Friday, April 29, 2005

Determination in the face of devastation....

When I first woke this morning, I did what I always do, which is to check e mails and the news.
I saw this and this.

Only hours before, I had been discussing with one of my friends the possibility of my going to Iraq in upcoming months. We discussed that there was currently a 'spike' of violence from the terrorists. That they are losing, and that their tactics show their desperation, but, like any cornered animal, desperation can be very dangerous. They are making a big, all-out attempt, so that they can get lines like the one in the Reuters article this morning which said that they were, "putting the new government under pressure to tackle an insurgency that shows no sign of weakening". They continue to attempt to wreak devastation, not only in the streets, but in the hearts of the Iraqis.

At the same time, I see this other article stating that Al-Yawar says that some of the Sunni leaders are threatening to pull out of the new government if their demands for certain posts are not met. In doing this, they give hope to the terrorists. Hope that the Iraq is not unified, hope that they still have a crack that they can widen.

Now, I understand pretty well that Iraq is a different society than ours. First of all, the issue of pride is among things considered most important. This is one reason for the entire pan-Arab cultural divides and spats over hundreds and even thousands of years. The society is based on a patriarchal model in which there is a patron that you serve and in return, you get protection. It feeds off this in a terrible circle that can only be broken by a very brave and very unselfish leader, one who would not be scared to have not only his thoughts challenged, but his very courage and manhood, to possibly end up being vilified.

But, as I went for my run today, I was thinking, I wonder what it would be like, I wonder of the reaction, if there were just one man, one major Sunni leader, brave enough to stand up and say, "right now, the Sunni population is not as represented as it would have been had certain areas not been as targeted during voting, that is true." "However, we have all paid a price for our country, and now, we are willing to compromise in whatever way is needed to help the new government establish itself."

I know that this would not last, anymore than non partisan unity in the US did after 9/11. But in those first months after, there was no question of divide. None. It brought out the very best in most Americans, the willingness to put aside the smaller conflicts for a larger purpose.

This is akin to what the new government in Iraq must have in order to let the terrorists know that they are not going to break this country. They must at least appear unified, strong, and determined. This does not mean that there should not be argument and disussion, quite the opposite, they should show that they can acheive despite those things. However, to have threats going on of "we won't play if we can't have the toys we want", at this critical time is just absurd. Now is the time for the people that elected these representatives to remember their roles as well. There are many, many Sunnis that are moderate and do not fear a government in which they don't get "x" posts. They need to let the leaders know that. And that's the hardest task of all. After all of the years of not being allowed to speak out about your government, without being killed or tortured for it, it will be the largest test for Iraqis to remember that these people work for them now, and that they have the voice to keep them in power, or remove them.

People in Iraq are fearful still from so many years of brutality and tyrannical government control. And they are an amazingly brave people, as they have shown again and again. They line up still to serve in an unconscripted army. They fight terrorists in their own neighboorhoods. They take risks working in any part of the government. They are risking everything for freedom.

The same freedom that allowed me to think these thoughts as I made my way down the road looking at the new buds on the spring trees this morning and thinking that these trees are like Iraq. They are just budding, but soon enough, they will be in full bloom. Iraq is in it's spring. But soon, it will come into it's full summer, and I am certain that the heat of the people's desire will not be held back by these terrorists, or by a government, ever again.

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