Friday, July 01, 2005

Hi Friends,

I shall try to translate some excerpts of the Arabic piece that I posted. It is difficult to translate, though, due to the flamboyant and florid style so typical of traditional Arabic prose. So, I must admit that the translation is going to try to convey meaning rather than literal equivalents of the Arabic words. The importance of this article is that it offers a glimpse into the frame of mind of many, especially amongst the religious Shiaa people.

Note that my comments as translator are enclosed in square bracket []. Dots (….. ) denote parts that I omitted to translate.

Under the title “Thank you Mr. President; at last Al Jaafari said it”, Mr. Mussawi wrote:

“ In the Hadith Al Qudsi [ reported Sacred Words of Gods, but not contained in the Quraan]: ‘ He who thanks the Created has thanked the Creator’. And thus Allah has addressed men [ in the Quraan ]: ‘ Give your thanks to me and to your parents’; although He (sublime be his status ), is not in need of thanks, as He is neither harmed by the insubordination of the insubordinate nor benefitted from the obedience of the obedient ……………..

And it is one of the most elementary rules of good taste to thank the creature when is kind to us, in acknowledgement of the goodness of his deed the beauty of his behavior. Apropos to this the Lord says: ‘What is the reward of charity but charity?” [the holy Quraan ] ……………….

The occasion for this discourse is the “theological problem” raised by some of the 21st century pious against Dr. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, the Head of the Government, The gist of this problem is this: ‘ It is not permissible for the believer to humiliate himself to the Kafir [the unbeliever in Isalm]; and the thanks that Jaafari has given to President bush is demeaning oneself to the Kafirs, as they believe ‘ ….”

The writer then goes on to refute this position:

“I don’t think that we need to refute this viewpoint, because very simply, it is a naïve opinion and does not deserve reply ……… What has drawn my attention is not so much the “problem” raised by these, but the way of thinking of these people and their mentality that deserve studying, sounding the depths of, and understanding it. The least that can be said about it is that it is a closed mentality, a toraboratian [coining a new word] mentality that comes from the caves of Tora Bora where the extremist Taliban hide, and where the leader of the terrorists Bin Laden spends his last days waiting for the “Martyrdom” that the land of Afgansistan seems to be too weary to give him that he has to export it to us in the person of his disciple Al Zarqawi, the Jordanian of Palestinian origin …..”

The writer then goes on to classify religious people to three types, using a highly untranslatable style and punning on words in Arabic as Shakespeare used to do. The first type are the genuinely pious whose religiousness is rational, realistic and reasonable. The second are hypocrites who cover themselves with T’een [i.e. mud, punning on the word Deen which means religion in Arabic], in order to deceive others and for ulterior motives. The third type are the Mutti-Deen [punning again, since the word Mutti, in the Iraqi slang means Ass or Donkey, the compound word sounds very similar to Muta-dayinin which means religious in Arabic ] – “ …… We may imagine, God spare you, what will be the state of a donkey when he becomes pious? “

“ ……. It is these religious donkeys, that object to the pious Jaafari thanking Bush the Kafir …….. It has not occurred to these, owing to their chronic stupidity, that Al Jaafari, thanked Bush as Head of the Government of Iraq that has the duty of procuring benefit and gain to the country and keeping away harm from it; and not as a guide for one of the pilgrimage parties, as he used to do before the liberation of Baghdad….. “

Then: “ It seems to me that this kind of thinking …….. has made many of the genuinely pious ( of the first kind) afraid of making public their thanks and gratitude, for fear of the tongues of the ignoramuses of the third kind. “

“ ….. Thus I was rejoiced and my sad heart filled with happiness when the head of our government pronounced the words of thanks and gratitude towards the noble American people and the magnificent president Bush. I do not reaveal a secret when I say that I was mesmerized in front of the TV screen during the press conference of President Bush and Dr. Jaafari, despite the fact that I knew beforehand the prepared words that Mr. Al Jaafari was to say …… that he has shown to some members of his cabinet before the trip, …….. I was afraid that our man might hesitate to pronounce what has been agreed ….. and that he might improvise something else in the last moment as he has been known to do often …….. Doubt began to creep on me and I feared that he was not going to do it. And I began to ask myself: what if Al Jaafari behaved as a pious islamist, and not as Head of Government, and did not thank those who saved our people and liberated us from the Baathists? What if he deliberately, omitted the mentions of the “Bush Plan” which was meant to emphasize the idea of the strategic partnership between the new Iraq and America?”

“But it was only a few moments before I heard him say it: ‘Thank you Mr. President, thanks to you and to the American people’. It was only then that I breathed in relief and was filled with great happiness. But why all this happiness for a mere few words? It is because they spelt the end of the Iraq of ideological Antarism [ referring to the Legend of Antar, the ancient Arab folk hero with incredible exploits – meaning vain and jingoist posturing ], and abstract ideas, and the beginning of the Iraq of political realism. ]

The writer then promises a sequel which I am looking forward too.

What is significant about this article and the Jaafari visit, is that this man represents the leadership of one of the main stream conservative religious parties in Iraq, the Da’awa party. To pronounce the words of thanks is a formal declaration of alliance and negation of the notion of Occupation and affirmation of the Liberation by one of the recognized leaders of the main current of the Shiaa movement in Iraq. You don’t thank an occupier, but you can thank a liberator. Also the donkeys that he is talking about are not in the extremist enemy camp, but some in the Shiaa camp. The hypocrites are the likes of the followers of Muqtada Al Sadr. The enemy is boiling with spite which explains the murder of one of Sistani's agents and the attack on a house of the Prime Minister today.

Politically, the U.S. has made an important conquest so far: That of the hearts and strategic alliance of both the majority of the Shiaa and certainly the Kurds; that accounts for at least 75% of the Iraqi people. And I am sure a sizable part of the Iraqi Sunnis can be won over eventually. The undercurrent of largely unspoken popular support and gratitude remains despite all the hardships, mistakes and even harshness in the relationship between the troops and the population due to the mistrust created by the terrorists. This is something that no amount of Media bias and enemy propaganda can shake off. This is the decisive factor, and this is what is going to prevail in the end of the day.

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