The current political situation in Iraq is akin to a group of people, all standing in front of a burning house, discussing the role each should play in extinguishing the fire as the house burns.
Hamas and Israeli terrorism are symptoms.
Hamas and Israeli terrorism are symptoms. Media coverage of death and destruction capture the surface signs of deep seated psychopathy. Beneath the blood are the causes, and beneath the causes are buried the seeds of compassion required for treatment. The hidden foundational causes can be addressed...the path to peace can be opened...without violence.
The complexities of today shut down rational thought and drive us to primitive responses and explanations. We are defensively forced into the black-and-white mode of fundamentalist thinking from which we reinterpret history, dehumanize 'the other', and commit to what would ordinarily, in more peaceful settings, be obviously immoral acts.
The underlying problems that beset the Israeli and Palestinian people are old. The current situation impedes logical thought. The solutions are quite new, and require a mindset girded against knee-jerk reactions and simplistic definitions.
Violence is not the answer. Solutions lie within creative minds at the pinnacle of moral evolution.
August 5, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink
This my mother told me on the phone in 2 days [ago]. A neighbor, In front of their houses, like they did it a lot of times. They took one person, they brought 3 of his sons, and the one of them. And that one (the father) he begged them not to kill the the 4th son. And they brought him, because he was not there at that time, and in front of the father he-they executed him. And then they left that house. As you know, they come and took them and they killed them. And she asked who can do this? And she was crying and everybody was crying for them. Because the election you know, because the election. You cannot imagine what’s going on. The last one hid under the bed. And then they found him. They start shooting him in front of their houses. And they did it a lot of times. And they took him and the dad was begging them, “Please, please, shoot me not him.”
And my mother said the Police, any organization, they cannot do anything. She was crying. She told me a lot of stories but I cannot summarize all of them. She calls me to tell me these stories. She thinks that someone here can do something.
Eve they took the females, you know. What they are doing now…they take the female to oblige the male to come because now they are looking for all males so they are looking for somewhere to hide. So they took the females to oblige the males to come and then they kill them in front of their kids and their women. They took the females from their houses and put them in the jail so they would get the males to come. The rape them.
The Sunnis are being attacked, because what they like…here in the news only the Sunni places. You know why? Because now there is an army belongs to Maliki and all of them Shia and they attack Sunni people. The army called…she mentioned many names…that one called…Suat, the name of the army belongs to the Maliki. And they work for him. So of course they attack Sunni people.
You know, actually, there is no war, there is nothing between Sunna and Shia. Sunna people like, in general, but when you get higher to political things they fight, and they create these fight. You know…because we live for long, long ages…my neighbor in front of me, Shia, and our neighbor were Shia. And when some people came to attack that Shia, Sunna people came to protect that family. Yeah, we kept him because he lived with us. And they are big families and we live all of them in one house and we protect them. The neighbor is like one of the family, and even I had my sister’s brother in law, he was working as a policeman, he is Shia. There was no aggression between.
Actually, before the war [with the US] we didn’t even know if we were Sunni or Shia. Wa’allah I swear for that. We didn’t know. For me I didn’t know, wa’allah, I didn’t know who we belonged to. When I was little me and siblings, we were 5 siblings, we went to a Christian school where all, like most of the teachers were Jewish. We didn’t find like any differences.
But all these things, they were created right after the war.
Now the problem is my mom asking me “Will you find anyone to help. We need some, like help. Not for me because I am old.” She means like for other families. There are now 3 or 5 million orphans.
“Thank you for hearing me.” And tears. And the interview ends.
April 4, 2014. Raw interview notes by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 09:53 AM | Permalink
Al-Raqqah, Syria: “a city where fear prevails. Music has been banned, Christians have to pay an Islamic tax for protection, people are executed in the main square and face-veiled women and pistol-wielding foreigners in Afghan-style outfits patrol the streets enforcing Shariah restrictions.” Prayer is mandatory and shops must be closed during prayer times. Smokers are arrested on sight and whipped in public. Hookah shops and cafes are closing for good as customers no longer feel safe, and women and men may not sit at the same tables. Veiling rules are posted (full covering for face and hands) and flogging is the punishment. Unmarked cars patrol the streets looking for transgressors. We think Kafka would recognize al-Raqqah.
ISIL are the same group who, in the past 12 months, unleashed 30 suicide murderers against Iraqi Sunni militias and security forces (and the innocent civilians who died along with the fighters). This is the same group that al-Qaeda thought too violent (against Muslims) to be tolerated. Imagine getting kicked out of al-Qaeda for being too violent!
About five thousand ISIL control the city of 500,000. They swarmed there from other areas since they ousted the al-Nusra Front fighters in January. Few in number, strong in dedication to violence, and willing to kill with ease they have terrorized an entire city.
Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda, and its al-Nusra offshoot, consider themselves a battle group engaged in the struggle to become the major power in a future Syrian Islamic state. Zawahiri’s main focus is Assad and he claims to act in the interests of the people, without specifying the governance to come. Like many apocalyptic groups they feel that the future will sort itself out after the battle is won. Faith insists that Allah will provide the correct answer.
Baghdadi’s ISIL see themselves as rulers now; of whatever territory they control now; of whatever people they subject now. Their future is now, and it is horrible to behold.
March 7 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Thanks to Haider for the AP article I had missed.
Posted at 05:44 PM | Permalink
9/11 and Historical Memory
The Center on Terrorism of John Jay College in NYC is hosting a special panel on March 21 to discuss the ways in which 9/11 will be remembered.
The presenters include Elizabeth Greenspan of Harvard and Scott Knowles of Drexel University. Charles B. Strozier, Founding Director of the Center will host.
The dominant 'family member' voices are decidedly conservative. The loudest voices are extremists who run the gamut from "let's just bomb the hell out of THEM" to "It was a government plot to stir up hate against <insert Muslims/Jews/whatever>".
We owe it to those directly affected by 9/11 to incorporate our side of the story within the historical narrative. We owe a striving for the truth to be part of the story.
What are the truths about 9/11 that you feel should be part of the history?
How would you put it? What needs to be incorporated into the history of 9/11 in order to help the world toward more peaceful tomorrows?
March 5, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 09:44 AM | Permalink
I’ve never been to Derna in Syria. In fact I hadn’t heard of it until recently when AQ factions (We call groups espousing al-Qaeda doctrine ‘AQ’) began competing to see which could take control of the city in the name of their fantasied return to an imagined perfect Caliphate of yore.
Terrorizing the population is key to the success of AQ. Small in number, they must rely on irrational, exaggerated responses to their activities. Recent assassinations (of local officials and military personnel), and bombings (of polling places, government offices, and retail shops) have reduced moderates to silence. Only the bravest of anti-terrorists are willing to speak out against the violence that is becoming part of Derna’s quotidian life.
Yesterday’s bombing of a cosmetics store illustrates the enormous gap between AQ doctrine and the hearts of the populace. Women in makeup is nothing new to Islam and it is hard to find Koran or Hadith injunctions against cosmetics, although limitations loosely defined by ‘modesty’ do exist. Halal cosmetics is a 10-15 billion dollar industry, and growing by over 10% per year.
A more direct political effect was caused by the bombing of 5 of Derna’s voting centers. Many people were frightened enough to skip the vote for members of the Constitutional Committee.
A tiny minority, self-deluded and morally corrupt, is able to disrupt the lives of millions, especially when fear is allowed to control the behavior of the masses. There were no bombs on voting day, and all could have taken part without incident.
March 3, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 01:00 PM | Permalink
There’s a competition for the ‘Good Terrorist’ award, and the two front runners are laughably, if you ignore the victims, vying for your votes.
Al-Nusra, the original Iraqi injection of terrorists into Syria, has recently severed connections with the ISIL latecomers. Al-Nusra claims the ISIL is too brutal and continues to attack Muslims as part of the ant-Assad campaign. In their bid for your sympathy they fail to mention their complicity in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Kurds in north-east of Syria, their beheading of Christians, the murder of civilian truck drivers, and the recent car bombing in Lebanon. The list of al-Nusra atrocities is long.
ISIL can claim an agreement with Christians in ar-Raqqah. These Christian Syrians have signed an agreement with ISIL that guarantees their protection, as long as they pay a head tax, refrain from building churches, eschew the carrying of weapons, and not display crosses or broadcast prayer services. The document concludes, "If they [the Christians] violate anything contained in this agreement, then they have no pact of protection, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant will make befall them what befell the people of war and rebelliousness." We can only assume that this benevolence is meant to outweigh their car bombings targeting civilians, execution of unarmed soldiers, and the other atrocities documented by Human Rights Watch.
The date for the Good Terrorist Awards Ceremony has not yet been set.
February 28, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 11:47 AM | Permalink
What is the best way to inform Americans about the genocide they are aiding in Iraq?
The U.S. is sending arms and ammunition, including missiles, to an Iraqi government that is actively engaged in an ethic cleansing campaign against the minority Sunni population.
Posted at 03:25 PM | Permalink
We’re on the phone again to Baghdad—the Saturday morning call. At some point I am complaining about all the things I have to do, and the cold, and the car being buried in the snow…Z interrupts me.
Mr. Bruce, I have to tell you something. I think your list is very easy. Each one is a small thing. Let me tell you. Just two days a car very close to the house was exploded.
Momo was not home. He was headed to the bakery to bring bread. I sent him. Myself.
The explosion was very close to the checkpoint.
The national guards at the checkpoint, the guys become crazy
Shooting, detaining all the store’s owners
A bunch of crazy Shi’a guys…shooting and acting crazy.
I kept calling M and he didn’t answer. This is a big fear in me. I kept calling but he did not answer the phone.
In that situation I hate to even remember. I was so afraid.
When he came home finally he told me. “I was hiding behind the concrete wall because they were detaining people and I was afraid they would take me.”
So you are worried about your car buried in the snow!
February 2, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Posted at 11:39 AM | Permalink
I said, "Tell me a story of Baghdad."
She said, "Well my mother almost died today. When I spoke to her she was sorry we did not speak before she left for work. On the way home from the ministry, in the second of two cars, she thought of me and then BOOM! A man wearing a suicide belt came to the first car and blew himself up. The car exploded. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Posted at 06:07 AM | Permalink