Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Telling it like it is The story of western journalists who are not in Iraq, or employed by Fox News about the bias of Al-Jazeera and other Al-Arabia is in my suspicion mostly hokum. As you know from reading this blog, god forbid we see our own nation's dead even in their caskets, let alone the actual outcome of war. Riverbend had some relevant points on this today: There has been a lot of criticism about the way Al-Arabia and Al-Jazeera were covering the riots and fighting in Falloojeh and the south this last week. Some American spokesman for the military was ranting about the "spread of anti-Americanism" through networks like the abovementioned. Actually, both networks did a phenomenal job of covering the attacks on Falloojeh and the southern provinces. Al-Jazeera had their reporter literally embedded in the middle of the chaos- and I don't mean the lame embedded western journalists type of thing they had going at the beginning of the war (you know- embedded in the Green Zone and embedded in Kuwait, etc.). Ahmed Mansur, I believe his name was, was actually standing there, in the middle of the bombing, shouting to be heard over the F-16s and helicopters blasting away at houses and buildings. It brought back the days of 'shock and awe'... I know it bothers the CPA terribly to have the corpses of dead Iraqis shown on television. They would love for Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia to follow Al-Hurra's example and show endless interviews with pro-occupation Iraqis living abroad and speaking in stilted Arabic. ... To lessen the feelings of anti-Americanism, might I make a few suggestions? Stop the collective punishment. When Mark Kimmett stutters through a press conference babbling about "precision weapons" and "military targets" in Falloojeh, who is he kidding? Falloojeh is a small city made up of low, simple houses, little shops and mosques. Is he implying that the 600 civilians who died during the bombing and the thousands injured and maimed were all "insurgents"? Are houses, shops and mosques now military targets? What I'm trying to say is that we don't need news networks to make us angry or frustrated. All you need to do is talk to one of the Falloojeh refugees making their way tentatively into Baghdad; look at the tear-stained faces, the eyes glazed over with something like shock. In our neighborhood alone there are at least 4 families from Falloojeh who have come to stay with family and friends in Baghdad. The stories they tell are terrible and grim and it's hard to believe that they've gone through so much. I think western news networks are far too tame. They show the Hollywood version of war- strong troops in uniform, hostile Iraqis being captured and made to face "justice" and the White House turkey posing with the Thanksgiving turkey... which is just fine. But what about the destruction that comes with war and occupation? What about the death? I don't mean just the images of dead Iraqis scattered all over, but dead Americans too. People should *have* to see those images. Why is it not ok to show dead Iraqis and American troops in Iraq, but it's fine to show the catastrophe of September 11 over and over again? I wish every person who emails me supporting the war, safe behind their computer, secure in their narrow mind and fixed views, could actually come and experience the war live. I wish they could spend just 24 hours in Baghdad today and hear Mark Kimmett talk about the death of 700 "insurgents" like it was a proud day for Americans everywhere... Still, when I hear talk about "anti-Americanism" it angers me. Why does American identify itself with its military and government? Why is does being anti-Bush and anti-occupation have to mean that a person is anti-American? We watch American movies, listen to everything from Britney Spears to Nirvana and refer to every single brown, fizzy drink as "Pepsi". I hate American foreign policy and its constant meddling in the region... I hate American tanks in Baghdad and American soldiers on our streets and in our homes on occasion... why does that mean that I hate America and Americans? Are tanks, troops and violence the only face of America? If the Pentagon, Department of Defense and Condi are "America", then yes- I hate America.
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