Alusi Survives Yet Another Assassination Attempt
Liberal Iraqi MP Mithal Alusi’s family home in West Baghdad's Hai Al-Jam’ia neighborhood was reduced to rubble this morning after terrorists had rigged the structure with explosives in an apparent assassination attempt. Alusi, a Sunni, had been leading in recent weeks the drive to repatriate internally displaced Shia and Sunni families back to their neighborhoods in Western Baghdad.
A couple of days ago, Alusi visited the house that his late father, a college professor, had built in the 1970s but did not enter the premises. There is a ‘Sons of Iraq’ checkpoint manned by ex-insurgents directly across from the house. An investigation as to the causes of their negligence (surprise, surprise) is underway by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
Today’s event is a reminder that men such as Alusi, whose two sons were killed in a previous assassination attempt in February 2005, are still active in Iraqi politics and had never given up on the country despite being embattled and unfunded. He always stood for a secular and non-sectarian patriotic agenda, one that is being emulated by many Iraqi politicians now. It is even being parroted by the Consensus Bloc that rejoined Maliki's cabinet a couple of days ago. They have come a long way since their previous candidate for the Ministry of Culture fled Iraq over a year ago--with U.S. official connivance--ahead of an arrest warrant charging him with the murder of Alusi's sons.
I’ve wiled away quite a few afternoons in that living room—now gone—surrounded by the beautiful paintings that the Alusi family are renowned for. Always fearful of the Doberman outside, I preferred the indoors to the garden, where I was in the company of Alusi and his sons, talking and joking over coffee, cigarettes and sometimes a beer. It was a short walk from my aunt’s house.
Is Senator Obama going to make time during his brief ‘fact-finding’ stopover in Baghdad today for the likes of Alusi, who survives as a living testament to the tremendous sacrifices paid by Iraqis for the cause of democracy? Does Obama even know of Alusi?
Doubt it. I wonder how many Americans know of him either.
Oddly enough, Alusi was pondering selling his share of the house to other family members in order to finance his upcoming provincial election campaign.