Sunday, January 13, 2008

A&J: The definitive account

Turning to the government newspaper Al-Sabah this morning for the definitive account of what the new non-De-Baathification regime ("Accountability and Justice") will look like and how the votes went down, we find the relevant article headed like this:
Change in the color of the letters spelling Allah Akhbar to yellow in the Iraqi flag, and change in the shape of the stars
Referring to a bill on altering the Iraqi flag that passed first reading on Saturday. The stars are Baathist symbols of peace, justice and tolerance. The text of the article leads off with accounts of speeches to Saturday's parliamentary session by a representative of the EU promising the door will be open to good relations with Iraq. This was followed by a request by a representative of the Fadhila party for the Europeans to meet separately with the major parties both within and outside of the political process.

Then there was voting on measures on the agenda, but before voting on the A&J bill, a member by the name of Samarae said: The aim of this law is fairness to a large sector of the population who are unable to achieve stability under the penalty system in the De-Baathification law, and it has been achieved based on a political agreement that supports national reconciliation. But there isn't any description of the actual effects of the law, and in case you were thinking of referring to the text as it was originally sent to parliament (here), you should note that Samarae refers also to alterations made that same by the "special committee". And in any event, there isn't any attempt to say what the new law actually does, and more interesting, for a law said to be based on political agreement for national reconciliation, there isn't any identification of who voted for it. The Al-Sabah reporter merely notes that it was voted by "majority of those present, who amounted to 140 deputies", so those present barely constituted a quorum (50.1% of the 275 deputies), without indicating party breakdown, or even spelling out whether the vote was unanimous by those present, or merely a majority of those present. Instead he moves on to the flag-remodeling issue.

Another analytical approach was tried by the large team at the New York Times, but at the end of the day they couldn't figure out the meaning of the new law either.


Blogger dancewater said...

"The Iraqi flag still bears the ousted dictator's handwritten Allahu Akhbar" (God is Greater) while the three stars officially symbolise unity, freedom and socialism -- the slogan of Saddam's Baath party. Under the new flag law, given its first reading by parliament on Saturday, the praise to God will be printed -- in yellow -- in the Kufi form of Arabic script while the stars will now represent peace, tolerance and justice."

They got rid of unity, freedom and socialism for peace, tolerance and justice.

I like peace and justice, but tolerance? why is tolerance considered a value worth pursuing?

I would have voted for "truth" since nothing good is possible without that.

Also, Saddam's writing on the flag looked better than that yellow stuff.

2:24 PM  
Blogger badger said...

What I can't figure out is why the yellow. "Baath" means renaissance hence green, but yellow, the color of cowardice and bad eggs ?

3:33 PM  

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