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December 30, 2016 / Congau

A Serious Joke

The fate of the Middle East was decided in Florida by a few hundred very ordinary American citizens who had no idea what they were doing.

It is intriguing and frightening to look back at the events that have shaken Iraq and Syria during the last decade and a half, but of course wars and violence have always shaped that ancient land of Mesopotamia. A lot of tiny pieces have encountered each other and set off a chain of reaction like rolling billiard balls. We can start our observation at any point in history and see how kings and caliphs, Mamelukes and temple knights have played each other off and sent the region stumbling unwittingly into its next stage.

The field is messy and it looks like a game of nonsense, but the most nonsensical of it all happened in far away Florida in the year 2000. Some slightly confused citizens, probably mostly retired people, misread their ballot papers, cast the wrong vote and made George Bush the winner of that state and thereby the presidency. The same Bush, having thus by this ridiculous joke been granted the most powerful office on earth, went on to pursue his own faulty whims, invented facts and started a war game in Iraq. The continuation of that game is now being played and it is messier than ever.

Bush is out and the Florida voters only had their one day of unconscious meddling, but they changed the Middle East and the fate of millions of people. It’s the crazy story of a crazy world.

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