Frankenstein in Baghdad Q4: Diversity

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“Saidi's and Islamist, and his friend's a Baathist. But Saidi's a lapsed Islamist. His ideas changed while he was living abroad. And his Brigadier friend is a lapsed Baathist.”

Cultural diversity and the role of factions are a major theme in the book. How is diversity represented? Is it a good or an ill?

Comments

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    I reckon this was a huge strength of the book, and a fascinating insight into what (I presume) Baghdad must be like. Like so much of the book, it was both witty but also full of profound sorrow - those distinctions used to mean something important to the residents, but now they're all blurred and largely meaningless in the face of the day to day struggle for survival and the general chaos following war and occupation.

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    I liked that it raised the diversity. Why shouldn't Baghdad be as diverse as London, New York, or any other global city? As for the distinctions no longer mattering: I wonder how much they ever mattered. In the quote above, I get the feeling that both Saidi and the Brigadier were opportunists, adopting identities as cover to serve their own interests.

    As for the diversity in the other characters, it wasn't a source of division between them. Everyone had different traditions, but they all mostly got along and treated each other as people first, rather than representatives of a group. The idealogically-driven people, the various terrorists, were feared by everyone.

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    @NeilNjae said:
    As for the diversity in the other characters, it wasn't a source of division between them. Everyone had different traditions, but they all mostly got along and treated each other as people first, rather than representatives of a group. The idealogically-driven people, the various terrorists, were feared by everyone.

    One would like to think this was true, but I do wonder if it is. I have read that before both Iraq wars, the country was one of the most religiously tolerant in the world, which would support this. Whether that still holds true now is, I guess, part of what the book is exploring.

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    @RichardAbbott said:
    One would like to think this was true, but I do wonder if it is. I have read that before both Iraq wars, the country was one of the most religiously tolerant in the world, which would support this. Whether that still holds true now is, I guess, part of what the book is exploring.

    I don't know. I know that news reports, by necessity, simplify situations from what they really are. But the book doesn't end on an optimistic note.

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    A quote from the book:

    Because I'm [Whatsitsname] made up of body parts of people from diverse backgrounds - ethnicities, tribes, races and social classes - I represent the impssible mix that never was achieved in the past. I'm the first true Iraqi citizen.

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    I really liked the diversity, and it never felt like it was tokenism. All too often these days I feel we're getting the token black woman, the token south asian, or whatever, and they're just there because the creator needed to plug some minorities into their story. But this book avoids all that, yet remains quite diverse, and even makes a point of it. Maybe that's just because it's written from a different perspective. Maybe if I was Iraqi, I'd be "Oh, sure, its the Islamists and Baathists again."

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    The diversity was one of the book's strengths. Everyone was different, and it was fine. That's just the way things are. it seemed unfeigned and unforced.

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