Shada, Shada, Shada
The Washington Post deserves a 'Well Done' for putting the story of Shada Hassoun's stunning success in Star Academy 4 on the front-page. [See full text in the comments section]
I think the vast majority of Iraqis would have placed Shada's story at the very top of the stories they were following last week, despite all the bombs and the violence.
Shada does two things:
1-She reinforces Iraqi identity; she's never been to Iraq, and is half-Iraqi by parentage, but because she chose to identify herself as Iraqi, she was embraced by Iraqis. It shows that Iraqi identity is still alive and kicking.
2-She successfully markets herself as a role model of the secularized and westernized modern Iraqi female; my mom and aunt were making phone calls from Baghdad yesterday celebrating Shada's victory as a big show-up to the mullahs. Maybe they're reading too much into it, but there's something to their instinctual reaction. Young Iraqis were watching this show on satellite dishes (...banned under Saddam and now banned by the Islamic State of Iraq), were freely discussing Shada on chat rooms (...the internet was severely limited under Saddam), and were using cell phones (...another post-Saddam novelty) to vote. Seven million votes were cast from Iraq for Shada. The only thing that was a throw-back to the old days was the celebratory gunfire. However limited the influence, this younthful frenzy over Shada and what she represents will definitely leave a mark on political issues (...popularity of religious based and sectarian parties in upcoming elections) down the road.
The New York Times makes no mention of Shada.
Yesterday I was watching Wolf Blitzer on CNN and Michael Ware came up and, honestly, I could have smashed the TV set in anger. I feel that this does not get said often enough: Michael Ware is a deceitful phony who BSes his way through the news.
Imagine my relief when I looked at the comics page this morning:
(click on image to enlarge)