Thursday, February 23, 2006

Horban in Iraq

This photo essay (via Andrew Sullivan) brings home the measure of destruction inflicted on the al-Askariya mosque by Iraqi terrorists (since I want to be able to sleep tonight, I will not use the facile Western media term “insurgents”).  I realize that there is now a wave of Shiite reprisals across Iraq, and this may swiftly turn into a mutual succession of atrocities, I cannot help but feel a particular sympathy for the victims of this assault.  Jewish history is replete with catastrophes of this kind, and the destruction of our holiest site remains the most pivotal moment in our long history.  We know what it is to have the earthly incarnations of our culture annihilated by the wanton and the barbaric.  Whether the barbarian goes by the name of Rome or Germany.  The destruction of a holy site is the destruction of the labor of generations.  It is an assault on the universal truth that when a man attaches himself to a collective he makes himself a part of eternity.  Albert Camus once said that a mission exists for any human group which can derive pride and fecundity from its labors and its sufferings.  Atrocities such as this are not merely attacks against wood and stone but an existential assault on this pride and fecundity, and the labors and sufferings which gave birth to it.