Friday, October 31, 2008

How I Lost Faith In Allah : Christians, Sorry for bombing your infidel asses lol

There is a long draft post in my blog archive called simply 'God', whenever I had some ideas about the subject I'd go and scribble a bit there, it has been there probably since the very beginning, today I decided to go and have a look at it, it is kinda funny and makes no sense, starting with yours truly cluelessly defending the wonderful spiritual fulfillment of God, and then slowly descending into a black rage against all that is holy.
I'm sure that by now that you all know the long and short of exodus of Iraqi Christians, so I'll skip the details, what I am going to focus upon is how religion (and not political religion) is the first enemy of Iraq, and I will draw an example straight from the Iraqi blogosphere: during the massacre, the typically nice Marshmallow26 publishes an honest, hateful, agonized post, it is worth noting several important things about this post, which help us understand the view of many a mainstream Christian:

1. Marshmallow's post is a condemnation of all Muslims. Although she calmed down afterward and started saying that she only wants the cute pokemon-y peaceful Muslims to condemn the zombie Muslims, Marshmallow26 has previously complained about mainstream Muslim harassment of the Christians in Mosul, and one time, when I teased her by impersonating an angry anti-Christian fundie, she didn't get the joke and actually thought I was being serious. All this seems to suggest that deep in her mind, the problem is not new, and can be logically connected to the attitude of the Muslim population at large. This untrusting view is something I have mostly noticed in Christians who are not from Baghdad, in my opinion, the only satisifying explanation to this is demographics: Baghdad's Muslims are not anymore tolerant, but Mosul's Christians are more visible and louder, which would incur the displeasure of Muslims more easily. The configuration of religious hostility in the world is largely determined by the size of religious communities and their visible manifestation in any given religion (in Baghdad, although Christians were threatened and pushed out of their homes, their plight took a backseat to the larger Sunni-Shia war). When some Jihadwatch regulars posted extremely anti-Muslim commentary, Marhsmallow did not engage them in any debate whatsoever, which seems to suggest to me that she is in agreement with at least some of their points.
2. A very strong sense of hostile religious identity. When you get to the bottom of it, Muslims are our enemies. But Marhsmallow has to love her enemies because Jesus tells her so. Then she says that she'd die for Jesus and would not give in to the 'corruptors'.
3. Repeated stressing of the claim to the registered trademark 'Original Iraqi' label applied to Christians, as opposed to the Muslims, who are implicitly accused of being 'occupiers' and 'corruptors'. Ho ho, join the Saffavid-Seljuki origin debate, too bad you're only 3%, no muscle, and as I said, it's all about how much you number.
In the comments section, we get to witness the usual apology circus by Muslims,something like 'oh, you got it all wrong, Islam has nothing to do with all this, we're peaceful lol', when A&EIraqi smartly tries to show the error in Marhsmallow's emotional generalization of Muslims with his own generalization of the US Army as a Christian army, Marshmallow misses this point and suddenly adopts a rational mode of thinking.
This illogical adherence to one's specific religion is one of the reasons why I stopped believing in the beauty of God. When my three friends were killed, we had a prayer for them at the university mosques, and then we took their mock coffins and put them side by side at the entrance of the hall, each coffin had a small photo of the person who is supposed to be in it, and I took a long look at the faces, shifting my eyes from one to the other, I could detect no difference whatosever between any one of them, all were very pleasant, polite early-20s Iraqi guys who had been raised each according to his family's religion, yet according to all the three religions these people subscribed to (Sunni, Shia, Christian), only one of them will go to heaven, based of course on what religion will turn out to be the one God really favors. I did not realize it then, but that was the moment when I first started suspecting the idiocy of religion, those people had no hand in choosing their religion, they simply inherited it from their fathers, and they would have a hard time accepting any other faith than theirs, because all religions carry errors and mistakes that cannot be overruled by logic without any significant suspension of disbelief, and what sort of fair justice would be to send two of them to your hell just because they didn't get lucky to follow your chosen creed? and even if they got your moody 'makrama' and got all to heaven because you didn't leave them room to think it through and killed them before they even had the chance to even see a little bit further than their B.Sc. certificate, what about the untold millions of people who simply inherit the religion of their fathers? the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Taoists? Why would they go to hell? Because they didn't think? and what is the chance, once we start to get in logical intra-faith discussions, how many people do you sincerely expect to be convert from their father's faith? very few, people of religion are programmed to tweak every argument in favor of their own religion, they would simply stand against all common sense when criticizing their own religion, but proceed to become philosophers on the spot when it comes to bashing the shit out of the other religions, for really, why would you expect Christians to see the stupidity in beliving that in order to save man, God decided the only way is to enter a woman's vagina and have a son, or for Muslims to be actually convinced that it's somewhat ok for their prophet to have 13 mostly cute chicks (including a preschooler) when Islam only allows four or that their religion spread by conquest, or for Shia to see that the continous abandonment of their Imams by God at times of trouble is something that is in direct contradiction of the supposed relationship between God and his apostles in the Quran, whereby God directly intervenes to prevent the almost imminent death of Jesus. They will simply find workarounds in their books, they would confuse you with highly useless mumbo-jumbo الأحوط وجوبا etc in order to sound knowledgabe, and they would eventually sastify themselves with their answers, in reality, the more you begin to examine religion, and how you would easily find that no system is really perfect, the more angry and confused you become at the major scam God (if any) is pulling on us here. To quote Phillip K Dick on the way religion tries to be grand when it solves absolutely nothing:

"I've been researching solemn theological matters for five years now, much of the Wisdom of the World has passed from the printed page and into my brain, there to be processed and secreted out in the form of more words: words in, words out, and a brain in the middle wearily trying to determine the meaning of it all. The other night I started an article on Indian Philosophy in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the time was 4 AM ; I was exhausted, and there, at the heart of this solemn article, was this: "The Buddhist idealists used various arguments to show that perceptions does not yield knowledge of external objects distinct from the percipient...The external world supposedly consists of a number of different objects, but they can be known as different only because there are different sorts of experiences 'of' them. Yet if the experiences are thus distinguishble, there is no need to hold the superfluous hypothesis of external objects..."
That night I went to bed laughing, I laughed for an hour, I am still laughing, Push philosophy and religion to their ultimate and what do you wind up with? Nothing. Nothing exists. As I said earlier, there is only one way out: seeing it all as ultimately funny."

This would be all fine and dandy if it was pigeonholed in some unimportant category in the life of the general population, but it's effectively killing Iraq, the idea of Iraq as a nation-state where citizens are equal, because religion, all religion, is preferential of a certain group of others, and when you strongly advocate those identities, the others would certainly feel more attached ot theirs, and this is why Iraq, as a nation-state was always ruled by a dictator, those people will never find a way to really accept each other, because the problem is directly in their religion. Religion divides us and makes us hate each other, they all pretend it's all good when they're on public, and this is something that has puzzled me all the time when I see any public gathering, if everybody is so good and caring for Iraq, then who the fuck is doing all this unprecedented killing? Who? it doesn't take a lot to figure out who, just let them go back to their privacy and see them exposed as they really are.
So these Christians, Sunnis, Shia, would fight between themselves all the time, each strongly faithful to their own religion, for why is Marhsmallow's dedication to the martyrdom of Jesus Christ any less brainwashed than any of our own typical Jihadi sympathies? In one way or another, they will keep quarreling between each other, no one will really prevail except through suppression, or separation, and so dies our country, Iraq, irredeemably. Like Phillip K Dick, Seeing it all as funny is indeed the only way out, and this is why I'm going to book a front-seat with some popcorn with extra butter and laugh out as hard as I can at the Death of Iraq, from now on, fuck hope, I'm going to adopt Benjamin, the sarcastic donkey in Animal Farm, as my role model.

Al Pacino is an angry, charming bastard in most of his films, but look at his interview with the Actors Studio and what you'll see is a humble, pathetic nice man. I'm like that. if you meet me in real life, you might find me as a nice and pleasant man, and I don't want to be like Pacino, this is why this blog is called 'Catharsis', because I still don't really know how to become an angry asshole in reality. But, hey, I'm trying, because I can no longer contain this bubbling anger any longer, I cannot wait for the moment when I can live somewhere where I can say, freely and openly, how much I hate Him for being so distant, so unclear, so unrealistic, so dismissing of our intelligence.

P.S. As an example of Baghdadi Christianity, my Christian friend from Baghdad is pretty sure the Kurds did it, to carry the 'plot of the Jews', he solemnly advised me to read "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Another example of how stupidity is spurred by all religions (to be fair, not just religion, but religion has the way of convincing you that other creeds are wrong, evil and bent on mischief ولن ترضى عنك اليهود و لا النصارى حتى تتبع ملتهم), my Catholic Assyrian Christian friend seemed pretty upset about the growth of Evangelicals in Iraq too, who seem to heavily supported by some 'sources'.
We laugh, but inept is our laughter,

We should weep, and weep sore,

Who are shattered like glass and thereafter

Remolded no more.

Abu al-Alaa al-Ma'ari

في اللاذقية ضجةٌ ما بين أحمد والمسيح
هذا بناقوس يدق وذا بمئـذنة يصيح
كل يعظّم ديـنه ياليت شعري ما الصحيح
دين وكفر وأنباء تقص وفرقان وتوراة وإنجيل
في كل جيل أباطيل ، يدان بها فهل تفرد يوما بالهدى جيل
ضحكنا و كان الضحك منا سفاهة و حق لسكان البرية ان يبكوا
يحطِّمنا ريب الزمان كأننا -- زجاج ولكن لا يُعاد لنا سَبْك
نَزول كما زال أجدادنا ويبقى الزمان على ما ترى (المعري)

Now playing: فريق الكندي - تقسيم قانون - لقد فتنتني إفرنجية - لا صبر لي

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funny Fatwas: 2001: A Shirazi Oddyssey

Following a string of excellent Sunni hopefuls aimed at getting the Weirdest Fatwa award (One-Eye Niqabs, Mickey al-Fasiq), and in the interest of applying the very national-reconciliation suitable adage (mafessh 7add a7san min 7add) i find it appropriate to publish this:

Having given up on the human race, the Shia (3% of the world population) already set their sights on interstellar domination, this collection of (very serious) galactic fatwas include solutions to problems that involve divorce from a woman on the moon, whether aliens are also obligated to conform the vilayet of Holy Imams, and issues regarding premature space puberty. It seems that Ayatollah al-Shirazi was either a joker who liked to fart around every now and then or a hardcore Star Wars nerd. The link is in Arabic, but here's a flavor:

PROBLEM: Sin in outer space.
Sinning in space is just like sinning in every other place, even though devils cannot travel through space due to comets*, the mischievousness of the human spirit is still active, and there is no concrete proof that comets can repel all devils.

* a reference to a Quranic verse that explains comets by saying that comets are used to ward off devils who attempt to climb high in the sky and 'eavesdrop', seemingly on God. (why?)
in Islam, sin is not only attributed to the external scapegoat of Satan, there is also the concept of the Nafsul Ammara (Mischievious Spirit). Shirazi is just so fucking awesome to have thought of the painstaking intracacies of such a timely, impending problem!

It is quite sad that I am forced to put this in the category of 'jokes', and we can only bemoan the fact that Shirazi did not get to live to see THE PHANTOM MENACE, but I have a firm conviction that he would rule Jar-Jar Binks as a nasibi on the grounds that he's just too tasteless to like Ali bin Abi Talib.

UPDATE: I'm pretty sure al-Shirazi was just joking, i mean just look at the link's url, the fatwa is in a folder labelled (rflo) which is quite obviously (rofl). go Shirazi (rip), lol. you is teh funny.

Friday, October 10, 2008 Hacked - and Overview of the Cyberfitna

In a triumphant escalation, Shia hackers won a major battle by taking down the website of Saudi, this is the most high-profile yet on a war that seems to be growing bigger and bigger by the day, looking around Shia websites it seems to me that there are many who view as hostile to Shia, even the very balanced EyeRaki has the view that "Al-Arabiya has not stooped down to the (very low) standards of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera but it has broadcast its fair share of sectarian-laced reports and anti-Shia rhetoric", he's partly right, as al-Arabiya seems to have the sole interest of advocating not necessarily anti-Shia views but whatever views that promote the Saudi agenda at the time in a polished fashion that might suit their American sponsors, while al-Arabiya often uses headlines such as "Shia Pilgrims Invade Damascus" or something to the effect, they often use sensationalized headlines regardless of the content, in particular some silly The Insider-style content that can only be described as 'sleaze' (the Noor marketing), still, their anti-Hezbollah stance on the Lebanese crisis was very obvious, and even more obvious was the way they handled the ongoing Sunni-Shia cyberfitna and its associations, for example regarding the related incident with the son of Qardhawi, they ignored the whole deal until they got a denial from head of Egyptian Shia, Mohammed al-Durayni. and they promptly published the denial front and center. After al-Arabiya vehemently denied Yusuf's Shiism, he promptly issued a statement on his website denying that he had talked to any newspaper and that those speaking are not speaking in his name or with his consent. All this suggests to me that the man had indeed converted but is having a hard time with it.

But you might ask, how does al-Qardhawi's Son fit into all this?


It all started last Ramadhan when the popular and mainstream Sunni cleric Yusif al-Qardhawi decided to launch his usual tirade of criticisms against Shia and their invasion, al-Qardhawi is the most prominent Sunni member in the Sunni-Shii Worldwide Reconcillation Effort, he's also had a televised debate at one point with former Iranian president Hashimi Rafsanjani that led nowhere of course, in general, I think al-Qardhawi's position on Shiis, like the entire reconciliation effort, was always one of pensive frustration, such efforts always boil down to the overconfident Sunnis repeatedly urging the Shia to stop several fundamental Shia practices with the Shia as usual dodging and trying to hand-glad with issues like unity against Israel. al-Qardhawi has criticized the Shia several times before, he even criticized Hassan Nasrallah (calling him "an extremist Shia like all of them") when he issued a statement of lukewarm support during the Lebanon war, but this time he went stronger, calling them 'heretics' and actively protesting proselytizing in Egypt.

al-Qardhawi's comments unleashed a fury among the Shia, with the semi-official Iranian MAHR agnecy accusing him of 'promoting Zionist goals' and proudly boasting about the truth of the Shia creed as proven by those wanting to convert to Shiism who al-Qardhawi is not so happy about.


A few days after al-Qardhawi incident, 300 Shii websites were taken down, those websites ranged from heavyweight Ayatollah official websites (Sistani, Khoei), Iranian religious websites, and even an Iranian file sharing service. The message that appeared on all of these websites carried the typical arrogance of Wahhabi takfirism, which suggested that this group is relevant within the sizable and very organized anti-Shia activity on the Internet.

The Shia retaliated a few days later, but their signature carried some distinct images, first EyeRaki saves me the trouble of the journalist bit:

an extremist Sunni group called GroupXP attacked several Shia websites...all the websites show the same message. The website of the "Zoroastrian Safavid" has been hacked with the "help of Allah". The word "Shia" isn't even used once, instead they are referred to as rejectionists, descendants of Ibn al-Alqami, Zoroastrians and "sons of the Persians". typical language used by Salafis who do not consider Shias within the realm of Islam. Following the attack on hundreds of Shia websites, some Iranian Shia decided to pay back in kind by hacking Sunni websites. A picture of the 'Persian Gulf', a face painted with the Iranian flag and an Israeli flag torn in two come up as the homepage for these sites. The hacking was justified by using part of a verse from the Quran [2:194] "...And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you..." Some sites however show a picture of two hands interlocked with the phrase "Oh Muslims, Unite Unite" with a tongue-in-cheek message at the bottom that reads "Because of Eid-el-Fetr , some of your sites will be returned to you in the next 24 hours".

There are several things to notice about the counter-attack, there is a strong Iranian bent, and the conciliatory stance implied by the tongue-in-cheek message heavily suggest to me that this is the work of somebody affiliated with the Iranian government. there is a general air of cagey carefulness that is a trademark of Iranian foreign policy, note that the targeted websites were mostly not regular Sunni websites but specifically targeted sites that are anti-Shia (including the most high-profile one,, in effect saying that we have no problem with nice friendly Sunnis but only anti-Shia Sunnis, I don't think many normal Shia would react similarly (I don't know Persian, and Arab Shia would be naturally more timid, but for example check out some of the comments on, they are as murderous as any Wahhabi gathering), their choice of words in the rebuttal to the frothing Sunni attack doesn't seem likely to be the work of a normal religious zealot. I mean if someone attacked my creed so viciously I wouldn't turn the other cheek to him without signifying one bit of criticism like that (and there are many), blaming the Zionists is also another trademark Iranian policy, and everybody knows that the most vicious anti-Shia polemics came nowhere near the Zinoist Entity, Perhaps the Sunni attack itself is in some way linked to the Saudi government, (and indeed, some of those extremely anti-Shia websites are run by well-known sheikhs, not underground movements) which is why perhaps the Iranians eventually attacked the very official, maybe they know better. (before, there were several attacks against other Saudi, Kuwaiti and Emirati governmental affailiated websites)


Where does al-Qardhawi's Son fit into all this? Ali al-Korani, a Shia cleric with a talk-show on TV first said that al-Qardhawi's anger was because his son, Abdulrahman Yousif, converted to Shiism, many Shia websites circulated the news item and some pointed out to a Sunni mufti in Palestine, Mahir Humood, as the source ; Humood currently has a statement on his website denying this and saying that he only 'criticized al-Qardhawi and was only speculating when he said it was probably due to some conversion amongst his family members.'

Abdilrahman Yusuf, who is al-Qardhawi's third son, is miles away from his father, he is handsome for starters, a few years ago he changed from an Islamic chanter to a furious Pan-Arab poet, there seem to be several things about him that might have alluded to this conversion to Shiism, he made a visit to southern Lebanon following the war and his recent output strongly saluted Nasrallah, plus his most famous poem, which features the most enjoyable and scathing attacks on Husni Mubarak (al-Hatiku Bi Amr-Allah (The Violatior In The Name of God) mocks the Abbasid Caliphs tradition of adopting titles with 'Allah' in them) all this suggest a possible frustration with corrupt dynastic rulers and a strong infatuation of people like Nasrallah, which is something he might have found to stem from Sunni and Shii systems of government.

So where does this take us? To me, al-Qardhawi's frustrated statements reflect an honest portrayal of Sunni-Shia relations, or lack thereof, indeed, politically it was a very stupid thing to do, and he has been soundly criticized by other prominent Sunni scholars such as al-Awa, on the overall cyberwarring, the Shia who never had as powerful an Internet presence as the Sunnis (at least in Arabic language sources) proved to be capable of conducting major reprisals and scored high by coming out as the wise sages who are reining in the childish Sunnis and reminding them repeatedly of the greater enemy ; Israel, something that reeks very suspiciously of organized government work to me. I don't see this ongoing war as some child's play at all, and with a prominent site such al-Arabiya being hacked things risk further escalation, although I think by now both sides have been proven as strong and they will see things pointless in the long run.

The war seems to have a far larger scope than I thought, countless forums and websites have been destroyed. (Shii websites only)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Saddam: The Arab Hope By Way of Stalin

Whenever I read one of those interviews which highlight the more progressive side of Saddam Hussein, there is a deep sense of frustration at what might have had happened had things been more forthcoming : had Saddam been less of a megalomaniac and had not the Islamist tide turned its ugly head in ; true, Iraq was built on sectarian foundations, and it's eventual for him to be part of the sectarian composition of politics in the end, but Saddam was largely interested in his own tribe for loyalty before his own sect. This great interview with Said K. Aburish, previously linked by our sectarian friend Iraqi Mojo, perhaps offers one of the more interesting profiles of Saddam Hussein : a brutal dictator who wouldn't "hesitate to kill 50% of the Iraqi population to bring Iraq into the 20th century," and most interestingly a schizophrenic who simultaneoulsy thinks in tribal and modernist fashions.
Everything makes sense in this interview, Aburish, a Palestinian who surprisingly has no misgivings about what Saddam Hussein really is, paints him as a cruel Machievllian but in a somewhat apologetic tone, as if he was in many times forced to adopt the path that he had taken, and because in the end his cause is to bring Iraq "into the 20th century."
Many people around the world are saying that for Iraq to survive it should be led by a secular modernist, but that does not seem to be necessarily achievable except by crushing the horrid religious factions squabbling all over Iraq, i.e what you need is a strongman who favors the nation-state (as opposed to religion) like the ones US employ all around the Middle East. Saddam Hussein was all of that, the problem for the United States is that Saddam Hussein was not your average Jordanian or Egyptian ruler, he was an ambitious workaholic who actually wanted to change the status-quo and make a name out of himself as the leader of a self-reliant Arab superstate, and this is why they kept him busy with equally ambitious Khomeini and destroyed both countries in the process, if anything, this interview exposes beautifully the criminal role the United States played many times when dealing with Saddam, such as the several measures they implemented to curtail him after the Iran war ended, as well as helping to stop the 1991 Uprising against him from actually happening, Aburish makes sense when he says that the United States viewed Saddam as a necessary evil because without him Iraq would disintegrate, which is what's slowly happening right now. Aburish also makes a correct distinction between the Arab and Iraqi perspectives of Saddam, the former, knowing but certainly less affected by his genocides view him first as the anti-Western imperalist, while Iraqis the other way around.
While Aburish states that Saddam had no real ideology, it seems to me that the greatest problem is just that, that Saddam came to represent the Pan-Arab ideology, the problem with the latter is that it is a secular version of Sunni Islam, the two share the ultra-nationalistic outlook with the major battles, the brave heroes and the conquest, and when it comes to dealing with extraneous entities, such as Shia, whose version of Arab history is one of oppression and injustice, or non-Arab Kurds, the Pan-Arabists employ a simple solution, forcefully impose their ideology without really trying to integrate those different sects into a meaningful entity, this is what Karfan means when he says that al-Assad managed to convince Alawite Syrians that they're bad Muslims, or the huge Baathist literature which stresses the fictionalized differentiation between 'Good Jaffari Shiism' and Saffavid Shiism (which really means all of Shiism). Saddam came to start his Arab leader project from a country that is barely Arab, and yet sometimes when I read about the Saddam of the 70s, the one of progress and modernization, the one I never saw, it looks like a fairytale dream to me that we would've been much better off than coming to terms with our fragile existence as a true nation-state. One of two ugly things seem to be more likely to happen than true democracy after Saddam:

1. Iraq ceases to exist as sectarian and ethnic realities unfold.
2. Religious parties will rule for a very long time.

It's curious to see what America is really going to do with Iraq, at the expense of millions of deported and dead Iraqis, and the death of Iraq itself, as for us Iraqis, as we look around the only remotely successful in our region are the sellout rich ones who are aligned to the West, yet this sort of prosperity is artificial (how many people told you Dubai has no soul?) and contains not a slight amount of humility, but it seems to be the best course for Iraq right now, we've had enough wars, we just want to live and if we get lucky enough and get an isolationist secular dictator who defeats all these Islamist bugs and is quite content at being a stooge, we just might. Our dream of having a truly intrinsic, genuinely patriotic leadership seems elusive for the moment. And of course, America will sell us out the moment we do not conform to its own interests, but for the moment we seem to share goals and on the long run there seems to be no other way.
Go Alusi Go.

The Russians have voted their mass-murderer Stalin the number two Russian of all time, and only 28% see him as a bad person (49% positive).