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Photo of the Year: Thanks and Praise

Michael Yon has done it again. He snapped this photo of Muslims and Christians placing a cross on the top of a church that is so moving that the only way you can't see the importance of it is if you have a heart of stone:

ThankPraise400.jpg
Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.
A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from "Chosen" Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John's, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.

The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. " Thank you, thank you," the people were saying. One man said, "Thank you for peace." Another man, a Muslim, said "All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother." The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.

Amazing. Instapundit received this email note from Michael where he offered additional details:

I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.

The Anchoress writes about the photo's beautiful simplicity:

What I see in this picture is something more than a historic moment - I don't even know if that's what we should call it - I see the sort of thing people do when they are neighbors, when they are working together for their neighborhood, for the good of all who live there, and that to me makes it seem less "historic" than calmly, wonderfully normal, ordinary, sane and wholesome. I see tolerance, which so many are so certain cannot exist in Iraq - or anywhere in the Middle East. Tolerance in the best sense of the word - converting no one, insisting on nothing beyond ordinary acceptance; tolerance that gives people room to live their lives.

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Comments (29)

These are the people Reid a... (Below threshold)

These are the people Reid and Pelosi wanted to abandon.

These are the people, who we have promised aid and support to, who are longing for fragments of the freedoms we take for granted, who we are told are not worth a single soldier's life.

These are the people that the United States military, along with the coalition of the willing, freed from the dictatorship of Saddam, freed from the threat of the hereditary dictatorship of Uday and Qusay, and are working hard to free them from the threats of radical Islam, Al Quaeda, and Iran.

These are the people who have learned that grabbing for political power and control means that there's no security or peace for anyone. And that 'brotherly help' offered to drive out the 'infidel' has an excruciatingly high price attached that's paid in blood - while the blood and treasure of the United States military has been spent freely to protect them and give them the chance to grow and stand on their own... with only a desire for friendship in return.

These are the people who Reid and Pelosi would have had us abandon. What would have been THAT cost to our national self-image, had we done such a shameful thing with THIS so close at hand?

Very nice, JLawson. I conc... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Very nice, JLawson. I concur.

Watch the seeds of freedom ... (Below threshold)

Watch the seeds of freedom grow!!
WOW this is just...beautiful man....WOW.
What a perfect picture for the front page of the NYTimes.
(Yea,I know,never going to happen).

Good to see that Yon has ta... (Below threshold)
T.T.:

Good to see that Yon has taken time out from posting ancient blood libel stories (Muslims serve children for dinner!) to posting the umpteenth "Iraqis are grateful to us for destroying and occupying their country" post.

How sad for the America-hat... (Below threshold)

How sad for the America-hating left! Don't worry, T.T., just keep on preaching defeat and retreat and proposing tax hikes, and it will all work out for the best in the end . . .

"cross on the top of a ... (Below threshold)
marc:

"cross on the top of a church that is so moving that the only way you can't see the importance of it is if you have a heart of stone:"

I suppose it's safe to assume T.T. is the single asshat who voted this post at something less than a 5.

And even money says he won't be the last. To bad the "IP Police" can't be sent in search of these asshats to unmask their real identity.

I don't post often, but the... (Below threshold)
troglodyte:

I don't post often, but there are times when the issue is so compelling ... I will admit it. I want to believe that this is real. Whatever the T.T.'s and Hoosons of the world say, I want to belive it - for my nephew now in Tikrit, for my student AK who spent a year out on the Syrian border and wants to go back, and for so many wonderful people who have suffered and fought and, in too many cases, have died. I have followed Michael Yon's dispatches from the beginning, and have supported them periodically (as I hope you folks have as well). I think his credibilty has been tested and verified. I want to belive him now, and, until the deadend defeatists produce someting more substantive than bullshit, I shall.

If only American Leftists l... (Below threshold)

If only American Leftists like T.T. could turn off their hate and act a little more like the people in that picture...

There's good chance T.T. is... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

There's good chance T.T. is not a Leftie. (and not a Rightie either)

to posting the ump... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
to posting the umpteenth "Iraqis are grateful to us for destroying and occupying their country" post

It is getting so bad for the defeatist left right now that the only argument any of them can muster up is "don't believe your lying eyes", all the while hanging on to the notion that Iraq was a kiting flying paradise prior to removal of one of the most brutal dictators in modern times.

A dictator so bad that even the prior Democrat Administration made "regime change" official U.S. policy

It's hardly worth the effort to even debate these moonbats anymore especially when Democrats won't even take them serious anymore. Note this week's impeachment laugh.

A lefty posting on a thread like this is the equivalent of dressing up like a clown and holding a "No Blood For Oil" protest sign while the clown thinks they are conveying a serious message and will win converts.

Sorry clown, they only response is an eye roll.

"Tolerence" The Anchoress s... (Below threshold)
Jolene Author Profile Page:

"Tolerence" The Anchoress said ... how odd, or maybe not, that people in a country half way around the world show more tolerence for their neighbors than people in this country show each other over their beliefs.

Somewhere Casey Sheehan and... (Below threshold)

Somewhere Casey Sheehan and his brothers and sisters (in spite of the T.T.s of the world) are smiling down on this act of kindness and what are surely many uncounted acts of kindness that are committed daily which don't get photographed or published. This is but one photo that represents what they fought for.

Yes, there have been a few years of sadness and uncertainty, for us and them, but what springs forth from that is long lasting and precious.

And it has begun.

Still there are places left... (Below threshold)
Ben:

Still there are places left that you cannot, safely, erect a cross on top of a church.

But today there is one less.

Let them see this picture, and tremble in Riyadh. Their time will come.

Ben

"I suppose it's safe to ass... (Below threshold)
Ben:

"I suppose it's safe to assume T.T. is the single asshat who voted this post at something less than a 5."

Alas, I did the math.

There was one other. Fidn them! Bring Them to.... damn... never have those winged monkeys around when I need them.

Ben

You can put me in the "hear... (Below threshold)

You can put me in the "heart of stone" group in that case. Four million Iraqis are displaced, over two million of them inside Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are living in squalid camps with no clean water, no food, disease rampant. Cholera epidemics are becoming rampant.

Who f****king cares about a cross installed on a roof? That's *your* triumph, not theirs!

Sadly, if you post it, they... (Below threshold)
epador:

Sadly, if you post it, they will come: TT and Kathy.

I just wish they'd do their... (Below threshold)
epador:

I just wish they'd do their pseudo-intellectual masturbation in private and clean up after themselves.

You can put me in ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
You can put me in the "heart of stone" group in that case. Four million Iraqis are displaced, over two million of them inside Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are living in squalid camps with no clean water, no food, disease rampant. Cholera epidemics are becoming rampant

5000 women and children deaths a month was what the UN was reporting during the Clinton years because of sanctions. That was for a sustained period of five years. (Do the math) Clinton's Secretary of State said it was a price we were willing to pay, and yet not a peep from compassionate liberals.

Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of people, some in some of the most barbaric manner, and yet not a peep from compassionate liberals.

Saddam, after invading two different countries in the region was responsible for over one million deaths in those wars, and yet not a peep from compassionate liberals.

Liberate them from a brutal dictator and work hand in hand with them in hopes of a future free from tyranny and we get the "heart of stone" lefties crying about what a better life they had not to mention there was no hope for a better future unless you were part of the regime.

Liberalism, I thought was about human rights, compassion for the repressed and human dignity. Not any more, if it ever was.

If the "heart of stone" lefties had their way, generation after generation would have suffered. How many hundreds of thousands or millions would have to die for a dictator to stay in power?

How many lives will be saved over the generations due to efforts of those willing to stand up by joining the fight?

I stand firm that we will prevail and the current lefty view will be dismissed as a few misguided fools in the history books. Mark my words.

P.S. I saw this morning on the news that that Chavez had students shot yesterday because they protested against his planned dictatorship. What do liberals do? They line up to kiss Chavez's feet.

Really Kathy? How many peo... (Below threshold)

Really Kathy? How many people are you willing to let die and live in misery, and for how long, as long as you don't have to hear about it? Because that's the way it was before the Iraq War. That's the way it was before we invaded Afghanistan. Didn't see much on CNN about it, did you? Oh that's right. That's because they were willing to keep that misery from invading your delicate sensibilities in exchange for having an office there.

You know what, Kathy? You see those people in that picture? They don't need you. They don't give a damn what you think. Your thinking has never gotten them anything and it never will.

5000 women and children ... (Below threshold)

5000 women and children deaths a month was what the UN was reporting during the Clinton years because of sanctions. That was for a sustained period of five years. (Do the math) Clinton's Secretary of State said it was a price we were willing to pay, and yet not a peep from compassionate liberals.

Wow. You should do a little research before making such an awesomely ignorant statement. Liberals were actively, deeply involved in opposing the sanctions (and by the way, they were initially imposed by Bush 41 after the Persian Gulf War; Clinton continued them). And Madeline Albright's "the price is worth paying" remark to Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes" was universally condemned by liberals and leftists at the time she said it. She got a ton of condemnation for that statement from liberals -- to paraphrase you, not a peep from conservatives. And the sanctions that you now acknowledge had such a deadly effect were overwhelmingly supported by right-wingers for the entire decade-plus that they were in effect.

One of the best-known organizations working to end the Iraq sanctions was Voices in the Wilderness. It was founded by Kathy Kelly in 1995 and was extremely active through to the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein. That site is no longer maintained because the sanctions are no more, but it still exists for research purposes. If you click on Links, you will find many more liberal groups and organizations that actively opposed the sanctions.

Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of people, some in some of the most barbaric manner, and yet not a peep from compassionate liberals.

Oh, would that be the same period of time, in the 1980s, when the U.S. government -- led by the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan -- considered Saddam Hussein an ally and a friend? Would that be the same period of time during which thousands of Kurds were massacred with poison gas while the Reaganites looked the other way and pretended it wasn't happening? Are you referring to that period of time when Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq and shook Saddam Hussein's hand?

Educate yourself a little before opening your mouth (figuratively) and making it clear that you are a fool.

Kathy, can we get your conc... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Kathy, can we get your concerned observations on the roughly 3 million people who were brutilized and murdered in SE Asia after liberal legislators voted to cut off funding for the ARVNs?

Please give us your highly experienced and insightful opinions on liberal's desire to have us retreat from Iraq while using military force in Darfur, while never once letting the worn "islam" cross your lips in the same sentence.

And by the way, Mr. Reagan was a little tied up staring down the USSR and ending the cold war while rebuilding the economy that your pal Jimmy Carter nearly destroyed. Much the same way Mr. Clinton was a little busy getting his knob polished instead of defending US personnel and interests when the first WTC bombing occurred, embassey's were blown up, USS Cole was attacked, on and on and on.

Yes, they were working so h... (Below threshold)

Yes, they were working so hard to "end the Iraq sanctions". As if things were better before the sanctions. Blame everybody but Saddam. They too blamed the US for Saddam's abuse of the OFF program, rather than Saddam himself and the inept UN which was charged with administering it.

Where was Kathy Kelly before 1991 when she and her friends got together to oppose the first Gulf War? Before sanctions even began. When they decided that Iraq must be allowed "self-determination". What a joke. The Iraqi people had no hope for self-determination with or without sanctions. Their only hope was to be rid of Saddam.

Just like you, Kathy and her ilk were fine with the status quo as long as the US didn't get involved; as long as we stood back and complained for someone to do something - hearts of stone. But you go ahead and play the blame game ignoring the decades, nay centuries, of autocratic and dictatorial rule these people have suffered under long before your misguided bleeding hearts started beating.

Of course I can pick him ou... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

Of course I can pick him out, but my liberal leaning co-workers don't believe me. So just to show that good Americans can spot one a mile off...Which one in the picture is the Muslim?

Wow. You should d... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Wow. You should do a little research before making such an awesomely ignorant statement. Liberals were actively, deeply involved in opposing the sanctions (and by the way, they were initially imposed by Bush 41 after the Persian Gulf War; Clinton continued them

Funny what little impact they had since Democrats were all standing behind the President and claiming Saddam was a threat to the region and the world.

It wasn't until Democrats decided that political points could be scored that they did a 180. They had to know the gullibility of their constituency to have them believe they never supported regime change or US military intervention.

The fact that a minuscule number of people opposed sanctions is no way an indicator of the general consensus of Democrats.

Democrats (as well as a majority of Americans) believed as a minimum that sanctions should continue because of Saddam's defiance to adhere to the stipulations of the cease fire agreement that he signed off on to in order to stop hostilities. It was Democrats belief that lifting of sanctions would be a green light for Saddam to expand his WMD programs.

If liberals were sincerely vocal and showed Democrats that they actually had more concern for the citizens of Iraq verses the rejuvenation of Saddam's WMD programs, then I'm pretty damn sure they would have listened as they listen now. Clinton was well known for wetting his finger and seeing where the political winds were blowing. It certainly wasn't blowing hard enough for him to have sanctions lifted.

Sorry to burst your bubble but I don't think the readers here are a gullible as the left wing that is spoon fed propaganda misleading people into believing that their positions have never changed.

In fact if the left was really concerned about the citizens of Iraq as they were "supposedly" then, then they wouldn't be so ready to throw them to the wolves by the immediate withdrawal of troops especially while we are making this kind of progress.

Sending them to the slaughter really takes a "heart of stone".

Too busy to join the discus... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Too busy to join the discussion these days. But our liberal posters on this thread have confirmed the sad truth about modern liberals. These liberals are so upset at American success that they have to crawl out of their liberal cocoon to spout their spoonfed propaganda. It is really to see how liberalism has poisoned the heart and mind of these people. They didn't seem to show any joy at the success and gratefulness of the Iraqui people. They seem to be excited only when AlQ blows up more women and children so that they can bash Bush. One is either so ignorant or so shameless that one can spin for AlQ cooking the children to serve the parents (shamelessly assail Michael Yon). The contradiction and hypocrisy is so apparent that I don't know how these folks can post them without a trace of shame. No wonder their representatives in Congress can participate in a deliberate lie with the MoveOn/MediaLiars crowd without a hint of shame.

Well done guy's!Ne... (Below threshold)
914:

Well done guy's!

Next assignment: Tear down CNN's Baghdad bs bureau headquarter's.

Sending them to the slau... (Below threshold)

Sending them to the slaughter really takes a "heart of stone".

"They" have already been through the slaughter -- that's what the past two or three years have been about. Remember the hundred or more corpses that could be relied upon to show up every morning on the streets of Baghdad? Bound and shot? Showing signs of torture? That was the sectarian cleansing. That was the civil war. That was the slaughter. That slaughter doesn't seem to bother anyone here too much. All that matters is that the numbers (of deaths) are down, and the U.S. military can claim credit for it.

A hundred or more body's sh... (Below threshold)
914:

A hundred or more body's showin up on the streets each day are not sign's of a civil war? where do you get civil out of that?
Rather they are sign's of barbaric murderer's on the loose that have since been silenced to a large extent thankfully by our military.

A dictator so bad ... (Below threshold)
A dictator so bad that even the prior Democrat Administration made "regime change" official U.S. policy
Funny how the War Mongering Folk keep forgetting it was the U.S. Government that put that "really bad dictator" in power in the first place. Funny how these people that CLAIM the necessity of Liberating the Iraq's are so quiet about liberating anyone else in the world like Tibet, Darfur, Native Canadians and Americans. Factually speaking, almost nobody has faced greater suppression and Treaty Violations than Native Americans at the hands of the very government that claims to be liberating others. Well folks, this is one clown who is himself left just rolling his eyes at the people who haven't the brain power to SEE the TRUTH for themselves, but rely on the lies of others. Can any of you military supporters explain why more innocent people have been killed by these so-called liberators than by the evil regime that YOU put there in the first place? Perhaps it's time you put your weapons down and learned how to fight like a 'real man' instead of cowards. Learn the difference between acting like a soldier and being a warrior. your humble servant, ancient clown



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