Monday, February 13, 2006

Expressions of solidarity

John Lloyd on the cartoons row, via Iraq.  (Jihad Momani is the editor of a Jordanian paper who was fired for publishing the cartoons.)
The second consideration is the one that Jihad Momani’s action, and which the events in Iraq of the past 30 years (not just the past three), force upon us. That is, that the exercise of freedom and the wish to enjoy its fruits really does seem to be as universal a yearning as one can hope to see. It is, of course, contradictory, halting and goes backwards as well as forwards. But the voices of reason - always the necessary companion to freedom - of which Momani’s was one [...] have grown stronger in the immediate past, and need support.

Those who most fervently wished to rid Iraq of the foulness that was the Saddam regime were those who had either grasped through observation how bodies and spirits are crushed - as did Paul Wolfowitz of the US; or who had travelled through the region to meet the oppressed, as did Bernard Kouchner of France; or had first-hand experience of a (milder) totalitarianism, as had Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic and Adam Michnik of Poland. Their position (except, for obvious reasons, that of Wolfowitz) was and remains highly critical of the US practice but not of the US/UK intervention, for which all called.

They did so because of that old leftist word, much abused itself: solidarity. That which is expressed in the last of the verbal triptych that is the French republican slogan,  fraternité. They wish to extend the fruits of freedom to the unfree. We should hope Momani will survive to edit other newspapers (how many tabloid editors could one say that about?). Even more, we should take care that we don’t compromise the conditions we have created to allow him, and other editors, reporters and cartoonists, to appeal to reason, in freedom’s name.

John Pilger's latest offering is free-to-view, but still not worth it - 'Iran offers no "nuclear threat" ', would you believe?


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