Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shiites attack Sunnis after Sunnis destroy the Askari Mosque

Shiites have begun attacking Sunnis after they attack (and virtually demolish) an ancient Shiite mosque.

It's about time.

We do not want to advocate violence or cheer militant Muslims, but the Shiites in Iraq had been living with incessant attacks by Sunnis for too long. If the Shiites did not respond in some manner, the Sunni militants would continue to believe that they could get away with attacking Shiites. For the government to respond would have been difficult: it would be difficult to respond in such a way that Shiites would not see the government as supporting Sunnis or that the Sunnis would not see the government as placating to Shiite desires for vengeance.

Remember, also, that Saddam Hussein and his government was Sunni-dominated, and that this Sunni government perpetrated unspeakable crimes against Shiites. Remember, also, that this is a case of a majority being bullied by a minority. It is such a sad case of affairs.

However, We are biased. With regards to Iraq, We have no sympathy or concern for the Sunnis. They have become used to ruling, dominating, and lording over Iraq unjustly and without justification. The Sunnis were not the majority or even a majority. Why should they be allowed to continue to harbor their delusions of grandeur and seek to make real their dreams of unfettered rule over subject majority populations? This is where democracy comes into play: neither majorities nor minorities are to tyrannize a state; the interests of both majorities and minorities must be taken into consideration and dealt with in the best way possible.

We are, in short, fed up with Sunni arrogance in Iraq.

However, one ought not to consider this issue outside the greater issue of conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. Ever since the faction of Shi'at 'Ali (Party of Ali) came into existence (although they never assumed such a name in an organized fashion), it has been opposed by the Sunnis.

"Shiite" is derived from "shee'ah," which means "party" or "faction," referring to the phrase "shee'at 'alee" or the party/faction of Ali ibn Abi Talin ('alee ibn/bin abee Taalib). They refer to themselves as "ahl al-bayt," meaning "people of the house," "al-bayt"/"the house" referring to the descendants of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Those of ahl al-bayt believe they are faithful to and properly respectful of the pure (ma'Soom) descendants of Muhammad. "Shiite" is actually the English translation of "shee'ee," which means "of or pertaining to shee'at 'alee."

"Sunni" comes from the phrase "ahl as-sunnah wa-l-jamaa'ah," meaning "the people of the sunnah and the community." This means that rather than following the descendants of Muhammad, these people follow the example (sunnah) of Muhammad and his companions (aSHaab) as well as following the consensus (ijmaa') of the community (ummah/'ulamaa'/jamaa'ah). Most Muslims interpret "jamaa'ah" (literally, "union" or "congregation") to refer to the Muslim community (usually rendered as "ummah"). Wikipedia suggests that the origin came in reference to the union ("jamaa'ah") made between Mu'awiyah (relative of Uthman; Muawiyah claimed to be the caliph after Ali) and Hassan (son of Ali, who claimed the caliphate after Ali was assassinated). We, to be frank, have never heard of this origin for the term "jamaa'ah" in the phrase under discussion: it is possible this is how it originally came about, but the current interpretation has certainly changed if such is the case. "Sunni" is a translation of "sunnee," which means "of or pertaining to ahl as-sunnah wa-l-jamaa'ah," focusing on the "sunnah" aspect of this trend in Islam.

The feeling by Sunnis is that they follow the example of Muhammad and his companions and follow the consensus of the Muslim community, which were established by Muhammad as the foundation for Islam, while the Shiites have veered off and begun deifying Muhammad's descendants, ignoring a large amount of material upon which the Muslim community, including its jurisprudence, ought to be based. Shiites, on the other hand, feel that Sunnis have abandoned the example of and allegiance to Muhammad's descendants, whom Muhammad and God established as the guardians of Islam, teachers of Islam, and unquestionable leaders of the Muslims. They view the Sunni adherence to the sunnah of the aSHaab and the ijmaa' of the community to be deviations from the way Muhammad intended. They also view Sunnis as having forcibly rejected Muhammad's arrangements for the survival of Islam, fighting against, persecuting, and brutally oppressing true Islam and its true Muslims to the point of cold bloodedly killing Muhammad's descendants.

The impasse between Sunnis and Shiites is virtually unbridge-able.

The events of 'Ashoora serve to pacify the Shiites (by reminding them, as it were, that any effort to support true Islam would fail) and to mobilize them into a frenzy of hatred against Sunnis and others who oppress Shiites (by reminding them of the great atrocities perpetuated against Shiites by Sunnis and others over the ages). The history of Shiism has been one of atrocity after atrocity against them, persecution after persecution, sorrow after sorrow.

Yet, there is only so much a people will be willing to tolerate. We are sure leaders such as as-Sistani would prefer the Shiites to suffer through their persecutions, as they have done so for centuries, but We would not be surprised if some have come to the point of rejecting any such message of restraint. Shiites have been restrained quite enough.

Just as Sunni militants targeted Shiites, killing many innocent Shiites, We see no reason why Shiite attacks against Sunnis may not kill innocent Sunnis. Average Sunnis have certainly not done enough to rein in their Shiite-attacking militants. Such tit-for-tat would be wrong, but would it be unjust? The Shiites, to begin with, never did anything to enrage the Sunnis into massacring them.

Ah, but here We are wrong. The Shiites have done something to enrage the Sunnis: they continue to exist. Despite Sunni efforts of many centuries, the Shiites continue to exist. Imagine their audacity! How insulting!

One commenter on this thread at the Ace of Spades Headquarters remarked that he/she was frustrated by people calling nearly every place as "the holiest place of Islam." The Grand Mosque of Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Mosque of Imam Ali in Najaf, the Mosques of Hussein and Abbas in Karbala (and Karbala in general), the Askari Mosque in Samarra - it does seem easy to label a number of structures as the "holiest" in Islam. In reality, thought, there is a hierarchy.

The Askari Mosque contains the tombs of the tenth and eleventh imams of the Twelver Shiites. These were Ali al-Hadi ('alee al-haadee) and Hassan al-Askari (Hassan al-'askaree). The latter is the father of the twelfth imam; Shiites believe the twelfth imam is alive but in hiding. There is a shrine to the twelfth imam in the complex so that Shiites can have a place to go where they may communicate with him while he is in hiding. So, although this complex does not have the significance or holiness as Najaf (especially the Imam Ali Mosque) or Karbala (especially the complex containing the mosques of Hussein and Abbas), it is nonetheless of great spiritual importance.

Many Shiites were enraged with Muqtada as-Sadr (muqtada aS-Sadr) for desecrating the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf when he used it as a base for insurgent activity. Some did applaud him for resisting the infidels (while as-Sistani cooperated with them), but his actions were nevertheless unacceptable by traditional Shiite standards. As-Sistani was staunchly opposed to this act by as-Sadr. (Another way to look at it is that as-Sistani is considered to be the master of Najaf; because of this he is the supreme Shiite leader that he is. By violating Najaf, as-Sadr could have also been undermining as-Sistani, which would be typical of as-Sadr but still unacceptable by most Shiites.) When as-Sistani rushed from London (where he was undergoing medical treatment), he demanded as-Sadr to leave the Mosque. Of course, as-Sadr could not refuse: such a public challenge to as-Sistani would have led to as-Sadr's fall from grace in the Shiite world.

Furthermore, Shiites attach a great amount of importance to these places where their imams are memorialized. Shiites believe that one may communicate with them (and ask for their intercession) at their tombs. Such an importance or significance exists only among certain Sunni populations (especially with regard to saints' tombs). Indeed, many Sunnis would find the Shiite focus on ziarat (literally, "visiting," meaning visiting various important shrines) by Shiites to border on polytheism or unacceptable bidaa' (innovation). Many Shiites actually believe that ziarat is how Muslims are to wage jihad: spiritual warfare, in a way.

This significance can be exemplified in one interesting aspect of Shiite buildings of worship. There are, generally, two types of buildings. One is a mosque, which is a place for Shiites to congregate for prayer and other communal observances. The other is an imambargah or hussainiyah, which is where Hussein is commemorated. This may include items representing Hussein's last battle (a decorated horse, for example) or a casket (taboot) or other such marker representing Hussein. As a Shiite explained, this marker allows local Shiites to "visit" Hussein without spending so much money and time going to Karbala. It is like being able to visit the tomb of Hussein in one's neighborhood.

We hope this will open the eyes of Sunnis that they must prevent their militants from bothering the Shiites. If not, then We hope the Shiites will find a way to protect themselves, whether by preventing attacks or deterring them.

inna naHnu-l-a'lamoon.

15 Comments:

At 7:08 PM, Blogger atomic_amish said...

very interesting, and informative. As always

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Muslihoon,

Do you see an answer to this? Or will these attitudes just continue forever?

 
At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's also about time Westerners started fighting back against muslims who are invading our lands and murdering our people for no other reason than that they can. This war is not a clash of civilizations, it's a clash of unevolved savages against civilization.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

You mean the Danes and the prophet cartoons are not responsible for this? Since Jews cause earthquakes and plagues and tsunamis, I figured we would be seeing some protests and ignorant people waving their arms in the air demanding the death of all Jews. I'm glad I'm not a Jew, but being an American I know we must all be killed too because there would be no problems in the world if it weren't for America and the Jews. I At least figured moderate muslims in other places would be protesting muslims killing muslims, but hey! maybe there are only 214 moderate muslims on the whole planet. Some put the figure as low as 187.

You know what the 2 big mistakes the US made in Iraq are? 1.) We allowed looting - US troops should have shot looters in the legs on sight - how could muslims or anyone else for that matter fully trust anyone that openly allows stealing? 2.) Al Sadr should have been taken out with a missle as soon as he emerged advocating violence against the US and other Iraqis. Hind sight is 20/20 - if Iraqis are so stupid as to kill each other over the destruction of buildings, then so be it. I understand the graves are not destroyed, just the surrounding structure, so rebuild or kill each other off and live like animals for years to come - it is your choice.

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

Atomic Amish: Thank you!

Christine: Sunnis and Shiites are doomed to be forever separate. What began as political differences have evolved into two quite different theological systems. It's very easy to see why Sunnis think Shiites are non-Muslim, and why Shiites think Sunnis are non-Muslim. Problem is that looking from the outside in, both are Muslims.

However, this does not necessarily mean that Sunnis and Shiites have to be at each other's throats. They can live peacefully. The question is whether they want to coexist peacefully. I hope the fatigue of constant war and violence will make more tend to coexistence.

Anonymous: Many people speak of an Islamic civilization. I wonder if it was really "Islamic" or "Arab." In any case, that civilization does not exist anymore, and the militants certainly have no civilization behind them.

Goesh: I kid you not: An Arabic teacher, who was Palestinian, said in class that the US should withdraw from Iraq and let the Iraqis kill each other. He said whoever will be left should be able to form a stable government. My teacher was not kidding.

Of course, if we let them make the streets of Iraq run with blood, the US will be to blame. Whatever we do, good or bad, America is to blame.

Good point about as-Sadr. Despite my biases in favor of Shiites (particularly Ismailis and those who follow as-Sistani), I cannot stand as-Sadr. He's bad news for everyone. Sadly, I believe he's being heavily supported by Iran. I am not fond of activist Irani Shiism either.

By the way, I love this statement you made: "Since Jews cause earthquakes and plagues and tsunamis, I figured we would be seeing some protests and ignorant people waving their arms in the air demanding the death of all Jews." Quite indicative of how many Muslims think. Thanks for the chuckle.

 
At 6:44 PM, Anonymous blackflag said...

An informative post Muslihoon. I particularly liked the description of idealogical differences between Shia and Sunni. I was engaged in an argument with a Sunni some time ago who said of the Shia "Well they arent real Muslims anyway, so thier opinion doesnt matter". What is your opinion on the Sufi in this sort of arangment?

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

Blackflag: Thanks for your comment!

Sufis - they are quite interesting, as much as they are misunderstood by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Did you know that the Qizilbash, who invaded and conquered Iran and forced its people to convert to Shiism, was a Sufi sect? That Sufi groups are aligned with the Deobandi movement in South Asia (and the Taliban are, essentially, a Deobandi group)? So the common characterization of Sufis as peaceful or pacifist is not entirely true.

Some like to place Sufis in their own category, sort of like a third wing of Islam, after ahl as-sunnah wa-l-jamaa'ah and ahl al-bayt.

(Jargon: "Tareeqah" means "method" or "religious brotherhood," the plural of which is "Taraaiq" (if "method") or "Tareeqaat" (if "religious brotherhood") or "Turuq" (for both meanings).)

In reality, Sufi Turuq belong to one of the two divisions of Islam (Sunni or Shiite). Some exist as a hybrid form: Sunni in most aspects while emphasizing certain Shiite tendencies. However, there are marked differences between a Sunni Sufi Tareeqah and a Shiite Sufi Tareeqah. (Random fact: Nizari Ismaili Shiism existed in Persia for some time under the guise of a Shiite Sufi Tareeqah. When the center of its movement moved to South Asia, the Sufi disguise was thrown off.)

It would be safe to say that a Sufi's beliefs would likely follow from the division the Tareeqah belongs to. Thus, a Sunni Sufi would not find Shiism entirely acceptable, while a Shiite Sufi would not find Sunnism entirely acceptable. It would also be safe to say that whatever disagreements a Sufi may have, he/she would be less inclined to have these disagreements rise to a violent level. Sufis are more concerned with internal, spiritual, and esoteric matters to have to get their hands dirty, as it were, with worldly matters.

However, one must not believe that a Sufi would be, by definition, non-violent or pacifist. Whether a Sufi would be prone to setting such issues aside or let them become a focus of concern would depend on where his/her Tareeqah exists on the spectrum of Muslim orthodoxy and orthopraxy. The more orthodox and orthoprax, the more likely sectarian issues would concern him/her; the less orthodox and orthoprax, the more likely such sectarian concerns will not be of concern.

Some Sufi Turuq adhere strictly to the sharee'ah. Al-Ghazali is an ancient example of such a Sufi. He condemned Sufis who strayed from the sharee'ah. (Some Sufis believe there is a lower law and a higher law. The lower law is the letter of the law, meaning the sharee'ah. When one has spiritually matured sufficiently, one may learn and adhere to the spirit, or essence, of the law, which would permit rejecting the strictures of the lower law. This is what Nizari Ismaili Shiism believes and teaches today.) Today, Salafis condemn Sufis who stray from the sharee'ah. (Sometimes they are overzealous and condemn all Sufis.) In reality, such heterodox and heteroprax groups belong in what is truly Islam's third category: "other." This group encompasses the variety of Muslim groups, orders, and ideologies that do not fit neatly into a Sunni or Shiite description. While including heterodox and heteroprax Sufis, it also includes Alawis, Nusayris, Druze that consider themselves Muslim, and any sect that revolves around a saint (living or dead). It would be very safe to assume that Sufis whose Tareeqah would fall under "other" would be far less likely to be concerned about sectarian issues (especially as they would most likely be the target of sectarian consternation).

(Random point: the much-maligned Ahmadi movement falls within the Sunni category, despite its controvertial claims. Its understanding of Islam and its fiqh are strictly Sunni, and even that mostly Hanafi.)

On the whole, though, Sufism has not been able to do much to bring any understanding or unity between Sunnis and Shiites. The Suni-Shiite divide remains, for the most part, even in those Turuq that incorporate Shiite elements. It has to do, really, with the entire theological foundations of Sunnism and Shiism, which are different now for both divisions. And groups in the third category are always quite small, usually insignificant, already targets of sectarian disapproval (by Sunnis and Shiites), and quite unable to realize any change in the Sunni-Shiite dynamic.

I'd like to address the comment the person you were debating with made. "They are not real Muslims." This is a very common attitude by Shiites towards Sunnis and Sunnis towards Shiites. I remember that while living in Pakistan, Shiites were considered to be an alien, non-Muslim people. People to be avoided. People of older generations would tell fantastical tales about how Shiites are inhuman and non-Muslim. Quite ridiculous, but it's a very potent and present aspect in the Muslim world.

 
At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muslihoon,
You said,
"I am not fond of activist Irani Shiism either."

Please explain why their Shiism is so radical, so different from what you practice? I know there's a difference between as-Sistani and as-Sadr, and I assume as-Sadr follows the same thinking as the Iranians. What exactly is the difference based on? Just different Ayatollahs or something?

 
At 5:31 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

-now is the time to take out al sadr at night, with a missle - he is using this current situation to eliminate enemies within the shi'ite elements of the government. He has cut a deal with Iranian intelligence forces already. He is consolidating power and it appears the US is too stupid to realize this. When this current bloodshed calms down there will be an escalation of violence against US forces - are they too stupid to see this?

 
At 4:50 PM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

Anonymous:
"Please explain why their Shiism is so radical, so different from what you practice? I know there's a difference between as-Sistani and as-Sadr, and I assume as-Sadr follows the same thinking as the Iranians. What exactly is the difference based on? Just different Ayatollahs or something?"

Thank you for that wonderful question! Quite relevant.

Although it may seem like a competition between Ayatollahs (Khomeyni and Khamene'i versus as-Sistani and al-Khoei), it runs deeper than this.

Shiism has always had two competing trends, activism and quietism. Sometimes, Shiism is quite activist (examples are the Ismaili Fatimid imam-caliphs, the Ismaili Fidayoon, the Qizilbash-Safavids, and the Irani Revolution under Khomeyni). However, the traditional approach has been quietist.

By quietist one means "not prone to active arrangements or plans to impose Shiite law, theology, and political rule." Quietists believe a Shiite's main concerns ought to be faithfulness to law, devotion to the Imam, spiritual warfare (prayers, being devout, making ziarat), and waiting for Imam al-Qaaim (the Imam who will defeat God's enemies and establish righteousness; this is a descriptive title of the Imam, along with other descriptive titles such as al-mahdee (the guided one), al-ghayb (the hidden one), and al-muntaZar (the awaited one)). Quietists believe that before the era of Imam al-Qaaim it is futile to try to realize the triumph of Islam. Indeed, one may even go so far as to say that the twelve imams of Twelver Shiism were quietists. Ali was not a quietist, Hassan was a quietist, Hussein was not a quietist, and all imams after Hussein were quietists, and one may say that they were waiting for the twelfth imam who would assume the title/role of al-qaaim and lead the Muslims to triumph. So, if the imams were waiting for al-qaaim and were quietists, and if al-qaaim is not present today, how can Shiites be proactive in securing Islam's triumph? Being proactive in this regard would go against Shiite theology, the sunnah of the Imams, and the instructions of the Hidden Imam.

Another argument made is that Shiites may not orchestrate any plans related to politics, the state, armed force, and other such worldly aspects without the express direction and leadership of the Imam of the Time (imaam az-zamaan). Considering that the Imam of the Time is in hiding, one may assume that Shiites cannot engage in such activity at all. Furthermore, Shiite clerics made it a matter of policy not to become directly involved with political forces: all political forces, Sunni or Shiite, are corrupt, evil, and not right before God, and no political force can be good and righteousness in the absence of the Imam. So, Shiite leaders are obligated to rule spiritually, in the name of and as representatives of the Hidden Imam, until the Hidden Imam becomes Imam al-Qaaim. Then Shiite leaders will help in securing Islam's triumph and form a righteous government.

The activists do have their own counterarguments. They say that revolution is a necessary precondition for the Imam to emerge. Activist Irani Shiites, for example, believe that their campaigns and systems are approved by the Hidden Imam even though they exist in his physical absence. They also believe it is only a precursor to the Hidden Imam's reappearance, only temporary until that time. Of dubious credibility are also claims that Ayatollah Khomeyni then (and Muqtada as-Sadr today) were/are acting under the explicit orders of the Hidden Imam. (Followers of Ayatollah Khomeyni use this to justify both following Ayatollah Khomeyni as well as calling him "Imam"; followers of as-Sistani and other quietists reject that Khomeyni was an agent of the Imam and consider the title of "Imam" for him to be blasphemous.)

The whole episode of Ashoora complicates this issue. Shiites beat themselves up until blood pours partly out of guilt that they were not with Hussein on the battlefield. Had they been there, Hussein could have won. As such, activism would be a way to atone for failing Hussein and for honoring Hussein's courage and dedication. Indeed, as activists might believe, sitting and waiting would be an insult to Hussein, who wants active fighters in the armies. But quietists are not without arguments. Ashoora also demonstrates the utter futility of trying to accomplish something before its time. If the grandson of Muhammad, and the Imam of the Time, was unable to prevail over the very evil Umayyad armies under Yazid, what hope do modern, sinning, Imam-less Shiites have? It's not as if quietist Shiites don't do anything: they pray and fight a spiritual battle, asking God and the Imams and the Imam of the Time to intervene on their behalf to secure the triumph of Islam. To engage in activism would be to go against the Imams' sunnah and teachings, which would mire the Shiite in only more and more sin. When the descendants of Hussein did not take up his banner in warfare, what authority do Shiites without a present Imam have in trying to do so also?

I hope some of this made sense. I admire quietist Shiism - quite intense, spiritual, and even compatible to a degree with the modern world - even though I am certainly not a Shiite.

One fact that interests me is the present status of Shiites who do have an imam: the Nizari Ismaili Shiites. This line of imams includes the Fatimid imam-caliphs, who established an Islamic empire in northern Africa. This line includes the leaders of the Fidayoon of Alamut, who were feared throughout the region. Now, they are modernizing Muslims with a very heterodox and heteroprax form of Islam. Despite having their Imam being present, they have no activist impulse at all. Deen and dunya are combined into a harmonious whole. I wonder if someone claims to be the Twelver Shiites' Hidden Imam how Twelver Shiites will respond: will they continue the quietist trend or will they become enflamed in activist activity?

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Muslihoon,

Thank you for answering my question. I have 2 more for you, if you don't mind.

First of all, the Shiites and Sunnis clergymen's meeting in the mosque in Baghdad on Saturday. The Sunni clergyman leading Shiite prayers. And the agreement that was made between them. What is your take on this?

Second, your take on UIA and those affiliated, IF the "riff raff" (for lack of a better term) are removed from influence and whether or not they could allow a "free society" to exist? I guess my concern is for the seculars and Christians.

 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger joloco said...

You say:
"We do not want to advocate violence or cheer militant Muslims, but".

I always find it interesting the need of those who want to justify violence but first state they do not want to advocate it. Just be true to who you are.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

I use a qualifer so no one will accuse me of being blood-thirsty or condoning violence. I have seen enough senseless Muslim on Muslim violence.

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Muslihoon said...

First of all, the Shiites and Sunnis clergymen's meeting in the mosque in Baghdad on Saturday. The Sunni clergyman leading Shiite prayers. And the agreement that was made between them. What is your take on this?

I am not surprised that Sunnis and Shiites met, even in a mosque. If what I have read is correct, they met in the Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad. This is a significant mosque for Islam. Therein is the tomb of Abu Hanifah an-Nu'maan ibn Thaabit, the founder of one of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence. The Hanafi (from "Abu Hanifah") school of jurisprudence is one of the largest in the Sunni world.

I am surprised that Shiites and Sunnis agreed to pray together. I believe it has happened before, but then too it was more of a show of solidarity rather than theological unity. They'll still pray in their own mosques at other times. And I doubt a Shiite could have led prayers at that mosque: it's in a very staunchly Sunni area, harboring Sunni terrorists.

Second, your take on UIA and those affiliated, IF the "riff raff" (for lack of a better term) are removed from influence and whether or not they could allow a "free society" to exist? I guess my concern is for the seculars and Christians.

Eh. I'm divided about the UIA. Too many religiously-oriented politicians. Not Sadrists, sure, but still not secular enough. Plus, some are very close with Iran. I just hope power will corrupt them as it is wont to corrupt others. That's one good thing about corruption: it greatly softens the sharp edge of fanaticism.

 
At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the original message.

You sound like you think that Shiites have been passive in Iraq, and Sunnis have been aggressive. According to US newspapers, there have been constant attacks by both sides. The Sunnis have their suicide bombers, but the Shiites have the militia that have been rounding up men in the middle of the night and shooting them. Probably this started as a way of getting rid of people who had been in Saddam Hussein's government, but it never ends that way.

The result is that both sides can point to atrocities committed by the other side. Each side says that the other side is guilty, that they are just defending themselves. But as long as people are motivated by revenge, the violence will just escalate.

This is a common pattern. It happened in Ireland between Protestants and Catholics, in India between Hindus and Muslims. Both sides are sure they are good and the others are evil, but the violence just goes on and on. Judging by the results, both sides are evil.

 

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