25 October, 2020

Exporting Unhappiness

Iraq is giving new meaning to the word nationalism. It's become a running sore for the US.

Exporting Unhappiness
There were moments in 2004 when the British foreign secretary’s famously despairing cry on the eve of World War I—"The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime"—seemed to acquire a global resonance. As Palestinians battled Israeli tanks with brickbats, Afghans voted with one eye on the poppy fields and another on the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, the country’s most powerful man, and Iraqis died in their thousands, it seemed a clash of civilisations was indeed upon us. Muslim disaffection extended from Indonesia through the Indian subcontinent into Europe.

That fear remains. But when the massacres of 1914 are compared with the bloodshed of 90 years later, it becomes apparent that no shadow is so dark as to obscure all light. Just as Europe’s lamps shone brighter than ever after 1918, so too did hope blossom in the year under review. I refer to the turmoil in Iraq. Death and destruction are always to be deplored. But like Israeli shoppers blown up by suicide-bombers or young American GIs who meet their end in the desert...



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