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18 December 2011


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William R. Cumming

How many followers of the Islamic faith fought and died for the USA during the 9 years "WAR"?

Charles I

Ahhh, very mixed sentiments apropos of the death of Christoper Hitchens, who would surely cheer the freedom to light the Menorah in the absence of Saddam.

I join in that.

"But what can be more ungodly, what more profane, than torture, mass murder, and genocide?"

Isn't that the plot of the Old Testament itself?


Charles I

I am unaware of actual restrictions on Jewish religious observance in Iraq in Saddam's era. Someone will tell us. I went to Mass regularly in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War. pl


"We have come to banish darkness." My first thought upon reading this was I wonder if they feel that way on the other side of the check-points in Gaza and the West Bank? My second is that given the current make up of the Iraqi government the sentiments expressed were premature. Meanwhile at home ....

Green Zone Cafe

Several, you can look some of them up on the unofficial Arlington Cemetery website




Green Zone Cafe

I met MAJ Carr (he was a 1LT back then). He's a good guy with an interesting family history, from out of the 250,000 Jews that used to live in Baghdad. Ah, what that cosmopolitan city must have been like!

Charles I

Nor am I. Your personal example seems atypical on the face of it, remarkable.

But did the Pope officiate in Saddam's Palace in his presence? Or a Jew light the Menorah in the Palace with Saddam whilst swapping old Scud stories? What is remarkable? Simply struck by The-Butler-In-The-Abby angle of the celebration pictured above.

Charles I

For our Info

The Jews of Iraq
By Mitchell Bard

1948 Jewish population: 150,000
2004: Approximately 351
2008: Less than 10

. . . Only one synagogue continues to function in Iraq, “a crumbling buff-colored building tucked away in an alleyway” in Bataween, once Baghdad’s main Jewish neighborhood. According to the synagogue’s administrator, “there are few children to be bar-mitzvahed, or couples to be married. Jews can practice their religion but are not allowed to hold jobs in state enterprises or join the army.”8 The rabbi died in 1996 and none of the remaining Jews can perform the liturgy and only a couple know Hebrew. The last Jewish wedding was held in 1980.9

The Iraqi government has refurbished the tombs of Ezekiel the Prophet and Ezra the Scribe, which are also considered sacred by Muslims. Jonah the Prophet’s tomb has also been renovated. Saddam Hussein also assigned guards to protect the holy places during his reign. Each year, hundreds of Muslim pilgrims flock to the holy sites to pay hommage to these prophets.

In 2004, approximately 35 Jews were living in Baghdad, but by 2008, the once-thriving community of Jews living in the Iraqi capital has dwindled to below 10, not enough to hold a minyan (the requesite 10 men needed for most religious rituals), and a handful more in the Kurdish-controlled northern parts of Iraq.10 The community still lives in fear, scared even to publicize the exact numbers of Jews remaining in Baghdad, but the Jewish Agency estimates it at about seven. Most of those in Baghdad are elderly, poor and lacking basic needs such as clothing, medication and food, but some remaining are middle class, including two doctors. The one synagogue, the Meir Taweig Synagogue, was closed in 2003, after it became to dangerous to gather out in the open. Among the remaining Jews, one fearful man now in his early 40s describes himself as “the rabbi, slaughterer and one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Iraq.”11

Most traces of Jews living in Iraq are now gone, except for the Prat and Hidekel rivers, the Hebrew names for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Baghdad’s Jewish quarter, in Taht al-Takia, no longer exists. The end of Saddam Hussein’s regime created hopes of an improvement in the living conditions of Jews, and the return of some of the émigrés. Some hope also existed for rapprochement with Israel. In reality, the instability and sectarian killings in Iraq made the dozen or so remaining Jews there the most vulnerable and terrified group in the country. Most Jews barely leave their homes at all for fear of being kidnapped or executed..12

Despite this life of seclusion and fear, the remaining Jews living in Baghdad simply say they are too old to leave."


wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Iraq


Charles I

"Your personal example seems atypical on the face of it, remarkable." There were churches open all over downtown Baghdad in 1987-88. Latin Catholic, Assyrian, Chaldean, Church of England, etc. The US defense attache was married in an Anglican church there to the daughter of an Argentinian diplomat. Pastors stood in front of their houses of worship to talk to parishioners after services. Charles, I thought you were moe impervious to propaganda than this. pl

Charles I

I acknowledge my Christian ignorance, perhaps the lack of oppression rendered your/their freedom unremarkable in this Chanukah story. I completely ignopred the good old wartime pre-sanction days.

More specifically I meant a foreigner during a war, and the story, again, was of an American Soldier celebrating nothing Christian in Saddam's palace post-ouster via a different war against that country. This is the angle that struck me, foreignness, and uniqueness of circumstance. Not may of us are Langs away at war.

My second post confirms I think the likely uniqueness of Chanukah at Saddam's.

Seven months of cottaging have indeed made me soft in the head, adjusting to the traffic let alone reality has been a challenge and my own government has just manufactured a niqab crisis for, er, Christmas.

I shall endeavour to be more realistic until spring.

Anybody has space climate and time, start a good sized vegetable garden and spend a lot of time communing there in body mind and spirit and you shall be nearer to some Greater Thing(s) no matter what.

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