Monday, May 17, 2004


Look at Your Watch!

Many uninformed people view Iraq as just another backward third-world country populated by a violent and ignorant people!

In some respects, and on the face of it, this is largely true, but…

• Look at your watch: the hours and the minutes were invented in Iraq.

• So were the days of the week, the week itself, the months of the year and the years that count the centuries!

• The letters that make these words and all the words ever written and all that will ever be written using the alphabet.

• The written laws that govern and regulate the lives of people in all civilized nations!

• The Wheel!

• The Prophet Abraham was born in Iraq. Consequently Iraq is the cradle of all major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that believe in the One Almighty God!

Does a country like this deserve to be treated with so much contempt by any conquering army? And with so little regard by the political administration?


Not one person alive today can claim a part in any of the achievements you mentioned. Not Iraqis, not Americans, not anybody. So what's your point?

No country deserves the violence of war, regardless of the coincidence of the locality of great achievements. Even mediocre people don't deserve the ravages of war.

"Deserve" is a word that presupposes justice, fairness, reason. These things are human illusions. So is nationality and organized religion. As soon as we stop seeing each other as individuals, and instead see only clumps of people, the violence begins. It begins regardless of whether or not the target of violence "deserves" it.

Eventually, we will all have experienced, as individuals, the humiliation, violation, and injury of war. When our guts are full, we will all have one thing in common, as individuals, regardless of side, and that will be the desire for peace. Freedom, justice, fairness - illusions of grand association. I am no more guilty of aggression by simply being an American than you are deserving of being the target of aggression by simply being Iraqi. We have one thing in common: abuse by those in power. That will always be the case.

The thing that guarantees that there will never be everlasting peace on Earth is that each person dies, and those that are left must learn the lessons that greed and violence and covetousness and bloodlust teaches - and we must learn it firsthand.

If there was such a thing as just deserts, though, and if we were to evaluate what the people that currently reside on that plot of land we currently call Iraq based on the achievements of others who happened to reside on the same plot of land before them deserve, then all the other achievements you mentioned can be canceled out by the harm that the last "achievement" has caused. It isn't Abraham's fault, but these religions, derived from a common God, have seemed to generate nothing of substance over the long term except violence, and more violence. Christians in this country (and all others) badmouth Muslims. Muslims badmouth Christians. Both badmouth Jews. And Jews badmouth both of the others. A true Cartesian product! Only the inividuals in each faith that see the others first as individual humans succeeed in rising above this lunacy. But none of these religions lend themselves well to individuality.

It's not God that is the problem - it's religion, and nationism, and every other grouping that seeks to exclude and "hierarchicalize." When you stop seeing me as American, and I stop seeing you as Iraqi, then we can move forward.

I'm lookin forward to it.

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