Miracles on the Cheap

Miracles on the Cheap November 9, 2007

cross.jpgMichael Yon, the popular soldier offering independent journalism in Iraq, took this picture of Muslims helping a Catholic place a cross back atop St. James’ John’s church in Baghdad.  Some have compared it to the photo of our flag being put up at Iwo Jima.  As you can guess by the title, I’m not particularly impressed.

Supposedly this symbolizes a new love between Christians and Muslims.  I’ll take the reality.  We already have 100,000+ refugees from Iraq.  Many of these refugees are Christian.  When they start returning to Iraq, I will begin to believe that our troops have accomplished something significant here, returning the Christian community to a stability they enjoyed prior to our invasion.

Finding a few Muslims in a country of millions to appear in a photo shoot restoring a Christian landmark is seen as quite remarkable.  This bellies a certain ignorance.  It is not difficult to find lukewarm Muslims.  If a Muslim had declined to participate in the picture for religious reasons, I would have certainly been understanding.  I would have been just as understanding if a Muslim didn’t take up arms to kill Christians.  Deadly belligerence was never a majority position among Muslims in Iraq.  It’s a nice picture and even a minor accomplishment.  Let’s not pretend it is something it is not.


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  • jonathanjones02

    So because some blogger(s) somewhere “have compared it to the photo of our flag being put up at Iwo Jima” this “supposedly this symbolizes a new love between Christians and Muslims” and yet you are “not impressed.”

    Well, alrighty then. But perhaps the photo is what it is: a nice picture of cooperation in a country torn by ethnic, tribal, and religious strife. Michael Yon is an independent journalist / blogger and the fact that his readers like the picture doesn’t mean much one way or the other.

  • M.Z. Forrest

    I saw one blogger claim the MSM was burying this story. I could probably find 10 blogs saying similar things. They aren’t burying anything. The story just isn’t significant.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “When they start returning to Iraq”

  • Donald R. McClarey
  • M.Z. Forrest

    Thank you Donald for adding something completely irrelevent. And before you ask, yes I did read the link.

  • Blackadder
  • M.Z. Forrest

    Please bother to read the stories you link. Internal displacements are not Christians typically. While some have gone north, most left the country. As far as internal displacements, those have more to do with Sunni/Shite issues. Where returns are common, it is more a consequence of the changes in our political alliances.

  • Blackadder

    M.Z.,

    The first sentence of the article I linked to is as follows: “Some 46,000 Iraqi refugees returned to their war-torn country last month, a sign of hope that the massive population flight since the 2003 U.S. invasion could be reversed, an Iraqi commander said Wednesday.” That’s not talking about internal displacement.

  • radicalcatholicmom

    Christians have actually been targeted by both sides of the conflict in Iraq. It would be wonderful if the picture was a prophecy of what Iraqi Christians can expect, but I share your doubts.

  • I’ll take the analysis of Bishop Warduni of Baghdad over some western “military blogger” any day, and he states quite clearly that Iraqi Christians were better under Saddam Hussein. This is what Bush’s illegal and unjust war and occupation have unleashed.

  • But perhaps the photo is what it is: a nice picture of cooperation in a country torn by ethnic, tribal, and religious strife. Michael Yon is an independent journalist / blogger and the fact that his readers like the picture doesn’t mean much one way or the other.

    I agree.

  • nice picture of cooperation

    I agree as well.

  • jh

    I am so glad you posted that. Yon like Michael Totten are truly some of the most objective journalist we have on the ground in these regions. Both have very good credibility because to say the least they have been critical of the adminstrations handling of Iraq.

    However this again is pointing to a trend in Iraq that Catholics and especially American Catholics must start incorporating into their thinking as we struggle with these issues.

    There is still along ways to go. However I do have hope that we and the Iraqis have made is successfully past a major critical point.

  • jh

    MOrning Minion,

    I suppsoe we can argue till the cows come home if this the inital entry was just or unjust. However I am finding the case for an “illegal occupation” quite lacking. What if the Iraqis want us there till things are stable? IS that then a illegal occupation?

  • JH– the polls show they do not (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2007/09/11/latest-iraqi-poll/)

    Only 20 percent support the presence of US troops in Iraq, with 53 percent strongly opposing. The occupation has placed a mere puppet on the throne, and puppet cannot do something simple like get rid of a company of mercenaries prone to shooting Iraqi civilians in cold blood. If that is not an imperial occupation, I don’t know what is.

  • I’ll take the analysis of Bishop Warduni of Baghdad over some western “military blogger” any day, and he states quite clearly that Iraqi Christians were better under Saddam Hussein.

    We’ve had this discussion before. I’m aware Bishop Warduni attests that “things were better under Saddam.” Yes, but things generally WEREN’T “better” for Shiite Muslims and Kurds who perished in the thousands who were tortured, raped, slaughtered down to women and children.

    When somebody marshals the “things were better for Christians under Saddam” line, I’m inclined to respond: Is our compassion necessarily confined to those who are of our own kin?

    I take Michael Yon’s photo as a sign of what has happened on a small scale, and what very well COULD happen. Rather than mock it, take it as a challenge to those engaged in interreligious strife that things could be different.