Actually it’s a compilation of selected reactions of more than a dozen (out of hundreds) people to one of the hot topics of these days which is the kidnapping of Israeli tank-gunner Gilad Shalit and the Israeli military operation in Gaza strip in the attempt to free him.
The reactions I gathered were posted on an Arabic forum on the BBC Arabic website. About three dozens of comments were made by Iraqis both inside Iraq and in exile and all these comments were supportive of Israel or at least against Hamas as far as the topic is concerned except for only three comments; that's a 10:1 ratio while as you probably have guesses, the opposite ratio is true about the comments by the rest of Arabs.
These comments and some of the non-Iraqi Arab reactions they stimulated caught my attention.
In fact Mohammed and I spent an entire day reading through the 500+ comments in that thread and thought we could share some of the best and most interesting stuff with you.
What was written in that thread stands as one example of the change in the Iraqi way of thinking since the day we got rid of the dictator and shows that logic and facts are gaining more ground at the expense of emotions and conspiracy theories.
Perhaps our problem is that we in Iraq are evolving politically faster than we are doing when it comes to economy, security, etc. that we are even ahead of countries like Egypt or Kuwait in holding real elections and having a permanent constitution and fair representation of all the segments of the people.
Of course this lag between political and material progress will bring on difficulties and challenges but at the same time what cannot be denied is the impressive evolution in awareness considering the short time elapsed since we got our freedom back.
But what really makes me feel optimistic about this new Iraqi way of thinking is that it shows how Iraqis are beginning to distinguish between terrorism and rightful acts of resistance not only in Iraq but also on a global level and are showing decreasing tolerance for extremism and this in my opinion is what builds peace in the region or any given region of this world.
It is true that terror organizations stepped up their attacks after America and the coalition came to Iraq but at the same time more and more Iraqis are standing against terrorism and extremism and on the long term this is how our world will become a safer place…Enjoy the reading:
"Hamas with their radical false-heroic speech opened the door for extremists in Gaza and Damascus to open a battlefront that will harm the innocent Palestinian citizen and destroy the peace process. Hamas has long been against the peace process and has long worked on halting it"
Ahmed Talib al-Taii: Baghdad/Iraq.
"There are trends that still live by the past and its dark residues of killing ignorance.
We are the sons of today and our minds must develop at a pace close to that of intellectual development of the world. We cannot solve issues with violence, murder and destruction of nations. We have to use logic and dialogue to convince those you disagree with, and once we do that we will have defeated our enemies, at least on the political arena which enables us to win the moral case before other nations.
Reckless policies that believe only in rifles, cannons and slayings belong to the past and will bring nothing but further destruction and chaos.
Strange they speak in the name of Islam while the prophet of Islam was tolerant in dealing with his enemies [whenever he could] for the sake of his message. Those who slay people like sheep are far from the values of that honorable message"
Hashim al-Tabatabai: Baghdad/Iraq.
"Our hearts go out to the family of the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by some Palestinian group. We share your suffering and we fully support anything you do to free your missing soldier"
Hassan al-Shami: Baghdad/Iraq.
"I wonder how much time and blood it will take until Arabs and Muslims realize that the world is not the property of their ancestors and that God is not a trademark of their minds and that terror is a dead-end that leads only to more destruction.
Israel is a civilized country defending herself from barbaric savages whose minds are made of stone…minds that do not want to believe they are living in the 21st century.
What's happening to the Palestinians despite its cruelty is going to be a good lesson for them to learn they must clear their community off the hateful fundamentalist terror mentality…[Quranic verse] "God will not change people until they change what's within themselves"…but, will you change?!!"
Abu Ayoub al-Iraqi.
"One of the reasons why stand against resisting the coalition forces in Iraq is the failure of Palestinians in their resistance for over half a century.
Because of the "resistance" reconstruction is being delayed and the entire situation in Iraq is deteriorating.
And now because of reckless, useless acts, the people of Palestine are without electricity or other services and will not meet their aspirations.
They [resistance in Palestine] will unjustly take the life of a 19 year old. Not only that, the number of Palestinian deaths and prisoners will increase after this incident and Palestinians will never see rest as long as there's violent resistance"
Shaymaa Abdullah: Baghdad/Iraq.
"To answer Mr. Jihad (the Palestinian from Jordan) and his advice for Iraqis: Iraqis are singing outside the Arab flock for one reason which is that they distinguish the truth from the Arab illusions. Only 13 years ago Iraqis used to speak like the rest of Arabs; equipped with the illusions of the "Zionist conspiracy" created by Islamists and pan-nationalists. But Iraqis now have discovered the bitter truth. Who is murdering Iraqis on daily basis?? Who is prolonging the stay of foreign troops? That's the terrorists coming from Arab and Islamic countries!!
Israel doesn't want to become the "Great Israel" because Israelis are only several millions in this world…
We are people with long history that we are proud of and we possess enough education and awareness, so long live the new Iraq and let Israel live as our neighbor. I'd love to say that I wish Israel could rule the entire region; better than any Arab government except for the Iraqi"
An Iraqi in exile: Asia.
"I just want to say that I stand in admiration and respect for the nation that wouldn't mind destroying the world for the sake of her sons' safety; a nation that doesn't care about the consequences for their operations in Gaza as long as the soldier is still kidnapped and has to be set free.
Let Arabs and Muslims learn how human life is highly valued in all non-Arab, non-Muslim countries"
Hassan al-Shami: Baghdad/Iraq.
"From following the participations I am gaining more faith in the maturity of thinking of my Iraqi brothers.
And to Olmert I say: Go forward and abolish the fountains of terror in Gaza"
A free Iraqi: Baghdad.
"When Sharon got ill we were frankly saddened because he was the cure for terror. But today came Olmert and proved that he's tougher than his predecessor.
I say it frankly that who supports Zarqawi, calls him a martyr of the nation and mourns Uday and Qusay deserves this. And who still feels nostalgic for Saddam also deserves this"
"Israel is needlessly prolonging [the duration of this operation].
They ought to invade the entire Gaza strip and add it to its lands for good"
Lewis the Basrawi: UK.
"The problem with the thinking pattern of Arabs is that-unfortunately-it got dominated by the way of thinking of the rulers.
The rulers are essentially the enemies of the people and our intellectuals are suffering from schizophrenia. But did the Arabs and Palestinians learn anything from the Israeli reaction?
Did they learn that the human life is the most precious of all the treasures of nations and that all tools of war and peace are reserved to serve this life? Did they learn that for the sake of one person in danger a whole nation would care and worry? While thousands of lives are taken in the secret prisons in Arab countries without remorse or deterrence!
How many Palestinians lost their lives or homes because of this or that reckless mischief of Hamas?
Is the Palestinian so cheap to be spent for the sake of a record of fake heroism? Shame on the kidnappers who keep their families and money away from the danger while using the poor as human shields"
Hatif al-Iraqi: Baghdad/Iraq.
"It's very stupid to sacrifice an entire people to kill one single soldier from your enemies.
What wrong did the innocent and the children do? You [Hamas] are idiots that you chose confrontation and violence.
My brethren; the scales in our world had changed and the law of "an eye for an eye.." is no longer valid, economy is the real power now….
Stay the course with your principles (if you had any) and you will bring doom upon your people"
"To Mr. Mustafa: I don't know what lion den and what Palestinian country are you're talking about. Know that this land does not belong to you but you acquired it by invasion centuries ago and now the land is back to her people. No matter what you do you are not getting Palestine because this land isn't yours but you still want to seize things with force you don't actually possess neither you have the right to do so. You don't even have the brains or the strength, go read history to learn the truth about the land you're fighting for"
"The infrastructure is demolished, no electricity, no water, no commerce…all this is the result of the foolishness of the radical Palestinian groups.
You made the Palestinian people lose thousands of folds more than what Israel lost.
The Palestinian radical militants understand no language but that of explosions, suicide and betrayal"
Hassan Kuxi: Kurdistan/Iraq.
"Israel is a fact that the Palestinians-and Arabs in general-should recognize and deal with using the language of our time, not the worn-out rhetoric of Bin Laden which can only lead the Palestinians to the brinks of extinction"
Lewis the Basrawi: UK.
"What Israel is practicing against the leaders of Hamas is a natural act of self-defense.
Hamas wants to export terror to the entire region and even Jordan which hosted 3 million Palestinians won't escape the plot"
Abbas al-Basri: Canada.
"We got used to this empty Tarzanic attitude from the Palestinians, but then they would run and beg for help from America and the international community when the Israelis respond. I'd like to say that Palestinians must realize one thing; that the days of Saddam are gone"
And here are a few reactions form other Arabs to what Iraqis said:
"The Iraqis here should fear God. We were never for murdering civilians.
How could you praise Israel when she's killing us with the same American weapons you are being killed with, we were never against the Shia (everybody knows our attitude towards Hizbullah but we are against the [treacherous] collaborators in Iraq.
We shoulder the burden of defending the honor of one and a quarter billion Muslims then comes someone whose country is occupied by the Americans to stab us in the back…!"
"…I don't know what's wrong with some of the posters from Iraq whom I question their Arabism. That Americanized Iraqi says Israel is a civilized country!! And says Israel is defending herself from barbarians!!
Abu Ayoub: As a Muslim woman I ask you; who desecrated your honor in Abu Ghraib and who raped that 15 year old girl?
Your speech will not find ears among anyone with dignity"
Um Ammar: San'aa/Yemen.
"What caught my attention while I'm reading here is the Iraqis' attitude towards the Palestinians (that's if they were really Iraqis). This attitude is harsher than the Israeli tanks. I mean what [harm] have the Palestinians done to the Iraqi people?
Palestine is hardly as big as one district in Baghdad and her population is smaller than that of any Iraqi city!
But we will not kneel down and we shall not despair….we may disagree with Hamas but we will not accept to see America and Israel bring Hamas down and we're proud of our position"
"The Israelis will see the consequences of what they did and still are doing when the scales of power change and Arabs and Muslims unite to defend their honor and dignity. Our rights will not be lost as long as we persist to demand them; that's what history taught us and that's what the struggle against colonial Britain and France taught us"
"Peace be upon the followers of the right path! As to Iraqis who rejoice what's happening to the Palestinians; I actually have nothing to tell them, never mind what they say.
Palestine has her men who have been defending the honor of a billion Muslims for a hundred years now.
But I ask the sane among Shia Iraqis and Bahrainis not to rejoice our suffering because we are defending your lost dignity"
Abu Khalid: Palestine.
"I think the occupation brainwashed some of our Iraqi brothers that they no longer distinguish between right and wrong or between the oppressor and the oppressed.
We understand your bitterness about your situation and we hurt for you but I call upon you to go back to reason before making judgments and to not listen to the propaganda of Iraq's enemies"
Mourad. [unknown location]
Well, the last guy probably has a point. What he calls occupation allowed us to wash out the stupid illusions and conspiracy theories from our minds.