Saturday, February 25, 2006

Zeyad's latest post

Zeyad's latest post provides more useful information. I am profoundly troubled how the American media has covered Iraq. MSNBC is essentially an Olympics infomercial, which is of course futile at this point. Fox News has done a tremendous disservice to our presitge. CNN is running a typical Saturday program, which discounts the actual impact of these developments -- though that network has also had some impresive roundtables during their normal newscasts. Meet the Press will feature Arnold Schwarzenegger, though it will also have Senator John Warner -- so perhaps 7 to 15 minutes of useful discussion.

Zeyad has been working hard on frequent posts with his own experiences, news reporting and even an important map. An excerpt:
Both ministers downplayed the significance of the violence over the last three days. Interior minister, Baqir Solagh described the armed demonstrations and mob attacks as 'natural' reactions to 'let off steam' building up by the Shia masses over the last two years. The Defense minister, Sa'doun Al-Dulaimi released some numbers on the attacks against Sunni mosques and civilians:

"Out of a total of 51 mosques reported to be attacked by small fire arms and RPGs, only 21 mosques were verified by our units to have been attacked. 23 mosques were reported to have been badly damaged or burned down, but only 6 were verified. Only one mosque was verified to have been occupied, and it was evacuated later today. 183 civilians were reported to be killed in the violence, but the verified number is actually 119."

The minister went on to explain that most of the 'attacks' were actually drive-by shootings or rocket-propelled grenades from a distance. He also mentioned that a mosque cannot really be occupied by anyone, since they are 'houses of Allah' and were open to all Muslims, including, I assume, armed gangs. I can only guess this means none of the attackers will be apprehended or arrested.

However, both ministers had a strong warning for Iraqi media outlets that "tend to exaggerate the news, or to report unverified attacks and incidents," threatening extreme punishment against them. He did not mention Iraqi bloggers in name though, so it probably means we are exempt from punishment.

The Defense minister strongly reminds me of an old Iraqi information minister who once said "I have detailed information about the situation... which completely proves that what they allege are illusions... They lie every day."

Personally, I'm not sure which is better. Should we all stay quiet and pretend things are 'not that bad' for fear of exaggerating, or blowing things out of proportion, or should we just continue to report what we see and hear around us?


Post a Comment

<< Home