Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, May 11, 2021

How fragile is Iraqi democracy? A ringtone in the form of a Shi’ite religious chant sparked a brawl among legislators that nearly scuttled the newly-formed Parliament.

The squabble started Monday in the lobby outside Iraq’s parliament hall when [lawmaker Ghufran al-Saidi’s] cellphone rang as [Mahmoud al-Mashhadani] was giving a television interview nearby, Saidi told lawmakers and reporters.

Mashhadani’s bodyguards asked Saidi’s bodyguard, who was holding her phone, to silence it, and the aide hung up on the call, Saidi said. When the disconnected caller called back, the parliament speaker’s guards attacked Saidi’s bodyguard and beat him, she said.

Saidi, who wears the head scarf of conservative Muslim women, said the Sunni guards were angered by the Shiite chant. She acknowledged that she joined the brawl.

At Wednesday’s session of parliament, when Saidi took the floor to complain at length, Mashhadani eventually ordered her microphone turned off, TV cameras shut down and the session recessed.

Some lawmakers walked out to protest what they called the speaker’s brusque behavior.

It’s a good thing none of the Founding Fathers were packing cellphones in Philadelphia. Like Thomas Jefferson needed extra incentive to clop Alexander Hamilton in the head…

Fortunately, my KC and the Sunshine Band ringtone (just ported onto a new phone, incidentally) has yet to start a riot. American democracy won’t take a hit because of my incoming calls.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/11/2021 09:38:29 PM
Category: Politics, Tech
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