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[casi] Perspective: images and more...

Dear List,

If anything, world opposition to this 'war' has
intensified. For the Anglo-American public, the outrage,
disgust, and frustration of the world may be difficult
to fathom.

Still, the media everywhere reports from the aggressors'
perspective. And if it were not for Al-Jazeera, the world
would be cushioned from the horrors of this 'act of humanity'.

Understandably, the outside world's reaction often differs
too. And since the warring parties are always interested
in foreign hearts and minds, I am going to post some of the
opinions. (These are letters to the editor published in
the Frankfurter Rundschau.)

Here is a translation of a reader's letter about
Al-Jazeera's images of the victims:

Real deaths

Re: "The horrifying message of the images" (March 25, 2003).
The American plan to present this war as a game show and
a spectacular victory orgy on TV channels worldwide has
failed. And rightly so. The media's mass presentation of
war as a military entertainment show is an inappropriate
manipulation of the public. It is aimed to diminish
people's ability to judge.

By contrast, Al-Jazeera's images show at least partially
the atrocities of war. War is neither surgical nor
clinically clean. If there were only CCN, Fox News, and
Sky-TV in Iraq, TV viewers would simply be hoodwinked.
Those who support this war must also be made to view
the corpses which this 'enterprise' produces. The public
must be informed about the atrocities of war. That the
media is going to be manipulated by the warring parties
is unavoidable. But with Al-Jazeera we now have a
counterbalance to the American fair-weather war journalism.

The American people too will come to realize that war is
not a virtual computer game to gawk at over beer and
chips. They also see American soldiers die a real death.

And here is a comment about Washington's complaints that
the Iraqis fight 'dirty':

Against the rules

Re: "Even the white flag arouses suspicion" (March 26).
As a conscientious objector, I am constantly amazed at
the annoyance of high-ranking military if the enemy
doesn't stick to the 'rules'. A few days ago, a general
complained to the assembled world press at the Pentagon
that Iraqi militia had used a white flag to lure American
soldiers into an ambush. Does this man even know what he
is talking about?

His soldiers are at war now, not at training. At war it
may happen that shots are fired from places of worship
and that the Red Cross of the ambulance and the white
flag are used under false pretences. And now this general
is trying to make us believe that such methods are
unusual, mean, and dirty.

I am absolutely against war and believe that every war
could be prevented. But if it does happen, the warring
parties (or rather party) should not get upset that the
enemy tries his utmost to kill them. After all, this is
the objective of a war, if a remember correctly.

After the war started, young people in Europe went
to protest at US embassies. In Geneva, Switzerland
the police teargassed school children who tried to
approach the compound of the US mission. - Staff of
the nearby WHO watched and then retreated.

Police in Hamburg used water-canons and truncheons to
disperse young protesters. Here is a reader's letter:

Thanks to the boys at Hamburg police

Re: "Peace demonstrations - police action against
school children criticized" (March 26)
Many thanks to the police of Hamburg for their bravery
in breaking up a dangerous student demonstration with
water-canons and truncheons. It appears that even
nine-year-olds were among the offenders. And the offence?
This dangerous group of people was actually trying to go
to the US embassy to demonstrate in protest.

According to eye witnesses, a small minority threw
sticks, bottles, and cans at US tanks. The full force
of the law must of course be applied to punish such
abominable crime. And what does this tell us?

We should be ashamed for three reasons: First, we should
be ashamed to have laws that protect the representatives
of a country that has been waging an illegal war of
aggression against Iraq for a long time - instead these
people should be deported. We should be ashamed to have
police that use such brutal force on our children and
young people. And we should be ashamed for not having
taken part in the protest ourselves.

But besides the anger and the horror about these brutal
police actions in Hamburg we have gained new hope: If
this generation says so emphatically NO, it sets a good
example for us, and gives us courage. Thank you to all
young people in these sad days - we are proud of you.

Elga Sutter

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