mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Stopping at traffic lights on the arab street

OxBlog links to this USA Today story about how Iraqis are starting to obey traffic laws and traffic police of the new interim government. Dave at OxBlog sees it as a good trend.

Having read PJ O'Rourke's columns for the Atlantic, which talk about driving in the Arab world, this may be even more meaningful.

like this article from Egypt

When I could bear to peek, I saw traffic cops—not in ones or twos but in committees, set up at intersections and acting with the efficiency and decisiveness usual to committees. And I saw a driving school. What could the instruction be like? "No, no, Anwar, faster through the stop sign, and make your left from the far-right lane." Surely John Kifner, Chris Matthews, and NBC News are kidding when they use "Arab street" as a metaphor for anything in the Middle East. Or, considering the history of the Middle East, maybe they aren't.

In his column from Iraq, he talks about distribution of food, discussing how Iraqis would fight with each other over food that the U.S. was distributing, even when there clearly was enough to go around.

If the new Iraqi police can bring order to this, I think it's a pretty good sign that Iraq is improving, and I think it bodes well for the future of Iraq. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but establishing order in a country with that little order is impressive.

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