Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Manufacturing martyrs 

Kudos to Australian journalist Paul McGeough, normally a dependable voice of defeatism in Iraq, for writing a story about al-Zubaidi family in Baghdad, whose Down Syndrome child was used by terrorists as a suicide bomber on the election day (although here, more than ever, is the case against the term "suicide bomber" since the 19-year old Amar did not make a conscious decision to kill himself and others):

"Accustomed to living on charity, [the Zubaidis] were not surprised when, 10 days before the election, two men arrived saying they were from the local Sunni mosque and wanted to help Amar. Ms Zubaidi was overjoyed.

" 'They said they would organise a sickness pension from the new government, that they were arranging with the Red Crescent for a block of land on which we might build a house, and they gave me $300 for stock for the shop.

" 'They said that they would take Amar to a special school, and each day they collected him and drove away. They gave him sweets and clothes and cigarettes - he loved them. Sunnis had helped us before, so I didn't think it strange'."
Read and be infuriated.

The article closes with this quote from Amar's mother: "The election was meant to be so exciting. But we've had to give Amar as a present for the new Iraq and we just hope that it will get better as a victory for Amar and all the people."

The sub-editor, however, can't quite help himself (or herself), giving the story this headline: "Grieving family counts the cost of democracy."

How about "Grieving family counts the cost of terrorism" instead? Or "Family pays the highest price for freedom." All similar words and concepts, but there is a crucial difference.

(hat tip: Justin K)


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