"Religious fervor in Iraq weakened, but sectarianism remained: Iraqis became sectarian but non-religious, an interesting thing indeed!Poor Mr. al-Wardi, I bet he must be rolling in his grave repeatedly. Even in the Western World, one's identification with his religion takes a long time to fade after his actual devotion.
It can be said, anyway, that sectarianism in Iraq is on its way to oblivion, it cannot function in society long after the departure of its father, religion, it is now dying ; and will join its dead father sooner of later."
I'm tired, I'm sick and tired of advocating an idea that doesn't exist, talking about principles that are nowhere near the ground and never will be for centuries to come, we are still living in the Medieval Ages of religious persecution, no foreign-installed democracy is going to change that, the 20th century sudden-shock efforts of modernization in the Middle East have quickly vanished as people reverted back to the way they were.
Never be fooled, like I was, that the idea of a secular, unified Iraq is an actual possibility that can be attained in the next elections or so, all these writers and bloggers who started to write one day, eager about the possibilities of the bright future, slowly and surely all of them realized that horrid facade at one point or another, in effect, they all tone their arguments, whether they are resisting the occupation, or focusing on al-Qaeda or Saddam's crimes endlessly, around a single focal unconscious point, they all pretend that they care about the single unified Iraq but what they really want to say is that we don't like the other side and we never will.
In the past, inquiring about one's sect was somewhat of an insult, but are Iraqis really that mindful of their Iraqiness more than their religion? OF COURSE NOT. It's only social hypocrisy, one of the most deep-seated diseases of double-standards here. As long as religion is not completely eliminated, voluntarily by its adherents, there will never be common ground to build between the two sects to create the ideal nation-state ; the fundamentals of the Shia faith are built, quite simply, to vilify and demonize the 'founders' of Sunnism ; this ideological barrier is now brought to the forefront as common masses, even seculars, atheists, rediscover and entrench those mutual hostilities. Moderates on both sides will be more likely to embrace the pride of their religion rather than saunter to break an ice that has been sitting there for 1,400 years.
The Shias don't really care about just democracy, human rights, civilization or any of that nonsense ; what matters for them is that they are in power. You can see that quite clearly by the way they defend Abu Deraa, virtually a Shia Zarqawi, as a hero of the common masses, The Brits realized what a colossal mistake it would be to install a people who are still clung to Pope-style theocracy and decided, rather wisely, against it. It worked for a while, until the Iranian revolution, coupled with Saddam's heroic aspirations, came along, but mostly, it was Iran's desire to spread theocracy that gave Saddam the excuse he badly needed.
The Americans, in their arrogance, cared little about details, and aided by faux-secular opportunists like Mr. Chalabi, they gave the Shias the upper hand again. I don't think it will last long either.
This report by the Crisis Group is a fascinating detail about the Sadrist role in the civil war, the amount of bloodshed mentioned in the report is quite ridiculous, and yet there are still asswipes still believe the death count is somewhere around 150,000.
almost 75% of Baghdad is now Shia, bombarded by ugly truths such as these, which greatly damages the fragile common ground between Sunnis and Shiites and accentuates the ever present religious and social hostility and differences between the two in one's perceptions, a moderate guy like me who still until recently dreamed about a secular Iraq would have no choice but reconsider his identity ; repeatedly through reading the report, the image of finding a Shiite, repeatedly beating the shit out of him and telling him to go back to live in the Iraq that is now his came to my mind.
Of course, one would always hope for a social uprising of some sort, but the bitter truth speaks otherwise.
I decided to make dinner, I had an innocent conversation with my sister, she was talking about the difficulties of the paperwork she had in college and the alienation she felt there, in the end she said: "I miss Saddam, I never realized I would say this one day but I really long for his shitty days."
For the first time ever, I understood.
After a year of complaining repeatedly about how much everybody loves Saddam, after realizing that everything I stand for were very remote pipe dreams, that in the end, when you realize these lies, when your own being is attacked, you have to defend your identity, so, against all that I believed in, I could only sigh and say: