Sunday, September 23, 2012


Well AFP deserves thanks.  For what?  For demonstrating that people are paying so little attention to Iraq that the press thinks they can write just about anything and call it a report.

"Iraq aims to unite with new national anthem, flag" is the title and the report tells you that, to unify the country, Iraq wants to replace their national anthem which became the national anthem in 2004.  They pin that one on Paul Bremer ("Iraq's cutten national anthem, 'Mawtini' ('My Homeland'), was adopted in 2004 on the order of Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer, who admired the song when he heard it at a concert.") because, as we all know, all Bremer did in Iraq was dust off old vinyl and seek out a national anthem.  (Point?  Bremer could have cared less.  He declared that as the national anthem because that's what high ranking Iraqi exiles were pushing for.) 

There are so many things to blame on Bremer but when you use him as the scapegoat for everything, you really help to create a backlash.

But that's not the big problem with the article.

The big problem isn't even their failure to really emphasize (a sentence in passing is not emphasizing) that there are many important issues -- including security, including the electoral commission,  including the oil disputes between Baghdad and the KRG -- that need to be addressed right now so why waste time on the issue of the national anthem?

Why waste time is where AFP demonstrates they just phoned it in.

Iraq was fine with the national anthem last year, they were fine with it mid-year. 

What changed?

Since AFP can't find their thinking caps, we'll have to supply that information.

What changed was Iraqi officials and Iraqi citizens felt insulted this summer during the Olympics.

We covered it July 28thWe covered it  July 30th.

If you've forgotten (hopefully AFP just forgot in their rush) or if you never knew, the Telegraph of London felt nothing said "good host" better than to write a bitchy little piece ranking the worst national anthems from the various countries competing in the Olympics.  Iraq came in number seven out of the ten.  The story was picked up by Iraqi media further upsetting Iraqis.

Myself, I didn't find anything upsetting or troubling about the Iraqi national anthem which seemed to have character.  They're more than welcome to change it but you'd think they'd focus on other more pressing issues first.  (They also should keep in mind that no country's anthem is perfect.  Most rip off another song.. Of course the big problem the US has with "The Star Spangled Banner" is that the very visual lyrics are tied to a melody requiring notes that most Americans will never be able to hit.)

While they ponder a new national anthem [either adopting an existing song or commissioning a new one to be written -- Press TV says six have been commissioned already including: "Salam ala Hadhabat al-Iraq" (Peace on the Hills of Iraq), "Ghareeb ala al-Khaleej" (A Stranger on the Gulf), and "Watani al-Haq Yuaiduhu" (My Country is Supported by Right)], violence continues.  Alsumaria notes there were 20 mass arrests today, a Baghdad attack left the Ministry of Interior's Maj Gen Nayef Mohammed al-Samarrai and his driver dead, a Babylon roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 child and left another injured, a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured at least one police officer ("patrol" is what's used) and in Wasit Province 2 brothers died at a military checkpoint.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 243 people killed this month in Iraq from violence. 

In addition, (Sinan Salaheddin (AP) notes that there have been at least 96 government executions in Iraq this year and that "observers worry that the legal process is faulty and that some trials are politically motivated" -- it mentions Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's absentia trial but it doesn't note the recent prison riot when prisoners were moved to Baghdad's death row.  Nor does the article note the forever delayed but always promised amnesty law -- the National Alliance was swearing they were close to it just Friday -- been swearing that for weeks now.  You can click here for the full article (Financial Times of London only runs the first fourth of the article -- the full article doesn't have the amnesty law or the prison riot in it either).

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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