Radical is nothing but a label
You know, i used to like to read Ted Rall's columns, because-nutty as he is- he offerd his readers an unapologetic, honest, uncensored, no pretense glimpse of how the american far left thinks. I say i used to like it, because i am starting to re-think the whole "honest" aspect of his column, especially after what he wrote in his latest one: If you read newspapers, listen to the radio or watch television, you know that the media has assigned Muqtada al-Sadr a peculiar job title: radical cleric. "Gunmen fired on supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Friday," reports the Associated Press wire service. National Public Radio routinely refers to "radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr." "The protesters were largely supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr," says CNN. Even Agence France-Press refers to him the same way: "Followers of a radical Shiite cleric marched in Baghdad." I wonder: Does he answer his phone with a chipper "Muqtada al-Sadr, radical cleric!"? Does it say "radical cleric" on his business card? It's a safe bet that neither al-Sadr nor his Iraqi supporters considers him particularly "radical." And, if you stop to think about it, there's nothing inherently extreme about wanting foreign troops to leave your country. Radical is a highly subjective word that gets thrown around without much reflection.But that's the problem: the media has become so accustomed to absorbing and regurgitating official government propaganda that they never stop to think. Hmm, so Al-Sadr isn't radical, and it's all just the government's propaganda at work? I beg to differ, and so does Zeyad at HealingIraq: Students of the Basrah and Shatt Al-Arab universities in Basrah city have been on strike for the last three days as a reaction to the attack last week by Sadrists and Mahdi Army militiamen on tens of students organising a field trip or a picnic at Al-Andalus park, downtown Basrah. Hooded men assaulted the students with rubber cables and truncheons which resulted in the death of a Christian girl, Zahra Ashour, and another student who came to her rescue after militiamen had tore off her clothes and were beating her to death. He was shot in the head. Students say that their belongings, such as mobile phones, cameras, stereo players and loudspeakers, were stolen or smashed to pieces by the militiamen. Girl students not wearing headscarves, most of them Christian, were severely beaten and at least 20 students were kidnapped and taken to Sadr's office in Al-Tuwaisa for 'interrogation' and were only released late at night. ---snippet--- A Sheikh As'ad Al-Basri, one of Sadr's aides in Basrah, stated that the 'believers' of the Mahdi Army did what they did in an act of 'divine intervention' in order to punish the students for their 'immoral and outrageous behaviour' during the 'holy month of Muharram, while the blood of Imam Hussein is yet to dry.' He added that he had sent the 'group of believers' to observe and photograph the students, and on witnessing them playing loud music, 'the kind they play in bars and discos', and openly talking to female students, the 'believers had to straighten things out'. No reaction yet from the Governorate council, the police, or the British forces in Basrah. Thousands of students have been demonstrating in front of the Basrah Governorate building in Asharr for the last three days, shouting 'No to political Islam', 'No to the new tyranny' and 'No to Sadr'. The police (which is loyal to Da'wa in Basrah) reportedly attacked the students in order to disperse the demonstrations. All this while some people are campaigning for Sistani to receive the Nobel peace prize. One can't help but wonder if these kinds of events are what the Islamists have in store for us when they insist on 'respecting the Islamic identity of Iraq'. The Sadr people are , by the way, the group of Shia who organized the April 9th anti-american protest and who were joined in it by the Baathist Sunnis. Or as the never-biased Raed Jarrar reported it: "Sunni, Shia marchers demand end to occupation!" You know, i often wonder about Raed: Does he know how full of shit he is or does he actually believe his own spin? Cause it seems that a lot of people believe him, so i am just curious if he is a malicious liar or just a self-delusional nitwit! Does anybody know?