As many as 2 million mostly men gathered in Karkala, south of Bagdad, just last March. They shared cell-phone and TV images of themselves, flagellating their modestly-exposed shoulders, heads, and backs with bundles of chain "zangeel", and cutting into their heads and necks, to mourn the 7th century defeat and killing of Hussein during Islam's civil war of the 7th century. The grandson of Muhammad PBUH was pushed aside by the lords of Mecca and Medina. But what is the meaning of the Ashura today? The Golden Mosque in Samarra was destroyed by Al Quada militants in February 2006. Al Quada is Sunni. Now the devotees are shouting KUL YOM ASDHURA! KUL ARD KARBAL! "Every day is Ashura! All land is Karbala!"
Americans seem to keep wondering when the Iraqis will "step up" to fight for their country. This is a terrible question. Iraqis are already fighting, bravely, thoughtfully. And savagely. They are imbedded in a history which is not taking prisoners.
The Bush-Cheney-Rove trinity will be forgiven by the merciful Arabs and the remarkably civilized Persians long before they will ever be forgiven by "religious" Americans. No follower of Jesus Christ is permitted to lie, much less to harm so many innocent people pretending to fight enemies who are in fact unscathed and strengthened. In other words, no follower of Christ would invoke Christs' name as a cover up or excuse for stupidity and greed. Bush could not "lead" a penitent to a wailing wall. Even one Word, a single Zangeel of remorse and humility, even one step toward a pilgrimage of peace, would help.
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.