Sunday, February 10, 2013

Editorial: Iraq protests continue to be ignored

Friday, protesters turned out in Iraq yet again.  In fact, they did so in the largest numbers so far since this latest wave of protests kicked off in December.  And that could have been a story, probably should have been.

Yet the media ran with violence.  While it was a violent day, the interesting thing there was that the week before (see our "Editorial: The US press loves to spit on Iraqis"), the press was running with Nouri al-Maliki's false allegation that the protesters were the ones doing the violence.  For example, apparently when not taking part in the continuous sit-in in Mosul, they were launching attacks.  Who knew Iraq had discovered -- and perfected! -- human cloning.

The reality is that if they were coordinating violence, they'd make sure the most violent day of the week would be something other than Friday.  Traditionally, when protests take place in Iraq, they do so on Friday.  After morning prayers, Iraqis protest.  That is the pattern, has been the pattern for over two years now.

So now the press could dismiss Nouri's paranoid ravings, right?  If they'd been paying attention, they could have.  Instead, in the face of evidence to the contrary, they let the false charges stand.  They let the false charges stand via bad reporting or just silence.  In fact, Friday only one outlet grabbed the protests that hadn't covered them the week before.  Liz Sly (Washington Post) observed, "With their huge turnouts, these largely peaceful demonstrations have the potential to present a far bigger challenge to Maliki’s hold on power than the violent and still stubbornly persistent insurgency, which continues to claim scores of lives every month without any discernible impact on the political process."

"These largely peaceful demonstrations."

And yet, according to Nouri, these are 'terrorists.'

اطفال الثورة


That's Nouri's allegation and that's what the international press let stand.  They could have called him out.  They should have called him out.

How bad was it?  Neoconservatives Kimberly and Frederick W. Kagan wrote a column for the Washington Post that provided more honesty than a great deal of the reporting from western outlets: "Eighteen days of protests in Egypt in 2011 electrified the world.  But more than twice that many days of protest in Iraq have gone almost unnoticed in the United States."



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