Thursday, December 30, 2004

What Type of Iraqi Citizen Should a Journalist Choose as Guide in Order to Send Home the Most Objective Articles Possible?

When reporting from the new Iraq — you know, the Iraq that has been existing since the fall of the Ba'ath dictatorship in April 2003 — what type of local native should an independent journalist choose to take with him as his guide for the most objective, penetrating articles possible?

If you are a French journalist, the answer is a Syrian member of the Ba'ath party, of course, preferably one who still refers to Saddam Hussein as "president"…

Tewfik Hakem reports in Le Monde that the former chauffeur of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot dreams of a pan-Arabic world.

A partisan of Arab unity since his youth, faithful [notice the presence of the positive-sounding word fidèle] to the Ba'ath movement created by the Christian Michel Aflaq in Damascus in the 1940s, [Mohamed al-Joundi] forsook Syria for Iraq a short time after Hafez al-Assad's régime forced the party's founders, including Michel Aflaq, into exile in 1963. In Baghdad, he became an employee in the party of Saddam Hussein, whom he still calls 'president'. His contacts at the heart of the fallen régime interested the two French reporters who were investigating 'the Iraq resistance'.
(Strange. When mentioning the birth of Ba'athism, why would anyone forget that the movement was modeled after Hitler's Nazi party? Probably nothing more than a slip of the pen…)

During a release celebration at the Paris townhall on December 22, during which he gave a toast not only "to the health of Georges and Christian" but also "to Jacques Chirac and the French government", Mohamed al-Joundi said that as early as two days after all three men's kidnapping, he knew that "things could only go well, because our kidnappers were resistants to the American occupation, and not crooks."

(Here is some more Iraqi praise for 'the president' along with another example of the typical dastardly deeds carried out by the villainous American occupiers which manages to parallel a description of the proud, brave, and noble members of the Baghdad resistance — as well as their legendary mutual solidarity.)

Al-Joundi has said he is planning to sue the American army for "ill treatment and death threats". Before their release, he had not made any comments, because as long as Malbrunot and Chesnot were still being held captive, the "highest French authorities" had asked him not to go public with his grievances against the Americans.

Just in case you don't think al-Joundi has been clear enough, he was speaking with a radiant face, and (now that diplomatic niceties were no longer necessary) did not hide his joy when, referring to the release coupled with the attack that killed 19 servicemen inside a Mosul base mess hall, he added that "Yesterday was a very good day for the French and a very bad one for the Americans".

Read Liberal Iraqi's comment on this
(shookhran to MiF), then bookmark his weblog

At last the two French journalists have been released by their kidnapers. See, these terrorists (errr.. freedom fighters) are not dangerous at all! They don't kill you if you don't mess up with them and if you support their just cause. They only kidnap you, hold you for few months and "treat you well" and then release you. That's not bad, is it? I dare say it's even a good reason to celebrate. …

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