Sunday, June 12, 2005


     Sadly, we won't realize it till we meet aliens.

     So, in somewhat related thinkings, an Iraqi(Iranian?) commenter at DailyWarNews points out that Iraqi National Identity is the strongest in the region.

     Now, I don't think there are serious people out there who thinks being born on some certain patch of land, or between any particular pair of rivers, thinks that the place of birth makes a person's identity, or has a role in their philosophy, or thinks people born in New York are Haudenosee(Iroquois).

     What might explain this feature of the Iraqi people?  Some might answer it relates to the historic greatness of the Abbasid Caliphate, the huge empire centered in Baghdad.  I acknowledge that people can think such things, but they don't think so much about such things.  It becomes, at best, a light-weight cultural currency.  Sometimes I think Italians hearken back to Rome, imagine they share the splendor of millenium ago, but I'm not convinced this is fundamental to a people, or that it can be fundamental to more than a few people.  Not to mention that Iraq, at that time a name region of the Caliphate, included portions of Iran and all of Kuwait.  It is doubtful that an event like the Iran-Iraq war would leave people from the (1200 year ago) Iraq (now in Iran) feeling too pro-Iraq.

     So, what is the cause?  My answer is propaganda, specifically the ba'athist newspapers system of Iraq for the last three decades..  Since 1978, "political activity" by members of the Army, or ex-Army, has been a death penalty offense.  Since there was universal conscription, this basically ended published dissent in Iraq.  Saddam used the press, as any nationalist dictator would, to create a unified, patriotic society.  Patriotics nationalism is the fuel for any nationalist regime, such as the Bush administration in America.

     Before writing this, I considered that, without this unified press, the chances of Iraqi dissolution are enhanced.  This view should be tempered with the fact that Iraqis are now receiving international news, not just the views of the sectarian Shia and Kurdish ruling groups.

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