Monday, November 22, 2004

Le Monde's Partisan Article on Weblogs

True to nature, the independent newspaper's Le Monde 2 weekly has articles that are baffling in their partisanship.

Most remarkably, issue 40 (November 20) has a story on "the blog shock", in which it proceeds to parrot Paris's partisan viewpoint.

Straight away (in the opening sentence of the subhead), the tone is given: "The Iraq war is the first www.war" said the Times of London in March. Indeed, hundreds of Iraqi blogs describing the country's occuption, the attacks and life in Baghdad give a different story than that of the 'embedded' press."

Completely ignoring Iraq's pro-American blogs (dare I say Iraq's pro-freedom-from-torture,-from-sadistic-thugs,-from-censorship,-and-from-dictatorial-government blogs?); completely ignoring the fact that the very existence of the blogs (no matter what their tone and viewpoints) is due to the American intervention of March 2003; completely ignoring the fact that the pro-American blogs usually have a (far) longer blogroll than the antis; completely ignoring the fact that embedded journalists were entirely correct not to follow in the footsteps of their couch potato colleagues predicting a long and bloody war, a mass of refuges, Saddamgrad, and other tragedies; completely ignoring the Iraqi people, for that matter, Frédéric Joignot lends credence to the belief that journalists (or citizens) not castigating, mocking, or bemoaning the American presence in Iraq can be nothing but liars, poodles, or dupes; and that gratefully, a popular groundswell of humanists is rising to fight back at America, if not with weapons, then with words.

Joignot proceeds to list a handful of Iraqi blogs that are supposedly among the hundreds telling the truth about the horrors and the devastation in Iraq (Where's Raed, Baghdad Burning, etc), and it ends the list with… Healing Iraq. Now I never heard that webmaster Zeyad was all-out against the war, but it turns out that this is how Le Monde 2 proceeds (or how the European press proceeds):

Either they remain vague about the blog mentioned, or they search through all the weblog entries for the rare critical comment, or for a comment that can be constructed as being critical. Le Monde 2 even mentions the Healing Iraq entry mentioned above (in which Zeyad corrects the Times' estimate of people in a peace demonstration) being quoted in (and on) the Weekly Standard (as if even they were beginning to see through the lies of the Bush administration)!

For an example of their way of proceeding, how could anyone broach the story of blogs without mentioning the granddaddy of weblogs? Well, Joignot does mention InstaPundit. But all he writes, basically, is that it got 200,000 hits during the Iraq war, followed by a quote from the Blogs of War, in which Glenn Reynolds writes that weblogs say what journalists don't dare say. In other words, because nothing else is said about InstaPundit, the impression comes across that Glenn Reynolds is part of the (imagined) world-wide popular wave trying to stand up to (and only to) the Bush administration, its "lies", and its "illegal" war (as well as Yankee capitalism and imperialism).

That is what is most galling (no pun intended) about the article: the numerous weblogs which are pro-invasion and/or pro-Bush (basically, at least) but which are quoted out of context or not at all. Needless to say, Le Monde 2 doesn't mention any blog (or blog entry) that is critical of France (or the Chirac adminstration) — certainly not Le Monde Watch. And certainly not Iraq the Model.

Justement, here is what Iraq the Model's Ali had to say about Jacques Chirac's recent comments in London (hat tip to Tom Penn, emphasis mine):

I heard what Mr. Chirac said few days ago and read about it everywhere I turn my head to. At first, it was something I felt I shouldn’t even bother to listen to. It was something like what Al Jazeera keep showing us or what Arab leaders say all the time. But again this was a president of one of the most advanced and civilized countries in our times. It wasn’t Kaddafi or Assad and it made me sad and furious.

The French government keep surprising me with their intentionally stupid and vicious arguments and I don’t know what to say about it or if it’s even necessary to say something at all. But then I’m an Iraqi citizens and these people are taking about Iraq and usually how the war brought nothing good to Iraq or the world, and I just can’t stay silent about it. I know there’s almost no chance that you’ll read my words Mr. Chirac, but it doesn’t matter, as I’m not writing for you anyway. You live in a different world.

In the past, I used to swallow my anger and frustration because I could get killed if I messed up with one of Saddam’s personal friends, but now Saddam is gone and I’m not afraid and I won’t stay silent anymore. This is a difference Mr. Chirac, and it’s a great one, probably just to me and the rest of Iraqis but not to you, and you just have to understand that it’s not all about you and your European dream which no one want to steal from you by the way.

The world is certainly not a better place after the war Mr. Chirac, but that’s your world, while our world, Iraqis as well as tens of millions of oppressed people everywhere who are dying for some help, is certainly MUCH better now, and I’m sure the Americans and the British world as well as most countries (including yours) is better and safer and will keep getting better. However I agree with you, as your world, your own personal world, the world of your fellow corrupt politicians in France, Russia, Germany, China and the stinking UN, your fortune and your influence is definitely suffering.
I’m even surprised that you ‘saw’ that Saddam’s departure was positive “to a certain extent”, and I can’t wonder why is that! Is it because it left you with some bills you don’t have to pay?!

Is my language too offensive?! Not as half as offensive and irritating as yours and I will NEVER apologize, not even after you apologize and pay the Iraqis back all the money you have stolen from us in return for supporting your partner, Saddam and keeping him in charge for few more years.

You see, your problem and what separate you from men like Tony Blair is that you look only for what you might gain, and again “you” is not the French people, but rather you in person and the bunch of hypocrites that so sadly control the French people and manipulate them through lies and silly arguments. You never cared what would happen to Iraqis and the rest of the world had Saddam stayed in power, while Tony Blair did. Do you know why? Because he and the British government with all the brave British people live in our world, while you don’t.

Stupid British! Why should they care for us, America or their own kids when they can do exactly like you; take advantage of America’s need, blackmail her, support Saddam without taking much risk and gain billions of dollars.

Stupid British! Haven’t they learned from WW2 when you got your country back and even decided the fate of other nations on victory even though half of you made peace with the Nazis!? You certainly don’t owe the British and the Americans anything for that, as it was just their own stupidity not to do the math and see how much would they gain. Their lands weren’t invaded and the Nazis were trying to make a peace with them, yet they refused and fought as hard as men and women can fight to free your country for you, so that your troops could march victoriously in Paris! And you dare say that the US doesn’t repay favors!??

If you don’t like the world after Saddam, and if you miss him that much, you can keep living in your own world and we won’t bother you all.

Lire la traduction de American Boy

Strangely enough, Iraq the Model was not mentioned in Frédéric Joignot's Le Monde 2 article, (but perhaps I already mentioned that?). Comme c'est bizarre…

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