Friday, August 27, 2004

Al-Sistani. Does he need a [Queer eye for the straight guy] makeover?

I mean look at the beard! he is trying to throw his weight around these days and he really needs to work on his image. Ungroomed facial hair will not get you very far habibi.

and now for something compeletly different....

You know why it is fun to have a minister in the Iraqi government in your house these days?
You can watch the government go into shock collectively. There is something wickedly funny when your father, sitting in his PJs and sipping on wine, answers your questions with “no comment” and gives you the mask of absolutely no emotions.

People, the Iraqi government has no fucking clue as to what al-Sistani is trying to do. Apparently they have been in touch with him for days now but his [March of millions] initiative has been a total surprise to them and they have no idea what to make of it or how to deal with it. And al-Sistani managed to give them another surprise by asking to allow the masses to go into Najaf.

Al-Sistani decided to do a couple of very un-Sistani moves. The heart surgery must have done something to him. Until now he has managed to float like a deity above the ground and to always seem a bit above those worldly issues. Just above the ground and acting like a peaceful Buddha. He comes back and suddenly the “great miracle of God”, as one wall graffiti declared, touched the ground with his feet and decided to pitch his weight against al-Sadr. I liked the floating Sistani much more than the one we have now. I worry that if al-Sadr plays him like he has been playing the Iraqi government for weeks now al-Sistani will loose a lot; he has been until now the only voice of reason coming from the religious Shia groups. and believe me that is an already very desperate statement from someone who is as godless as I am, it pisses me off that we have to go to men in turbans and bushy beards for hope.

I went out today to the southern exit out of Baghdad, I wanted to see the masses leaving to Najaf but I was late; I only managed to catch the convoys coming all the way from Kirkuk and a couple of smaller convoys. Still, I was full of warm fuzzies. We drove further down the road and I was a minute away from deciding to go the whole way. Just imagine if this was it; the millions following this inspired leader and being able to peacefully solve this problem by simply being there en masse. The first Shia peace sit-in. wouldn’t you want to be there?

Then nasty, cynical me popped up and squished that daydream. To start with al-Sistani invited the masses to join him on his drive up to Najaf from Basra because surrounding himself with as many people as possible is a good way to avoid getting blasted away by whoever doesn’t like to see him back in the field, ditto for asking the masses to wait for him as he enters Najaf. Yup, cynical me can get very nasty.

And the other thing that worries me is the fact that amongst the first to prepare to go along on this march to Najaf were people in Sadr City. Al-Sistani is probably making the same mistake al-Rubai, Iraq’s national security adviser, made when he opened up Najaf and instead of Sadr supporters leaving they flooded in from all corners and resulted in the current crisis in Najaf.

My mother, before going to bed, wagged a finger at the news presenter on TV and announced that all they want is to go in and pray the morning prayers at the Imam’s shrine and leave. If that is so I already regret not going.