Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Albaghdadia… Enemy of the State

Among the most favorite Iraqi satellite channels in my list I would put albaghdadia on the top of such list - not that I consider other channels to be bad, but I love albaghdadia and have great respect to its staff. Albaghdadia is transparent, direct to the point, realistic because it reflects the actual status of Iraq and the Iraqis. It is straightforward because there it is bias to a political party or siding with some political figure or movement. Albaghdadia has always been a great source of the highest level of quality information, a source to disclose secrets, ready to jump in where the challenges and risks exist. I love albaghdadia for Abdel hameed al-Sayeh and Azal al-Sayyab’s excellent (and emotional) presentation on TV. I love and respect them for the beautiful language they use on their shows: the combination of perfect use of Classic Arabic language and literature with a cute flavor of southern Iraqi accent. I love Albaghdadia for the brilliant Nouran Hassan, whether on daily news bulletin appearance or when she summarizes the week events on her show “End of the Week” – this is the correct translation, guys! I love albaghdadia because it has the black-comedy, the honest critism of everything related to Iraq as I watch every Monday “The Conversation of the Deaf “ show, and its figure of Daoud Al-Farhan. I love albaghdadia for the down to earth attitude coming with the response and remarks from Anas Al Bayaty on “one hour and a half” show, and his innocent laugh while addressing a guest in the studio or by satellite. The above are drops in a sea regarding the reasons why I love watch this Iraqi channel.

I love albaghdadia because this channel stands by the common Iraqi citizen, and reflects the real situation of Iraqis in Iraq and abroad: interviews with Iraqi expatriates, present on most occasions and events outside Iraq - I attended a number of events in the Netherlands where coincidently seeing Albaghdadia crew filming and making interviews with people. This brings me to the topic of today: the early morning daily show “Pleasant Morning for Iraq”. I watch a replay of this show every night at around 11:30 – due to difference in time zone I cannot watch it when it’s aired live around 7am.

What happened yesterday to Minas Al-Suhail and the crew of Albaghdadia while doing live coverage for “Pleasant Morning for Iraq” from Baghdad’s district of “Al Qahira” was outrageous and frustrating. It is not the first time that one of albaghdadia reporters and crew being harassed and even beaten up by personnel from Baghdad Operations Command. But, yesterday’s assault was different, first because the two men attacked al-Suhail and his colleagues were from the Terrorism Combat Force, an entity belongs to the military intelligence within the ministry of interior; second, the assaulters called albaghdadia journalists and cameramen while attacking them with “Ba’thists”!

Is this enough or do I have to explain where those two assaulters came from??

May I say that what happened to Minas and his colleagues is some kind of reflection to the pro-elections-mood by some figures from the government who come out on TV with nervous (and angry, sometimes) faces threatening or warning when voting results appears to go in opposite direction to what they desire?

Why beating up a reporter?? What guilt did he make? Is it listening to the suffering of people doomed by its rulers for decades are considered as guilt?

Why beating up a reporter?? Is it wrong for a reporter to reveal the truth about how the country is still being looted by all sorts of scumbags, obvious from the bad services, well, by the lack of services on every street and house? It seems that it is so insulting for a government official to see a man in his 60’s presenting his case to million of viewers. The insulting part is not because an old man is complaining; it is because the complaint is so righteous that an official will not be able to listen, will not be able even to find a hole to hide in.

Why beating up a reporter?? Obviously the answer can take us back in time when Saddam used to rule the country. Saddam planted the seeds for bringing up a violent culture, where the use of hand and pistol dominated the behavior of many in dealing with any damn situation. Someone would argue that Iraqi society is just bloody or violent (I heard that before), but I simply do not agree, we were not born with a pistol in one hand. We were not by instinct ready to go on the streets of Najaf and start bad mouthing, slapping and kicking the hell out of the unarmed. The resemblance between the old times under the former regimes and now are strong, and there is a common thing between now and then: the presence of a camera...

Then, the camera was used by the ruler to put fear in the hearts of people –Saddam filmed his fake coup attempt back in 1979, and his brother filmed his own rants and bad mouthing during a big meeting for the Ministry of Interior.

Now, the camera is in the hands of others, the media, the people, and it is revealing the truth on daily basis. It is disclosing incompetence, and makes the voice of the citizen heard, loud and clear.

Minas Al-Suhail, Ali Al-Khalidy or Haider Nasir, Mustafa Ibraheem, Hussain Asad and many others like them, from Albaghdadia or any other honest TV channel, are names I greatly admire. They deserve a medal, not a dirty hand trying to stop the truth from coming out.

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