Thursday, April 9, 2009

6 Years Later

It was one of the most important decisions I made in my life that made travel and be in Syria on this day 6 years ago. While I was there, I felt the tension because that date, the fear of what to come in people’s eyes and in the tone of their voices. Taxi drivers, friends I met there, shop owners, everyone who knew who I am and where I originally come from.

Watching with anxiety live TV of the statue falling and Iraqis run to slap the statue with everything their hand can hold was a relief, it was the end of a regime that doomed a nation for decades. At the same time, the happiness was not complete, because of what to come; it was an occupation that toppled the regime. Not that I was foreseeing the future of Iraq, except for the fact that there will be… kingdom come

This happened in the past six years. It is when US troops marched through and beneath the statue of liberty in central Baghdad. Burned and let others burn and loot everything, which dragged the country into a long abyss – some call it the return to the stone age of a country in the 21 century.

I was reading a blog post written by an American woman in 2003 when she expressed her fear and concern on what might happen to a dear friend of hers who joined the US army and was sent to Iraq. At the end of her post, she was hoping that her friend will come back quickly … “after he kills some hundred of Iraqis”, according to that blogger.

I don’t know if the friend of that American blogger made it back – that blogger stopped writing last year. But there is one thing for sure: the macho attitude depicted in that blogger’s words did not resolve but to other than more dismay, for every human being living on this planet, and there is no exaggeration here.

The US occupation of Iraq generated a feeling of loath towards that country by millions all around the world. Many Americans I read about and talked with traveled abroad and went back to the US with uneasiness about how others treat them, to the extent that some would say “I am Canadian” when asked about the nationality – A mix of fear from hostile reaction or that of a shameful sense of guilt because of their government actions.

Reminds me of the time many years ago: the whole world hated us because of Saddam

However, the real tragedy was put upon the Iraqis; hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis paid the price for others, and Iraq became the beacon for all kind of battles, where each claim victory on the other. The result was over a million deaths and millions displaced – not to count women who became widows, children who became orphans, parents lost their children, families lost their properties and everything they own, and millions had to beg for the mercy of other countries to accommodate them.

After 9 April 2003, Iraq became a different country from that I used to know.

It became entirely different from the Iraq I was dreaming of.

How? Iraq topped the list in the last six years as the most corrupted country in the world. In addition, the number of martyrs and the altitude of humiliation ordinary Iraqis faced with reached a record breaking level. Ordinary people got locked in a circle of violence that only provides gains to strangers - The term “strangers” applies also to some Iraqis who dig with their hands deep into every aspect of the country’s economic, social and religious aspect, thinking that Iraq is indeed was the cave where Ali Baba found the ultimate treasures of Baghdad.

Speaking of treasure, I should not forget those with sick minds and shaky faith in their country; I am talking about those Iraqis living abroad who found in Iraq after the toppeling of the regime the golden opportunity to gain political and financial benefits: from those who turned from engineers to car dealers, for example, and started exporting used cars to Iraq; or people living in Europe on social security help suddenly turned into land owners in Iraq. I am not going to talk about those politicians and head of academic institutions who forged recognized university diplomas and became suddenly an important person with PhD in certain field of expert.

History and culture, and even the Geo-political nature of Iraq have been violated in the ugliest way: Everyone noticed the ongoing process to turn Iraq to “the Arabic province” of Iran is just one of many examples. Hundreds of thousands of distinguished figures in the Iraqi army became either jobless or a target for senseless assassination attempts, thanks to the notorious Bremer.

What saddened me most, after 6 years of observing the political scene in Iraq is the sum of lies put forward, the number of manipulations in the words of those who come on TV or write on the internet and newspapers talking about Iraq and what is happening in Iraq. Politicians talk about their honesty, their achievements, about their care for the Iraqi people, about their unlimited power to serve Iraq, to help in bringing justice to those deserve justice. It is outrageous that all Iraqis, from north to south knows certain people or certain individuals as being liars, and those liars know that ordinary Iraqis think that way about them, but they became so shameless to continue in what they are doing. This is not limited to Iraqis, it expands to include other known figures from other countries...

Wait a minute, the whole war and occupation thing is based on a lie and manipulation

9 of April 2003 marked the end of tyranny in Iraq. That regime promised the Iraqi people years before that date a no giving up of power until the whole country turn into ashes.

Saddam made his promise true!

A side note, while people remember and watch the anniversary coverage of the fall of Saddam’s regime on different TV stations today, there was an interview yesterday and today with Dr. Hasan Al Bazzaz, the brother of former Prime Minister, Abdel Rahman Al Bazzas, who died in 1973 after he has been jailed and brutally tortured by Saddam’s Regime. The broadcast came on time, in my opinion, to remind people of a period in modern history of Iraq, to make us link this to that and remember how Iraq used to be and how it became after the occupation.

Will we, as Iraqis learn from our past, from such a bloody and sad history of our country?

There is no contradiction, and I can't say that days under Saddam were better. We used to see threats of military and secret intelligence, where they would storm our house at any minute. We, as Iraqis, have been into a position where the brother cannot trust his brother. We remember how Saddam and his clan butchered innocent people for no reason, confiscated lands and houses from citizens because one of Saddam's family liked that land, slay on anyone's throat if he or she would say anything that might give a chance for Iraq to pprogress and to become one of the most advanced and economically powerful countries in the world.

Not to forget that the former regime, because of its insanity caused a country with massive rich resources goes in deep hole of debts. Finally, it was the same regime that crushed the country into a position where the weak and the strong from all over the world would feed on its remains.

However, in spite of all what happened, all the sorrow, wariness, heart-bleeding events took place in the past years I do share optimistic views on the future of Iraq. There are many who agree with me. Ali, a fellow blogger, who changed the name of his blog from “Ali the Translator” to “A Better Iraq”, is a great example. In addition, my dear friend, B, is another example. He and his very ill mother have a dream to see Iraq flourishing and alive, that one day they would take their families back and participate in building the future of his beloved country. My dear friend, R, is another example, a person who would argue with best friends around and not to let someone say something bad about Iraq, with insistence that the country will be better - in fact R says that the country is going on the right direction despite all what happened and what will happen.

In the past six years, there are wonderful people from all aspectes of life who depicted positive picture of new Iraq. They have their fears, but they have the motivation and determination to move the country forward. I read about those on the internet, I hear about them from friends and relatives. I met some of them who fled the country a couple of years ago because of the secteian conflict. All of them made me happy, proud, and more optimistic. Those wonderful and couragous people challenged the occupation, stood against the secterian and religious attempts to tear the country apart, pushed the bastards who wanted to enforce their agendas and ideologies within society away from every street and alley in Baghdad and other cities. Those Iraqis I am talking about did not believe in Sunni or Shiite; Did not believe in a Kurdish or a Chrisitian; did not believe in that tribe or the other. They did not have a faith in anything, but in one God, and in one country called Iraq... their lasting love.


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Ghassan747

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