Monday, July 30, 2007

genuinely good news from iraq

There are web sites that only report the good news from Iraq, convinced that such hot topics as the Iraqi Prime Minister visiting some province would be front page in the US if it weren't for the evil media conspiracy to repress the good news and instead report all that unpleasant stuff about bombs blowing up 50 people on any given day and Iraqi policemen being found beheaded - which everybody knows just isn't that important compared to US Army engineers fixing some water pump in Basrah.

But there genuinely IS some good news from Iraq today. Iraq's men's national soccer team beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 to win the Asian championship for the first time. No fluke either - Iraq had to beat the two pre-tournament favorites, Australia and Japan, to reach the final.

So it was good news. But even in the good news, there is bad news. Well, first it wasn't news FROM Iraq. The game was played in Indonesia, one of the hosts of the tournament. And the players, while all Iraqi, don't actually play their professional soccer in Iraq. It's just too damn dangerous. The Iraq goalkeeper (Noor Sabri) had a brother-in-law killed by a bomb just 4 days before the championship began. So most of them play in other leagues in the region, in particular in Saudi Arabia. Oh, and after one Iraq victory earlier in the tournament, 50 celebrating fans were killed by bombs. So the Iraqi regime and US military slapped curfews on after this game, keeping the death toll so far to four, killed ironically by celebratory gunfire.

Congratulations to the Iraq national soccer team. I hope some day you guys can play professional soccer in your home country safely.

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