Sunday :: May 16, 2004

Open Thread

by Mary

Before I turn the floor over to you, I wanted to bring your attention to Saturday's All Things Considered segment that discussed the similarities of the British troubles controlling Iraq in 1920 to what is happening today. NPR also has excerpts of letters from Gertrude Bell commenting on these times from Iraq. One of the excerpts discusses the family Sadr.

March 14, 1920: It's a problem here how to get into touch with the Shiahs, not the tribal people in the country; we're on intimate terms with all of them, but the grimly devout citizens of the holy towns and more especially the leaders of religious opinion, the Mujtahids, who can loose and bind with a word by authority which rests on an intimate acquaintance with accumulated knowledge entirely irrelevant to human affairs and worthless in any branch of human activity. There they sit in an atmosphere which reeks of antiquity and is so thick with the dust of ages that you can't see through it -- nor can they. And for the most part they are very hostile to us, a feeling we can't alter…There's a group of these worthies in Kadhimain, the holy city, 8 miles from Baghdad, bitterly pan-Islamic, anti-British…Chief among them are a family called Sadr, possibly more distinguished for religious learning than any other family in the whole Shiah world….I went yesterday [to visit them] accompanied by an advanced Shiah of Baghdad whom I knew well.

There is also a link to a paper titled The US-Shi'ite Relationship in a New Iraq that compares that time to our own written by William O. Beeman for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Now it's your turn.

Mary :: 2:00 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!