Commentary: The Black Mind

By Ken Joseph Jr.

Baghdad, Iraq - You can see it right away - to understand and quantify it is a much different thing!

 The Iraqis call it the `black mind`. The signs are easy to recognize. There is the arrogant swagger, the blazing eyes, the generally unkempt manner and the strident views that always seem to defy logic but clearly scream `uneducated`!

 I sat down with one of the `black mind`. Abbas Mohammed, 24 seems to take pride in the fact that he is a `black mind`.

 `I donít care what anyone thinks of me - I believe what I believe and that is all.` he taunts.

 On the Americans :

 `They are the ones causing all our problems. They cause everything to not work, the bombings, killing our people. They are the cause.` he says.

 `What about Sadaam? What about the muhajadeen and terrorists` we ask.

 `They are not good, but the Americans are the worst`. he continues.

 The interpreter angered,  yells at him `How can you compare the Americans to Sadaam and the terrorists? Are you crazy? It is the terrorists that do the bombs! Not the Americans?`

 Eyes ablaze one can see the `black mind` set in,  as logic, common sense is submerged by its all encompassing power.

 Obviously not getting anywhere and to prevent a fight between the irate translator we move on.

 `What do you think of freedom`. we continue.

 `Man is not free. Only free to believe God.`

 `If your son comes to you one day and says `Father, I have to tell you the truth, I do not believe`. what would you do?

 The answer is swift, harsh and the `black` eyes are all ablaze. `The koran teaches that at 8 years old you should teach your son, at 10 years you should beat your son. If he does not believe I will kill him. I will burn him. He does not deserve life`.

 Not sure I got the translation right, I check with the translator. `Did he just say if his son decided not to believe he would kill him or burn him`

 Shaking her had, her face burning with anger, she says `yes, you see the black mind?``

 We continue.

`What do you think of women?`.

 `They are nothing - they are less than 1/10 of man.` he blazes on.

 Suddenly the interpreter steps in and begins shouting at him. `I cannot continue! It is enough. Have him leave`.

 We end the conversation with the `black mind`, eyes ablaze, swagger in full swing and the arrogance seething standing up and walking off.

 The translator is very shaken. 34 year old Zainab, continues.

 `You see, this is the problem! This is our enemy! It is this `black mind` that is the cause of all our troubles. It is not the Americans. They have come, they have given of their lives. We see them every day, working so hard with us to make things better. It is the `black mind` that wants to destroy everything!`

 `It is the religious leaders that create this `black mind`. As you can see they are crazy! Can you imagine any religious leaders that would teach you to kill your son if he does not believe like you? Can you imagine any religious leader that would say a woman is worth only a 10th of a man? Can you imagine any religious leader that would ignore all Sadaam did for 35 years of terror and condemn those who came to liberate us?

 It is crazy!

 `Where does this come from?`

 `Maybe 30% of the people are either those connected with Sadaam and these with the `black mind`. It comes from islam.` she continued. The vast majority of the peole, of course do not think like this, but the `black mind` intimidates them so they are afraid to say the truth.`

 `I am a muslim but somebody must speak the truth. Do you know what the reality is? I do now wear a veil over my head. The religious leaders came to my home and told my mother that if I did not start to cover my head and stay at home they would kill me. My mother ordered them away.`

 That would be bad enough! The same `religious leader` later came to me and asked me if I would come to his house for money! A `religious leader! Can you believe it!`

 `The religious leaders - they are all liars, killers and thieves and they simply use `religion` to cover up all the bad things they do! I am sick of it!`

 `Do you think the women cover their heads and their bodies in winter coats because they want to? No! They do it because they are intimidated from a religious leader, a neighbor - often from their own family who is intimidated from some religious leader. These men are out of control and someone has to stop them! We are thankful the Americans are trying!` 

 This is the reality.

 `People thing that many go to the Holy Cities of Karbala and Najef to pray to God. Do you know what the reality is? There are hundreds of Iranian and Iraqi girls who take two weeks off supposedly to visit the Holy Cities but in fact they go there and are prostitutes - they charge 5,000 dinar - about three dollars each time. This is the reality.`

 `Do you know what happens in Ramadan the Month of Fasting? They actually get fat during the month of fasting. They do not eat during the day because they are intimidated then they watch the clock and as soon as it is sundown they begin to eat and drink and party.`

 `Do you think people pray? They complain at the early morning blaring sounds of the `call to prayer` from the Mosques when they are sleeping! Go do the Mosque, other than Friday when many are intimidated into going nobody prays! They do not actually believe! It is all all al lie!`

 Trying to get something `politically correct` out of the conversation`, I ask `but it is not islam that is the reason, is it?`

 `Yes, it is` she replies! `It is the religious teachers that cause the `black mind` the mind in which everything is backwards - it is good to kill, women are no good, beat your child . . . this is all crazy! How can any religious person teach this and then say if you donít do as they say they will kill you! What is this?!

 `You see` she continues, `it is the religious teachers that are the enemies of Iraq. They block progress for one simple reason - they depend on the `black mind` to stay in power, they create it by keeping people uneducated and under their control. When progress comes, people have freedom and are able to experience and understand truth then they will realize the problem is the religious leaders and the power of the `black mind` will be gone. This is why they are so desperate to see the Americans and the forces of freedom defeated. `

 What do you think of the Americans and what they have done in Iraq?

 She is quick to answer. `They are our saviors! They got rid of Sadaam! The Americans have brought us freedom - finally. I suffered greatly under Sadaam, in particular under his sons. It makes me angry to hear the man with the `black mind` say nothing about Sadaam but about the Americans. This is crazy!`.

 `Do you want the Americans to stay in Iraq? For how long?`

 `Of course! Forever until we can get rid of the `Black mind`.

 Worried that I may be getting only one opinion, I talk to 21 year old Rasha ALi, sitting nearby. .

 `What do you think?` `She is right! He has the `black mind`. We are happy the Americans have come and finally helped us get rid of Sadaam. Now we are free, but if we are not careful we will have another Sadaam - the people of the `black mind`.

 `Do you want the Americans to stay`

 `Yes, of course!`

 `How long!`

 With a look of surprise she answers like the vast majority of the `silent majority` in Iraq feels.

 `Forever of course!`

 So what is happening? Are the `Iraqi people` we are always hearing about who want the occupation to end, want the Americans to leave and are so angry about everything they do really the `voice of the people` or the voice of the small minority that desperately wants everything to fail so they can continue to cling to power?

 At least the `word on the street` is clear - they are the problem!

 One soon learns the `look`. If you speak anything positive, anything not in accordance with the `black minds` you get the `look`. It says `be careful` . . .

 Was the liberation of Iraq a mistake? Is the occupation of Iraq a failure? The answer to that question should not be from the exiles who have spent most of their lives overseas and from those with the `black mind`, but from the average people - the `silent majority` that any country has.

 Away from the `look` and the `black minds` and the threats of the thugs and all their henchmen, you get a very, very different picture.

 `We want the Americans to stay forever!` seems to be the clear answer! Please help free us from the darkness . . .

Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian, directs, and is completing a book about his experiences entitled 'I Was Wrong.'