A brave Iraqi speaks

Here’s an antidote to the candlelit interview with the conspiracy-minded Egyptian professor:

It’s from an appearance on Lebanese TV by the Shiite Iraqi politician Iyad Jamal Al-Din– worth watching for many reasons, including the shocked and disapproving looks of the other participants.

I believe my freedom as a Shiite and as a religious person will never be complete unless I preserve the freedom of the Sunni, the Christian, the Jew, the Sabai, or the Yazidi. We will not be able to preserve the freedom of the mosque unless we preserve the freedom of entertainment clubs.


The Arab governments should support the Iraqi government, which was legally elected. I think this is the only government in our Arab region that was formed following free and fair elections. The Arabs must stop meddling in Iraq’s affairs, and stop inciting to hatred, violence, and terrorism. They should not call these terrorist attacks “resistance.” There isn’t any kind of resistance in Iraq – these are terrorist acts under the guise of patriotism and of claims about defeating the occupation. They have nothing to do with the Americans or others. They are scum, remnants of the previous corrupt regime. They attracted all the Arab terrorists, this riffraff, which entered Iraq to kill according to ethnicity. They kill the Shiites in public. We have not heard a single Arab jurisprudent condemn the terrorist attacks that target Shiites.


What is happening in Iraq is a real massacre and a real war between truth and falsehood, between a democratic government which relies on the public, and the remnants of the Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman tyranny. Iraq will be a cemetery for them and for those behind them.


The terrified and self-defeated Arab states, who fear the establishment of a democratic regime in Iraq, would prefer a stupid and reckless dictator like Saddam to a democratic regime in Iraq, because the epidemic of democracy and the winds of freedom will reach them, whether they like it or not.

I’ll admit to being uncomfortable when he says, for example, “The Arabs want tyrannical regimes, in line with their backward culture.” But if you listen to or read the whole thing, it’s obvious he thinks Arab regimes and leaders are responsible for reinforcing the worst aspects of that culture, and that democracy eventually will triumph.

Still, what a brave man! I don’t pray, but if I did I’d pray for his continued safety, and for thousands more like him to emerge in Iraq and throughout the Arab world.

I suspect that for most Arab “leaders,” the words of someone like Iyad Jamal Al-Din are far more discomforting than the words of someone like the candlelit Egyptian professor.