NYT: Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni Monadhil Daood's play " Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad" teaches its audience that love is better than conflict. The Montagues are not followers of Sharia law; nor are the Capulets into Druze , Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri, Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Last week's scenes in Beirut perfectly illustrate the complexity of the conflict that is. and Juliet - as Shiite and Sunni rather than Montague and Capulet. is for Romeo in my book, The Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.
On his feet were his tan leather shoes with pointy toes, the only pair of footwear he owned besides plastic sandals.
If it were not for the holes worn through the sides of their uppers and the caked mud on their soles, these shoes would have seemed more at home on the cobbled lanes of Verona than in the muddy late-winter fields of Bamiyan. Ali stamped the ground, not just to stay warm in the cold and the light freezing rain but because, accustomed as he was to long days of farm labor, any prolonged physical inactivity made him uneasy.
He mulled over how they would greet each other when they finally met for what would be the first time in months, not counting screaming scenes in the Bamiyan provincial courthouse. Would she call his full name, Mohammad Ali, the sound of which had always gladdened and surprised him when she whispered it over the line during the years of clandestine telephone conversations that characterized their early courtship?
Zakia was the only woman, besides his sisters and his mother, he had ever heard speak his name.
Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni
He kept the cell phone next to his heart, in an inside pocket to protect it from the intermittent freezing drizzle. A battered old knockoff of a Samsung Galaxy, this cheap Chinese smartphone full of love songs and recorded birdcalls bore the story of his life.
If Zuleikha repents, sighing from the bottom of her heart, Yousef will walk free, the fetters fallen from his ankles… Sometime after midnight of the Persian New Year, he gave up. He tried her phone for perhaps the tenth time, but there was no ring, only the impersonal phone-company message: Just in case, he hung his phone on a nail in the wall outside because the signal in their village was too weak within his house.
He left the window of his room open despite the cold so he would be able to hear the phone sing; there was only a wooden shutter without glass, simply a pane of plastic sheeting stretched over the opening, which he slit at the bottom and peeled up just in case.
As Ali went dejectedly to bed, Zakia huddled with her two roommates, Abida and Safoora, across the valley. The three of them had planned to creep out of their beds just before midnight and wait inside the front door of the big house until the guard outside was asleep.
Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni - Indian Express
Mauricio Lima for The New York Times Brought to court in a dispute between two families over the terms of her engagement at fourteen years of age, she was taken into a back room at the courthouse and gang-raped by court employees. It is commonplace for Afghan families to murder a daughter who has had the poor judgment or bad luck to be raped; the rapist is often treated with shocking leniency.
They say that in the heyday of the Bamiyan Buddhas, when this remote mountain valley was a center of pilgrimage and the spiritual capital of the Greco-Buddhist Kushan Empire, the eyes of the great Buddhas Solsal and Shahmama comprised hundreds of precious stones, rubies and sapphires especially but diamonds and emeralds as well.
Fires were kept lit at night behind those yard-wide orbs. The girls knew that he was ill and would probably have fallen asleep on duty, which indeed he had done.Romeo and Juliet - Act 1 Scene 5 - A hall in Capulet's house.
Zakia had the SIM card for her cell phone, but the phone itself was in the hallway, hidden in a cupboard. The guard challenged Zakia when she heard her stepping outside her room. Zakia quickly ducked into the bathroom, making up a story that she wanted to take a late shower.
This delayed her another twenty or thirty minutes as the two other girls waited for her and Ali kept trying unsuccessfully to get through on the phone. Safoora, younger than Zakia, was excited for her but sad to see her go — she was along just to help Zakia and the other older girl, Abida, escape.
Zakia had been not only an older sister to her but also the sparkler that lit up their shabby existence: They agreed to help one another over the wall of the shelter and run together. It was a shelter from the harm that awaited them outside, but it was also a prison; one of the terms under which all such facilities in Afghanistan operate is that they promise not to allow the girls and women to leave until their cases are settled, if they can be settled.
Many of them are in the shelters indefinitely, with few future prospects except to return to whatever family hell drove them there in the first place. Zakia was determined that would not be her fate. The girls hugged and said their good-byes to Safoora and then began dragging mattresses out to the wall at the back of the courtyard. The mattresses were stiff, full of cotton tick; doubled over and piled one atop the other, they made a ledge halfway up the eight-foot-tall wall, so Zakia could clamber up.
To understand the Middle East today, turn to Romeo and Juliet - Telegraph
Later on she would insist, as she had agreed with the other girls to say, that no one had helped her escape, that she had simply walked out the unlocked front door when everyone was asleep and hopped the wall on her own. From the top of the wall, she reached down to pull Abida up as well, but the girl was too weak to pull herself up and too much deadweight for Zakia. Abida later claimed that her friend had abandoned her to save herself.
Zakia insisted that the girl was too heavy to make the climb, but she also was aware that Abida wanted to return to an abusive husband. Zakia thought it was probably just as well that the girl did not do so. Abida was not driven by love but by desperation and might well have been killed for her efforts. She did not hesitate, though, and at about one in the morning Zakia dropped to the ground outside the wall, in her high heels, carrying a plastic bag full of clothes.
She ran lightly down the hill in the direction of the Great Buddhas, pursued by a pack of barking dogs, then stopped under some birch trees on a traffic circle at the edge of the upper plateau and dialed Ali.
There was no answer. Digging into her bag, frantic, she pulled out a loaf of bread and began breaking off pieces to throw to the dogs to stop the barking. Officially, it's true, Muslims account for just under 60 per cent of the population and Christians just under 40 per cent. Officially, Lebanon's population is divided into no fewer than 17 religious sects.
Last week's scenes in Beirut perfectly illustrate the complexity of the conflict that is now simmering. The murdered man was himself a Maronite Christian, the grandson of the founder of the Phalange Party that once allied itself with Israel Jews to fight the Palestine Liberation Organisation Muslims. But the mourners spat on pictures of General Michel Aoun, a Christian who has aligned his party with Hezbollah Muslims.
Ominously, one woman demonstrator was quoted by the New York Times as saying: She is almost certainly a supporter of the Future Movement, a Sunni party whose leader, Saad Hariri, is the son of the former prime minister whose assassination began the Cedar Revolution. Remember how the s comedy Soap used to begin: The paths of Lebanon and Iraq diverged inwhen the United States waged its first war against Iraq.
At that time, a deal was quietly cut that ended the civil war in Lebanon by handing the country over to Syria. The recent spate of political assassination against anti-Syrian politicians such as Mr Gemayel suggests that the Syrians have no intention of letting Lebanon go. For regime change in Iraq has unleashed Lebanese-style centrifugal forces. Here, once again, it's not a clash between civilisations.
NYT: Montague and Capulet as Shiite and Sunni
True, the war between American troops and al-Qaeda insurgents is not over, but it's now a sub-plot in a wider civil war between Shias and Sunnis.
Thursday's lethal car bomb explosions in the Shiite district of Baghdad known as Sadr City were just the latest and biggest of a succession of sectarian attacks that dates back to the bombing of the Askariya mosque at Samarra last February. The key, as in Romeo and Juliet, is that each such attack begets another attack, in an almost unstoppable cycle of tit-for-tat killing.
In retaliation for the Sadr City car bombs last week, militiamen belonging to the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army fired mortars into the Sunni neighbourhoods of Adhamiya and Ghazaliya. The Bush administration still believes that Iraqi politicians can be browbeaten into sharing power with each other and taking responsibility for security.
Last week, Sunni gunmen attacked the health ministry, because it is run by a Shiite minister, in retaliation for earlier Shiite kidnapping raids on the education ministry, which is run by you guessed it a Sunni minister.
In civil wars, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
And often more than equal. In Baghdad these days, Mahdi army thugs drive around with kidnapped Sunnis in their car boots, offering on-the-spot revenge to bereaved Shias. Three Sunnis for a dead brother is the going rate. That is the psychology that made October the bloodiest month in Iraq since the American invasion. The worse news is that increasing troop numbers may only slow the descent. The worst news is that civil wars like these tend to last a long time.
Of 54 major civil wars sincehalf lasted more than seven years. And most such wars don't end with power-sharing agreements, but with victory for one side or the other, often as a result of foreign intervention.