Chaos is the bedrock of change. Without it, change cannot
occur. And change in Iraq is happening, even if it takes on the
form of chaos. We have to thank a couple of famous women
for their role in Iraq's future, for they are Mothers of Vigilance,
keeping an eye on Iraq's future.
13, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 608
Who Wants To Rule Chaos?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--Chaos creates chaos.
It is the lair of the Beast of Terror, and in Iraq, the nest is
getting bigger each day. But thanks to the legacies of two women
who were assets in the Middle East the Beast will have little chance
The U.S. just added more chaos to a
country wracked by it. Retired Lieutenant General
Jay Garner, the "civilian" overseer of the land America liberated in
less than a month from the grip of Saddam Hussein's 27-year rule of
Terror, has been replaced. The new overseer, L. Paul
Bremer, III, is taking over a nation of a quarter million people whose
land continues to be riddled with looting and anarchy.
Bodine, former ambassador to Yemen
with the decapitation of Garner as overseer is another victim of
reconstruction chaos--former Yemen Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine served
as "Mayor of Baghdad." A tough-fisted, blue-eyed, 55-year-old
senior diplomat has ducked bullets in a plane hijacking. Ms.
Bodine negotiated the release of Americans kidnapped in Yemen and
survived the 137-day siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait after Saddam
Hussein invaded that country in 1990. Ambassador Bodine is no
novice at dealing with Middle East Terrorism.
But she's gone too.
Part of the reason may be that
she's a woman, despite her skill as hard-working diplomat. Iraq
is ruled by tribes and clans, regardless of what superstructure rises
above its historic infrastructure. There are 150
family-based tribes subdivided into 2000 clans whose roots go back in
time to when Arab tribes moved into Mesopotamia from the Arabian
Peninsula. The male-dominated tribal system has little respect
for women from a Western culture viewpoint, and there is some who
believe Ambassador Bodine's presence has made it difficult to organize
order out of chaos.
the uncrowned queen of Iraq, Gertrude Bell was once the most
powerful woman in the British empire
That is not necessarily true. In the
1920's a key factor in wooing tribal leaders to support the
British-backed monarch who ruled Iraq was legendary British Arabist,
Gertrude Bell. Ms Bell was invited by Winston Churchill to
map out the future of Mesopotamia. She was the only woman
invited, and faced 39 men, but her expertise and knowledge was greater
than that of the men. She helped draw the borders of modern
Iraq, and helped chose its first ruler, Prince Faisal. She was
his closest advisor, and often called the "Uncrowned Queen of Iraq."
hope the east will be strong again and develop its own
civilization, not imitate ours and then perhaps it will
teach us a few things we once learnt from it and have now
forgotten, to our great loss"
During World War I, Bell's
first-hand knowledge of the Arabian desert was so powerful she was
drafted as an intelligence agent in the Arab Bureau in Cairo.
The Arabs pronounced her a "daughter of the desert" because of her
love and respect for the land and its culture.
The loss of Ambassador Bodine is a
loss of great import in Iraq, and may lead to more chaos in the
reconstruction of the land.
Chaos, however bad it may
appear on the surface, has some benefits. It demands
stability. And, it suggests the soil is fertile for the
growing of democracy.
Whether the new overseer
can do the job or not is yet to be decided. And, if
he isn't able to steer the ship, there are others who will replace him
until the job is done.
Chaos cannot exist
I find it interesting,
this chaos. Among other multi-talents, my older
daughter is an artist. One of her art forms is making ancient
icons the way they were made thousands of years ago. She
carves the special wood a certain way so that the light hitting it
reflects from the inside out, unlike a painting where the light
reflects off the surface. This gives an icon a special
glow, an energy from "within" and added clout as a "spiritual" mirror.
The red clay
is added symbolizing our physical nature
layers of materials are added to an icon to give it substance,
including the final coat of gold leaf. But the first layer
is called "chaos." It is a clay, of the earth, symbolic of the
unorganized nature of man and woman--that earthly discontent of the
soul that seeks order. Upon the bed of chaos is built layers of
Iraq may have been
stripped by the war and time itself. Its surfaces have
been sanded clean in many ways, revealing the raw nerves of a nation
on the edge of falling backward into time, or springing forward into
the 21st Century.
The shift of overseer
leadership, while appearing confusing on the surface, may only be the
peeling of the onion. It may be just another step in
exposing the chaos so reconstruction can occur with maximum beauty.
There are many Beasts of
Terror in Iraq, just as there are in the United States, or any nation,
for a nation is the sum of all the people--the sum of all their Fears,
all their Intimidation, all their Complacency. So it is the sum
of their Vigilance, their Courage, their Conviction and their Right
Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children--the future of
It won't be
easy to paint the gold onto Iraq so its beauty shines through
Iraq is torn by
many levels of chaos, and it won't be easy to paint the gold so that
all the beauty of its land shines through.
There will be a
hole in the soul of the "new Iraq" with the absence of Barbara Bodine,
for there can be little question that a woman's viewpoint and her
mothering nature is an asset to a land that is dominated by the male
point of view.
thirst to install a system of Vigilance in Iraq may be troubled by
politics and world pressure to relieve the chaos and appease the
critics, but the end game will be victory. Iraq is no
different than a human being who has suffered a great loss of freedom,
and is now on the cusp of rebuilding that freedom from tyranny and
have the legacy of Gertrude Bell, and that of Ambassador Bodine,
however short her tenure, to thank for carving out the foundation for
Iraq's eventual reconstruction into a state of liberation.
The light of
Vigilance from the "Desert Queen" and Ambassador Bodine will drive
away the Beast as the sands of time pass through the hour glass
The Beast of
Terror's days are numbered in Iraq. Two female
Sentinels of Vigilance are watching over the children of the land.
Their impact on its eventual design will not go unnoticed by the Beast
who will, as the sands of time pass through the hour glass, be driven
away by the light that will shine from within.
12--The Terror Of Truth--A New York Times Dilemma?
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