Thursday, April 24, 2003


Raven arches a feather at the long black and white tie-dyed skirt I bought in a craft fair in Caracas.

Is that a salute, Rave?

“Maybe. You’re very retrograde in your style lately, I think.”

It’s because we live at the beach. All the old hippies and burners that straggle through here on their way to Zipolite have left a mark in our consciousness, style section.

“What a bunch of bullshit. Let’s talk about real stuff—like the Middle East.” Rave scrolls down the computer screen. “For example, here we have Shiite pilgrims in Karbala, Iraq, calling for a Jihad against the American occupiers.”

Sounds like fun. Just what the world needs is another war with God on its side. What’s the deal?

“It says here:

‘One million people commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohamed, were not only determined to take part in the rites banned by Saddam Hussein and his Baathist predecessors, but also to lay their claim for a Shia-led government. Yesterday, the final prayers of the festival were different from the days that have gone before, with thousands of young men arriving from the cities of a de facto Shia confederacy, which is already taking shape.'

It sounds like a political convention, not a pilgrimage, Rave.

“Well, whatever it is it clearly very theatrical. Listen to this:

‘The young men left their Kalashnikovs and grenade launchers in their vehicles out of respect, they said, for the holiness of Karbala. But later, covered in blood from flagellation with chains and knife wounds they had ritually and frenziedly inflicted on themselves they roared their desire to avenge Ayatollah al-Sadr, murdered by the regime in 1999, and fight for a free, Islamic Iraq. In sermons, imam after imam called on Iraqis to take the destiny of the country into their own hands, and the Shia to take their "rightful place" in deciding how the country should be governed Some of the crowd carried banners saying "Bush equals Saddam", "Down USA" and "Yes, Yes, Islam". ‘”

A week ago I could have contributed a few choruses of “Ooh Ah, Chávez no se va”, and “Cuba sí, Yanquis no”, Rave.

“Very funny. Here they have quotes from some of the people:

‘One member of the Hawza, the Shia religious body based in Najaf, Abbas Nahidi, said: "The Hawza believe there should be elections so people can decide who should govern us. We want an Islamic state. We do not want to be ruled by any foreign powers including the United States."

Yusef al-Hababi agreed."We are all prepared to take part in the jihad to throw out the Americans. Look at the way they conducted this war."’

Everybody’s a critic. The first step toward democracy, Rave. But seriously, there’s nothing like the Bush foreign policy of bombing the shit out of everybody for putting everybody with a US passport in the crosshairs of one of those Kalashnikovs.

“Then it’s a good thing you are melding into the tie-dyed universe of our own little Beach Blanket Bingo parlor.”

I think I already said everybody’s a critic....

No comments: