Mar 24, 2004 8:33 pm


Having spent last week on vacation in Mexico, I had the opportunity to watch the BBC world program - Iraq One Year On. I began with a most heartening report of the results of a survey conducted by the BBC. To my surprise, I discovered that some of its most heartening results got little or no play in the American media. They include:

1. Only 17% of the Iraqis considered attacks on coalition forces acceptable - 80% considered them unacceptable.

2. 96% considered attacks on Iraqi policemen unacceptable. And I believe a similar number opposed other types of terrorist attacks.

3. 80% of the Iraqis want a democratic form of government. Only 20% want an Islamic government.

4. 52% believe the war was justified and 70% are optimistic about the future.

The past year was not easy in Iraq but the BBC could not find (and I do not doubt that they tried their best) many people who wanted to go back to the slavery of the Saddam era. On the contrary, they loved their new freedom, including the freedom to complain.

No. The love of freedom and the wish to live under a democratic from of government are not foreign idea to Iraqis or other Arabs. It is a dream they never though would be realized. Like reasonable people, they wish the price would be lower. But they are not ready to give up on the dream or follow those who advocate that they should give in to terrorism and opt for a more traditional autocratic form of government.

As Arab leaders are preparing for their upcoming gathering. This survey should make it clear to them that their citizens would very much like to have the same freedoms enjoyed by the Iraqis. As for the BBC, its anchors should stop behaving as if nationalism trumps all. It is obnoxious to ask an Iraqi cabinet minister if she feel humiliated serving in a government appointed by Americans especially when it never asked Iraqi cabinet ministers if it is humiliating serving Saddam or Palestinian cabinet ministers if it is humiliating serving Arafat, etc.

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