Friday, December 25, 2009

Still no safety in Iraq

The Judo family stayed away from Christmas Eve Mass in Baghdad. Because of recent sectarian violence in the capital and other areas of the country, they were worried that churches might be targeted by armed groups.
By nightfall, their worst fears had been realized. Not only had a Christian been killed in the northern city of Mosul, but the Shiite Muslim holiday of Ashura, which this year begins one day after Christmas, had made the situation even more volatile: 27 people killed in attacks on Shiite neighborhoods.
Two bombs rocked the capital, killing 14 people, and 13 died in a double explosion in the southern city of Hillah, some of them devout Shiites on their way to Karbala for Ashura ceremonies, which will be held Sunday.

The above is from Caesar Ahmed and Omar Hayali's "Iraq's Christians face a difficult Christmas" (Los Angeles Times). It's really cute to grasp how many want to claim it is safe in Baghdad or that it's improved -- in one case a reporter's apparently going to make that call just because she wasn't the victim of a bombing this time. But that's not reality. It's a lie the same way it's a lie that thug Nouri al-Maliki has brought security to Iraq. Lies, lies, lies and they all ought to be ashamed. Caesar Ahmed and Omar Hayali article doesn't paint a rosy picture. More reality is in a report by Rob Walker (BBC News) which includes a woman explaining why she's about to join the millions of Iraq's external refugees:

Leila Paulos is about to join them. This will be her last Christmas in Baghdad.
Her son, Seevar, was kidnapped by criminals, and only freed after the family paid a ransom.
For Leila it was the last straw. In a few weeks, her family leave for Sweden.
"Of course, its sad to leave Iraq. Its the country of our ancestors, but there's nothing we can do. Most of the Christians who live in our neighbourhood have left."

As noted many times before here, though not a huge section of Iraq's overall population before 2003, Iraqi Christians make up a huge portion of the external refugee population. (Of an estimated 25 million Iraqis in 2003, 800,000 were thought to be Iraqi Christians.)

There are indicators to measure a society's safety and the press repeatedly wants to act as if one of those is: Can you stroll safely through a street for a staged photo-op if you're heavily guarded?

US Adm Mike Mullen's walk was meaningless and the encounters with pre-selected Iraqis on that stroll was as staged and artificial as Judy Garland's charming bit where she mugs and makes faces to get people to stare at her in Easter Parade (because Fred Astaire has doubts that she's good looking enough to be in his stage act, so Garland, walking ahead of him, attempts to catch attention by mugging). Adm Mike Mullens didn't even offer us a memorable tune or two.

One indicator you can judge a society by is how those not controlling the power are treated. The press has repeatedly dismissed the treatment of women, the stealing of the rights of Iraqi women. It's never dominated the news cycle because, in the eyes of the press apparently, it's 'just women.' Despite the fact that the treatment of women in any society is one of the easiest ways to measure a society's openess and stability.

Despite the fact that the US has a significant number of Christians, Iraqi Christians get very little attention from the national media. Regional media tends to report on it more because various churches in the US work on issues such as aiding Iraqi Christians. (And those are churches of Iraqi-Americans and churches of non-Iraqi Americans, to be clear.) It's really interesting because Iraqi Christians have been so targeted and you can find out far more about that at any time in the British media then you will in the US national media. You can find out more from statements issued by the Vatican than you can find out the US national media.

There's a warieness or a reluctance to report on Iraqi Christians when it comes to the national media. I can't figure out if that's some bias (I believe it is a bias on the part of Panhandle Media) against Christians or if it's just another part of the MSM's efforts to sell the Iraq War?

Iraqi Christians, Sunnis, Kurds and various others groupings are part of Iraqi society and their stories have not been 'pleasant' and their stories have been repeatedly shut out. Now with regards to one religious sect, it is difficult to report on because there is so much confusion about their religion and worship and people either have to ignore it or do a lengthy walk-through with various qualifiers. But that's one sect. And one of the smaller sects of the minorities. It does not excuse ignoring what has happened to all of the ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq. It does not excuse the silence on the vanishing/extinguishing? of Jews in Baghdad.

Before the start of the illegal war, Iraq had a diverse population with a Shi'ite Muslim majority. After the start of the illegal war, Iraq's population becomes less and less diverse. That hasn't changed. And that is an indicator that there has been no improvement.

Certain reporters may be thrilled that they can do their own little Outward Bound event where they confront their fears and return to Iraq and aren't bombed this time! And it's wonderful and joyful and Iraq is better.

No, it's not better.

And it's disturbing that the press, the alleged skeptical press (whose role is to be skeptical) wants to hail continued but slightly less gruesome as 'safe.' It also indicates that not only do they have little regard for Iraqis (you think they'd let their own children live in those conditions) but that the press will continue to sell this illegal war.

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