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Bridge of hope

Posted by Richard on November 12, 2008

Courtesy of Reuters (!), here's the feel-good story of the week from Iraq:

The Bridge of the Imams connects the Adhamiya and Kadhimiya neighborhoods of Baghdad, named for mediaeval Sunni and Shi'ite holy men whose landmark shrines on opposite sides of the Tigris are surrounded by homes of members of the separate communities.

It had been closed since 2005 when rumors of a suicide bombing panicked thousands of Shi'ites crossing the bridge for a pilgrimage to the Kadhimiya shrine. About one thousand people died in that stampede, clogging the river below with corpses.

But on Tuesday Sunni children from Adhamiya raced to see their Shi'ite friends in Kadhimiya. Women from the two communities met up on the bridge, kissing and hugging each other with joy.

"When the faces met, the lips smiled, hands shook, bodies hugged, the tears flowed out of joy. This is the Iraqi citizen," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Samaraie, head of Iraq's Sunni Endowment, which runs Sunni religious offices and mosques in Iraq.

A banner across the bridge read: "The bridge of love and reconciliation between the people of Adhamiya and Kadhimiya."

Officials said the event was a sign that the sectarian hatred that fueled years of violence in Iraq is ebbing away. The number of Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops killed last month was the lowest monthly toll since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"This day is a remarkable day, a day of a great Iraq. The day of meeting, love, brotherhood, affinity … The day we proved to the whole world that we are one nation," Sayyid Salih al-Haidari, Samaraie's Shi'ite counterpart said in a speech. Delegations accompanying the two officials then went to pray together at a nearby mosque.

That's worth a tear of joy or two, don't you think?

HT: Instapundit, who observed that "Now that the election's over, we may get more of those!"

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2 Responses to “Bridge of hope”

  1. Mo'thanskin (Roosevelt) said

    This is indeed a “feel good” story from Iraq! Historically, there was no real animostiy between Iraqi Sunni and Shites because Iraqi Muslims were predominately secular Muslims. Al-Queda In Iraq stirred up all the shit with their bombings and killings. As long as Al-queda is kept out of Iraq, violence will be at a minimum, as I see it.

  2. rgcombs said

    You’re partly right, Mo, but it wasn’t just al Qaeda stirring things up. The Shi’ite militias (proxies for and controlled by Iran) did their part, too.

    But I share your hope and belief. In spite of the terrible people doing terrible things, there has been ample evidence all along (starting with that first election) that many if not most Iraqis are pretty decent — and sometimes remarkably courageous — people.

    Best wishes to them.

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