He came home from high school bloodied. He had been bullied before, but this was the first violence. They called him IS; they called him Sunni dog. They beat him, and he ran home to tell his mom of what happened.
She had left Mosul after her husband was killed by IS fighters. He was part of a Sunni Militia fighting to rid the city of the invaders. Resettled in a shared house in Baghdad, she had enrolled her son in what she thought was a good high school. Hard times, but hopefully the start of a new life in the city she was born in.
Mom went to the school and got an appointment with the principal. When she was seated in the office the head of the school cut off her questions with some of her own. The interview was extremely short.
“Where are you from?”
“I came from Mosul when my husband was killed.”
“Are you Sunni?”
“Then you should take your terrorist son from the school.”
“But he is…”
“Just take him and your Sunni self away from here. There is not a place here for him, or for you. Just go.”
“Just go before I have to call security. Go. Now.”
She left, and as she tearfully told the story she recalled the happy times she had spent in that very school.
Some date the modern Sunni-Shi’a divide in Iraq to the IS (then dubbed ISIS) attack on the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq. The February 2, 2006 attack began with four men shooting the guards before detonating their suicide bombs. A ‘Grad’ rocket was then fired into the Masjid. Tens were killed. That IS would attack a Shi’a shrine is no surprise. Neither is it surprising that the attack would be part of the fuel igniting the Sunni-Shi’a divide that has now become pervasive in Iraq.
For many, the identity ‘Iraqi’ holds less meaning than the affiliation one holds to a religion or tribe. The fabric of the nation has dissolved.
January 13, 2015 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact