December 10, 2003
ZEYAD covered the Baghdad antiterrorism marches and reports that they were
a major success. I didn't expect anything even close to this. It was probably the largest demonstration in Baghdad for months. It wasn't just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba'ath and Saddam.
He's uploading photos, too.
UPDATE: Here's Omar's report, too:
[A]fter 2 hours, the crowd was so big, I couldn't guess the number, but it seemed like the whole Iraq was there, men, women, children, young and elderly of different socio-economic levels, cheering the same slogans in different languages(Arabic, Kurdish, Turkomen, Assyrian). They looked very happy and free, despite the risks of being targeted.
Nobody seemed to be afraid, in fact today I felt safer than ever. I didn't expect such a response from the Iraqi people after all the terror they have suffered-and still suffering- from. To me it was a total success. I hope more brave steps will follow.
Funny, I can't find anything about these on the New York Times' website. Guess the Times has been scooped by bloggers again!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's the only report I can find:
Meanwhile, several IGC members participated Wednesday in a demonstration denouncing terrorism.
IGC member Samir Shakir said the demonstrators considered any group that obstructed stability in Iraq as terrorist, according to Al-Jazeera television.
Shakir claimed 3,000 people participated in the demonstration in Baghdad, a number which the Arab satellite station said was exaggerated.
Anybody find anything else?
MORE: A reader sends this AFP story:
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Thousands of Iraqis, some watched over by US Apache helicopters, demonstrated in Baghdad and other cities to condemn "terrorism" in their country. . . .
Hussein al-Musaya, a former Iraqi exile who helped organize the rally, said numerous political parties had come together to state their opposition to terorism.
"It's also a message of thanks to the coalition force for liberating Iraq (news - web sites) from the dictator," said Musaya, an official with the Liberal Republic Iraqi Party.
"We will not allow the fascists to come back," added Farook al-Shamari, 63.
"I don't belong to any party but I am against terrorism and fascism. We lived under the aggression of fascism for 40 years," he said.
STILL MORE: You can see streaming video from Reuters here. Click "Reuters Television," then "more," and then click "Iraqi protests." The marches certainly look very large. And this UPI story says there were 4,000 marchers. [LATER: D'oh! A reader sent the UPI link and I didn't notice that it's to a story about the previous march. In part that's because I didn't see any other stories calling that march so big, and in part it's because I'm, er, an idiot and just didn't notice the date.]
Ublog has more.
MORE STILL: Colin MacLeod has observations on the role of Iraqi bloggers, and Jeff Jarvis is blogging on this, too. A reader emails that his friends at CNN have seen the video but aren't sure whether they'll run it.
Hmm. Would they run video if 4,000 Iraqis staged an anti-Bush protest in Baghdad? I think they would. . . . Another media reader sends a copy of a deutsche presse-agentur story (not on the web) that includes this bit:
The demonstrations were ``a message from Iraqis to the entire world that they are not in agreement with terrorism and wanted to work for the restoration of the country'', IGC member Samir al-Sumaidi said.
Accompanied by a robust police presence and overlooked by U.S. military helicopters, protesters carried pictures of Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim, who was murdered in a suicide bombing. Some demonstrators released white doves as a symbol of peace.
IGC member Samir Shakir said demonstrators labelled any group that obstructed stability in Iraq as terrorist, according to al-Jazeera television.
The persons attending the Baghdad demonstration were numbered at between 3,000 and 10,000 people, though al-Jazeera claimed these figures were exaggerated.
Well, we know that al-Jazeera would never exaggerate the numbers of, say, pro-Saddam protesters, right? But hey, at least al-Jazeera is covering the march. . . .
STILL MORE: Ted Barlow writes: "If the situation in Iraq is going to work out, it will be because of people like these."
AND EVEN MORE: Meryl Yourish emails:
Just saw CNN cover the rally at about 10:07. They showed pictures and mentioned that there were more than one, but they also downplayed it as much as possible, going so far as to say they wouldn't call this "a groundswell" of opinion, but a sign that maybe--just maybe--the Iraqis are finally starting to "warm up" to the American p.o.v.
Yeah, I guess it's impossible to imagine that they might be against dictatorship and terrorism on their own initiative, huh?
Meanwhile Tim Blair notes what news media people consider "real news" via the Internet today -- Kylie Minogue might be pregnant.
And reader Janice Brown emails:
I think we ought to explore and exploit Demonstrationgate as a crystal
clear example of the "media's" failure to function in this "diverse"
world we live in.
It's pretty lame. And it's certainly a statement of priorities, considering what else they reported. Sigh. Maybe they'll cover it tomorrow?