Thursday, April 10, 2003


Is our short international nightmare over? I'm guessing not, but I will accept that phase one (collect underpants) has proceeded swiftly. But what of phase two? Rummy has already threatened Syria (again) so Syria will soon, no doubt, have lots of WMDs for which to account.


Color me less than optimistic about the "dancing in the streets" phenomenon, by the way. Streets were danced in, as several people have noted, back when the British army moved into Belfast. Dancing was done (in streets) when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan. More dancing when the Taliban lost power (in the same streets). Dancing all over the Congo a few years ago (in streets and other places). Dancing in various areas conquered by the Wehrmacht in 1939-41 (streets were used, in many cases). Dancing again in South Vietnam through the 60s, and another bout of dancing when the NVA moved into Saigon (which has lots of streets).

I'm no dancer. I wouldn't dance in a street, furthermore, should dancing strike me as called for. I understand, however, that some people do like to dance. [Just yesterday one of my students danced a samba in class as part of her report on Brazil. Since we were in class, and several hundred meters from anything one could reasonably call a street, the floor had to do. I don't doubt, however, that she would have danced in the street had I allowed it.] Some people, particularly people who don't have easy access to ballrooms or discos, may see the street as the next best option. I get it. I just don't *get* it.

And what of "the Arab street" (which I suggested, on my old blog, must be really long)? Dancing there? Are the streets of Iraq (upon which people seem to be dancing) part of the Arab street, or are they a network of different streets which are not connected to the Arab one? Are the streets of Iraq really the Arab side street?

By the way: the Chinese street must be super long! The Indian street, I suppose, would be almost as long (but it would depend on whether Indian Muslims would count as being on it or on the Arab street or on another street altogether [perhaps an alley, or a close]). The Mexican street (part of which I can see right now as I look off of my balcony) has lots of potholes in it. This would make dancing perilous, I think, but since I'm not a dancer I can't be sure.

The Europeans, I reckon, have a boulevard. I've seen dancing on part of it (if you can call drunken soccer fans dancers).

On another (not unrelated) note, the pulling down of statues has also taken place in Iraq (amidst much dancing, and near streets). I just saw on my landlord's BBC that the downpullers are Shi'a (how this is known, I know not). Clearly the Shi'as of Iraq have had many beefs with Cobra Commander (not least his status as a quasi Sunni) but may they not also be motivated by the thing that follows?

It is my understanding that many Muslims take very seriously an injunction against creating images which seek to replicate, in any way, the forms found in nature (to do so would be to aspire to replicate the work of God). This resulted, in the middle ages, in the emergence of the remarkable geometric patterns one finds in many mosaics and rugs (Persian and otherwise) sold in shops along the Arab street. If the people pulling down the statues were into this belief, perhaps they would have pulled down a statue of their sainted mother with just as much enthusiasm.

It is also possible that the downpullers were also frustrated non-dancers who had ya-yas they had to get out.

It is ALSO possible that they were just tickled pink by the events of the last month, and all those events which proceeded it.

Cobra Commander, I suspect, is never gonna dance again: guilty feet have got no rhythm.


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