Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The always FAIR AND BALANCED Salam Pax has a few choice words about how-the-hell things are going in Our New Colony:
Listen to Bremer talk about improvements in the electrical situation while Basra is rioting. I just didn't believe my eyes when I saw the images from Basra. I am guessing that the reason we didn't have electricity for a whole day in Baghdad is because they wanted to patch things up in Basra. Two days of riots and about eight Iraqis injured. At least the Coalition forces didn't call the rioters "Saddam loyalists", at least there is some acknowledgment that these are people who are upset with the way the occupation forces are mismanaging the country. And it is getting out of hand. Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah all going up in one day and Baqubah being added to the list of cities not really under control.

I went to a press conference where our new one-month-president [the coalition provisional authority has a rotating chairman] was telling us about what they were up to. The press guy, at the request of the conference, was telling journalists that the instantaneous translation thingy has two channels; channel one for Arabic, channel two for English. I would like to add another channel: channel three for the truth. It keeps repeating one phrase: "We have no power, we have to get it approved by the Americans, we are puppets and the strings are too tight." I feel sorry for the guys on the council, some of them are actually very good and honest people and they have been put in a very difficult situation.

As usual, getting into these press bashes is an event in itself. You have to be there an hour early, you get searched a thousand times and, of course, as an Iraqi I get treated like shit. I have no idea why the American soldiers at the entrance to the convention centre [where the CPA press operation is] are so offensive towards Iraqis while they can be so nice to anyone with a foreign passport. I have to be the Zen master when the soldier at the gate gets condescending. The reporters of Iraq Today were not allowed to get to the press conference and they went ballistic. "This is my friggin' government, what do you mean I can't get in?" My sentiments exactly. Keep this image in your head: an American officer stopping you, an Iraqi, from attending the press conference your government is holding.