Saturday, July 5, 2008

Baghdad's new mythology?

Mainstream U.S. Headlines from the past year:

"Walling off Baghdad areas raises fears sectarian splits will deepen"

"Iraqi official says Rice complained that Baghdad crackdown too sectarian"

"Gates Urges Iraq to Hasten Push to Defuse Sectarianism"

What is SECTARIANISM? How long has it existed in Baghdad? In Iraq?
Are these tensions real and deep? Are they superficial and imposed?

3 comments:

Numan said...

I believe that religious and cultural differences between Sunnis and Shiites existed for decades, if not centuries. Many people in Baghdad and other major cities do not think so because they were in mixed communities and these things did not matter much. But the isolation those groups have experienced through out the years in the less urban and the rural areas deepened these differences.

At times of stress, such as the Iraqi-Iranian war, the whole country was facing the threat and these things were not important because everyone was defending their country. In the nineties, because of the regime and because of the general instability, people started looking for religion as a savior or as a relief to help them go on with their lives. The differences started deepen more.
Now, because of the lawless state we're living and because of many different mistakes here and there, people are joined together by tribal and religious similarities and are against each other because of tribal and religious differences.

We need a lot of time to burry these differences and tensions but with many "neutral" people leaving the country, this is not happening anytime soon.

aNarki-13 said...

Sectarianism: --people using stuff other (dead) people argued about thousands of years ago as a basis to erase those who are too inconvenient.

--something as stupid and baseless as racism.

How long has it existed? Sectariansim has not existed for long, DIFFERENCES have. we've had our sunni-shi'i-subba-yezidi-kurdi-arabi differences since ever..

we've always been a bit racist, which accounts to the same in my book :) however our awareness of others (as friends and maybe relatives) always outweighed our dislike of them.

with the change in mentalities that came with the long wars and global punishment we've been thru, any soft bits (e.g. moderation) got pushed aside and only the hard edges of personality remained.

It showed up in Baghdad a bit later than other places, because Baghdad always tried to be a melting pot of sorts.

1. are the tensions real? They DO exist, personally i wouldn't call them real. see point 3 below :)

2. are they deep? people feel them as being deep. is the difference itself deep? hell no.

3. Superficial? yes.

4. are/were they imposed? i would rather say encouraged :) the rest we did ourselves :)

MixMax said...

I won't add more than what anarki-13 mentioned, especially his number 4 answer.

No disrespect, but the time has gone to put these questions beforehand or look for the roots of the problem, especially if we take 13's word "encouraged" into the consideration. time to act, but acting alone won't help matters, and I am not saying to have help from outside/abroad, because this proved to be fatal to Iraq!