Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blog #10: In Iraq, a Day of Religious Observance, and of Blood

Thursday November 14th was "the holy day of Ashura which commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Nuhammad". However, this holy day turned violent when Shiite Muslims were attacked in Iraq. About 47 people were killed and many others were wounded. The most worst case of violence occurred at the end of a death scene in a play in Diyala Province. At the end of the scene, a suicide bomber detonated himself amidst a crowd of men, women and children who had been watching a play about the death of Imam Hussein. Around 35 people were killed and 75 were wounded in this explosion alone. In Kut Province, two roadside bombs exploded near a tent that was serving food and water to those on their way to Karbala, where the shrine to Imam Hussein is located. Due to the two bombs, 10 were killed while 25 were wounded. Then finally, two bombs exploded in the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq killing two and wounding eight. 

This attack is clearly one of many that are happening due to religious discord. This holy day of Ashura has been the day of violence for many years. There have been attacks in 2005, 2007 and also in 2011. This day is most likely the battleground for violence because it is the say when Shiites celebrate the killing of Imam Hussein and this killing is what helped fuel or even "create the schism between Sunni and Shiite" (CNN). These two Muslim groups have been waging war for years this year's attack on the day of Ashura has been the deadliest. The use of suicide bombers, car bombs and other bombs for immense damage were placed in dense areas full of Shiites which is probably what caused the most damage. Iraq is trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of terror as these two prominent religious groups continue their dissonance. The reason why these extremist groups use terror is because the power of terror is in its ability to quickly demand attention and attract headlines and this is clearly true since as soon as these bombings occurred  the stories of the terror spread across the news like wild fire and dominated headlines. Yet the weakness of terror is that it does not have much of a lasting effect once new stories surface and these stories of terror fade away from the headlines. Perhaps the reason why these bombings in areas full of discord are so popular is because constant bombings are what these groups need to keep the news stations interested. Once again suicide bombers are used. Suicide bombers are so favorable because these explosives can be attacked to a person who can enter areas without being noticed till he/she needs to be noticed and by then it is too late and the casualties are monumental. This fact can be seen through the article. The bombings with the most deaths is the one at the play in the Diyala Province because the suicide bomber was able to enter into an area full of people undetected. 

It is amazing that people can have so much hatred for another group of people and go as far as using these horrible methods of extreme violence. What is even more amazing is that these are two Muslim groups who have such hatred for each other instead of religious groups that are contrasting to each other like Buddhism and Muslim as an example. If these acts of violence in the name of religion are ever to end, these violent religious groups must realize that violence and terror will only get them so far. These groups must recognize the need for compassion, understanding and find a way to coexist. 

Catherine Choi

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