Thursday, February 23, 2006

Watch around the bend, my Friend

The picture shows a British soldier trying to escape from a tank after it was set on fire by Iraqi protesters in Basra in 2005. The British had just liberated an under-cover British agent who had been arrested by Iraqi police. The British simply ran down the wall around the compound of the prison.

The Askari Mosque ("Goden Dome") in the holy town of Samarra in Iraq has been blown up. No picture of that event here. - Why not? Because the two events, the blowing up of the mosque and the vile deeds of occupation, are connected. And they are in a sense connected to the whole of the occupying coalition in Iraq, including Danish troops in the Basra region. Everybody participating in this war must bear their part of the blame.
Nothing seems to indicate that it was the Americans who blew up the Golden Dome. But they may be partly responsible for the situation that made this heinous act possible. Some people in Iraq want to stir up mayhem at any price, it seems.

What has gone wrong is the way the so-called democratic process has been side-tracked from the beginning. Democracy should not be imposed from outside but be of peoples own design and initiative. The democratic process has so far favoured two of the ethnic groups in the country at the cost of the third one. Of course, this brings ethnic strife.

The Iraqui blogger Riverbend has an account of what this mosque means to Iraquis:

The mosque damaged with explosives today is the “Askari Mosque” which is important because it is believed to be the burial place of two of the 12 Shia Imams- Ali Al-Hadi and Hassan Al-Askari (father and son) who lived and died in Samarra. The site of the mosque is believed to be where Ali Al-Hadi and Hassan Al-Askari lived and were buried. Many Shia believe Al-Mahdi ‘al muntadhar’ will also be resurrected or will reappear from this mosque.I remember visiting the mosque several years ago- before the war. We visited Samarra to have a look at the famous “Malwiya” tower and someone suggested we also visit the Askari mosque. I was reluctant as I wasn’t dressed properly at the time- jeans and a t-shirt are not considered mosque garb. We stopped by a small shop in the city and purchased a few inexpensive black abbayas for us women and drove to the mosque.We got there just as the sun was setting and I remember pausing outside the mosque to admire the golden dome and the intricate minarets. It was shimmering in the sunset and there seemed to be a million colors- orange, gold, white- it was almost glowing. The view was incredible and the environment was so peaceful and calm. There was none of the bustle and noise usually surrounding religious sites- we had come at a perfect time. The inside of the mosque didn’t disappoint either- elaborate Arabic script and more gold and this feeling of utter peace… I’m grateful we decided to visit it.


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