so, i went to a speech tonight by a man (David Enders) who started the first english language newspaper in iraq immediately following the war. i thought it'd be a good opportunity to hear some things that might not be coming across in the mainstream media. most of what i heard was stuff that i had read in various publications (so, it does reach people looking for it, just not on the cnn).<br><br>the speech was short, actually and there were two hours spent on questions-and-answers. so, let me try and paraphrase some...<br><br>1.) what is it really like in iraq right now?<br>A: most iraqis are trying to go about their daily lives. there is a huge sense of uncertainty. many jobs have been lost and the biggest concern is general safety. police are scarce, but gangs/warlord-types are controlling many parts of baghdad. the americans have instituted a curfew of 11pm. most people are armed and people recognize that the arms came from the iraqi army and from the russians (and still do to this day). electricity is really a problem. most houses, etc. have electricity for only a portion of the day (e.g., 6 hours) and then it gets switched to other parts of the city. this is really a problem. the city just feels very dangerous. rapes are up dramatically and honor killings are quite accepted (killing the rape victim to save face for the family). and, this stuff bad news is being overshadowed by the american deaths all the time.<br><br>2.) what do iraqis think of americans?<br>A: most iraqis are happy to have saddam gone and are willing to see what plays out in iraq to an extent (anxiously awaiting the future). then again, there is not a single iraq citizen who believes that america attacked iraq because of WMD or for anything close to altruistic reasons (e.g., removing the evil dictator for the people of iraq). the vast majority think it was for the oil...that being said, most are just happy to have saddam gone and hope the oil can start paying for things. most iraqis think they are capable of controlling their own destiny and are leery of paul bremer and the things the americans are doing to create their gov't.<br><br>3.) what are concerns for the future?<br>iraqis are worried that the americans are making a huge mistake in opening up the iraqi industries to foreign investment and control. american companies are already going to control the oil, but now the americans are courting other countries and doing so with the carrot of other industries in iraq (americans get the oil, but other industries can be up for grabs -- e.g., grocery, retail, etc.). iraqis worry that iraqis will become the bottom feeders only getting small businesses and non-profitable industries.<br><br>4.) who is committing terrorists acts against americans and the UN?<br>this was surprising, but David Enders said that most people think that the killing is being done by normal iraqis who just don't appreciate having foreigners control things. while they think that al qaeda might be in iraq, they are certain that there are just many people who want americans and any other foreigners gone. there are rumors that the people who destroyed the oil pipeline were actually the people hired to protect it, but that they were fed up with their low pay. the newspaper has tried to find some resistance fighters and they've had no luck...nobody wants to admit to knowing a resistance fighter and nobody claims to be one.<br><br>wasn't a lot new, but was an interesting perspective. there was much more, but i didn't take notes.<br><br>here's a link to an article written by an iraqi who is an english professor (yoyo what) in baghdad and this appeared in the paper that the gentleman who spoke tonight created and edited -- this is a common belief among iraqis:<br>link here<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
The local NPR affiliate in West Michigan (one station with several transmitting frequencies that cover most of West Michigan) is running interviews with him all day today duing the local breakouts. Maybe the national NPR will pick it up this week.<br><br>Dean Davis
i heard that last night. i think he was on the local NPR in LA last week when he arrived there. one of the things he did that other reporters were not doing was to live in a normal middle class neighborhood. the vast majority of reporters lived in certain hotels or apartments near embassies. he thought living and participating in a neighborhood was a way to get a better feel for the community and the people.<br><br>i should mention that he grew up going to a very liberal church in grand rapids, michigan, but i thought he was pretty objective for the most part. he wasn't the best speaker...not bad, just not polished. then again, he looked about 22 years old.<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Right, the reports on NPR this morning indicated he was 22. A great time in life to go out doing these things. A questions I would have liked to have asked is if he had any preconceptions about what he would find in post "major hostilites" Iraq and if those preconceptions were bore out or not.<br><br>Dean Davis
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