Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Bloody Tuesday

It looks like the big Belfast summit (remember that?) will turn out to be about as significant as the Azores summit. For one thing, subsequent events make it hard to identify any constructive discussions that might have taken place in Belfast, since so many decisions for the post-war Iraq look like they are being made on the fly. But what's perhaps most depressing is that Bush and Blair sat in a place that knows all about how civilians cheering soldiers can so quicky turn into mutual fear and resentment, and yet the analogy never seems to have prompted deeper thought. Check out the utterly predictable similarity between the description of events in Derry in 1972 and today's shootings in Iraq:

[Derry chronology] 4.10pm: Soldiers open fire
The paratroopers had orders to move in and arrest as many of the civil rights marchers as possible. They advanced down Rossville Street into the Bogside. What exactly happened next is not clear. The soldiers say they were fired upon from the Rossville flats as they moved in to make arrests and that they returned fire. The Catholic community says soldiers on the ground and army snipers on the city walls above the Bogside shot unarmed civilians.

[Falluja] There are conflicting reports as to what happened in the town, which lies 50 kilometres (35 miles) west of Baghdad.
A US spokesman said soldiers started shooting after people in the crowd fired on them - but Iraqi witnesses said the protesters were unarmed.

Doubtless, over at the fair and balanced channel they are right now cooking up a rationale for the latter event. We doubt if their viewers would take it quite as well if they applied the same methods to the former.

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