The 10 Iraqi journalists who visited The Missourian the past week were an interesting, but a diverse, opinionated group. They didn’t agree with each other on many of the ongoing issues in that country.
They probably are the image of Iraq: Differing opinions on solutions to the problems in their country. They engaged in spirited conversations, in their own language, and the interpreters couldn’t keep up with their exchanges. Even though some of the exchanges became rather warm, they departed in a friendly manner with each other.
The women were more composed, friendly and seemed to have a better sense of humor. The men were intense, some of whom appeared to be holding back some anger that was about to explode, and there was obvious frustration in their demeanor.
What did we learn? They aren’t completely satisfied with what the United States did, indicating that there still is much left to be done in establishing a democratic way of life. The many political parties they have make life insecure. The parties represent varying views. There are concerns about safety because of the political unrest.
One of the women journalists who was shot while working on a story said she watched other people being shot while nearby American troops did nothing. It bothered her so much that she chose to go to Germany for treatment of her wounds rather than the United States. She had a choice to go to Germany or America for treatment. She carries some bitterness over the incident.
We didn’t detect a great deal of gratitude toward the United States except that they were glad we did away with Saddam Hussein. As to security, one of the journalists said they were safer under Saddam’s dictatorial rule than they are now, but people were starving then.
There wasn’t a sense of unity in the group as to what would be best for their country in solving problems. It is disturbing that there wasn’t more of a friendly feeling expressed as to the United States.
If you put 10 American journalists together, they might not be much different than the Iraqis, especially as to having differing opinions.