February 28, 2006

the Dome in samarra

What’s a new millennium without an atrocity to match up a millennial cause?

It’s been a week since that most barbaric of acts in Samarra, but one is yet to find a way to a calm rational word -or temper- about it. Perhaps there is no sane or rational way about all of this. No middle cooled-off ground between the two protagonists. A community in maddening love with some of the finest men and women this Peninsula had millennially produced, and a stock of people who are almost genetically engineered for hate and gore. An idea of sacrificing one’s neck for the right to a saintly no of dignity, versus a creed that bows to every victorious sword, no matter how unjust or depraved.

But if the evil of that black Wednesday was not sordid enough, the registered reaction to it could not have sunk to a lower base. It spoke volumes about the state of morality in Arab lands, and shakes your trust in it to the core.

Take al-Qaradhawi Friday’s sermon for instance. In a moment of forensic brilliance, he pronounced the wahabis innocent, as they would have gone after the tomb not the dome. Did he see the pictures? But the august sheikh hastened to categorically declare the Shia as the transgressor party in all of this. He was furious at the Sistani’s call for demonstration that day, as this only flared passions and caused Shia “mobs” to commit their savageries, to which the Sunnis are in their full right to respond in kind. Apparently, the Shia should have taken it all in sporty stride, in whispers, indoors.

Close by, on air and on message, was al-Jazeera. The credibility of its correspondent outstripping Fox news by miles and bounds, inflating the toll of number of Sunni mosques by the second, and declaring the 47 Shia killed in cold blood in Diyala as Sunni casualties, even though the footage demonstrated otherwise. Joined by Baghdad TV, ANB and others, the story of the day soon shifted to Sunnis besieged and under attack. Shrine bombed? What Shrine?

But perhaps far more telling was the attitude of the leading newspaper in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, home to the largest Shia community south of Basra and the longest uninterrupted historical presence of theirs. Al-Yaum went out of the presses on Thursday with not a single word on the story, from cover to cover. Sloppy Guardian may have it front and centre, but perhaps al-Yaum needed more time to corraborate the story by a second source.

If al-Qaradhawi asked the Shia to be angles, other leading figures of the association of Sunni scholars in Iraq were busy labeling them the vilest of the vile. The Shia organizations after all, suggested Al-Dhari and al-Faydhi, were the very ones who carried out the bombing for political advantage. National unity anyone?

Closer to home, the same group that brought you the notorious full page ad of “balagha al-sayl al-zuba” last December, and this time with Islah’s Minbar back in fold, paid for another ad, half-page this time, stating that desecrating Sunni Mosques was by far the most atrocious of the acts, since this involved houses of God and not merely tombs of slaves of God as was the case in Samarra. Reflection and Ijtihad must have went into full gear here. It all leaves you with the impression that what happened to the dome in Samarra was a man-made punishment for sacrilegious acts, along the lines of what befell others like Sodom and Gomorra.

We were even treated to the unique spectacle of Wahabis turning into pure humanists, as some notables of theirs wrote that the blood of each soul is worth countless of golden domes. In contrast to the almost pro-forma condemnation of the act of Shrine bombing (but not of the groups committing these acts), the revulsion and horror over Sunni victims was genuine and palpable across the Sunni world. Which makes you wonder, what about the toll of Shia casualties, in their dozens and hundreds, almost on daily basis, over the last three years? Didn’t anyone see the picture of that odious fuel tanker that burnt a Hussainiya south of Baghdad only recently? Or is it only Sunni blood that measures and counts, and the rest are merely statistics?

Other media and political outlets all exhibited concern for the much feared civil war. With all due respect, there is – to borrow from the Lebanese lexicon- much takadhub (mutual insincerities) at work here. There is a low intensity single back-burner civil war going on for sometime now, with its own army of generals, soldiers and regional financiers. The question is whether it will flare up into a high-intensity twin front-burner warfare. The bombing and its aftermath have now squared the circle towards that doom’s day.


At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

والله حاجة تقهر

يعني إلى متى كدا؟

البابا يدين التفجير.. وبعض الجماعات التي تدعي أنها إسلامية وكأن شيء لم يكن

يعني إلى متى سيبقون يدعمون الوهابية؟؟؟


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