左右的搞笑短信,所以,他的手机总是嘟嘟嘟的响个不停。

在这个了无生趣的城市,发短信和互发手机铃声成了伊拉克年轻人用来调节生活的流行时尚。由于受到国内安全形势的影响,伊拉克的大多数餐馆、咖啡馆和电影院都停止营业了。

手机短信和铃声的内容充分反映了国内局势,其中包括自杀性爆炸、宗派主义、能源断供、油价以及萨达姆和美国总统乔治·布什的一些笑话和歌曲。眼下,手机商店成了伊拉克唯一生意兴隆的商店,店里出售各种手机铃音光盘,价格在每张2美元左右。那些专门为“短信族”编写的短篇笑话集也十分畅销。伊拉克人摆弄着手机招摇过市就像纽约人身上挂着iPod一样,是一种时尚。阿布杜勒·卡里姆说:“这里没有更多的事可做,手机可能是我们表达自己心声的唯一场所。”过去,卡里姆每个月要买60美元的充值卡,给女朋友发很多“我想你”的短信。和女友分手后,卡里姆开始改发别的短信了。现在,他每天都给他的阿姨发很多搞笑短信,其中最多的是关于库尔德族人的笑话。

在伊拉克,暴力和爆炸事件成为家常便饭,影响到人民生活的各个方面,甚至包括爱情短信。有一条流行短信是这样写的:“我为你送上爱的坦克,倾慕的子弹和一架思念的火箭。”还有一段由库里欧的《黑帮天堂》改编而成的手机铃音颇为流行。而伊拉克的这个版本则是一段酷似萨达姆声音的英文说唱:“我是萨达姆,我没有炸弹/布什想要我下台/但我不知道为什么/吸口大麻爽到家/我知道魔鬼就在我身边。”这首搞笑歌曲的结尾是:“我没多少日子了,我要完蛋了/现在我只想吃辣薯条”,这时,一群人集体喊道“永别了,上帝诅咒你!”