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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another


Oh Great!

Unless you have the instincts of a pre-Reformation Catholic peasant-or Mel Gibson — it is nearly impossible to grasp this appreciation of suffering and death. But here it is not death as a redemptive power, death as spectacle — a public expression that seeks the admiration of man as much as God. This is what, in my mind, separates Shia radicalism from its Sunni counterpart. Wahabbi and Palestinian suicide bombers seek honor and glorification by killing their enemies; the Shiites' spiritual apotheosis, on the contrary, comes from having their enemies kill them — a kind of suicidal exhibitionism that fetishizes Hussein's fate at Karbala. Early Christians felt that the blood of martyrs nourished the Church; Shiites believe that martyr blood will embellish their own holiness and that of their families for untold generations.
Steven Vincent writes an account of the death cult which lies at the heart of Shi'ite religion. He asks the question, Are Shi'ites Ungovernable?" A question which al-Sadr is attempting to pose for the Coalition. But, then, the question is how many of the Shi'ites in Iraq are that feverent?