Tuesday, March 02, 2004

They Killed Imam Al-Hussein Again

I woke up this morning to news of the terrorist attacks in Karbala and Baghdad. I tried to find any words to write. I couldn't. I'm still speechless.

This is the holiest day for Shias worldwide. For this to happen on the 10th of Ashora, is like watching Imam Al-Hussein being killed again and again and again.

I'm a Catholic who was born and raised in Basrah, where most of the population is Shia. Most of my Iraqi friends are Shia. Every year, I looked forward to Ashora because it meant I would have delicious food cooked by our Muslim neighbors.

Until the mid 1970s, Iraqi Shias were allowed to celebrate Ashora with all it's rituals. I was too young at the time, so my parents did not allow me to watch these rituals on streets of Basrah.

Did I get terrified during those days? No, I didn't.
None of the Christians living in Basrah did. These were peaceful celebrations. It may seem weird for some people (including myself). BUT, I believe in everyone's right -- anywhere in this big universe -- to have their religious rights protected. These rights include celebrating their holy days the way defined by their religion. Whether I agree with the rituals or not, that's not important unless it harms other people. I want other people to have what I want for myself.

I've been reading all day the reaction of Iraqi people. Yes, Shias are angry. But, who of us wouldn't be if their church got bombed on Christmas or Easter Day and we witnessed friends or family members dying in front of our eyes?

Yes, some people inside Iraq will blame the coalition forces for one reason or another. Please, remember these are people in mourning. Iraqis blame the government for any bad thing happening to them. It's part of the Iraqi culture. Right now, CPA and coalition forces are considered the government in Iraq. So, when you watch the videos or read the news, don't be surprised of such accusations.

Did I expect this to happen on 10th of Ashora? Yes, I did. The foreign insurgents who have been trying to divide the Iraqi population for the last 10 months couldn't find a better day than this holy day to attack the Iraqis.

Did these people, whoever they are, achieve their goal? It's up to the Iraqi people to answer this question.

"We call on all dear Iraqi sons to be more vigilant against the schemes of the enemy, and ask them to work hard to unite and have one voice to speed up regaining the injured country's sovereignty and independence and stability," Al-Sistani said in regard to today's attacks.

I agree with him. Let the Iraqi people unite for once in their life. Let's not accuse each other. Let Sunnis put their hands in Shias hands to pass these hard times.

I really can't find more words to say. I cried. I got angry like the rest of the Iraqi people. I can only say, "Let the Iraqis unite against the terrorists."

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