Free Iraqi

I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sectarian violence spread to schools.

Local Iraqi TVs have been reporting an increasing sectarian tension among students in primary and high schools lately. The tension and quarrels often resulted in physical fighting among Sunni and She'at kids. Iraqi local media blamed some of the teachers in those schools for inflaming sectarian feelings, and of course the "occupation" is still considered a major reason.I was walking down the street in a predominantly Shiite area at one of those days when a daytime curfew was imposed and saw kids use the empty streets to play various games, mostly football but all kinds of games too. A group of kids with ages ranging probably between 7-10 years old caught my attention. They were carrying green flags and toy guns and chanting "No to terrorism, yes to Islam". They were just playing of course but what a dangerous game. The green flag is a symbol for Shiite and it's not just used by kids or civilians in religious ceremonies but sadly by some Iraqi security forces as they patrol the streets without even carrying an Iraqi flag. Also most of the names of Iraqi army units used to refer to Shiite Imams but thankfully someone paid attention to this and they're being changed. Terrorism often refers to Sunnis here, not all of them but at least most, and Islam of course refers to Shiism, as that's the only orthodox form of Islam to them just like the Sunnis mean their sect only when they use the word Islam.Both sides are definitely responsible for feeding hatred and distrust to their kids. The only difference is that Shiite now control most of the media and government offices and that makes the effect of any sectarian message they send more powerful. Sunnis certainly did a similarly bad job when Saddam was in power but it shouldn't be pay back time or else we'll never make it to a real democracy.One of my cousins study agriculture in Al-Kufa University in Najaf. Her father came to me once asking me to help her in one of her classes. The class is called "Democracy" which replaced Saddam's "National culture" that referred to the Ba'ath teachings that we had to take in the 1st years in college (I failed once in that class). This sounded great, to replace the Ba'ath twisted teachings with teaching democratic values, and I told my uncle that I was more than happy to help as much as I can. However it wasn't what I thought. Their teacher had asked them to prepare an essay on the relation between democracy and the revolution of Imam Hussein! And that was not just once, as he told me that most of their study was actually about Shiite Imams and how democratic they were. My uncle couldn't find a book that link the two together and thought I could find some references through the Internet since I have a home connection and have more experience in this field. I told him that I can't help him, as we'll probably need a million dovetail joints to connect the two and they still won't fit, and that she'd better just say that Imam Hussein was great and beautiful and liberal and supported gay marriage and that he studied the values of democracy at the hands of his father Imam Ali who studied it at the hands of the prophet Mohammed who studied it at Harvard…Yes he couldn't read and write but back then reading was optional in universities.Seriously, sectarian tension is way too strong now and there are probably only two ways to resolve it; civil war as I pointed before or a united government that apply justice, better education and national security forces that can deal with the security challenges without alienating any party. None of these standards is present now but there's still hope in the new government that it may meet at least some of them.