Tuesday, June 17, 2003

A VERY WELL WRITTEN ARTICLE HERE about the efforts we are making, and the width of the cultural divide.
Constantly sweating in Baghdad's brutal summer heat, the men of the 82nd stopped traffic for old women to cross the street, ordered double-parking motorists to move on and endured, with surprisingly good humor, the swarms of children and teenagers who won't leave them alone.

They obliged passers-by who wanted to pose next to them for photographs and administered first aid to a boy with a cut on his hand. In a society that was notorious for its corruption under Saddam, they sought to demonstrate the notion of one law for everyone, admonishing a police officer in front of bemused onlookers for leaving his car in a no-park zone.

"Sir," shouted one soldier, "As a police officer, you must set an example for everyone."

But no amount of good will could quell Abdel-Hameed al-Assadi's resentment of America.

"It is shocking," al-Assadi, a 56-year-old civil servant said about the American presence outside the mosque. Pausing before sunset prayers, he added: "To see Americans standing like this in front of the imam's shrine? My God, it's a bitter medicine that we must swallow."...

...But the presence of Americans weighed heavily on the mind of Hussein Ali, a 40-year-old laborer and father of six.

"We'll force them to leave when the right time comes," he said. Then he fell silent and whispered: "How do we know that there are no Israelis among them?"

Wish I knew what the Quran says about hating folks according to their heritage. Sheesh.

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