Tuesday, March 08, 2005

As Always, it is best to let the Iraqis speak for themselves. 

Riverbend has this to say about the "accidental" shooting on the car carrying Sgrena to safety, and the subsequent kiling of the Italian intelligence agent sent to protect her. I'll include a teaser on Riverbend's thoughts on the recent election:

We are relieved the Italian journalist was set free. I, personally, was very happy. Iraqis are getting abducted these days by the dozen, but it still says something else about the country when foreigners are abducted. Iraqis have a fierce sense of hospitality that can border on the obnoxious sometimes. When people come to our houses, we insist they have something to drink and then we insist they stay for whatever meal is coming- even if its four hours away. We cringe when journalists and aide workers are abducted because it gives us the sense that we’re bad hosts.

People are always wondering why they abduct journalists, and other innocents. I think its because the lines are all blurred right now. It’s difficult to tell who is who. Who is a journalist, for example, and who is foreign intelligence? Who is a mercenary and who is an aide worker? People are somewhat more reluctant to talk to foreigners than they were at the beginning...

...What it seems policy makers in America don’t get, and what I suspect many Americans themselves *do* get, is that millions of Iraqis feel completely detached from the current people in power. If you don’t have an alliance with one of the political parties (ie under their protection or on their payroll) then it’s difficult to feel any affinity with people like Jaffari, Allawi, Talbani, etc. We watch them on television, tight-lipped and shifty-eyed after a meeting where they quarreled about Kirkuk or Sharia in the constitution and it feels like what I imagine an out-of-body experience should feel like.

In spite of elections, they still feel like puppets. But now, they are high-tech puppets. They were upgraded from your ordinary string puppets to those life-like, battery-powered, talking puppets. It’s almost like we’re doing that whole rotating president thing Bremer did in 2003 all over again. The same faces are getting tedious. The old Iraqi saying sums it up nicely, “Tireed erneb- ukhuth erneb. Tireed ghazal- ukhuth erneb.” The translation for this is, “You want a rabbit? Take a rabbit. You want a deer? Take a rabbit.”

Except we didn’t get any rabbits- we just got an assortment of snakes, weasels and hyenas.

This American woman will add, perhaps it is best for everyone concerned with personal safety, to stay out of the country and out of the war. If a journalist, I would offer okay, fearing for my own personal safety, I will stay out of Iraq (that is what "they" want, of course, the social isolation of the Iraqis while America and its allies consolidate their power), but I will refuse to print any so-called "good" news, unless I can see it and observe it for myself, because you are asking me to take your word for it, and I simply can't do that and look my face in the mirror each morning.

ON another note, Riverbend also introduces us to another Iraqi blogger, Free Iraq.