Saturday, December 31, 2005

ABC News Poll (I)

An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine, the BBC, NHK and Der Spiegel by Oxford Research International includes some remarkable results. It was released early this month. The poll is compared to two previous ones; the first conducted by ABC News released on February 28 2004 and the other is a survey conducted by Oxford Research International for Oxford University on June 14 2004.

The poll consists of several questions which I find some of them interesting. These questions are:

- Compared to the time before the war in Spring 2003, are things overall in your life much better now, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

The percentage of those (who think that things are better) goes down five numbers, in comparison with Feb 2004 poll, to 51%. On the other hand, the percentage of those (who think that things are worse) goes up ten numbers to 29%.

- What is your expectation for how things will be for Iraq as a country overall a year from now? Will they be much better, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

Those who expect things to get better one year from now represent 69%, while those who expect them to get worse represent 11%.

- I would like to ask you about today’s conditions in the village/neighborhood where you live. How would you rate the following using very good, quite good, quite bad or very bad?

The highest rate goes for the item (Your freedom of speech). Those who say it is good represent 78%, while who say it is bad represent 19%. Another two questions ask:

- Compared to the time before the war in Spring 2003, would you say (item) is much better now, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

- What is your expectation for (item) a year from now, do you expect it to be much better, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

The (item) refers to (Your freedom of speech) which scores 47% better & 25% worse for the first question, 76% better & 3% worse for the second question.

Well, I don’t think that much freedom of speech is available, since arms still the best way to settle arguments, not immediately, but through assassins. Organized crime is forming its structures in the Iraqi society. A person could spread a rumor about his rival being a member of one of the militias, the IP, the Iraqi army, a political party, a humanitarian organization, an insurgency group…etc. Such rumor is enough to cause the rival death. For example, a dentist had been killed by a bunch of assassins. They broke into the dentist’s killing him and fleeing within minutes. Later, they were caught and the investigation revealed that this bunch had killed more than fifty persons. On asking them about the reason for killing the dentist, they said that they had been “told” that the dentist was a member of (Badr Corps) militia, and they had been paid to kill him.

Another example is the anonymity of BBC Arabic radio correspondents in Iraq. After the invasion of Iraq, BBC established a very active bureau in Baghdad with a studio for live programs. Their correspondents covered many Iraqi cities. They used their names at the end of reports they prepared. But later, I noticed that their main introducer of live programs, Dr. Saffa As’Salih, disappeared for few months and resumed his good work, and again he disappeared. The BBC Baghdad bureau shrank from doing their work with the same activity they started with. Dr. As’Salih reappeared as the BBC correspondent in Sudan with no one to replace him in Baghdad. No more live programs is broadcast from Baghdad.
The BBC correspondent in Basra, Isam Al-Ainachee, had his father killed. He also disappeared and reappeared as the BBC correspondent in Qatar. Now, when the BBC Arabic put their correspondents in Baghdad on air or broadcast their reports, no names are mentioned to keep them anonymous. So, a report is ended with (BBC Baghdad bureau) and the presenters, at the main studios in London, never address Baghdad correspondent by his/her name.

And look at my blog; I’m using a nom de plume to avoid annoyance, though some of my close friends, whom I trust, know about it. I feel I’m freer to address people outside Iraq than inside.

A question asked at the end of the poll could be related to the matter of (Your freedom of speech), it says:

- Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you have to be very careful in dealing with people?

An 85% goes for (have to be very careful in dealing with people). It is so dangerous to express one’s thoughts, especially about the current events, to other people. For example, one can not speak publicly at Al-Sadr district or Najaf city about Ayad Alawee or Communists. Alawee went to Najaf days before the recent election and he could barely escape an attempt to kill him by an angry crowed. One can not ask for the protection of security forces since they have the same loyalty of the locals. Ayad Al- Izee, a leader in the Iraqi Islamic Party, had been killed before the election at the same province, Anbar, at which his political party has the vast majority of champions. He was attending an electoral conference in which he said something which a group of persons didn’t like, so they just killed him.

To avoid turning this post to a tedious one, I’ll make it in two parts. So, it is to be continued…

Wishing you a happy NEW YEAR.


Blogger madtom said...

Happy new year, and thank for your for all your efforts so far to keep us informed. And yes please stay anonymous and safe.

6:41 PM  

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