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Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Secret of An Nil

I happened to catch a CBS News report last night about a neighborhood in Baghdad that has been spared the bloody violence sweeping the rest of the city. It’s called An Nil, a mixed area of Sunni, Sunni and Christian. They have lived together for decades and became friends as well as neighbors. They are protecting each other now.

That’s the secret. Only by people of different groups living next to each other – instead of segregating each group – will this insanity stop. Otherwise we more senseless killing will continue ad nauseum.

It’s not unlike the same weird thinking that had Protestant’s and Catholics shooting each other in Ireland until a few years ago. There is nothing worse than people proving the superiority of their religion by killing other people. They lived separately and isolated lives. Hate breeds in such environments.

The policy being discussed by some U.S. officials to favor only the Shiites because they are the (80%) majority will be a disaster if implemented. It will fuel the separation and the “ethnic cleansing” already going on. The minority Christians, Muslim Sunnis and Kurds will suffer. I don't think it represents the American model of diverse groups each having a voice in government.

The An Nil neighborhood is a model of what needs to be replicated on a country-wide basis if there is to be success in Iraq.

An Nil also happens to describe what makes America a success. In my neighborhood and neighborhoods across this country all ethnic groups, including Muslim and Christian, peacefully coexist as neighbors. We need to encourage MORE of it, not less. Without it, more troops won't change anything.

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