Sunday, August 29, 2004

I was watching (or listening while working) to a weekly talk show program on Al-Manar TV called Bayna Qawsayn. It featured separately a representative of Sistani and a representative of As-Sadr. As-Sadr's representative (his spokesperson in Baghdad) was talking about the Mahdi Army. The Mahdi refers to Al-Mahdi Al-Muntadhar (the Awaited Rightly-guided One) which is a reference to the 12th Imam who the Shi`ites believe disappeared but will return one day to spread justice on earth. He said that he had read that the 12th Imam had appeared mysteriously in the past to help members of the community in difficult situations. He then proceeded to tell about an "episode" that he has witnessed "himself" recently when mortars in Najaf started firing by themselves at US targets. He said that it was so ferocious that enemy planes were falling off right and left. I could swear that I saw the able host (Batul...I forgot her last name) smile. She had to keep a straight face though. And then the representative of Sistani. The Sistani camp are believers of what Hengry Kissinger called "constructive ambiguity." She asked him a simple question about whether Sistani supports armed resistance to US occupation. He answered by talking about how much he loves peaches when they are ripe. She asked him again, and he answered by telling her how much he loves bread fresh out of the oven. And when she asked him the 3rd time, he indicated that Legally Blonde I was much better than the sequel (I happen to agree). That particular question, you will never get a Sistani representative to answer, although he did talk about the role of the clerics in leading "Jihad" against the British in 1920.