Wednesday, January 14, 2004


This journalists chastises her industry for trying to dress up terrorism in the romantic clothes of "resistance".
The car bomb that killed eight people and wounded 35 others in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve wasn’t an act of insurgency, or guerrilla warfare, or resistance. It was an act of terror ­ 500 pounds of high explosives left on a main thoroughfare and aimed at whoever happened to be celebrating the first Saddam-free New Year since 1979 in a restaurant called Nabil...

(T)he Nabil attack...was directed against civilians and killed only civilians, all of them Iraqi. It was entirely random and served no military purpose...

The Baghdad bombers felt no need to explain, or to declare their identity or objective.

It was “a terrorist act by people who have no morals or ethics,” said Iraqi police chief Ahmed Qadim Ibrahim.

If Iraqis can say it, why not we journalists?

An informal survey of a number of major outlets suggested the “T” word was conspicuous by its absence in reports of the Nabil atrocity. The New York Times and the Washington Post spoke of “insurgents.” Reuters used the word “guerrillas.” The Guardian, apparently in possession of privileged information about the nationality and motivation of the bombers, attributed it to “the Iraqi resistance.” Whoops...

In the rabidly anti-American mood of the moment, this needs restating.
Iraqis seem to have had no doubt that spreading terror was the raison d’etre of the attack on New Year’s Eve. It was meant, said Hamid Alyasiry of the Baghdad Police Department, “to frighten everyone.”

But much of the media appeared to impute another motive more in tune with buzzword of the moment: “resistance”...

Although evidence is largely anecdotal, there can be no doubt that the “resistance” in Iraq is supported by only a minority of Iraqis ­ most of them Sunnis (themselves a minority), and many of those supporters of Saddam, with criminal histories and the most questionable of motives.

In an article published on the Open Democracy website, an exile, Yahya Said, who returned to Iraq late last year, said he did not meet a single Iraqi who welcomed violence “as legitimate resistance to occupation.” What he did find, he said, was quite the opposite, namely “a yearning for an end to violence.”...

Said remarked that his visit made him “revise assumptions formed under the influence of Western news coverage dedicated almost exclusively to the reporting of violence.”

Romanticizing Iraq’s “resistance” gives oxygen to those who are killing Iraqis in far larger numbers than they are Americans.

No comments: