Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Pope, Iraq Talk, And The PKK (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. I haven't commented on the intro in a while and I have to say what they're going with for the special is just weird. It's mideast music meshed with the regular over-the-top music. Hmm. We begin with Anderson summarizing what we're about to see and then he throws to John who does the same on his end. Back in Turkey, Anderson tells us that the Pope hit the ground running today. I really doubt that Anderson, the guy's like 78. Oh metaphorically. Gotcha. The first piece is from Alessio Vinci and we learn that the Pope met with a bunch of leaders and one of them took a little swipe, saying that insulting Islam promotes violence. Oh, religious snap. On the streets the reaction runs between skepticism and hope. The Pope isn't taking any chances, opting for an armored limo to get him around. That means no Popemobile. Bummer. That's one of my favorite parts. Sorry, I'm not Catholic, so I don't really have any Pope enthusiasm.

Next up we have an Anderson piece that delves into the Pope's demand for reciprocity, which means that minorites in Muslim countries should have the same rights as the majority. Right now some Muslim countries like Saudia Arabia don't allow their Christian populations to have churches and the Pope would like to see that changed. That seems fair to me, although as some critics point out, it's not really the Pope's place to be sticking his nose in there. Reza Aslan is in the piece and he thinks the Pope is making a big generalization about the Muslim world.

Following the piece we have Delia Gallagher and Reza live and Delia is giving the Pope's visit a big thumb's up. Reza believes the Pope is now recognizing he needs to be careful how he communicates things. Anderson, who keeps hearing people talk about a dialogue, wants to know exactly who it is that's having the dialogue. Reza thinks the debate should be between Christian and Muslim leaders. Anderson wants to know where the big Muslim debate is that he keeps hearing about and Reza is all, "Hello?! Right here." He points out moderate Muslim countries like Jordan and Egypt, as well as Turkey. Delia thinks the Pope will try to nudge Muslims to reform, but he's got his own issues. Yeah, I think the Pope should be worrying about his own house before he starts running to the neighbors.

Next up John intros us into a Nic Robertson piece on Sunni Cleric Harith Al-Dhari, who has fled Iraq because the government thinks he is behind some of the violence. Al-Dhari believes that if the US withdrawls the violence will stop and he wants to give the US and easy way out. Riiiight. I want to leave, but does he honestly think we're just going to go, "Oh this Sunni cleric said the violence will stop, so it's okay now?" Moving on to a Suzanne Malveaux piece on Bush denying there's a civil war. There's really not much to say here other than the fact that our president is spending his time arguing semantics while our troops die. I remember another president arguing semantics, but no one died that time. I'm still waiting on CNN to call a spade a spade.

On now to an interview with the New York Time's (and "Cobra II" author) Michael Gordon, who broke the story that Hezbollah now has their fingers in Iraq. However, first he and John talk about how weak Maliki is and how the US is concerned about the gap between what he says and does. So apparently Iran is now fostering a link between the Mahdi army and Hezbollah. Great. Michael thinks the big question is whether we'll go hardline at Iran or engage in dialogue. Dialogue! For the love of God, please dialogue.

Back to Anderson now and he gives us a piece on honor killings. Apparently they occur in Turkey, which I was actually unaware of. In the piece we meet a couple whose daughter killed herself because she was unhappy in her marriage and wanted a divorce. Unfortunately to some, things like divorce and rape shame the husband's family and is only "fixed" with an honor killing. Sometimes the women are pressured to commit suicide too and suicide rates have climbed. It's unbelievable how it's 2006 and there are still places where women are basically pieces of property. I did find it a little odd though that Anderson didn't mention honor killings aren't just in Turkey. In fact when I hear the phrase I automatically think Saudia Arabia.

Moving on to a Delia piece on how Turkey is a "country of contrasts". That's funny. Anderson blogged about how journalists are always using the cliched and "silly" phrase "land of contrasts." Oh Delia. Anyway, we then get a rundown of Turkey's religious history and learn that today there is a lot of nationalism in the country. In modern Turkey there are actually huge malls and stuff, but the country still has it's slums, which Reza says are breeding grounds for radicalism. Man, Reza is in like every piece. I'm not complaining or anything, but it's like he's everywhere! After the piece Delia joins us live and explains that though Turkey is secular, the government has heavy control over the mosques and this has lead some Muslims to question freedom of religion in the country.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece and what does he have for us? Maps of course! We learn that 80% of Turkey is ethnically Turkish and 20% Kurdish. That Kurdish part then spills into Iraq where Kurdish separatists called the PKK fight for their independence. The EU and US have both labeled the PKK a terrorist group. Cyprus is also a problem too. I've been wanting 360 to cover the PKK for some time now and this was too brief. Learning about all these groups and how things are broken down really helps one understand what's going on over there. So if anybody's listening, more of this please. I'd also like to know more about the fight over Kashmir, but I guess that's really neither here nor there. The Shot tonight is a machete versus a gun. Basically a guy tries to rob a store owner at gunpoint, but little does he know the owner packs a big big knife. I know I never leave the house without my machete. John asks Anderson which one he thought would win and Anderson just totally (unintentionally) disses him and doesn't even answer. Poor John needs to learn not to make a joke when operating with a satellite delay. Good show, though I don't think they needed two days on the Pope. I liked learning about Turkey though. B+

What's your view on reciprocity? Is Iraq in a civil war?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited Turkey when Katrina hit your country. I think Anderson is broadcasting from the Swiss Hotel which is a very beautiful hotel with a great view of the Bosphorus strait.
Turkey is a country of rich history. After the Byzantine Empire fell in Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire ruled Turkey until the early part of the 20th century. All the key historical sites of Islam were ruled by this empire ( Iraq, Saudi Arabia,Israel). It was so ironic to go to these palaces that these rulers lived in, see the map of their Islamic empire and then step outside and witness muslim women jeering and catcalling in the streets of Istanbul expressing their outrage that they can't go to University with Islamic head scarves.
As far as the issue of reciprocity, I think it is interesting that Muslims in countries such as France and recently Holland, demand religious rights and yet religious minorities in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have very little rights.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'm with you...I'm not all that down with the current Pope. He kinds creeps me out (and yes, I'm an ex-Catholic).

Reza has been great and I enjoy his segments. I need to read his book, but I've read so many of the books that AC has talked about that I'm in brain candy mode right now.

I hope Delia doesn't tag along to Jordan. She really irks me.

9:43 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Gissou-It sounds like Turkey is a really interesting place to visit. I think it's good for Muslims in countries like France to get more religious rights since those are the European countries that are having problems with homegrown radicalism. Maybe the less alienated they feel, the less the problem. And of course I think other minorities should have rights in places like Saudia Arabia and Iran.

@Jennifer-I just don't get the whole idea of the Pope. I liked John Paul, but I still didn't really look at him as more special than anyone else. Reza is awesome. Delia irks me too, but Anderson said she's staying put while he moves on, so yay to that. Delia herself is annoying because she's so uptight, but I think a big part of the reason for the irking is her pandering title.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous ivy said...

@eliza-- if only radicalization of muslims in europe could be avoided with giving them even more religeous and other rights (which they do have) and feel less alientated. I'm afraid it's not that simple. A
lot of radicalization is spread through mosques, I don't believe it's just a social problem. A lot of muslims in europe (of course not all) don't want to be integrated into european societies. They want to get it's benefits and rights but they don't want to really become a part of it, to blend in. They want everybody else to adopt their style of living.

3:18 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Ivy-Oh, I'm not saying giving them rights would solve the problem. It's just my understanding that in terms of the France riots it wasn't really about religion, but alienation. I'm just thinking that the more integrated a country is, the better. I know there's a portion of Muslims who want to be left on their own, which can have bad consequences.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

eliza-- I agree, integrated society is a good thing, when integration is attempted from both sides. France has a bit different situation, I was talking more about Nortern Europe - Holland, Belguim, Demark, Sweden. I'm not anti-muslim in any way, but I find the perspective of muslim (arab) population outnumbering european, at least in big cities of Europe scary. Unfortunatelly the acceptance of european lifestyle by lot of muslims living there does not match very liberal european policy of accepting theirs.

5:37 PM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

This hasn't been my favorite 360 road trip, but it was entertaining to hear Anderson sneezing and sniffling and getting caught rubbing (picking?) his nose.

*Sorry for the pointless comment, but the Pope coverage is not very interesting, IMO! I'm looking forward to his return to NYC.

7:06 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Pointless comments are always welcome. :)

9:06 PM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

Hee. Now I feel right at home! :D

9:42 PM  

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