McClatchy Does Irony: Radio Not-so-Free Iraq
Sometimes I fall for it, and headlines like these get to that little corner of hope I keep so deeply hidden:
A new Shiite-Sunni radio station offers hope in northern Iraq
I was all like "Wow! Something positive to talk about from Iraq! Neat! And then I read the story:
But the price is dear.
Rafed Mahmood moved his wife and two young children into the station with him to protect them from revenge killings. The families of the three other members have moved to other provinces to avoid retribution.
Their hometown of Baquba, 40 miles north of Baghdad, has slowly been taken over by the Islamic State of Iraq, an Al-Qaida linked group that last year declared an Islamic state in several Sunni and mixed-sect provinces. But the provincial council is filled with members of the Mahdi Army, loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, and fighting rages.
Policemen are being executed in the middle of the city, homes are being torched with residents still inside, buses of civilians are attacked and even children are not spared.
Provincial leaders said tens of thousands of Sunnis and Shiites from Diyala are fleeing their homes to take refuge in neighboring provinces. In March, 700 U.S. soldiers were added to reinforce the brigade in what is becoming one of the bloodiest provinces in Iraq.
Rafed Mahmood, 31, the Shiite general manager of the station, once managed 55 people there. But the station was attacked about nine months ago, and a number of the employees were either killed or fled.
The piece is buffered by lots of hopeful talk, including some from Iraqis, but I have to say- Darn those facts! They sure do get in the way of feeling shiny and happy about our "progress" over there.