The news is not all bad. Take a minute-really, even if you’re busy—and watch Iraqi Kurdistan, built around photographs by Ed Kashi; it’s beautiful. There’s at least one part of Iraq where people are getting on with living their lives. One of the first pieces I ever wrote here was called Kurds; it’s come out better than I predicted. Enough good news. I think Fareed Zakaria has it about right in The Next Step? Think Vietnam; Iraq is slipping into sectarian war, and the murderers on both sides would like the US to leave because they think they can win the bloodbath that comes next. Even The Economist (in their excellent new Democracy in America blog) says “In the end we’re going to have to accept the fragmentation of Iraq”. If I were religious I’d be praying for the Iraqis; nobody deserves this. Those, like me, who thought the war wasn’t insane were guilty of failing to apply Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation in 2003 was that the war-starters were incompetent lying scum and that no good result could be expected from their actions. And the simplest explanation was true. Oh well, it doesn’t help the people in the Middle East, but for those of us who really want to know what’s going on, both Ha’aretz and Al-Jazeera now have decent feeds; Al-Jazeera’s is here and Ha’aretz lists a bunch. Thanks to Dave Winer for the Al-Jazeera link; I wasn’t sure what to expect from them, but they’re useful. So far nothing has been offensive and occasionally there’s a surprising outburst of humor: they were the first with the no iPod for Kim Jong-Il story. It’s TV-depth rather than Ha’aretz’s newspaper-depth, but still, the more voices the better. Hmm, maybe praying works even if you don’t believe? Let’s hope.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Simon Proctor (Dec 01 2006, at 01:53)

Tim, I'd just like to say that if even one person who thought the war was the right thing to do has realised they were wrong it's a start. I just hope the people who started it can realise it too.


From: Jemaleddin Cole (Dec 01 2006, at 03:42)

Since the Benson study at Harvard shows that praying doesn't work even if you do believe, I doubt it'll work for you or me.


From: David Smith (Dec 02 2006, at 11:53)

Nobody seems to deny that the European imperial powers erred when they divided Africa into "nations" without regard to the natural borders between peoples (and thus must take some of the responsibility for sectarian/inter-tribal violence), but France and Britain's similar creation of "Iraq" in 1919 seems to just fly by without comment. If Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs/Persians can't coexist without a Caliphate or Bathist dictator, why force the issue?


From: M. David Peterson (Dec 02 2006, at 12:17)


"Since the Benson study at Harvard shows that praying doesn't work..."

It amazes me to hear words such as this uttered for several reasons,

- The assumption made that the results of a single "study" can be used as proof that something is one way or another.

- The idea that the "results" of such a "study" can be seen as anything other than a single snapshot based on a particular set of constraints.

- That people continue to insist that prayer is nothing more than a one-way dialogue between themselves and a god-like figure.

Firstly, statements such as "Party X has stated Y and therefore Z is (True||False)" suggests that you should really consider thinking for yourself rather than letting the conclusions of others determine your viewpoints. The results of such a study influencing your thoughts and feelings on a particular subject matter is one thing. Using these same results as a foundation of fact quite another.

Secondly, prayer is many different things to many different people. To make a blanket statement such as "prayer doesn't work" suggests that whomever conducted this study chose to implement a single definition as to what prayer actually is, neglecting the *fact* that attempting to apply a single definition to such a broad topic completely negates the "results" of this same study no matter what the results actually happen to be.

Thirdly, prayer *does* work. But only if you do. And even then the "result" of prayer isn't a result at all, and instead a clarification of thought, understanding, and recognition to the fact that life isn't about the result.

It's about the process.

Just like prayer.


author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
November 30, 2006
· The World (147 fragments)
· · Places
· · · Middle East (56 more)

By .

The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.

I’m on Mastodon!