February 23, 2006

Eye for an Eye, Hand for an Eye, ...

Over 100 have been killed in reprisal for the shrine bombing in Iraq and the likelihood is that this is only the beginning.

Phillip Kennicott of the Washington Post tries to get a handle on a perspective for the rage over there and takes a look at the scum in the home pond:

... "It is not a question of the date or the age of the structure," said Professor Hamid Algar, of the University of California at Berkeley. Algar, who hadn't yet heard of the bombing when a reporter called, sounded sad and weary as he explained the historical background to the Askariya shrine. It is the burial place of the 10th and 11th imams, revered by Shiites as the direct descendants and spiritual heirs to the prophet Muhammad.

... Old grievances are renewed, old tensions rekindled. The past, filled with the sting of injustice -- there's always enough to go around, no matter what small niche of the human race you occupy -- isn't so much remembered as it is constantly relived. There's no time for reflection, no time to come off the boil; humanity finds itself in a state of perpetual adolescence, short-fused and remarkably indifferent to whether it wants or expects to have a future.

... It isn't easy, which is why it was tempting to process the news, and the images, in other ways. On a right-wing Web site in this country, http://lucianne.com/ , people posting reactions under pseudonyms were often gleeful. "Isn't pretty much every real or imagined location of every Imam's spitoon a 'Holy' site?" wrote someone called "kwddave." That post suggested the vicious cycle of miscommunication we've entered. Anger is no longer read, here, as a sign of great depth of feeling, or sincerity, or as a symptom of fear; it is now proof of the insignificance of what Muslims are angry about. Simply because they are angry, their shrines are no better than spittoons. Rhetorically, "kwddave" repeats the act of terror, diminishing the meaning of a building that terrorists, literally, have reduced to a gaping cavity open to the rain. ...

Kennicott notes both that this event is something of a 9-11 for the Shia community and that the sewer rats that live on the popular right wing forums can only react with glee. Which is not only sick but, I think, ironic. After all, the head spokesrodent still wants a win, something that an event widely noted for its likelihood of sparking open civil war isn't going to help:

... But our message to Iraqis is what I think others around the world would say, as well: Exercise restraint. Violence will only contribute to what the terrorists want. Make no mistake about it. This was a brutal terrorist attack. It was an attack against people of all faiths and against all of humanity. The terrorists have no regard for innocent human life, and all they want to do is create chaos. That's why it's important that we continue to work with the Iraqi people and win in Iraq.

That was McClellan yesterday, all down for working with the Iraqi people to win. And that would be a great strategy if US forces spent a little more time protecting Iraq's cultural heritage and infrastructure, matters of critical and pressing concern to the Iraqi people in general, and maybe a little less time organizing random kidnap raids with the Iraqi security forces.

See, it's dichotomies like that which lead me to suspect a continued unwillingness on the part of the Iraqis to appreciate that we can be trusted to help them navigate these difficult times. And it's a mixture of cluelessness at the top floating on a perpetual fountain of rage from below that lead me to suspect that the rightwing elements of our own society are just going to make the situation worse here at home, right along with the country whose name has become shorthand for a war. I just have these funny feelings, ya' know?

Posted by natasha at February 23, 2006 08:38 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |