Thursday, while Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, all hell broke loose in Iraq, with more than 200 dead. The killings, via car bombs and mortar attacks, occurred in Sadr City.
How prophetic that one Iraqi blogger, Hammorabi, had this to say after the attacks:
"Once again this indicates the failure of the government and the occupying forces to provide the simplest kind of the security. It is not a war between militias and others but it may be just the beginning of a civil war that is going to happen openly and on a large scale may be soon. The Sadr city citizens suffered continuously from attacks by the terrorists and by the American forces. They now had enough and were calling for the government to resign. They will soon have the power in their hands to punish the enemy which attacks them and they know it very well. This enemy got supporters in the government and in the political factions. Some of them were calling for revenge against Sadr city few days ago. The next few days will witness a new kind of revenge against these heads and the terrorists no matter what the government will do."
How correct that assessment was. Today, the ante was upped with a disturbing new revenge tactic. From AP:
"Revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers, drenched them with kerosene and burned them alive, and Iraqi soldiers did nothing to stop the attack, police and witnesses said.The blog, Healing Iraq, from an Iraqi studying in New York, had this to add, about the revenge killings:
"The fiery slayings in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Hurriyah were a dramatic escalation of the brutality coursing through the Iraqi capital, coming a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district with a combination of bombs and mortars."
"At the Amil district, in southern Baghdad, the few remaining Sunni families woke up to find signs painted on their doors saying, 'All Sunnis should leave. This is a final warning,' and 'The house should not be leased or sold.'
"Some posters on Iraqi message boards are warning that militiamen in Sadr City are preparing for a wide-scale assault on several Sunni districts, similar to the one that followed the February shrine bombing, as soon as the curfew is lifted."
Killed Over A Fashion Statement
The level of the violence in Iraq is nearly impossible to comprehend, which is why Iraqi blogs are so important to read. How can one not be moved to read accounts such as this, a 2-day old entry from "Iraqi Rocker?:
"Hello, the situation in Baghdad cant be worse I guess, a guy got killed before few days in the street behind our house, the guy was 20 or 22 years old got a tattoo on his neck and wearing a cool outfit, jeans pants, and a shirt, and he got killed because of that."
Today, the media was abuzz with reports about Black Friday, and how busy the stores would be as we shift gears into holiday shopping mode.
I suspect Black Friday in Iraq means something else entirely.
Just something to think about as we make our own holiday preparations.