Friday, June 15, 2007

Must see TV

OK, let's confess something up front. The curfew that locked down the country after the bombing of the shrine in Samarra has me stuck in the hotel (and in Iraq, for that matter). So it's gotten much harder to find something to share with you.
So let's turn on the TV.
I caught a commercial on Iraqi TV worth mentioning. Keep in mind, my Arabic pretty much begins and ends with "thank you," but even I could follow this one.
I'm told it was produced in New York, and it has the sort of Hollywood production values you don't usually see here. It's all artsy hand-held camera stuff with the sort of black-and-white meets saturated colors look used in the movie "Traffic."
Hooded gunmen corner a middle aged man and ask him, "Sunni or Shiite?" No answer. They keep asking the question, tossing him in a trunk and hauling him off to scary looking concrete room. Finally, he's on the floor, the gunmen are increasingly agitated. Gun at his head. "Sunni or Shiite?" He spits back: "Iraqi." Fade to black.
It's a powerful message of rejection to the sectarian violence ripping this country apart.
Yet in watching you can't help wonder if it's just a shout into the wind. The bombing at the Shiite shrine in Samarra has been answered, despite the curfew, with attacks on Sunni mosques across the country. That's likely to beget reprisals against Shiites. And so on.
It'll take more than commercials to fix this place.

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