Today is Eid ul Adha, or "Bakri (goat) Eid". It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son for God's command. Jews and Muslims differ whether it was the son Isaac or Ismail - but to me that difference only underscores the brotherhood of faiths under the patriarchal figure of Ibrahim Nabi AS.
A father, asked to sacrifice his son - says yes, because of total submission to his Creator. As with Job, it was a test of faith.
While NPR and all local radio today is obsessed with the spectacle of the 40m inauguration of President Bush's second term, something happenned that hasn't been covered in Iraq, something which all the painted schools can never make up for. That something is a horror which I can barely bring myself to even link to. let alone describe: a family in their car is fired upon by soldiers, the parents killed instantly, the children largely unharmed but covered with their parents' blood. It is beyond imaginging. The tsunami tragedy was different not for its scale but for its agency - those of weak faith asked themselves about what type of God could unleash such a horror upon so many innocents. The agency here however is all too human, the self-inflicted wound that mankind visits upon itself with disturbing and grim frequency.
To the goats, the Eid may well be a tsunami of sorts, but they do not understand the higher purpose behind it. Perhaps the Iraqi people can relate. Our purpose in Iraq is as unlikely to be defined clearly in Bush's second term as in his first.
Look at this girl's face and try to comprehend - but do not linger, because it will gnaw at your soul. I've looked at it already for too long.
much better commentary from Jim and Steve.