The common man in Iraq has been forced to live in the shadows of guns for the last two decades. Their cities may have been destroyed, but the effects of India metaphysics remain. The founder of Art of Living, and its teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been trying to bridge the gap between the Shias and Sunnis through peace talks.
The faces I found in an Art of Living class were smiling, a rare sight in Iraq after the invasion of US forces. But Indian spirituality, yoga and meditation have brought about this change in the lives of some people that they can at least smile.
However much America may make claims about the restoration of peace in the war-torn region, the public finds it hard to forget the hundreds killed in the name of eliminating weapons of mass destruction. Both Shias and Sunnis are united in their anger and pain against the invasion.
“America freed us from Saddam’s dictatorship, we are happy about that, but I regret that the common
Iraqi has being made to suffer in the name hunting for weapons of mass destruction,” says Dr Ahmed Chalabi, former Vice President of Iraq.
“But there is also a considerable support for America in Iraq’s ruling elite. Iraq’s government has signed an agreement with the US, which will allow US forces to remain in Iraq. We have no objection to the coalition forces. Iraq could take a lot of time in stabilizing, we would support the US until then. We would take responsibilities into our own hands only after that,” says Hussain Almosami, who heads the Shia Council of Iraq.
Looking at the large presence of troops on the streets of Iraq, one cannot help but feel that it would still be a long time before Iraqis got their homeland back. At such a time the initiative taken by Art of Living would go some way towards applying balm to the festering wounds of this troubled nation.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)