Article Overview:   Chaos is the bedrock of change.   Without it, change cannot occur.  And change in Iraq is happening, even if it takes on the form of chaos.   We have to thank a couple of famous women for their role in Iraq's future, for they are Mothers of Vigilance, keeping an eye on Iraq's future.


Tuesday--May 13, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 608
Who Wants To Rule Chaos?
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--Chaos creates chaos.   It is the lair of the Beast of Terror, and in Iraq, the nest is getting bigger each day.  But thanks to the legacies of two women who were assets in the Middle East the Beast will have little chance to survive.
        The U.S. just added more chaos to a country wracked by it.    Retired Lieutenant General Jay Garner, the "civilian" overseer of the land America liberated in less than a month from the grip of Saddam Hussein's 27-year rule of Terror, has been replaced.   The new overseer, L. Paul Bremer, III, is taking over a nation of a quarter million people whose land continues to be riddled with looting and anarchy.

Barbara K. Bodine, former ambassador to Yemen

        Along with the decapitation of Garner as overseer is another victim of reconstruction chaos--former Yemen Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine served as "Mayor of Baghdad."  A tough-fisted, blue-eyed, 55-year-old senior diplomat has ducked bullets in a plane hijacking.  Ms. Bodine negotiated the release of Americans kidnapped in Yemen and survived the 137-day siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait after Saddam Hussein invaded that country in 1990.  Ambassador Bodine is no novice at dealing with Middle East Terrorism.
         But she's gone too.
         Part of the reason may be that she's a woman, despite her skill as hard-working diplomat.  Iraq is ruled by tribes and clans, regardless of what superstructure rises above its historic infrastructure.   There are 150 family-based tribes subdivided into 2000 clans whose roots go back in time to when Arab tribes moved into Mesopotamia from the Arabian Peninsula.  The male-dominated tribal system has little respect for women from a Western culture viewpoint, and there is some who believe Ambassador Bodine's presence has made it difficult to organize order out of chaos.

Renowned as the uncrowned queen of Iraq, Gertrude Bell was once the most powerful woman in the British empire

        That is not necessarily true.  In the 1920's a key factor in wooing tribal leaders to support the British-backed monarch who ruled Iraq was legendary British Arabist, Gertrude Bell.   Ms Bell was invited by Winston Churchill to map out the future of Mesopotamia.  She was the only woman invited, and faced 39 men, but her expertise and knowledge was greater than that of the men.  She helped draw the borders of modern Iraq, and helped chose its first ruler, Prince Faisal.  She was his closest advisor, and often called the "Uncrowned Queen of Iraq."


"Someday I hope the east will be strong again and develop its own civilization, not imitate ours and  then perhaps it will teach us a few things we once learnt from it and have now forgotten, to our great loss"
----Gertrude Bell

     During World War I, Bell's first-hand knowledge of the Arabian desert was so powerful she was drafted as an intelligence agent in the Arab Bureau in Cairo.  The Arabs pronounced her a "daughter of the desert" because of her love and respect for the land and its culture.
        The loss of Ambassador Bodine is a loss of great import in Iraq, and may lead to more chaos in the reconstruction of the land.
         Chaos, however bad it may appear on the surface, has some benefits.   It demands stability.   And, it suggests the soil is fertile for the growing of democracy.
          Whether the new overseer can do the job or not is yet to be decided.    And, if he isn't able to steer the ship, there are others who will replace him until the job is done.
          Chaos cannot exist forever.
          I find it interesting, this chaos.    Among other multi-talents, my older daughter is an artist.  One of her art forms is making ancient icons the way they were made thousands of years ago.   She carves the special wood a certain way so that the light hitting it reflects from the inside out, unlike a painting where the light reflects off the surface.   This gives an icon a special glow, an energy from "within" and added clout as a "spiritual" mirror.

The red clay is added symbolizing our physical nature

        Many layers of materials are added to an icon to give it substance, including the final coat of gold leaf.   But the first layer is called "chaos."  It is a clay, of the earth, symbolic of the unorganized nature of man and woman--that earthly discontent of the soul that seeks order.  Upon the bed of chaos is built layers of order.
          Iraq may have been stripped by the war and time itself.   Its surfaces have been sanded clean in many ways, revealing the raw nerves of a nation on the edge of falling backward into time, or springing forward into the 21st Century.
          The shift of overseer leadership, while appearing confusing on the surface, may only be the peeling of  the onion.   It may be just another step in exposing the chaos so reconstruction can occur with maximum beauty.
          There are many Beasts of Terror in Iraq, just as there are in the United States, or any nation, for a nation is the sum of all the people--the sum of all their Fears, all their Intimidation, all their Complacency.  So it is the sum of their Vigilance, their Courage, their Conviction and their Right Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children--the future of their land.

It won't be easy to paint the gold onto Iraq so its beauty shines through

             Iraq is torn by many levels of chaos, and it won't be easy to paint the gold so that all the beauty of its land shines through.
             There will be a hole in the soul of the "new Iraq" with the absence of Barbara Bodine, for there can be little question that a woman's viewpoint and her mothering nature is an asset to a land that is dominated by the male point of view.
             But chaos cannot last.
            America's thirst to install a system of Vigilance in Iraq may be troubled by politics and world pressure to relieve the chaos and appease the critics, but the end game will be victory.   Iraq is no different than a human being who has suffered a great loss of freedom, and is now on the cusp of rebuilding that freedom from tyranny and oppression.
            Fortunately, we have the legacy of Gertrude Bell, and that of Ambassador Bodine, however short her tenure, to thank for carving out the foundation for Iraq's eventual reconstruction into a state of liberation.

The light of Vigilance from the "Desert Queen" and Ambassador Bodine will drive away the Beast as the sands of time pass through the hour glass

          The Beast of Terror's days are numbered in Iraq.    Two female Sentinels of Vigilance are watching over the children of the land.  Their impact on its eventual design will not go unnoticed by the Beast who will, as the sands of time pass through the hour glass, be driven away by the light that will shine from within.


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