In the last few years we have noticed a disturbing tendency among media outlets, both western and Arab, to divide Iraq into groups based on the religious affiliations or other sectarian lines.
For example, when Saddam Hussein was taken into court, almost all media outlets referred to the victims as "148 Shi'a," rather than "148 Iraqis", as if the Iraqi government was prosecuting for one side and not the other.
As another example, when the Iraqi national soccer team won the Asian cup in 2007, the media focused on the religious affiliations of the players, as if these religious differences are what matter most in the context of the sport and the victory of the team. All of the players are Iraqis, and they are defending Iraq on the football field where sectarian definitions are irrelevant.
As Iraqis from all over the world, we would like to express to the media that this incessant focus on sectarian divisions when it comes to Iraq reporting is anathema to many Iraqis who really look at Iraq as one nation - not a divided land - and we think that in order to heal Iraq’s wounds, we must stop dividing Iraqis into sects and groups when it is not relevant to the story, and should make every attempt to report on the people and their tragedy as one nation.
As Iraqis, we maintain that most of the violence in Iraq is committed by people who do not care about Iraqis - whether Sunni or Shi'a; they care only about destroying Iraq and exploiting the country economically and/or structurally in order to achieve their goal of dividing the Iraqi people among themselves.
We, the undersigned, urge the media on all sides to stop dividing Iraqis into groups when it is not relevant to the story, and to make every effort to report about Iraq and about Iraqis in a way that is accountable to the future of the people and the nation, without needlessly breeding a harmful atmosphere of sectarian conflict and hate.
The Media Should Stop the Sectarian Divisions of Iraq petition to Media Outlets was written by Laith and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.