|Originally posted by jcat
I'm really interested in your husband's "take" on the situation there. A lot of the reports in the U.S. media seem too upbeat, and those in the German media appear to be too negative. I have two students who tell me what they learn from the Arabic-language media (isn't modern technology great?), but they are hardly typical: one is an Iranian Kurd who has lived in asylum here for about ten years, and seems allergic to anything that has to do with Shi'ites, and the other is an Iraqi/Syrian Christian who has spent most of her life here in Germany (16 out of 18 years), and can best be described as a multi-lingual German. I have a lot of relatives from the Middle East, but they're Turks, and Turkey simply isn't Arab, and has at least one foot in Europe/the West. Your husband is probably taking a chance traveling to Iraq right now, but how can he resist? I really hope that the Iraqis can avoid a civil war, and that they can establish a government/society that all of them can live with.
I'm surprised you feel the American media is to upbeat! My husband and I both feel it's too negative here!
Anyway, I never heard of an Irani Kurd so I asked my hubby. He's never heard of such a thing either! He says, Kurd is short for Kurdistan which is part of northern Iraq and so the people are called Kurdi (or Kurd here). An Irani is from Iran. So I'm not sure what you're student means unless he is an Iranian who at some point his family relocated to Kurdistan.
It seems the Iraqi Sunni and Shi'ite are working together much better then many thought they would. Just a note for some of the other folks who aren't aware of the makeup of Iraq.... The Sunni are most of the Kurdi and many around the Baghdad area. The shi'a are predominant in the south and also scattered about the country. Anyway, I even heard a statement from both a Shi'a cleric and a Sunni cleric that they would not allow foreign terrorists to come into their country and divide them. However that said, right now many in Iraq are protesting and very angry about all the recent terrorism in Iraq and the U.S. and coalition troops failure to secure the country.
Now regarding the Kurdi being allergic to anything shi'ite!
That is very funny. I love it! This is very complicated. The difference between the sunni and shi'a is that the shi'a believe Muhammed's successor was Ali, who was related to Muhammed. The sunni believe that Muhammed's successor was elected by a group of folks who met while Muhammed was on his death bed and his family were tending to him. That said, there are many misconceptions around the Arab world about the shi'ite spin on things. There are fanatical sects that hate just about everyone that doesn't believe exactly what they do (like us Westerners and the Israeli's) and they have over many years, been instrumental in these misconceptions spreading. So many Arabs who don't necessarily have a diverse education or have not been exposed to any shi'a or their beliefs, believe these distortions. Like some Wahabbi (from Saudi) will say the shi'a worship Ali and not God. Wrongo!! That's probably the biggest distortion. I hope that explains it a little bit.
Now here in Salt Lake we have a huge Arab/Iraqi community and a huge Kurdi community and they all get along very well. One of my dear friends, Helwa, is Kurdi and sunni and she and her husband are very close to Rashid and many other Iraqi Shi'ites here. A Kurdi got my husband his first job here and we go for dinner at their home once in awhile. The Kurdi community has a big gathering at a park near my home every Sunday and they invite the Iraqi's to come join them. So they all play volleyball and soccer together, eat and just B.S.! So once they are seperated from the oppression and lack of exposure, they seem to learn that they are not so different from the shi'a Iraqi's. And they actual find some kind of bond with each other because they are all Mahjr (displaced or exiled).
Things are much more complicated then most can imagine! I really have to seperate myself from it sometimes because I can tend to get very depressed and caught up in things. I've lived this all together for 5 years (I was involved with the shi'ite/Islamic population here before I met my hubby.) I immersed myself in the religion and the culture and went on overload a while back!
I hope no one starts debating in this thread. It wasn't meant to be a IMO thread and I don't want it to be. I just wanted to share some cool pics! I get too wound up in the IMO forum and I try to stay out of there as much as possible!