I watched the Mecca PR stunt yesterday, a dazzling feast that has plenty of action and romance, with dazzling special effects, I especially loved the way they made them all sit with the holy Kaaba visible from the window with people circling it, the fatwa is supposed to be the religious s be-all end-all viewpoint on the sect-fueled war that is going on between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, it was supported by all the big players - Read about it in details here, if you want
In the conference that was broadcast live, a table was shown, Ahmed Abdilghaffour al-Samarrie, the Sunni endowment head, in my opinion a nice harmless guy who's just about as clueless about this as any, and a SCIRI representative, approprietly frowny and white-bearded like a Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer fashion fan, sat together and told knock-knock jokes about Sunni-Shiite being as much friendly to each other as teddybears and that their faith is in the essence the same, brilliantly clad in symbolic black & white turbans as a cinematic afterthought, after the blah-blahs faded, they gave space for reporters to ask them questions, this was what they asked them, the actual exchange was much more graceful, but luckily I had my Bullshit Filter on:
REPORTER 1: Do you have any mechanism for implementing your edict on the ground? (actual question was more decorated than this)
KHOSH-WALAD SAMARRIE 1: blah-blah yaddad yadda peace and prosperity, but we hope that Iraqis are naturally good and this is the last night of Ramadhan.
REPORTER 2: Do you have any method by which you can apply your fatwa in Iraq?
FROWNY-JALAL TURBAN 2: wiggilie-wiggilie peace humpty dumpty love sumbul bulaybul dumbk dunaibuk understanding.
REPORTER 3: Excuse me, but on terms of a practical appreciation of your document, do you expect that it will be endorsed and applied (same question reworded)
THE COORDINATING GUY IN THE MIDDLE: All right buddy, you asked for it, this is the top religious clergy here, we tell you how in which direction to shit and how many papers you use to wipe your arse, we are here to say that blood is forbidden, it is up for the Iraqis, the natural loving and peaceful nation to endorse it, if they do not - we have made ourselves clear on the matter.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Shiites favor al-Mahdi's army Read it, it's very nice, and very honest.
Can you blame the Iraqi Shiites? I do not. They tell the truth, this is not a simple ideological struggle that can be waived aside by the whiff of a religious clergy's ruminations, even Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is waning, after being used by UIA as an advertising campaign to win the elections. Anyone who calls for peace is shut-up by the realities of life as it is, everybody is so afraid of each other, I remember when Zarqawi died and I went to the mosque to listen to the Friday speech in an Adhamiya mosque, the Imam was practically crying! Nobody wants militas or Zarqawi, but everybody is so afraid of the other now, there is no trust.
Unless the National Reconcillation gimmick targets those who you should really make up your peace with, the blood-soaked Baathists, the backbone of the insurgency, who had their homes and money but now lost it all and are giving Iraqis and Americans a hard time about it, it will be fruitless. al-Qaeda is worthless without their straetgic allies the Baathists, who adopted a more Islamic veil to fit in with the times and bring us all to this sectarain lollapalooza. Shiite militas atrocities are infintely more horrific, but you have no right to blame them when you are part of the blame, get real. In Sadr City, Abu Der'a is a national hero, to quote Abdilaziz al-Hakim's 12 year old son. These murderers will lose their support only when you negotiate with the Baathists.
Ayad Jamal al-Din, my only favorite politicain (aside from stand-up comedian parliament speaker Mahmood al-Mashhadani) says: "I support dialogue with those who killed Iraqis, you see, most of the insurgents attacks these days are 95% targeting Iraqis, and 5% targeting Americans, reminding them that we, the Baathists, were your loved ones before and we can stir shit up if u ignore us - these are not necessarily terrorists in the regime time but they had homes, positions, and gains and now these were all stripped and they were even persecuted, so it is only natural that they resort to violence. It is like a young stubborn child who's being kicked out by his mother and is starting to throw rocks at the house. Unless you convince them, there is no hope behind it all."
PEOPLE ARE AFRAID. and they resort to their sectarian identity because they ARE AFRAID, not because they are hateful beings.
KID (leaving the mosque's prayer with Habib, his neighbor): Man, that speech was one disgusting peace of crap!
HABIB: Come on man, now they can slaughter us like sheep! and we can't do anything about it! If they killed one, we could've killed a hundred! it's like Saddam, he was bad but when he left everyone missed him.
"Be careful of the Wahhabis!" said the father in Sadr City to his departing 8-year-old son
"I just want him to know whom to hate."
You may laugh and say look at these nomadic Arabs slicing each other's heads off like there's no tomorrow, but please try to understand...this is no joke...
We are dying? Do you understand....we are dying...