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The Real Protesters
Michael Ubaldi, December 10, 2003.

Iraqi democracy: promise, heart and spirit from the start. Go and see what Zeyad was a part of.

(PART OF) THE WORLD WATCHES: IP has begun a roundup of observations and coverage. An AFP report counted 3,000 Iraqis. [I've omitted the UPI story, as that was for the march about two weeks ago. But that means in less than a month, thousands of Iraqis have shown their defiance against terrorism.]

[SOME DID PAY ATTENTION]: [The last march was covered] on what [looked] to be a DIY Turkish outlet and Australia's Age. The Age quoted a pretty prescient Iraqi [from the last march]:

In a speech, Aziz al-Yasser, the coordinator of the rally organisers, the Alliance of Iraqi Democratic Forces, called on ordinary people to help the US-led coalition in the fight against insurgents.

"We have to help the coalition - the call issued by some for the withdrawal of occupation forces is suspect, Iraq will drown in a lake of blood if they withdraw," he said.

"We need them to help Iraqi forces to restore security first."

Al-Yasser said the attacks were actually delaying the end of the US-led occupation.

Even a story from the Middle East Online [from a smaller protest in between the late November one and this one]. Not bad. Keep it coming, people.

ANOTHER: The Daily Star in Bangladesh is carrying the AFP story. Here's another on Turks.US. No word from the Washington Post, though it's probably only a matter of time before Mike Allen runs a story on how the protesters were bused in by the White House or made out of plastic.

IF BLOGGERS MAKE LIKE ARGUS, IS IT "BLARGUS"?: Jeff Jarvis is locked on, Colin MacLeod rolls out the code-990000-red carpet for Iraqi bloggers. Speaking of our Iraqi colleagues, Omar gives a rundown on slogans and the organizations expressing them. As they say, "I love free speech."

A COUPLE MIX-UPS ABOUT DATES: On one hand, in my excitement I lost track of dates (see brackets above). But on the other, can you blame me for losing track? Iraqis are protesting fairly regularly. They're taking to this like fish to water.

HERE'S ANOTHER ONE: From today, for sure. It has a different, and decidedly greyer, view of the whole thing, interspersing qualifying statements between descriptions of the protest. There's also a curious focus on banners and slogans that didn't confront conventional wisdom about the Near East. No space in the report for signs that Omar saw, like "Al-Jazeera+al-Arabiya = terrorism" and "Stop using religion and nationalism to justify terrorism"? This may be typical, I fear, of many press reports to come. Let's hope the truth - the truth seen and blogged by Iraqis like Omar and Zeyad - gets out.

THATTAGIRL, GULF: You know it's a party when the Gulf Daily News steps in. A broad story on Iraq devotes one paragraph each to anti-terrorism protests in Baghdad and southern locales Najaf and Karbala. It notes another striking slogan, "Killing children is not resistance." Can't find the paragraphs? They're there - at the very bottom. Thanks for playing, Gulf.

ACHTUNG, BABY: From Zeyad's camera to you, don't ever forget these images. This is what life is all about.

CONTINUED: More here.