Back to Iraq

Sorry if I got a little carried away with SARS over the past 24 hours, but it’s one of the stories (one of many stories) I believe people should know. I am writing a backgrounder on AIDS in China right now, and the SARS scandal pales in comparison. I will post it once I’m done.

Anyway, if I remember, there’s a war being fought over in the Middle East. It’s obvious, even watching Chinese television, who’s won and who’s lost. Needless to say, there’s been none of the joyous welcoming of the US troops shown on CCTV. Everything is measured, cautious, careful to emphasize the problems America now faces, as opposed to emphasizing the hands-down victory and confirmation of the claim (now a fact) that ousting Saddam was indeed the humanitarian thing to do. But how could they now acknowledge this? For the past month all that CCTV has been about was how inhumane and murderous the invasion would be.

Interesting case in point as to how they do things here: Yesterday CNN apparently showed the statue of Saddam being torn down and the jubilation of the Iraqis doing the tearing. (I don’t get CNN, but my Western colleague was telling me about it.) I saw the CCTV version, and their approach to the same story is telling. Instead of showing a long shot of the people mobbed around the scene, they focused only from the foot of the statue up — so we only saw a couple of men wrapping the ropes around the statue, and no crowd on the ground below. The announcer said that as the statue toppled “a few people cheered.” My colleague tells me that is such an understatement that it’s really a lie. He told me the whole mob was thrilled and cheering. CCTV never showed them.

Right now, all we are hearing is Chinese officials saying that it’s time to let the UN step in and handle things. Again, I call this “quacking” and the only thing that’s not funny about it is that lots and lots of Chinese people don’t realize it’s quacking. And I know — I will put money on it — that for the next few weeks all we will hear is how “experts say” the solution should be worked out within the framework of international agencies like the UN, quack, quack, quack. Those experts know everything, just as they knew how to handle SARS.

Then again, maybe the Chinese do know more about liberating countries than we do. After all, they liberated Tibet, though, come to think of it, they didn’t call for the UN to step in and handle that liberation, now did they? And anyone who asked, “Liberated Tibet from who? Liberated Tibet from what? is rotting away in a Chinese jail, er, re-education center.

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