14 January 2008

Al-Zawraa Slapped w/Sanctions and I'm Back in Iraq

Home Sweet Home
I realize I'm a little behind the power curve since this story broke three days ago, but the US Treasury has designated Al-Zawraa TV to not receive any money from donors based on this piece of legislation. I'm no "law-talking guy" as Lionel Hutz once said, but I think it's kind of like sanctions er something or other. The TV station was a concoction of anti-iraq government propaganda, muj attacks on coalition convoys replete with jihad flags superimposed in the corner, and openly advocating violence against Iraqi Shiites. It got tossed out of Egypt earlier in the year and was operating out of Syria. It's been off the air since July 2007 and hopefully it stays that way. Iraqi media has evolved immensely from a couple of stations showing Saddam's smiley face to the complex web of satellite TV, radio, and newspapers that exists today. I've heard Iraqi media being criticized on Al-Jazeera English for being too sectarian, but the westernized media need only to look in the mirror at their own corporate biases to realize the hypocrisy in saying this. Iraqi media is certainly interesting, since it has a tendency to run stories with a variety of sources to get a pluralistic approach to what's going on. The CNNs and Fox News' seem to try to scare people into submission or brainwash them into thinking what goes on with the Spears family is important. Westernized media has the motivation in zombifying people to consume endlessly, but Iraqi media still hasn't figured out how to effectively advertise. That's why I'm sticking with hearing what the Iraqis have to say. But Al-Zawraa was nothing like the other outlets catering to the Iraqi population. In general, Iraqi media loves soccer, hates Al-Qaeda and the needless violence, and wants to see their politicians held accountable. Al-Zawraa seemed reminiscent of the early insurgency days when violence was solely conducted by pissed-off Baathists. The times have certainly changed and Al-Zawraa will only be a distant memory of hate and oppression.

Oh yeah, I'm back in the IZ (aka the Green Zone) to finish out my time after some R&R. I found it a little disturbing that I felt at home when I got back the other night as I saw the T-walls and concertina wire. It's an odd feeling of comfort, I suppose. There's a good piece in the NY times today about PTSD with some combat vets, which vetvoice has the link here. It talks about how some vets come back to the states and find the tranquil life dull and oppressive. While I'm certainly no combat vet, I can certainly empathize to some degree. While my thoughts on our purpose in Iraq remain muddled, I am reminded that I'm forever a changed person for being here during these strange, strange times.

On the bright side of life, George Romero has a new flick coming out called "Diary of the Dead" (h/t to Hot Air). Did I mention that the original Dawn of the Dead was the most culturally significant masterpiece in the history of civilization? Not like I'm biased or anything.