Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Algiers is not Baghdad

Yesterday I watched "The Battle of Algiers", a really cool black and white account of the Algerian fight for independence from France. One thing that sorta surprised me was that they show how the Algerian FLN was engaged in terrorism. But so was the French military, and they used torture, or "interrogation" techniques, as the French Colonel insisted to the presss.

In 2007 and 2008, when I read and commented on the Palestinian Pundit more often, a commenter named Fatima encouraged me to watch "The Battle of Algiers" and said that I would understand why Iraqis fight the occupation after watching the movie. Apparently she saw a legitimate resistance in Iraq that was fighting an occupation that was akin to the French occupation of Algiers. One could argue that there are similarities, the use of torture being one of them. A few American soldiers and contractors committed serious crimes in Iraq, and there was collateral damage, but the conflict in Iraq is very different from the French occupation of Algeria. The biggest difference is obviously that Iraq has been through a sectarian war, preceded by decades of miserable dictatorship, wars and sanctions. Algeria was plagued by civil war, but it was in the 1990s and it was between Islamists and the FLN regime. In 1950s Algiers, the setting for "The Battle of Algiers", the FLN was fighting French colonialism. Although there are people (I don't see them around anymore) who insisted the US war in Iraq was one of colonialism, it has become clear that colonialism was not on Bush's mind in 2003, and it's definitely not on Obama's mind today.

There are those who also believed, like Fatima did, that at least a fraction, if not most, of the bombings of Iraqi cafes, restaurants, mosques, etc. in Iraq were caused by the US military. This theory too is rubbish. Why would the US military bomb people they are trying hard to protect? The bombings made the US military in Iraq look bad because the US was blamed for not being able to protect the Iraqi population, just like the Iraqi government today is blamed for not being able to protect Iraqis. It was not in the interest of the US military to bomb Iraqi markets. It was in the interest of Al Qaeda and other US enemies to blow up Iraqi markets. I don't know if Fatima and other Arabs ever understood this.

4 comments :

Ayrab Jayrab said...

Mojo, stop being delusional and naive.

C.H. said...

AJ,

Do you believe bombings in Iraq are orchestrated by the US military?

Iraqi Mojo said...

How am I being delusional and naive?

Ayrab Jayrab said...

Mojo,

You are not looking at U.S foreign Policy as a whole. The US NEVER EVER cared about anybody but herself and Israel. That is a fact.

Just look at Tunisia. Look at Palestine. Look at the regimes in Egypt, Saudi, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan etc etc that the US protects. To claim they care about dictatorships are foolish since they support them.