Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anthony Shadid on the Effects of US Occupation in Iraq

Today's WaPo has what is absolutely a must-read in today's issue - by Anthony Shadid, who is one of the most intrepid - and surely the most lyrical and expressive - American journalists in Iraq today. As I've pointed out before, and as is well known among journalists, he has the distinct advantage of being an Arabic speaker. That enables him to move among people on the streets, to converse and elicit responses and impressions directly from them. It's invaluable. You can learn more about Iraq from one Anthony Shadid piece than you can from a hundred press releases from the US military command there.

Shadid's piece today is on the cultural impact of the American conquest and occupation of Iraq: American words, movies, music, even haircuts and dipping tobacco - along with an awareness that some important aspects of Iraqi custom and tradition are disappearing.

Or perhaps, I should think, just going underground. And if the re-emerging Sunni resistance to the US occupation is indeed as strong as it appears, and if the Muslim fundamentalist influences persist (they remain very strong in the predominantly Shiite south of Iraq), and if the US withdrawal from Iraqi cities proceeds as scheduled, one has to wonder about the possibility of an anti-American reaction in the years ahead.

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