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http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Demonstrations in Baghdad... Thousands were demonstrating today- I think near the Ministry of Oil (though someone said it was somewhere else). There were even women demonstarting because a female has been detained for refusing to have her bag checked by the troops... The troops began firing into the air and fighting suddenly broke out between the mob and some troops... we still don't know what's happening. - posted by river @ 3:05 PM Civilization... I heard some more details about the demonstration today… The whole situation was outrageous and people are still talking about it. Ever since the occupation, employees of the Ministry of Oil are being searched by troops- and lately, dogs. The employees have been fed up… the ministry itself is a virtual fortress now with concrete, barbed wire and troops. The employees stand around for hours at a time, waiting to be checked and let inside. Iraqis have gotten accustomed to the 'security checks'. The checks are worse on the females than they are on the males because we have to watch our handbags rummaged through and sometimes personal items pulled out and examined while dozens of people stand by, watching. Today, one of the women who work at the ministry, Amal, objected when the troops brought forward a dog to sniff her bag. She was carrying a Quran inside of it and to even handle a Quran, a Muslim has to be 'clean' or under 'widhu'. 'Widhu' is the process of cleansing oneself for prayer or to read from the Quran. We simply wash the face, neck, arms up to the elbows and feet with clean water and say a few brief 'prayers'. Muslims carry around small Qurans for protection and we've been doing it more often since the war- it gives many people a sense of security. It doesn't not mean the person is a 'fundamentalist' or 'extremist'. As soon as Amal protested about letting the dog sniff her bag because of the Quran inside, the soldier grabbed the Quran, threw it out of the bag and proceeded to check it. The lady was horrified and the dozens of employees who were waiting to be checked moved forward in a rage at having the Quran thrown to the ground. Amal was put in hand-cuffs and taken away and the raging mob was greeted with the butts of rifles. The Iraqi Police arrived to try to intervene, and found the mob had increased in number because it had turned from a security check into a demonstration. One of the stations showed police officers tearing off their "IP" badge- a black arm badge to identify them as Iraqi Police and shouting at the camera, "We don't want the badge- we signed up to help the people, not see our Quran thrown to the ground…" Some journalists say that journalists' cameras were confiscated by the troops… This is horrible. It made my blood boil just hearing about it- I can't imagine what the people who were witnessing it felt. You do not touch the Quran. Why is it so hard to understand that some things are sacred to people?! How would the troops feel if Iraqis began flinging around Holy Bibles or Torahs and burning crosses?! They would be horrified and angry because you do not touch a person's faith… But that's where the difference is: the majority of Iraqis have a deep respect for other cultures and religions… and that's what civilization is. It's not mobile phones, computers, skyscrapers and McDonalds; It's having enough security in your own faith and culture to allow people the sanctity of theirs… - posted by river @ 3:05 PM __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search http://shopping.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk