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Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved Charleston C. K. Wang, Esq., Publisher
WANGNEWS OPINION PAGE
CARE MUST BE TAKEN NOT TO IGNITE A GRASS-ROOTS FIRE
A version of this OpEd was published by the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER
     on Sunday
May 23, 2004 at page B6 under the title
"
IRAQ IS IN DANGER OF IGNITING INTO RELIGIOUS WAR"

Conditions in the Middle East are changing for the worse and there
is every danger of a devastating conflagration, one that will be at
the very grass-roots.  I am reminded of the scorching month of May
in the province of Bengal, India, 1857.  The spark that parched
year was the issuance of a new greased cartridge to Indian troops
serving under the British East India Company, a private
profit-making corporation that purported to rule that vast
subcontinent.  The end of each cartridge had to be inserted in the
mouth and bitten off between the teeth during the loading of rifles.
Pious Muslim soldiers believed that the grease was pork lard, and
strangely enough, Hindu soldiers thought it was beef fat.  These
two seemingly contradictory facts ignited a general revolt
throughout the heartland of India against the British presence.  The
British were taken by complete surprise because the new cartridge
had been touted by its armaments contractor as the great new
improvement in weaponry.  The unpalatable religious insult led to a
frenzied eruption of fundamental hatred which in turn guaranteed
that the cruelest atrocities were committed by both sides, including
the massacre of women and children, the indiscriminate destruction
of entire villages in revenge, and the extravagant execution of
prisoners by strapping them to cannons.  

America invaded Iraq under the belief that Saddam Hussein was
threatening world peace with weapons of mass destruction which
included nuclear arms.  Once in Baghdad, the reason for staying
became the rebuilding of Iraq as a beacon of democracy in the
region.  Many in America believed that we will be welcomed as
liberators. More and more, especially with the revelations at Abu
Ghraib, America is viewed as the oppressor by not only Iraqis but
other neighboring Muslims who also feel the humiliation.  America is
beginning to suffer from a palpable credibility problem across the
world stage. Muslim governments who are presently friendly to
America will be hard pressed to continue with this friendship - they
will feel extreme pressure to redeem Muslim manhood and the
honor of Dar-al-Salem.  Non-Muslim governments, while not placed
in a religious contradiction, are paralyzed in a moral quandary.  As
Washington politicians posture for the November elections and
leaders at home and abroad wring their hands in feigned or
genuine shock, conditions on the ground spin towards a highly
destructive grass-roots conflagration.  Given what is
euphemistically labeled the "Indian Mutiny of 1857," we are in
danger of history recycling but with a greater potential for
devastation.

In human history, grass-root wars of religion rank among the
cruelest and most unforgiving of conflicts.  The biblical wars of
Joshua, the medieval Crusades, the Thirty Years War of the
Reformation, and the Indian Mutiny in the heyday of colonialism
beasts of men and a mockery of God.  Measures are urgently
needed to de-escalate this build-up of religion driven hatred,
unintended as the case may be.   As evidenced by the late Cold
War when communism achieved the stature of a religion amongst
its zealots, Armageddon is possible but not imminent or even
inevitable.  In the post-modern nuclear age, religious prophesies
and doomsday soothsayers notwithstanding, America must come
out of her slumber, regain control of fate, and take immediate steps
towards preventing a greater conflagration over what is now
happening in Iraq.
An Opinion by Charleston C. K. Wang  To read a
previously published opinion on Democracy & Iraq, click here,

The White Man's Burden
Rudyard Kipling
McClure's Magazine 12 (Feb. 1899)

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No iron rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Take up the White Man's burden!
Have done with childish days--
The lightly-proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise:
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.