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Sunday, July 11, 2004

From Robert Fisk, writing for the Independent:

. . .'But Saleh [Saleh Mohamed Fawzi, a former member of the Iraqi Republican Guard] was sent back into the Iraqi army, this time to the northern city of Irbil. "I hated it. I did not want to fight any more. So I ran away again. You know the punishment for desertion is death but I refuse to fight. It is a sin for a Muslim to kill. So I came home again and eventually I managed to bribe some officers to take my name off the conscript list. I didn't meet the officers. There was a money-agent who bribed officers for soldiers who had deserted. It cost me about 12,000 dinars (£400) and my wife sold all her family gold to get the money."'

. . .

'"Our Imam Ali said that a man is either our brother in religion or our brother in humanity and we believe this. You must live with all men in perfect peace. You don't need to fight him or kill him. You know something; Islam is a very easy religion, but some radicals make it difficult. We are against anyone who is killing or kidnapping foreigners. This is not the Muslim way. The Grand Marjas (religious teachers) have told us this."'

The real struggle in global politics is, as I see it, a struggle of moderates against extremists. The extremists, be they Neoconservatives, militant Jews living in the settlements, Islamic militants, or other forms of terrorists and thugs, are striving to gain power around the world. Their worldviews are all quite similar; power rules absolutely, because power keeps us safe from some fictitious enemy who's plotting to kill innocent civilians at every turn. There is often a religious dimension to the dementia, some sort of justification for turning everything upside-down. It's like a comic book or superhero movie, and it's not real. The reality is the world mostly contains folks like Saleh. There are real dangers, obviously, from terrorists and ultra-conservative Republicans alike, but these can be dealt with normally. There is no need to overthrow the roots of Democracy because some ill-defined "enemy" chooses not to play by the rules. My motto, and one which I hope will prove its usefulness in the upcoming political firestorms, is "let cooler heads prevail".

Andrew 12:33 AM : |


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