May 29, 2005

Friedman bashing.

Given Natasha's post about Friedman baiting right below this one, it seemed appropriate for this magpie to post about some Friedman bashing of the take-no-prisoners variety. That well-deserved bashing comes from Riverbend at Baghdad Burning, who is righteously angry at NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman for a May 18 column he wrote about Muslim anger over Koran desecration. [The Times version is now behind a payment-only firewall, but we found the column still available for free at the International Herald Tribune].

In her post, Riverbend methodically shows that Friedmand pulls most of his 'facts' about Iraq and the Muslim world out of his butt:

"Religiously, if you want to know how the Sunni Arab world views a Shiite's being elected leader of Iraq, for the first time ever, think about how whites in Alabama would have felt about a black governor's being installed there in 1920. Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and they are indifferent to their brutalization."

Now, it is always amusing to see a Jewish American journalist speak in the name of Sunni Arabs. When Sunni Arabs, at this point, hesitate to speak in a representative way about other Sunni Arabs, it is nice to know Thomas L. Friedman feels he can sum up the feelings of the "Sunni Arab world" in so many words. His arrogance is exceptional.

It is outrageous because for many people, this isn't about Sunnis and Shia or Arabs and Kurds. It's about an occupation and about people feeling that they do not have real representation. We have a government that needs to hide behind kilometers of barbed wire and meters and meters of concrete- and it's not because they are Shia or Kurdish or Sunni Arab- it's because they blatantly supported, and continue to support, an occupation that has led to death and chaos.

The paragraph is contemptible because the idea of a "Shia leader" is not an utterly foreign one to Iraqis or other Arabs, no matter how novel Friedman tries to make it seem. How dare he compare it to having a black governor in Alabama in the 1920s? In 1958, after the July 14 Revolution which ended the Iraqi monarchy, the head of the Iraqi Sovereignty Council (which was equivalent to the position of president) was Mohammed Najib Al-Rubayi- a Shia from Kut. From 1958 - 1963, Abdul Karim Qassim, a Shia also from Kut in the south, was the Prime Minister of Iraq (i.e. the same position Jaffari is filling now). After Abdul Karim Qassim, in 1963, came yet another Shia by the namministerji Talib as prime minster. Even during the last regime, there were two Shia prime ministers filling the position for several years- Sadoun Humadi and Mohammed Al-Zubaidi.

In other words, Sunni Arabs are not horrified at having a Shia leader (though we are very worried about the current Puppets' pro-Iran tendencies).

In a just world, the Times would be letting Riverbend rebut Friedman on its op-ed pages. But given the world as it is, we'll have to just hope that her roasting of Friedman gets wide notice in the blogosphere.

Posted by Magpie at May 29, 2005 12:28 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

In a just world, River would be writing op-eds for the Times and Friedman would be writing wacko letters that people in the mailroom would get a kick out of reading, but Tom's wacky views would never get into print.

That's my vision of a just world.

And they call me a wacko.



Posted by: Hanna at May 30, 2005 09:03 PM

Oh, don't we long for the days when Qsay would drive up to a wedding party, kidnap the bride and groom, force the bride to kill her husband, repeatedly rape the bride and then kill her. OH, those were the days!

Posted by: JC Bob at May 31, 2005 11:48 AM

if you're gonna troll, at least spell the name of saddam's son right when you're insulting us leftists, ok?

Posted by: magpie at May 31, 2005 06:30 PM