Justin Thomas (THE NATIONAL) ponders one aspect of the Iraq War:
Around 4,000 years ago, a craftsperson fashioned a black stone to look like a resting duck. The object is beautiful, the duck’s neck curves back towards its tail feathers, and the detail in the eyes and beak speak to real artistry. Beyond aesthetics, this object was also used as some kind of weight, giving it a function in the story of humanity as well. This elegant stone bird went missing 16 years ago this month, along with around 15,000 other artefacts of similar beauty, cultural significance and historical importance.
The looting of the National Museum of Iraq on April 10, 2003, has been described as “cultural genocide” and “one of the worst acts of cultural vandalism in modern times”. If we also add to this the looting of Iraq’s archaeological sites and then add Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan to the equation too, we get a creeping sense of the magnitude of this problem. We might even get the sneaking suspicion that we are losing our memories. For what are antiquities if not tangible representations of who we were and, indeed, who we are?
In the 1950s at McGill University, Dr Ewen Cameron, an eminent psychiatrist, developed a treatment he called “psychic driving”. Central to his procedure was an attempt to erase patients’ memories and start again with a blank slate. Through the use of intensive electric shock therapy and a powerful cocktail of psychiatric drugs, Cameron partially succeeded in wiping away patients’ past recollections. The treatment, however, didn’t work; if anything it made patients’ initial symptoms worse. Memory loss is rarely a good thing, and the loss of antiquities on the scale seen in recent decades is like psychic driving on a national level.
Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" (HARPER'S MAGAZINE) noted the shock therapy aspects of the US plan for Iraq in many ways but it did not note the wiping out of the historical achievements and memories. It's worth considering whether or not this was also an intended consequence.
Meanwhile, Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:
Iraqi populist Shiite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr condemned the Tehran-backed Shiite militias' support towards victims of flash flooding in Iran.
A convoy of 50 vehicles carrying member of the militias, also known as the Hashed Al Shaabi, arrived in western Iranian provinces that were severely affected by the flash flooding, Iranian news agency Tasnim reported on Sunday.
"Iraqis come first," Mr Al Sadr said on Twitter, adding that there are many areas in Iraq that are at risk of flooding from torrential rain.
"Since there are those who have provided relief to affected areas in Iran, it is our duty to intensify our efforts to provide relief to our people in Iraq," he said.
The Hashed Al Shaabi was formed in 2014 to assist Iraqi forces defeat ISIS but are accused of exploiting its position and human rights breaches.
Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is correct on this. Iraq's been flooded as well. The international media has elected to focus solely on Iran but Iraq's been flooded as well creating displaced persons.
That's from March 31st. We've been noting this for weeks now. Saturday, Pam Wright (THE WEATHER CHANNEL) reported:
After weeks of heavy rains, historic water levels at Iraq's reservoirs are threatening dams, prompting the evacuation of thousands.
The heavy rain and melting snowcaps from Turkey and Iran have nearly overtopped Iraq's four main reservoirs, while the Tigris and Euphrates rivers continue to rise.
Residents near the Dukan dam in the northeast were told to leave their homes as water levels reached heights not seen since 1988.
Hashed Al Shaabi? They're on the Iraqi payroll. The previous prime minister, Hayder al-Abadi, put them on it, made them officially part of the Iraqi forces. If they're being paid by the government of Iraq and the Iraqi people are in need of assistance, as Moqtada points out, the Iraqi people should be their focus.
Moqtada's not the only one calling out the Hashed al-Shaabi. MENAFN reports:
Members of Hashd al-Shaabi must break up, emphasized Iraq's former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, head of Al-Wataniya coalition, in a statement.
According to the former prime minister, "the mission of the Hashd al-Shaabi has ended after victory against the [ISIS] terrorist group."
Allawi further presented a plan for members of the paramilitary force to become members of the Iraqi police or military forces.
He added "the dissolution of Hashd al-Shaabi is a move to turn Iraq into a civilian state."
@AyadAllawi calls for disband Popular Mobilization Forces and empower Iraq army.
Still on the topic of the militias, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) reports an event that took place Sunday, "In Mosul, clashes between police and militia members took place, when the police stopped the militiamen from crossing their checkpoint. The police said that the militiamen had no duties in the area. Two policemen were wounded."
Meanwhile, publisher Julian Assange remains under attack.
Nick Gillespi (REASON) offers:
In the US, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard has defended Assange. She is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
She is one of six women seeking the party's presidential nomination.