Fayrouz: Here and there. Another Iraqi-American, Fayrouz, posts an e-mail she received from a Marine veteran of the 1990-91 Desert Storm conflict. Also more on Iraqi victims of terrorism, and another photo. Read her post on the march against terror, too.
"The Party is the Party." What is the Ba'ath Party? One thing it is not, says Syrian blogger Karfan, is a "political entity".
Karfan wonders when in monkey's name this “Thing” became a real party. Yes, granted we call it “The Party”and “Baath Party”, but these are mere names of some “thing” that exists and we had to call it a name. It does not mean anything like a political party or any political or organizational entity. It just exists around us and between us like that black-cloud of pollution on top of Damascus and Banias, like the sewage stink, or like the Mukhabarat's Peugeot white cars. “Baath Party”, “People's Assembly”, “Cultural Center”, and “People's Army” are just names of things that had nothing to do with those names. ...
Omar at Iraq the Model says Karfan's post has abolished whatever differences he once thought existed between the Syrian Ba'ath and its Iraqi version. "they're identical twins, I swear!" Omar goes on to say:
Reading this article took me back to Iraq in 2002; every single tiny detail is exactly the same; the army, the Ba'ath party and its hateful regional convention, the worn out-slogans and the numbness you can see clearly on many faces.
Syria's self-styled "Heretic", Amraji, has some thoughts on national and cultural identity:
What is the meaning of national belonging and cultural authenticity in the Age of Globalization? Being true to oneself might indeed be the best strategy for coping with this Age, or any other age for that matter. But how can one be true to a divided fragmented self?
Obviously, this will not be easy. Still the mere acknowledgement of the existence of this problem sets one apart from the prevalent intellectual scene around here, where everyone seems sure, acts sure, or is required to be sure, of who he/she happens to be. You don’t even need to give an answer here to be a heretic.
But, once you begin to dabble with potential answers, you become more than just a heretic, more than a simple outsider, you become an outcast. This is actually quite the refreshing thought, when you think about it.
Amarji goes on to warn of the dangers of isolationism - and he gives a potent metaphor for the traumatized peoples of the contemporary Middle East.
Ali at Free Iraqi joins President Jalal Talabani in congratulating Tony Blair. Ali recalls listening to Blair's speeches with other Iraqis in the weeks prior to the war. Read the post for Ali's description of their reactions.
Alaa is back and blogging at The Mesopotamian again. He has some thoughts on the jihadists:
I hope this will not be understood as some kind of class prejudice, however facts are facts and must be looked at objectively and things called by their real names. Also, 99 % of those men belong to particular clans, tribes and a certain sect, that I am sure you will not have much difficulty at guessing which. This is quite painful, because, we in the cities are very mixed and many of our families are a mélange of Shiaa, Sunnis, and even Christians. However, most of these men actually are seen to be of provincial origin. This reinforces my conviction, which I have expounded long ago in some of my earlier posts, and which can be simply expressed as follows:
The problem in Iraq is not so much a sectarian issue, but rather more to do with the nature of our peasant problem.
The whole thing can be traced back to our history, and particularly the Revolution of 1958 that deposed the Monarchy that essentially consisted of a social system based on the hegemony of the cities allied with feudal Lords or Shiekhs ( as they were called here). I believe that all what has happened ever since is a sequel and natural consequence of that particular event, which is of paramount importance in our recent history. This matter requires much research and analysis, and is difficult to deal with in the scope of a brief blog post.
It's great to have Alaa back; let's hope we hear more from him soon. Meanwhile, go check out his post.
Just in case you didn't get the memo, Egyptian Sandmonkey wants you to know that all Islamic reformists are apostates.
Nope, it's not a Mullah or a mufti who issued this glorious fatwa this time, it's the fellow Egyptian journalist Rim Azmi whose article "Muslims in Name, Apostates in Fact," ran in the weekly Al Ahram El Ararby. I thought it was such a great informative article - it made me realize that i am a western wannabe asskissing apostate- that i figured i should post some paragraphs and leave some comments of my own.
Read the whole Al Ahram article, with Sandmonkey's commentary, at the link.
Kuwaiti Girl wants to be an astronaut. Or, to be more exact, a cosmonaut: she's set her star on the Russian space program. (She is also a certified Sergei Kirkalev groupie.) Follow her blog as she keeps up on the latest space missions and struggles with the Russian language. Still, there are a few Russian space traditions she'll probably leave to others.