For those who did not watch the Late Show with David Letterman last night, I will tell you what happened. The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney showed up at the Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time, after decades from the Beatles performance in the late sixties on the same theater. Not only that, Sir Paul McCartney went on the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater and preformed to a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, who spread on all directions on the Broadway street, to see the music icon perform couple of his songs. This is a great by all measures. So big that Bruce Willis came and read the Top 10 list, at the showoff ways he is spending this summer, at the top of which was” I agreed to do a lame top 10 list just to meet Paul McCartney “ . This is how big this event was.
By now, you might be wondering what that got to do with Baghdad, to which this blog is dedicated. Well, as I was enjoying the performance of Sir Paul McCartney on the Ed Sullivan Marquee, along with the hundreds of people on Broadway Street, I was shocked to actually see that there are cars passing in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater. The Taxi cabs were driving among the crowds, who were barricaded by police and behind steel barriers. For a resident of Baghdad to see this large crowd of people and cars are passing freely among them, it is our worst nightmare. For us, any of those cars is a potential bombed car.
In comparison to that great, Ed Sullivan Theater, event, there is a pilgrimage to the Shrine Of Imam Kadhum in Baghdad taking place right now. The preparations to this great Baghdad Event started 3 days ago. Tents were set up on the streets of Baghdad (even on the Major Highways) and I literally mean ON the streets not on the side of it. Major streets were shut down. Entire neighborhoods were sealed off, including my neighborhood, just because they are unfortunate enough to be on the route to the shrine. This siege, which will last for another couple of Days, is imposed on over one third of the city of Baghdad. Just to visit a shrine of a guy who died centuries ago. While we are celebrating a guy who died centuries ago, the entire world is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission, which landed a Man on the Moon.
All what I want to say, is that Major events could take place without actually stopping life , traffic and confining people to their houses for days, especially when there are 12 Imams in Shaisim , and their Birth, Death , Arbain ( 40 days after the death) and even the wounds of some Imams are celebrated. I have to disagree with some clergymen, who would answer those who tell them that all of this is causing discomfort and inconvenience to people by saying “the people actually rubbing the dirt off the shoes off the pilgrims and putting it over their heads for Blessing” . No sir, life should not freeze and people should not be locked up, just because there is a pilgrimage taking place. Not even for Sir Paul McCartney.