August 31, 2004

Iraqi talk radio.

Sabrina Tavernise writes, on the front page of the NYT, about Dijla, the first all-talk radio in the new Iraq. Huge numbers of people call in, many simply to express frustration about the lack of garbage collection and things of that kind. But there is also the torrent of political opinion that flows when the radio host poses a question. What should be done with Saddam Hussein? "Most people wanted him executed." I found this striking:
The program director and host, Majid Salim ... asked listeners what they thought about the insurgency that has roiled Iraq, claiming most of the energies of the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and putting the American occupation in danger of failure.

"We asked them, is it terrorism or is it resistance," he said. "A very large proportion, almost 100 percent, said terrorism. They did not like it."

Interesting. The American media always seem to speak of "rebels" and the "resistance" or, as in this Times article, the "insurgency." How different it would sound if the reports were of "terrorists" and "terrorism" in Iraq. If "almost 100 percent" of the Iraqis perceive the violence as terrorism, maybe our reporters, who seem to care about Iraqi self-determination, should adopt the Iraqis' terminology.

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