Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On the Other Side of the World....

The read of the week comes from Omar at Iraq the Model. He's combed through hundreds of comments on the BBC's Arabic forum and translated some of them. The results are quite telling. He observes:

The reactions I gathered were posted on an Arabic forum on the BBC Arabic website. About three dozens of comments were made by Iraqis both inside Iraq and in exile and all these comments were supportive of Israel or at least against Hamas as far as the topic is concerned except for only three comments; that's a 10:1 ratio while as you probably have guesses, the opposite ratio is true about the comments by the rest of Arabs.

These comments and some of the non-Iraqi Arab reactions they stimulated caught my attention.

In fact Mohammed and I spent an entire day reading through the 500+ comments in that thread and thought we could share some of the best and most interesting stuff with you.

What was written in that thread stands as one example of the change in the Iraqi way of thinking since the day we got rid of the dictator and shows that logic and facts are gaining more ground at the expense of emotions and conspiracy theories.

Perhaps our problem is that we in Iraq are evolving politically faster than we are doing when it comes to economy, security, etc. that we are even ahead of countries like Egypt or Kuwait in holding real elections and having a permanent constitution and fair representation of all the segments of the people.

And that has always been the struggle with the Arab street. It's often asked, 'Why do so many Arabs hate us?' A susbtantial part of the answer is because they are told to, they are victims of major propaganda operations from almost the moment they are born, from their school textbooks to their local madrassa to their official state run media, it is all-encompassing. The US (and of course the Jews) are the embodiment of evil, no further discussion needed or allowed.

In that context it is heartening to note that, in general the Iraqis, who now enjoy free speech and free press, are lining up against terrorism, while those still living under oppression carry on with the tragic status quo.

I found this comment particularly poignant:
"To answer Mr. Jihad (the Palestinian from Jordan) and his advice for Iraqis: Iraqis are singing outside the Arab flock for one reason which is that they distinguish the truth from the Arab illusions. Only 13 years ago Iraqis used to speak like the rest of Arabs; equipped with the illusions of the "Zionist conspiracy" created by Islamists and pan-nationalists. But Iraqis now have discovered the bitter truth. Who is murdering Iraqis on daily basis?? Who is prolonging the stay of foreign troops? That's the terrorists coming from Arab and Islamic countries!!

Israel doesn't want to become the "Great Israel" because Israelis are only several millions in this world...

We are people with long history that we are proud of and we possess enough education and awareness, so long live the new Iraq and let Israel live as our neighbor. I'd love to say that I wish Israel could rule the entire region; better than any Arab government except for the Iraqi"
An Iraqi in exile: Asia.

Read the rest, it's a nice snapshot of how discourse in the Middle East may be evolving. There is a long way to go to be sure, as centuries of authoritarian rule are not easily overcome, but liberty demands it.


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