An Iraqi friend and her fiance came over for dinner tonight and they told me about the Iraqi insurgent T.V. network called "Al Zawraa'." We switched on the tube and quickly found it (broadcasted on Nilesat ... see pictures below). Most of it featured video footage of U.S. convoys being attacked by IED (improvised explosive device) or insurgets shooting off mortars and Katyusha rockets ... all of this accompanied by rousing songs (in Arabic) that I guess could roughly be translated, "Arise, Arise, my brothers and kick the occupiers out ..."
If you didn't know that people were dying in these attacks, it would be almost humorous. When the commentator came out in his kaffiyeh and all dressed in camo, I nearly fell off the couch. As the men fired off the mortars, I said out loud, "Why do boys always like to blow things up? This is just a more lethal version of the potato gun." And I asked, rhetorically, "I wonder how many of my male friends have played around with potato guns?" My friend's fiance sheepishly raised his hand.
We watched the footage for about 30 minutes, my Iraqi friend whispering "Khatiya!" (Pity! or Poor thing!) when each bomb went off. It really was sickening. The footage moved on to showing scenes of Iraqis being detained, cuffed and hooded, of house raids, and other indignities that the Iraqis suffer at the hands of the foreign and Iraqi troops. My friend had told me that this program was first broadcast from Baghdad but after the Iraqi government realized that the images took on a decidedly anti-occupation slant and actually seemed to be encouraging the insurgency, Al Zawraa' was shut down. But somehow and somewhere, they are now continuing their broadcasts.
My friends heard about it when they were downtown shopping. In one of the shops, Al Zawraa' was playing on the T.V. When they were asked, the guys in the shop all indicated that they watch it because they supported the insurgency in Iraq.
Personally, when I view such things, I feel that much (but not all) of the insurgency would evaporate if the foreign troops were gone. The emphasis of the channel was definitely anti-U.S. troops, no footage was shown of Iraqi troops or police, atleast not that I could see. But knowing the enthusiasm that American boys have for their own potato guns (oh, if only that is what they could fight with), I don't see an end in sight.
It seems to me that Al Zawraa' could be easily spoofed and made to look foolish (it was doing a pretty good job of it without even trying, if you ask me). I had an Iraqi friend last year who showed me a film he had made with his buddies back in Baghdad, spoofing, of all things, kidnappings and beheadings. It seems that that would be one way to handle Al Zawraa'. I don't like or support the occupation but what they are doing is just as bad.