Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dear Faiza
Visiting Jordan and meeting you and khalid and lots of other people gave more and more strength to the knowledge that we had bombed, occupied, and destroyed a civilised educated country.Often in jordan I wondered to myself, if Jordan is far more advanced and educated than I expected, how much more so must Iraq have beenThe difficulty has been that people in UK and US have had stereotypes of people in Arab countries formed for them during the colonial period. Just like Edward Said said.
Arabs are excitable people who dress differently in nightshirts, and turbans, treat their women as second class citizens, have corrupt inneficient governments who are merciless to foreigners. They eat sheeps eyeballs, and write the wrong way round. They pray to a strange God in a way that is foreign. They live in mud houses in hot countries and travel most places on camels, except for murderous militias who have Nissan trucks with machine guns on. they are a danger to the oilfields which is the only reason we take any notice of them.
So who really cared if the electricity hasnt worked for two years, who cares if there is sewage in the streets, who cares if a thousand die in a day because a bridge breaks.
They are far away people who are adjusting to the growing pains of life.People got to care about the Blacks in America because Martin Luther King made great speeches on TV about their right to be treated as equal citizens.People got to care about the Irish because Gerry Fitt and Bernadette Devlin marched to demand the same rights for catholics in Ireland that the Blacks were marching for in America.People get to care about Iraqis as human beings by reading the blogs of articulate informed writers who point out that they are probably better able to govern themselves than the people who have tried to govern them since the invasion.You and Khalid are so different from the stereotype but are just ordinary middle class Iraqis. That is why I think you would make a marvellous fundraiser in england and be an enormous force for good.

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