Even reporters on the ground in Iraq could hardly believe what they were living through as they watched the power of an idea transmute into the living, breathing form of black-clad women, Marsh Arabs and throngs of Kurdish mountaineers festively making their way to the polls. The father of a young reporter who has spent most of the last two years in Iraq shared with me his son’s e-mail from Baghdad. “We journalists are all sitting round and asking each other how we missed what’s clearly a far deeper drive for political and societal change than we realized.
Baby steps. But we’ll refrain from answering what, unfortunately, seems to be a rhetorical question. The point is, this guy got there. Or did he, exactly?
“It is a measure of our isolation here — and also, I think, a measure of how the violence and humiliation of the occupation has masked people’s very genuine feelings.”
Oh brother. Tina Brown is noticing a trend, for the moment, wherein anti-Bush liberals, seeing the touching success of the Iraqi election are trying to find ways to not be so angry. Or something. Where’s it going to lead? I think the best we can hope for is that it will lead toward that place where, in the event of a successful Iraqi journey toward stability and increasing democratic freedom, the anti-war crowd will stop saying the word (you know, ‘Iraq.’)
I think Judith has it right:
“…Iraqis’ desires for freedom and national unity were right there in front of you, not masked at all, ready to be noticed and reported on.But you didn’t want to see it.“