Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorry but I do not speak sectarian.

'No to sectarianism'

It is exams. I am tired. I am stressed. It is almost 5am. I have not slept. A thousand things are running through my mind but the one thing that is keeping me up tonight is my encounter two days ago with an Iraqi acquaintance now foe. It is something I will not forget for a very long time. It has put everything into perspective for me

I was minding my own business in the library and an Iraqi girl I have only met once stopped me for a chat. You know, the usual, asking about exams and what not, making chit chat to pass by study time. But then the usual turned into the not so usual and then into quite a serious conversation when she asked me straight up whether I was a Shia or a Sunni Iraqi. When somebody asks you this they have sectarianism written all over them. After trying to explain to this child that I was a Muslim and do not like to differentiate as I believe in Islam (here is my idealism again!), she then proceeded to tell me that Sunnis are all misguided and they are the ‘wrong ones’ while only Shia Muslims know the truth, contradicting herself all throughout of course. She tried to back up her claims by a book she had read by some Wahhabi that converted to a Shia Muslim (yes, she is basing everything on an ex-Wahhabi!).  

What made me chuckle was when she tried to convince me that under Saddam Hussein children were brainwashed by him, speaking as if she herself is not brainwashed and is nothing but an impartial observer. Furthermore all this girl could tell me was that she hated Saddam and that Iraq needs to look to Iran as an exemplar, but she didn't really know whyI was quite obviously outraged by this point. It all continued for quite some time but I am not going to repeat it here because to be honest the vile she spewed up ever so confidently is irrelevant. But the meaning behind this is everything. It is very telling of tragedy. To me she signifies everything that is wrong with Iraq and to me people like her are the very reason that Iraq will never be the same.

It is disgusting to think that I, as an Iraqi Muslim, am more exposed to sectarianism here in the West in the 21st century than my parents ever were when they grew up in Iraq in the 20th century. It is as disgusting as it is telling. It is a reflection of what the war has created and it is a reflection of the black souls Iraqi's have developed over the years. The Americans have been so successful in creating and bringing out the sectarianism in Iraqis that when they begin to pull out at the end of this year (if they do!) they will not need to engage in any more direct work to destroy us; they need only to sit back and watch Iraqi’s destroy each other and themselves.

I wish at the time I could have said something to this girl, but, I really did not want to make her cry. I am not very nice when it comes to these things but sub7anAllah something was stopping me from wanting to punch this little girl in the face. The next time I am so directly asked what kind of Muslim I am and especially in the overbearing tone aforementioned I will say something around the lines of....

Your sectarianism pollutes the air I breathe.

Your sectarianism is what bled Iraq dry and it is what continues to bleed Iraq dry day after day.

Your sectarianism is the salt that is poured onto an open wound.

Your sectarianism is the electric shock treatment in prison torture cells.

Your sectarianism is the bullet that killed the taxi driver who had the wrong ID to be driving through your streets.

Your sectarianism is the reason my cousin Omar feared for his life and fled Iraq.

Your sectarianism breads a new generation of Iraqi’s that I am unable to identify- A new breed of Iraqi’s that will destroy Iraq all over again with their own hands.

Your sectarianism is what stopped my young cousins from going to school fearing that your shootings outside their school would continue.

Your sectarianism is what turned the Tigris red in 2006 and 2007.

Your sectarianism is what ruined Iraq and it is the reason why I will never have a place to call home.

Please take your sectarianism back to where it belongs. It does not belong here. It does not belong anywhere.

And with that I am going to end this rant. This unedited rant of mine that I am going to leave raw as it is so as to leave the real emotions intact. The last thing I will say is that after this encounter I no longer have hope. We can never move forward if our next generation is filled with such characters. I was such an idealist when it came to Iraq but now I see I was nothing but naive. A naive kid that was trying to envisage brussel sprouts as ice-cream. But brussel sprouts will never be ice-cream. The new Iraq will never be the old Iraq. Sectarianism is not religion. It only taints the religion of Islam. And it is simply disgusting. 

This is what my Iraq will look like with your Sectarianism.