To Mohammed, the relentless sandstorm was foreboding, a portent of divine will.
"The storm is from God," he said, looking out his trembling window. "Until the aggression started, never in my life did I see a storm like this. We all believe in God, we all have faith in God. And God is setting obstacles against the Americans."
During six days of war, Baghdadis looking to the heavens for omens have had much to contemplate. A terrifying cascade of U.S. bombs has been followed by the apocalyptic smoke of oil fires lit by Iraqi forces, so dense that cars almost collided. The smoke was joined by today's storm, which abruptly ended Baghdad's struggle to reclaim ordinary life. Shops again were shuttered and streets were deserted as a sickly yellow cloaked the sun.
Weary residents spoke of divine intervention, and in the storm they saw God's determination to aid Iraq. But beneath the surface were churning impulses -- of fear and flight, of fatalism and bravado, of grief and dread. With few exceptions, Iraqis still consider political discussions taboo, especially with a foreign journalist shadowed by an official escort. But the storm seemed to draw out anxieties about a future that no one seems willing to predict.
Michael comments on this here, and has an excellent, wise passage from the Bruderhof community posted as well.