The world has never really been a very predictable place. Long before capitalists conceived the notion of the stock market, with all its ups and downs, farmers had to leave their crops to the whims of the weather. A couple of dry years or stormy years could ruin a farmer and send him and his family on a search for a new means of living. Hoosiers understand this better than a lot of people, given that agriculture still generates a larger share of the state’s revenue than it does in many neighboring states. At the end of the day when we’ve done everything else we can do, a time comes to just peacefully go to sleep and leave the results of our efforts up to God.
Living in Istanbul does not expose us to the dangers facing the military personnel and civilians in Baghdad, but it does make us more mindful every day of the unpredictability of circumstances not only in Iraq but in the wider Middle East, especially Israel. The US took a big risk in bringing down Sadaam Hussein and attempting to help the Iraqis build a democratic society. Somehow as a nearby observer of the whole affair I can’t help but feel that it isn’t totally unlike farming. People in both the public and private sector have been planting seeds of the values that first helped form the United States: all people are created equal, people have a right to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. Granted, the US has gravely violated its own values in the past, as in the case of slavery, and it had to pay dearly for its sin. But overall, these values shaping American society still hold an appeal for people in every place who would give anything to immigrate to the US.
With eighty percent of the Muslim world saying that democracy is the best form of government, the soil looks fertile for the democratic ideas the US is trying to plant in Iraq and other places. Farmers know growing a healthy crop takes time, patience, and on occasion the ability to face disappointment and move on. They also know that ultimately the results exist beyond human ability to predict and depend on forces beyond human control.
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