The shelf life on this one has almost expired, but it’s a great article so let me link it now:
Forget American air strikes and high-tech weaponry, it’s people power that will beat Iraq’s insurgency — a sharp pair of eyes, a phone call, maybe a spot of karate or even a well-aimed sandal can bring bombers to book.
That at least is the message Iraqi state television rams home to viewers night after night in dozens of public service commercials which both advertise police hotline numbers and seem designed to boost people’s morale amid the daily bloodshed.
In one running at the moment, an ordinary man who spots a masked militant planting a bomb simply takes off his sandal — a symbolic insult for Arabs — and hurls it at the bomber’s hand, scaring away the villain who is then chased by a crowd.
A media that tries to boost people’s morale. Fancy that.
Al-Iraqiya, the main focus of the article, is a state-run channel funded in part by the U.S. military. It’s hopelessly biased, in other words, much like, say, the relentlessly anti-Nazi American film industry in the 1940s.
To its great credit, al-Arabiya has answered the bell as well:
Apart from Iraqiya’s domestic audience, the campaign to win confidence in Iraqi forces is also carried on the glitzy al Arabiya pan-Arab satellite channel.
In one of the more emotional appeals to Iraqis, who are encouraged to call hotlines, Iraqi soldiers summarily dismantle explosives wired to a large artillery shell.
Then they stand in a crowd of children. Prompting a broad smile from one of the soldiers in close-up, a boy tells viewers the troops have saved their school from a “terrorist dog”.
The problem, of course, is that increasingly it’s not terrorists (or terrorist dogs) Iraqis have to worry about, but each other. Gateway Pundit had an encouraging post a few days ago about tribal leaders putting aside their differences. Some Iraqis closer to the action have managed, out of necessity, to do so as well. But others haven’t. Here’s a very distressing report about sectarianism within the ranks that crossed the wires only a few hours ago; WaPo had a premonition back on May 2nd. It’s happening in parliament too, with even the stupidest and most trivial offenses liable to set it off.
I’ll leave you on a hopeful note with Bill’s post from April 29th. Follow the link. As he says, it’s a complex narrative.