Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Violence in Iraq

(late October, 2013)

The BBC Arabic had a show about all the violence in Iraq.

First, the guests talked about everything that is wrong with Iraq these days:

1. sometimes schools are blown up, and the kids are all really stressed

2. one Iraqi man said: we are raising a generation of children who think everything is based on killing someone

3. People are so stressed out that their hair is falling out and they can't sleep, so says this professor:

4. Everyone is too scared to let their kids go outside, not only because they might be killed by a bomb, but because apparently there is a roaring drug trade happening on the streets.

5. Lots of people have stories as follows: I was ten minutes late to class, but in my absence, it was blown up.

Then the presenter Fida Bassil asked a very provocative question: "There's people who say that Iraqi society is at its roots a violent society. That's why we're seeing so much bloodshed."

The Iraqis she was interviewing denied this.

The man said: no, it's not a question of being genetically disposed to violence.

Fida said: but even before the American occupation, Iraqi society was violent. There's never been a transfer of power without bloodshed. It always happens through killings.

The man said: but that's always going to be the case in a society when you don't have elections.

I think he has a point, and if you are going to consider Iraqi society violent, then you'd also have to consider Germans and people in Rwanda as super-psycho and violent. The only thing I really don't like is when Iraqis, in spite of everything happening, still going around talking as if they are the best thing ever. No, you're not!!! Please don't go around calling other countries 'corrupt' when your society is producing a bunch of people willing to blow themselves up and kill dozens of people at mosques, schools, and markets.

Then they started talking about Sunnis and Shias. Both the Iraqis on the program denied that there was going to be a war between the two sides. They said that your everyday Iraqi, no matter from what stripe, rejects violence directed at the opposite group in that way.

And, they said that the people who blow things up have a special tactic. No matter what their true identity is, they go blow up a Shia mosque, and say a Sunni did it. Then they go blow up a Sunni mosque, and say that a Shia did it. So there are people who purposefully aim their targets to cause the greatest rage. But the two guests said that Iraqis understand all this and refused to be fooled.

Fida asked, then why is it the case that you see Sunnis moving to areas with only Sunnis, and Shias moving to areas with only Shias, if the two sides are indeed getting along in spite of the bombs.

I think the man said: well, people are moving to feel greater security, but in their hearts they don't want to.

Watch the program here.

Update January 11, 2014:
I know people who know people who live in Iraq, so I've heard from them, in a second-second-hand way, that they stay out for all hours at night. In fact, one guy never comes home before midnight, and one girl is also always everywhere at restaurants and coffee shops. And one person went to visit four weeks ago and was amazed at how the streets were full of people coming and going.

No comments:

Post a Comment