Friday, April 09, 2004

The Proper Perspective

Over at LOTF, I posted a translation of the latest Baghdad dispatch from Le Monde's Rémy Ourdan. You'll remember the astonishment that accompanied another of his recent articles.

I get the feeling Ourdan may be undergoing something of a transformation. This article is even less equivocal in transcribing Baghdadi feelings about the fall of Saddam. And given the current strife, it makes for a somewhat nourishing read:
"When I look at all these faces in my photographs after I've got home, I realize that something has changed..." He looks around the room, all the men sitting on benches, discussing, complaining, laughing.

"The difference is joy," says Nahid. "Before the faces were closed and sad ; today they are open and joyous." The funniest part is that even those who can't stop cursing and predicting a "catastrophe," those who say "it was better before," reveal in Najid's photos a shining face that they did not show a year ago.

"Every Friday, it's a shouting match. Conversations among friends are at once greater and more difficult than before. We've lost our only common ground: life under the dictatorship," says Zuher Radwan. A political analyst and literary critic of Palestinian origin, Zuher, though an Arab nationalist opposed to the United States, admitted in 2003 that he wanted war. "I was right," he said. "The change is wonderful. It was well worth a war..." And Zuher repeats the argument of all his fellow Iraqis who favored the American intervention. "Alone, the Iraqis would never have been able to topple Saddam Hussein."
This makes me think of reconsidering my post below on having the jitters. If a Palestinian pan-Arabist in Baghdad finds it so easy to be optimistic, even in this climate, should I lose heart so soon?

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