The L.A. Times reports: The Time Seems Ripe to Tie the Knot in Iraq. The sub-head makes this sound like a negative, as though Iraqis are simply trying to make the best of an Iraq ruined by an unjust U.S. war: “The number of nuptials surges after years of repression. Some see the trend as an embrace of life in the face of death.”
Yes, and as the article makes clear, “some” disagree — including anyone quoted in the article who is actually getting married. No matter. The pessimistic point of view is the one emphasized in the headline, and gets the first quote of the story:
Some say a better living standard is driving Iraqis to the altar. Others speculate that many weddings were postponed because of the war, and couples are catching up. And there are those with a more existential bent, who see wedding celebrations as a retort to death itself.
“People tend to compensate for their losses,” said Nagham Azzawi, whose sister is planning a big wedding this year. “This is the natural response to all the deaths we’re facing.“
An Iraqi professor agrees with this pessimistic outlook:
In relatively quiet areas such as the Shiite south and Kurdish north, the wedding boom may signal a belief in the future, sociology professor Qassim Hussein Salih said. “But not in Baghdad, where mornings are flavored with explosive powders, where people are meeting death every day.”
Desperation can propel people into marriage, said Salih, who teaches at Baghdad University.
“This should not necessarily be seen as a sign of optimism,” he said. “Iraqis see no end to the current situation, so they have adapted themselves psychologically.”
Funny thing, though: the people who are actually getting married have a different story. They are all marrying because life is better nowadays. For example:
[Adil] Kamil had waited a long time for this moment — the official announcement of their marriage.
“She was always on my mind,” said Kamil, 29. “I liked her for years. But the financial situation, and the general security situation, hindered me from proposing.”
A steady job as a clerk in the Ministry of Oil had allowed him to build a little nest egg, and the outlook was better, he said. Six of his seven close friends were also engaged or had wed recently.
“The environment has become much more suitable for young men to get married,” Kamil said.
Others echo the sentiment:
At the courthouse, Thair Hamad, 24, was among those waiting for his papers. “I was ready to marry after my economic situation improved,” he said. “Since we are no more threatened by endless military service, I came to the conclusion that now I have to get socially settled down.”
During Hussein’s reign, men needed the government’s permission to wed.
“Now they are financially more capable and the inner fear of Saddam has vanished,” said Sheik Abaas Zubaidi, an imam in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood. “We are very optimistic about the future, and this also encourages people to start a family.“
But forget this optimism garbage. The trend is clearly all about trying to find happiness in the face of all the deaths caused by our unjust war.
At least that’s what some say.