Unrest a virus?

New protests in Iraq offer more context around Maliki’s recent statements advocating a constitutional amendment that would limit the prime minister to two terms:

Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets across Iraq on Thursday to protest against widespread corruption and unemployment in demonstrations inspired by anti-government uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

The demonstrations in Baghdad, Karbala, Kut, Ramadi and Amara came a day after Iraq’s anti-corruption chief said ministers frequently covered up graft in their departments.

In the capital, around 500 people, mostly lawyers but also including some tribal sheikhs, called for the government to open up so-called “secret prisons” to scrutiny, give detainees access to legal counsel and take stronger measures to fight corruption and boost employment.

“This demonstration will not end until our demands are met,” Kadhim al-Zubaidi, spokesman for the Baghdad lawyers’ guild, told AFP.

“We want lawyers to be protected, the corrupt to be fired, and more jobs for the Iraqi people.”

Liz Sly of the Washington Post recently covered the angle that Maliki’s statements were influenced by Egypt, itemizing recent unrest in Iraq:

His comment coincides with an upsurge of scattered protests across the country demanding better services, jobs and an end to corruption, apparently inspired by the pro-democracy demonstrations underway in Cairo and those that toppled Tunisia’s long-serving president last month.

Police in Najaf broke up an attempted demonstration in support of the Egyptian people Saturday after the governor of Najaf refused to grant permission. The gathering was organized by the Najaf office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to police Col. Ali Jarayo.

On Thursday, police injured four people when they fired into the air to quell an unruly crowd of about 700 stone-throwing demonstrators protesting poor services in the southern province of Diwaniyah, according to provincial officials there, and a second protest in the province Friday was dispersed without incident.

Senator John McCain took some heat last week for labeling democracy “a virus.” Negative connotations aside, a virus is an apt metaphor for the regional civil protest and freedom of expression, right down to the potential immune responses by security forces.

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  • kp says:

    McCain perhaps could have used a thesaurus: contagion would be a better word. Then you can use epidemiology metaphors to think about the spread of this figurative “contagion”.

    Remember when the goal of the Republicans was to promote the formation of democratic governments in the Middle East. Ah, the good old days.

  • My2Cents says:

    Democracy has an internet virus, not a biological disease.
    Spreads much faster and is harder to treat. 😉

  • zammie says:

    Just put the word unrest in a google news search.
    You will see thousands and thousands of entries all over the world.Of course anyone suffering unrest is insane.
    It’s a term George Orwell would be proud of.
    It’s so much nicer than revolt or riots, unrest’s synonyms.
    Why,someone might think the selfless leaders were monsters if you used the term riot or revolt and you see it occurring globally.Someone might think globalism is a outright failure if the people of the world were rioting and revolting.
    They might see their”leaders”as revolting,and like in a living organism barf the leaders up and out.
    If the hot babes and the corporate contrivers who have control of the Mega Phoney media used an ugly word like worldwide revolt someone might think there is something wrong with the “smart”growth of the global governance that is cooked up at the very legitimate meetings of the IMF,WTO,and G 20 who come up with all the policies that never cause unrest.
    Thats why they have the nice policy enforcers outside the meeting wearing ski masks to hide their identities complimenting their teenage mutant ninja turtle riot gear.
    Unfortunately the global leaders haven’t yet rebranded riot gear as Unrest Gear.
    As we all know the unrest is the fault of the unwashed masses who just can’t recognize a good thing when they see it.
    When will the global leaders and their interdependent governments just execute everyone displaying “unrest”?
    That’s the answer.
    Those suffering the mental illness known as civil unrest would get cured really fast of this psychological condition.
    You have to wonder about anyone who would defy their benevolent leaders who have to make the hard choices to give the unwashed masses a better life.
    What is wrong with these people?
    Can’t they see that governments worldwide are working day and night making daily sacrifices to bring the rabble a Smart future?
    What ingrates.


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