Thursday, April 03, 2003

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the highest-ranking Shi'ite religious leader in Iraq, has issued a fatwa stating that Shi'ites should not resist the American invasion of Iraq. Earlier rumors suggested he - or other Shi'ite mullahs - might go so far as to endorse the invasion after some Iran-based mullahs condemned Saddam for using holy sites to shield his military. All of this is absolutely splendid, and highlights one of the most important differences between this situation and Vietnam: In Vietnam, the U.S. intervened to keep what was basically a capitalist dictatorship in power against a communist-nationalist revolution with a great deal of popular support. In Iraq, we are overthrowing the dictator with the passive or active support of huge segments of the population. Furthermore, these kinds of rulings from a figure of Sistani's stature will go a long way to minimizing the notion that this is a war between the U.S. and the Islamic world. Now all we need is for Bush to accept Blair's insistence that post-war Iraq be governed by Iraqis ASAP so the anti-Saddam crowd in Iraq doesn't later turn around and become anti-American.

As far as my life goes, a possible sublet fell into my lap this morning - a two-bedroom on the south side. I'll need to find at least one other interested person though, and make sure we can get the lease extended to cover August. I should probably ask my roommate, since he's getting booted from Harvey Street, too. Otherwise I will probably plow into the qb team and see what happens.

I also got into an incredibly deep conversation with Rob last night, perhaps the deepest I've ever been in at UW-Madison. I realized fully how much of my life is good. It used to be I was seen as untravelled and uncultured and stuff, and now I'm gradually taking care of that. It was kind of a shock earlier this semester when Adam Bissen referred to me as well-travelled, although I reserved my first-ever airline tickets just last week. But I'm still at the stage where I get excited by the opportunity to see things like operas or musicals regardless of what they are, just because I lack the first-hand experience to be able to distinguish precisely what I want. And it's still tricky to find others who are interested in the things I'm trying to expand into. It will come with time, though. The Barber of Seville is on the first weekend in May; once I find out for sure what my parents are doing, I can look into that.

Off to Los Angeles...at least tomorrow! (another place I'm excited just to be going)

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