July 20, 2005

God created them

I just finished watching a documentary called "The Dreams of Sparrows." An Iraqi filmmaker, Hayder Daffar, takes his camera crews through Baghdad and Fallujah to see what ordinary Iraqis think about the war and their lives. This is not just a "Bush is evil" film. A number of the people who Daffar interviews love Bush for freeing them from Saddam Hussein, while others loved Hussein because he kept law and order. By the end of the film, after seeing a lot of death and destruction, including the death of someone in his crew, Daffar simply smokes nervously, states that Baghdad is hell and that he really doesn't know anything.

While the point of the film is certainly to make you appreciate the suffering that Iraqis have been and are going through, it never feels like propaganda. Just makes you realize how much crap the Iraqis have had to put up with through the years of Saddam Hussein and now war and the chaos it brings.

There were a few lines I found fascinating. On several occasions where people are living in horrible conditions or are lined up for miles waiting for gas in a country that practically floats in oil, there were calls for George Bush to come and see what they are suffering. "Would Bush do this to his own people?" "Where is Bush? Come let him see our condition. We are getting diseases!" Sigh. I know a lot of us Americans who say the same thing. Or answer with a sad, "yes, he would and does do this to his own people." We don't have tent cities, only because it's illegal for homeless people to camp. And many are getting diseases because they have no health care.

Yet, it was the line of one man that most impressed me. He was in a mental hospital where Hussein would put political prisoners, or where those who had broken under the suffering they had endured at the hands of the Hussein government ended up. One man whose brothers had been killed by Hussein was asked if he hates Hussein (he had recently bitten off the pinky finger of a fellow patient who said he liked Uday Hussein). "No, it's not that I hate him, because God created him."

Who says that Catholic and Islamic social teaching are so different?

[cross-posted at Behind the Surface]