Thursday, April 10, 2003

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. I'm kind of swamped with school. Not that I have a ton of homework exactly, because it hasn't been horrible just yet. But starting school back up always means changing your schedule, and getting used to having it changed, and I seem to always adjust poorly to it all. Nevertheless, school is good so far. I decided not to buy books this quarter, so hopefully that won't backfire on me. I turned my first paper in for English, and it seems to be acceptable. I have my first quiz in German today, and I don't fear it too much, since we can still use our conjugation chart. Things are going well so far, and I think this may be a more peaceful quarter than many.

Tonight, there will be a debate on the war at school. My old History Professor will be debating some History Professor from Ashland. I'm skipping Sociology to watch. Technically, I think I could go to half of Sociology, and then go to the Union to watch. But I'm taking the entire class off and getting some food. Tuesdays and Thursdays are irritating on that account. I leave the house at 10:50am or so, and I don't get home, or have a significant break, until 8pm. That's sort of the whole of the day usually spent on eating. So I'm hungry all day, and by Sociology I'm generally doing my best to suppress stomach growls.

Tomorrow I'll be at the student forum on the War. I still think I'll be the only pro-war kid on the panel. In some ways I prefer it that way. I can better control the tone and focus of the debate when it's me against the world. But of course, it's hard to take a whole panel on by yourself without coming off as a lone ranger type, or as if you're trying to monopolize the discussion. I'm hoping the Muslim Student Organization from Main Campus will have some interesting characters, willing to speak. In any case, I'm sort of excited about it.

I finished a book on the history of Iraq last night. I'm not one of those people who reads a book about a place when we're fighting with it, and then pretends to be an expert about it. In fact, this book seems to have been written for the functionally illiterate in most respects. But it had some good, solid, factual stuff in it and I think I gained some perspective on certain things which have been troubling me. For instance, why didn't the people of Iraq immediately rise up in jubilation when we came rolling through? Some of them did, certainly, and after yesterday's statue incident, it's even clearer that they are a bit happy over the thing. But on the whole their reaction has been much more subdued than I expected. Well, perhaps part of the reason for that is because Iraq used to be a British mandate, and they weren't happy about it.

The Iraqi people have experienced "liberation" before. WWII "liberated" them from the Ottomons; the ascendence of Qassem "liberated" them from the Brits; the ascendence of the Ali's "liberated" them from Qassem; the ascendence of the Ba'ath party "liberated" them from the Ali's; the ascendence of Saddam, as we know, liberated no one. I'm not surprised that the Iraqi's aren't so happy about the US rolling into town. They've been down this road before, and it's going to be one hell of a challenge to get a real, multi-ethnic, functioning democracy going.

I feel a little embarassed that I never knew that Saddam's government was Socialist. I mean, obviously the Russia/Soviet Union connections make a lot more sense now. I figured Saddam more of a fascist than a socialist; but then, what's the real difference between Stalin and Hitler, besides exact rhetoric used?

Ah, well, I need to find some breakfast and study for my German quiz. Will blog later.