Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Iraqi Constitution

fromThe Best American NonRequired Reading

Reading a constitution, any country's constitution, is informative and beneficial to our understanding of the world and the way other countries view governance, law, and citizenship. In the world we live in today, that understanding is becoming more and more vital to our everyday lives. Reading a constitution, any country's constitution I would imagine, is also much like reading a contract. Given that that's what it is - a contract - it's not surprising that it reads like one. By the same token, much in the same way that I find reading a new software contract too long, dry, and unworthy of my time despite how informative and beneficial to my life and understanding it may be, I also find myself wishing to run through the dry, contractual language of the Iraqi constitution so I can simply skip the bottom of the page where I click "Accept."

That's not to say that all of it was uninteresting reading. The Preamble was telling and, in parts, in it's own way, poetic. It also included one the longest run-on sentences I've ever seen in my life. This sentence was composed of nineteen lines of approximately fourteen words to each line. I'm too lazy to do the math - you do it - but I know enough to know that's a lot of words for one sentence and if anyone is supposed to get any since of that it certainly isn't I.

I also thought it interesting that the second line of the constitution reads, "We have honored the sons of Adam." Yeah, yeah I know that it's supposed to be a democratic Islamic state but what about Eve? I thought it took two to make a son and as far as I know Adam didn't reproduce asexually. And what about the daughters of Adam - and Eve - ? Article 14 reads: "Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, origin, color, religion, creed, belief or opinion, or economic and social status." Yet, Article 2 reads: No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established." I don't much about the Islamic religion but I know enough about the treatment of women in Islamic countries to hope that the two articles don’t already contend with each other.

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