Coming Out as a Journalist in Iraq

Rod Nordland has an interesting Week in Review piece in Sunday’s NYT exploring the surprising results in the Iraq elections and what he calls “the unexpected sophistication of the Iraqi voter.” That sophistication seems to be producing some uncertainty at the moment, but the article comes to a moving, hopeful, and media-related conclusion:

“I am really proud of the Iraqi people and how carefully they voted this time,” said Saeed al-Jumaily, The New York Times’ local correspondent in Falluja, who was in an ebullient mood when he dropped by the Baghdad bureau for a post-election visit.

A funny thing was happening now, he said; people in that hardcore Sunni heartland had started praising Amar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq, a Shiite party, for the moderation of his recent statements.

They were probably responding to Mr. Hakim’s riposte after Mr. Maliki refused to accept the election results: “Some people believe in democracy only when it favors them.”

It was, as Mr. Jumaily noted, a good omen. He has worked in Anbar for this newspaper for seven years, and this is the first time he’s felt confident enough in the future to see his name published in it.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.