Monday, January 29, 2007

Iraqi Ghost Dance

Maliki's Shiite Iraqi Government orchestrated a deliberate slaughter of Muslim heretics this weekend in Iraq.

Iraq and the region is home to many diverse atavistic cults, including Sufism which is a form of

The Sufi's influenced the Gnostic Islamic heresy of the Ishmali's.

The idea of eliminating clerics and politicians who represent the estabilished powers is as old as the Shi'ite Cult of the Old Man of the Mountains, Hasan ibn Sabah and his Hassain (cult of the Asssassins). Who was one of the founders of the Ishmali sect.

Hasan ibn as-Sabah was thus the original “Old Man of the Mountain,” preceding his namesake Rashid ed-Din Sinan by a hundred years. He also founded a secret religious brotherhood of which he termed himself “grand master” and which aimed, in the words of the Arab historian Philip Hitti, “to emancipate the initiate from the trammels of doctrine and encouraged him to dare all. Below the grand master stood the grand priors.…the lower degree of the order comprised the fida’is, who stood ready to execute whatever orders the grand master issued.” If the word feda’i, or “self-sacrificer,” rings a bell, it should. It’s the singular of “fedayeen,” a term coined by Hasan ibn es-Sabah and widely used in Arabic to this day to describe irregulars fighting for an Arab cause. It’s a favorite of the Palestinians and also had wide currency during the recent fighting in Iraq.

Shiite Cult Aimed to Kill Clerics in Iraqi City Abdul Hussein Abtan, the deputy governor of Najaf province, gave an interview to Iraqi television from the battlefield, saying he was standing next to the dead body of the group’s leader. Mr. Abtan said the dead man had claimed to be the Imam Mahdi — the missing spiritual leader whom many Shiites believe will return someday to restore justice. Mr. Abtan described the movement as “an ideological and military organization with long experience,” and said that its leaders came from outside Iraq. He said it was relatively small, but had rallied a large group of “na├»ve people” over the past two days by proclaiming the return of the Imam Mahdi.
They said the group, calling itself the Mahdawiya, was loyal to Ahmad bin al-Hassan al-Basri, an Iraqi cleric who had a falling out with Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr — father-in-law of the Shiite leader Moktada al-Sadr — in Hawza, a revered Shiite seminary in Najaf.

The fighting around Najaf centered on a date palm orchard near the village of Zarqaa, about 120 miles south of Baghdad. The village is alongside a river and a large grain silo that is surrounded by orchards, the officials said.

The clash appeared to be one of the deadliest battles in Iraq since the American-led invasion four years ago, and it was the first major fight for Iraqi forces in Najaf Province since they took over control of security there from the Americans in December.

Cult leader and 200 others killed: Iraqi officials

Nearly 400 people were in Iraqi army custody and 250 were killed, an Iraqi military source said. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh put the number of dead at 150 to 200.

There had been women and children in the camp but it was not clear how many were among the casualties, National Security Minister Shirwan al-Waeli told Reuters.

"One of the signs of the coming of the Mahdi was to be the killing of the Ulema (clerical hierarchy) in Najaf," "He claimed to be the Mahdi," Waeli said of the cult's leader, adding that he had used the full name Mahdi bin Ali bin Ali bin Abi Taleb, claiming descent from the Prophet Mohammad.

Among previous violent instances of people saying they are the Mahdi were an opposition movement to British imperial forces in Sudan in the 1880s and a group of several hundred, including women, that took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979.

This incident reminded me of the slaughter of the indigenous native resistance movement in North America known as the Ghost Dance.

The parallels are striking, for the occupation of Indian country had been accomplished and this was the final resistance movement.

The Sioux began performing the ghost dance in 1890 after large herds of buffalo had been killed off.

They believed this magical dance would bring back the buffalo and eliminate their white enemies.

But white Americans became frightened of the ghost dance and demanded protection, leading to the Wounded Knee.

In early October of 1890, Kicking Bear, a Minneconjou, visited Sitting Bull at Standing Rock. He told him of the visit he and his brother-in-law, Short Bull, had made to Nevada to visit Wovoka. They told him of the great number of other Indians who were there as well. They referred to Wovoka as the Christ and told of the Ghost Dance that they had learned and the way that the Christ had flown over them on their horseback ride back to the railroad tracks, teaching them Ghost Dance songs. And they told him of the phophecy that, next spring, when the grass was high, the earth would be covered with new soil, burying all the white men.The new soil would be covered with sweet grass, running water and trees; the great herds of buffalo and wild horses would return. All Indians who danced the Ghost Dance would be taken up into the air and suspended there while the new earth was being laid down. Then they would be replaced there, with the ghosts of their ancestors, on the new earth. Only Indians would live there then.

This new religion was being taught at all of the Sioux reservations now. Big Foot's band, which consisted mostly of women who had lost their husbands and/or other male relatives in battles with Custer, Miles and Crook, would dance until they collapsed, hoping to guarantee the return of their dead warriors. Sitting Bull greatly doubted that the dead would be be brought back to life. He had no personal objections to people dancing the Ghost Dance; however he had heard that the agents were getting nervous about all of the dancing and were calling in the soldiers on some reservations. He did not want the soldiers to return to kill more of his people. Kicking BearGhost Dance shirts, painted with magic symbols, the soldiers bullets would not strike them. Sitting Bull consented to Kicking Bear remaining at Standing Rock and teaching the Ghost Dance.


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