The Best Defense

Journalism roundup

They're rounding up reporters again in Iran. Since the June 12 "election," "At least 100 journalists and bloggers have been arrested ... and 23 are still being held," states a group that tracks journalistic freedom. "At the same time, around 50 have been forced to flee the country to escape the relentless repression."

Meantime, my wife and I were walking past an Egyptian diplomatic office in downtown DC the other day when we encountered a bunch of very polite demonstrators protesting the imprisonment of Kareem Amer, an Egyptian blogger who was arrested for writing things not unlike some of the comments you see posted here every day. 

So I want to pause to give a major tip of this blog's hat to the American Bill of Rights, especially my favorite one:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances ... "


The Best Defense

The Kirkuk primary begins

The Kirkuk primary begins -- with the assassination of a Sadrist leader.

In other Iraq news, two guys planting a bomb in Mosul blew themselves up.

Poetic justice, right? Sort of. But it reminds me of a day in Baghdad when  some guys who had been firing mortar shells to near where I was were killed when a shell detonated in their tube. I was surprised and a bit taken aback at the glee I felt at this turn of events. An Iraqi I worked with warned me against taking pleasure in such events, saying that by giving way to such feelings we give up some of our humanity. He told me about his brother, a policeman, who had gotten so accustomed to violent death that one day, after collecting body parts at bombed market, swung his official pickup truck by his home for lunch -- only to have his young son, pleased to unexpectedly see his father at midday, jump up into the bed of the police pickup, and land in the parts.