Tuesday, February 01, 2005



1 Feb 05

The news today continues with the post-election analysis, and what it means.

Overall, the response has been positive. The fact that the Iraqis boldly made the proclamation for themselves that participatory democracy was a ‘good thing’, is overwhelmingly encouraging.

There are still critics, mostly in the West it seems, who continue to dismiss aggressively the holding of the election. Their arguments are many. Often the arguments and assertions include cultural biases, such as the Iraqis are not culturally mature or ready to run participative democracy.

I guess the real issue to consider is that despite all the attention focussed on the limited and self-destructive philosophy of the insurgents, and given this background, the elections by any measure were even more resoundingly successful.

Fred Kaplan writing in Slate http://slate.msn.com/id/2112885/ writes eloquently about the success that the elections will have for Iraq and flow-ons to the rest of the region. Kaplan writes:
Few sights are more stirring than the televised images of Iraqi citizens risking their lives to vote in their country's first election in a half-century, kissing the ballot boxes, dancing in the streets, and declaring their hopes for a new day of democracy.
And yet, the challenges and uncertainties that seemed so daunting last week about Iraq's security, society, and governance are unlikely to turn less daunting next week, next month, or the month after.

Kaplan ends by writing:
Finally, imagine a Syrian watching Al-Arabiya, seeing Iraqi-born Syrians going to special polling places to elect Iraqi leaders, observing that no Syrians of any sort have the right to elect the leaders of Syria and perhaps asking himself, "Why?" It is not inconceivable that this flicker of democratic practice in Iraq could ignite a flame of some sort across the Middle East. To what end, and for ultimate good or ill, who knows. But something happened in Iraq today, something not only dramatic and stirring but perhaps also very big.

Gerard Henderson, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/01/31/1107020327547.html also writes about the achievement of the election, pointing out the foibles of the hard left that took a political position based on simple intransigence and sloganeering – ‘an enemy of America is a friend’. The question that must be asked is – but don’t expect a cogent reply – how will the hard left respond to the election, and will they continue their position of ridicule and conspiracy?

There was a report http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/01/31/1107020330406.html recording that Al-Jazeera registered a global top ten position in terms of brand recognition.

The list of brands included:
1. Apple
2. Google
3. Ikea
4. Starbucks
5. Al-Jazeera
6. Mini
7. Coca-Cola
8. Virgin
9. eBay
10. Nokia

Al-Jazeera has been on the more remarkable media success stories in recent years. The ability to produce independent from government media commentary and analysis (particuarly focussing on the Middle East) is to be congratulated. Hopefully, the success of Al-Jazeera will enable governments across the region to enable Al-Jazeera and other media entities to establish services and continue to operate freely.

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