"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The death of Zarqawi: celebrating too soon?

Brian Whitaker thinks so, comparing it to the capture of Saddam Hussein:
"The jubilations when Saddam Hussein was captured, and the hopes that Iraqi would quieten down as a result, also turned out to be misplaced.

Zarqawi has been built up by the US and sections of the media into the main bogeyman but the war, or civil war as it is increasingly regarded, has a momentum of its own. Dozens of ordinary people are being killed daily for all sorts of reasons, or no reason at all."
If he means that celebration was solely related to belief that 'Iraq will quieten down', he has a point - but it's worth remembering that this was scarcely the only reason people were so jubilant at the capture of Saddam Hussein. The belief it would usher in a better future, certainly - but also sheer joy at the knowledge Saddam Hussein would never return to power but instead face justice for his crimes. As was the case when Uday and Qusay were killed: Iraqi celebrations were in part over a version of the future they now knew they would not have to face - a return to the Republic of Fear.

It's worth remembering this context when we consider the response to the slaying of Zarqawi. There's just a bit too much haste to attach the epithet 'bogeyman' to him. For to the relatives of the people he tortured, maimed and slaughtered, Zarqawi was no child's nightmare and the simple reason he's gone is enough in itself for them to celebrate.

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