A recent trend that I have noticed being perpetuated by the lethargic (and often incompetent media), is the insinuation that Iraq’s Sunni community voted on non-sectarian grounds, while the Shi’a voted only for fellow Shi’is because they remain unable to see part sectarianism. Case in point, an article written by Firas Atraqchi for the HuffPo:
In the March 7 election, Allawi appealed to Sunni (and some Shia) voters not because he is Shia or a former Baathist himself, but because his supporters believe in his message for a non-sectarian Iraq.
Lets call a spade a spade here. The open list system means that people could vote for individual candidate, and if its true that over 70 of the 91 seats the INM got in parliament are occupied by Sunnis, it stands to reason that perhaps…just maybe… everyone voted on sectarian grounds.
This shouldn’t be particularly important, but the demonising of an entire segment of the Iraqi society, which in some form or another has been a fixture of our country’s sad past (whether it be against the separatist Kurds, the terrorist Sunnis or the Zoroastrian Shia) really has got to stop. It serves nothing but to drive wedges between these communities at a time when things are so fragile and precarious, they can potentially lead to irreversibly damaging Iraq’s social fabric.
This is not to say that the strategy of demonising is the sole reserve of the media; Iraq’s politicians have mastered the techniques and use it at will. It is particularly useful when something goes wrong and a scapegoat or common enemy is needed to divert attention away from their own failures and shortcomings.