images of American POWs a morale-booster for Arabs
- The following article, surprisingly objective for the Jew-media in time of
war, appeared on page A8 of the monday 24 March 2003 edition of The Arizona
Republic and is credited to Emily Wax of the Washington Post.
GRAPHIC TV FOOTAGE ROUSES UNEASY PRIDE IN ARAB WORLD
Cairo--As the images of dead U.S. soldiers and shaken prisoners in Iraq
flashed across Arab television Sunday night, reactions ranged from shame to
tortured pride to uneasy happiness.
This was a day, some said, that challenged the notion of U.S. invincibility.
"Nobody wants war. Those children's parents don't want them to die,"
Mosad Ahmad Osami said, leaning on his stool inside his sweet-smelling spice
store and adjusting his glasses so he could watch his television more clearly.
"I saw this and I thought, 'Good, President Bush knows his fancy missiles
don't work,'" said Osami, 49, the father of three children. "We will win
this war because God knows we are right."
Then he shook his head and removed his thick glasses.
"But it's all horrible. Look at me. How would anyone feel if their son was
dead?" he said. "We all want to be happy because it's our enemy: America.
This is what the world has become."
The al-Jazeera network on Sunday repeatedly beamed footage of a number of
dead U.S. soldiers, slumped over one another in an Iraqi morgue, and of
another body in military uniform on a road behind a truck. The pictures,
apparently recorded by Iraqi state television, were viewed in Cairo's
noisy coffeehouses, in the lobbies of upscale hotels in Jordan and in
living rooms in Beirut. The satellite channel also showed interviews with
five U.S. prisoners of war.
It was a contrast, almost a relief, some of those interviewed said, after
three straight days of watching the video from Baghdad: U.S. missiles and
bombs setting the night ablaze, wounded Iraqi children in hospital beds,
heads wrapped in bandages, legs and arms broken.
"Poor guys, poor guys. But what did they expect? The mother part of me
is sad. But the Arab part of me is happy," said Maha Mahmoud, 46, a mother
of three, who watched at a hotel in Amman, Jordan.
"Sometimes, even as an Arab, I feel sad. But, my God, look at this, they
came to die. Their hearts were broken when they came. Whenever I feel bad
for them, I picture the images I saw of a seven-year-old Iraqi with half of
his head blown off."
"These images are not as cruel as the pictures of babies and civilians we
have been seeing for the last two days," said Kazem Awaida, 28, a banker in
Beirut who was spending time with friends when he saw the video. "This
shows the U.S. is not untouchable."
There was other news that provoked comment on the street. One report said
that Americans had shot down a British plane, another that U.S. soldiers
had been killed in fighting on the fiercest day of the war so far. People
also heard that there was more resistance than expected in southern Iraq,
that not all Iraqis were cheering for the liberation of their country.
Political analysis on radio and television in Cairo and Beirut said that
after a string of wars in which Arabs have felt powerless--two Palestinean
uprisings, three Arab-Israeli wars and Israel's occupation of Lebanon in
1982--Sunday's events were an emotional reversal.
"The U.S. thinks it's all-powerful," said Rhama Ahmed, a waitress at a
coffeehouse in Cairo. "But America has lost something today that's very
important: it's confidence."