A theme of long-standing on this blog has been the weight of what is sometimes called “democide”, that seldom, if ever, is balanced by the deaths of war. And the fear of which permeates our lives in a way that war may – but often doesn’t. Mohammad of Iraq the Model, reporting on a blogging conference he attended in Cairo, notes that difference:
It may sound a bit odd but that’s really what I felt in Egypt that I don’t feel in my war-torn city; for the first time in 3 years I felt the restraints of government…I told one of my colleagues I feel safe in Baghdad despite the dangers, I may feel afraid of terrorists or random violence but I never fear the government and that’s not only how I feel, Iraqis are not afraid of expressing their differences with the authority because we in Iraq have more or less became part of that authority the day we elected our representatives while terrorists and militias are nothing more than temporary phenomenon that unlike constitution and elections have no solid foundations.
This distinction, of course, is one we understand & appreciate. (Original reference was to Atlantic Monthly; hat tip Instapundit.)
3 thoughts on “Another P.S. to an even older post”
I vaguely recall an article from years ago by a journalist who was assigned to a soviet-bloc country expressing much the same thing.
He talked about how, in New York, he might be afraid to ride the subway late at night, or wander into a rough part of town, but it never occurred to him to be afraid of saying the wrong thing, or meeting with someone controversial, or writing an article that would bring a midnight knock on the door.
It has been mentioned many times that one of the reasons the media transmits such critical analysis of our society is the lack of fear of any reprisal, while a negative article about the insurgents in Iraq, or Hezbollah, might very well lead to a very violent response.
One of the hidden realities in the media business, which surfaced pretty clearly, but only briefly, during the Mohammed cartoon brouhaha, is the ever-present fear that there are some people in this world who will kill you and burn down your building if you say, or print, the wrong things.
It is no accident that there is so much effort to characterize Islam as the “religion of peace”, while oceans of ink worry about the abuses of “fundamentalist” christians.
One group kills people they don’t agree with, the other one writes letters to the editor. Who would you worry about offending?
And then there was CNN’s desire to stay on the good side of Saddam Hussein so they could still broadcast from Iraq – the point of broadcasting untruths seemed to not bother them all that much.
In regard to the Iraq war I often ask opponents the simple question: “What condition would you prefer for yourself and your loved ones, life in war zone or life in terror-state? Would you rather suffer through a war for the chance, and only the chance, of creating a fewer society or would you prefer to live the rest of your life waiting for that knock on your door in the dead of night?”
Strangely, most refuse to answer the question. Of those that do, most Americans seem to chose war before rapidly changing the subject. It seems to me that more Europeans chose the police-state but that just maybe bias on my part.
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