Friday, April 09, 2004

It's not a, wait, it is

About this day last week we noted Christopher Hitchens making an unfortunate reference to Heart of Darkness in connection with the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Now comes a set of even more unfortunate references from Andrew Sullivan, who doesn't seem to see the problem of viewing the crisis through the prism of Holy Week. The post is titled "The Passion of Iraq" which just invites some weird analogies (Bremer = Pontius Pilate?). He then asks "Did we expect the place to become Toledo overnight?" by which we assume he means Toledo, Ohio (coming soon: the Baghdad Mudhens baseball team joins the AAA league) but instead sounds like a reference to Toledo, Spain, which gets us into some very tricky history as far as the Muslim world is concerned:

Castile and Leon captured the Muslim kingdom of Toledo in 1085, annexed its lands, and pushed the frontier of Christian Spain south beyond the Tagus River. The Muslim lands annexed by Castile and Leon became known as New Castile. The capture of Toledo—the ancient capital of Visigothic Spain—marked the first time a major city in Muslim Spain had fallen to Christian forces, and it served to sharpen the religious aspect of the Christian reconquest. In subsequent centuries this dimension of the conflict would grow stronger.

And just to eliminate any doubt about the Passion-Resurrection imagery being applied to Iraq:

It may be dark this Friday, but Christians are told that a new day will dawn. Not in three days. But in time. If we keep our nerve.

Just the pep talk that the ayatollahs and clerics need to hear! And anyway, what's with this "three days" business? It's already Good Friday. Jesus will be doing his thing in about 36 hours. In three days, much of the world, but not the US (except perhaps for its leisure-loving President) takes the day off on what Andrew used to call a Bank Holiday.