Posts Tagged ‘iraq’

Revolution Cry

I haven’t felt a rush of pride quite like the one I experienced while watching the revolution in Egypt. It was so heartening to see something relatively non-violent (on the part of the protesters, anyway) and so grass-roots. This was something that the people really wanted, and they persisted. It was beautiful to see. It’s the kind of event that would have made Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi proud.

I’m also thrilled to see that the seeds of revolution planted in Tunisia and Egypt are expanding to other parts of the Arab world. Libya, Yemen and Bahrain are the latest countries banding together to overthrow dictators.

I’ve long suspected that if the United States hadn’t interfered in conflicts in Iraq, the people would have taken up the cause themselves to create a more organic overthrow. There’s only so much time that anybody can stand under an oppressive regime.
I do hope, though, that the pictures of violence we’ve seen by rulers unwilling to leave in Libya and Bahrain abet.

It’s sad and disgusting to see Muslim rulers take out their frustration at their population in such a terrifying way. There’s obviously a change coming, and they’re too reluctant to bend to the people’s will.

It’s also been pretty maddening to see American pundits, mostly conservatives but also a fair share of others, who aren’t happy with the way things happened in Egypt. There’s concern over the Muslim Brotherhood taking control. I’ve heard people saying that democracy is just not meant for Arabs. It’s apparently not “part of their DNA.”
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26

02 2011

Fallacious Engagement

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010. I open up my laptop and type BBC Middle East into the web browser for my customary morning news. The news in this part of the world is never great but what I see today just makes my heart sink.

A cursory scan and I see the headline, Wikileaks posts video of ‘US military killings’ in Iraq (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8603938.stm)¸ which cries out to be read. The story is about released footage from a US helicopter making rounds in Baghdad, Iraq. Made public through a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), this video was posted online by Wikileaks and shows a US operation carried out by a helicopter gunship in a suburb of Baghdad. The FOIA was requested by the Reuters news agency in their investigation of the death of an Iraqi assistant and photographer. Subsequent research shows that they were killed by the US, and after a review of the incident, the US claims that our soldiers followed the necessary rules of engagement.

Proceeding to Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/), the video is displayed on the front page. I begin to watch the horror that words cannot describe. The soldiers’ voices are heard in the background, emanated from the safety of the cockpit and behind the guns of a US Apache gunship.  They discuss the situation on the ground with command, taking note of about twenty men. As I listen to the conversation I wonder if I am watching the same surveillance video that they saw. Their voices are full of conviction as they prepare to kill the men below. Yet, down below, all I see is a group of men loitering about. The soldiers can’t hear what they are saying, there is no indication that the men are fleeing or hiding in any way and the footage is so blurry that the soldiers mix up camera equipment with weapons. There is no way that the situation on the ground warranted their reaction.

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17

07 2010