Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Huge Peaceful Demonstrations in Najaf: Press & White House Dismissive

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated against the occupation yesterday. The demonstrations were peaceful and unmistakably anti-Occupation and anti-American. I guess that's why the White House and the American press needed to minimize it. It's inconsistent with the propaganda that Iraqis are savages who understand nothing but violence, and who need the occupation forces to protect them from killing each other.

The CS Monitor reports:
Monday's marchers included some Kurds in traditional dress as well as Sunni clerics, many of whom were bused by Sadr's movement from the city of Basra in the south. "Let's put out the fire of discord and chop off the snake's head," chanted some in reference to Iraq's ongoing sectarian strife.

There were wildly different estimates on the numbers at the Najaf rally. The U.S. military shrugged the protests off, claiming only "5,000 to 7,000" participants. Other news agencies reports vary from estimates of "tens of thousands" to "hundreds of thousands".

Whatever the precise numbers, the truth is this is nothing new. There has been non-violent resistance in Iraq from the beginning, although you'd never know that from the lack of coverage of these resistance movements.

From eIraq:
The White House responded to the massive demonstrations with a typically dismissive sound bite. "Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Jondroe's comment begs a little context: Opinions were indeed expressed in yesterday's demonstrations. But freedom? It is difficult to hear Iraqis described as free. Saddam Hussein is dead, sure. His regime is scattered, sure. But does the subtraction of dictatorship equal freedom? What about the addition of house raids, death squads, checkpoints, detentions, constant violence and curfews?


TomCat said...

Dubya will spin anything.

laurie in maine said...

I did my first Tuesday Topic for One Million Blogs for Peace and used a peaceful demonstration picture as well.

Not sure why the balloons shocked me into choosing it, instead of perhaps a photo of the hidden return of soldiers in coffins or an injured mother or child of Iraq, as I had intended when I went in search of a photo.

But News coverage made little mention of protests, except who was directing them. Peaceful part was left out along with the high numbers.

I'm not sure I chose the best picture for this topic. I don't know why balloons shocked, either.

Red Jenny said...

This is Laurie in Maine's post - the photo with the balloons that she refers to is there.