March 11, 2006

Faiza Al-Araji brings the realities of Iraq to Isla Vista

I had the chance to interview Iraqi blogger and civil engineer Faiza Al-Araji after facilitating a workshop on corporate media at the rained out IV Peace Fest today. Al-Araji was on Democracy Now! last week with part of a delegation of Iraqi women on a speaking tour through CodePink and Global Exchange. Two of the women scheduled to speak were denied travel visas--their families had been killed, and they were told they couldn't prove they had any incentive to return home after their tour. How's that for twisted logic.

More on Al-Araji's argument that sectarian differences have been exploited as a "divide and conquer" strategy soon. Iraqi authors and bloggers have been among what seems like only a handful of critical voices challenging the "imminent civil war" assumption. It's worth investigating--the whole justification for "staying the course" falls apart if it's true the Iraqi peoples' national identity is stronger than any sectarian affiliation and that disorder is perpetuated mostly by occupying forces.