Saturday, January 26, 2008
Travesty of Human Thinking
Adages are so useless practically ; everyone memorizes them and loves to quote them, but they rarely succeed in the practical field, in enlightening the masses, and rather awfully, the masses, after listening intently for the short duration the adage is read upon them, return to the same corrupt ways.
Ali al-Wardi narrates this adage in his seminal book 'Mahzalat al-Aqil al-Bashari' (Travesty of Human Thinking), it is about two knights who are observing a pyramid from two opposite sides, unfortunately, each face of the pyramid is colored differently, so one of them sees the pyramid as green, and the other sees it blue, both men are indignant at having been proven wrong, and they are soon engaged in endless combat.
As you can see, it is rather lame reworking of the Six Blind Men and The Elephant, but its essence is of such significance that I would care to apply it now, with the help of two Iraqi bloggers to establish what happens when humans refuse to look at things except from their own perspective, which is of course half-right, but ultimately wrong and misleading.
On the left side of the pyramid we have Iraqi Mojo, an educated Iraqi-American, Iraqi Mojo does not hide his identification from the beginning, a Shia who fled after his family has been persecuted during the times Saddam was pursuing Dawa party members. Iraqi Mojo says he has no homicidal hatred of Sunnis, as he says when he met Sunni Arabs, the way you would speak when you explore a new species in the Amazons: "I have met Sunni Arabs and they are really nice." That's quite lovely of him, but even though Mojo occasionally talks about Muqtada al-Sadr's antics or his lack of love for Shia theocracy, they don't seem to be much of his concern, he rarely posts about them, if at all. For the curious American bystander who is curious to learn about how to get the hell out of Iraq, Iraq's problem, viewed through his blog is one long wail against the solitary horrors and evils of al-Qaeda, Wahhabiya, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Jarab (a term he often uses) and just about everything else you would expect a self-respecting Shia to hate, either intentionally or not, and all of which are, incidentally, the evil creations of the same very nice Sunni Arabs brothers.
And on the other side of the pyramid lies Twenty Four Steps To Liberty, I'm not exactly sure about his background, I've met him during the Iraqi Bloggers lone meet-up back in 2006 and he seemed like a pleasant fellow, what happened since then? beats me! While Mojo is at least a bit subtle, his point indirectly unfolded through links, 24's blog is fast approaching Layla Anwar-standards of rabid frothing as we speak. According to 24, all we need to do is unseat the evil, sectarian, IRANIAN IRANIAN IRANIAN puppet government of Maliki, supported by the stupid, evil Ayatollah Sistani (who is Shia, as you and I know), and everything will be automatically Plug and Play, maidens will dance, children will smile, music will play, and the hero would kiss the girl as the sun happily sets between the two ancient rivers, cue to credits, A FILM WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Twenty Four Steps To Liberty, (subtitle: Fuck Iran)
and here, friends and neighbors, is the problem of the Iraqi people in a nutshell, both sides are holier-than-thou know-it-all who blame everything on the other evil, world-domination-type side, rightfully justifying their own bloody massacres in the extent. Neither are willing to even stop and consider if the other side has anything to say, neither are willing to seek a form of compromise for pursuing a somewhat co-dependent relationship. This is especially complicated of course with the unfortunate case of different religions (forget sects, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam are entirely different religions), and religion is the most powerful brain-washing force of all time, as both sides are especially inclined to dismiss the other's viewpoints as fabrications, either willingly or not.
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
We can apply this wonderful parable to everything, let us take Saddam Hussein for instance, today, apologists would say, as they are saying all over the place, that Khomeini's first objective after securing his foothold was to help establish a similar regime in Iraq itself, through the willing hands of Shiite clergy like Sadr and al-Hakim, a fact Khomeini himself had reiterated over and over again. In this context, the clash was not sectarian in essence, but that was an additional motif to the eternal battle between Secularism and Theocracy, hereby, the Dawa party and their aides were in fact the aggressors, since a clash was inevitable, Saddam attempted to preemptively strike Iran while it was in disarray, already an attractive target with its huge oil reserves, and so, from a purely Iraqi POV, and according to the Survival laws of Darwin, Saddam Hussein is a very heroic figure who tried to elevate his country's stature and power in the region.
That of course ignores a lot of important details, Saddam was a megalomaniac whose lip extended a lot more than his bite ever would, couple that with an extraordinary amount of self-importance and ego, visions of greatness (same as present-day Iran's), an inferiority complex towards Jamal Abdulnassir, and a quick-tempered sword that has not even the tiniest remorse for human beings, and you get your picture a lot bit better. Of course, Shia-Kurds wouldn't look at him this way, for them he is a cartoonish sectarian warmonger with a devout intent on decimating everything in his way.
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!