Saturday, March 21, 2009


Iraq; Six Years of Occupation

Monday, March 16, 2009
Peace be upon you…
I cannot believe it has been only six years that passed upon us since the 2003 war. Why does it seem like it happened twenty years before? Why did sorrow accumulate upon our hearts as if we have never lived in comfort and happiness before, as if the beautiful events of our lives were just dreams gone by, leaving nothing but memories…
We got used to comparing all events to what happened after the war; I mean- when I remember my mother and father, may god rest their souls, when I remember my childhood, my life at school and university, when I remember the days of my engagement and marriage, my children’s childhood, my successes at work, when I remember our travels around the world, or to other countries to live; all these I remember through a sadness-filled-filter; the filter of war, occupation, bombardment, and fear, then- displacement, poverty, hunger, and the darkness that engulfed Iraq. I remember everything mingled with the sad events that came afterwards, my memory is no longer clear, undisturbed, happy, and carefree as it used to be before…
Even the present is mingled with the war filter; when I travel to any country, I suddenly remember Baghdad; a street, or a tree, a bridge or a river, would remind me of her, awakening the sadness in my heart for her… for the disasters and calamities that befell her… if I enter a public park in any city I go to to spend a holiday, I suddenly remember a public park where we used to go during the holidays in Baghdad; the Celebration Park, or Al-Zawra’a Park. When I see children playing with each other or with their parents, playing football or volleyball, having fun, enjoying themselves and laughing aloud, some of them riding bicycles, falling- getting up, then moving ahead in merriment and happiness, when I see the little children riding the small train that moves around the park, with their parents, the sound of their laughter echoes around the place, I think- that is exactly how we used to live in Iraq before the war…
Was there a dictator on the air there?
Yes, there was a dictator there.
And is there a dictator here?
Yes, there is here too, and everywhere. But at least these people live in security, despite the poverty, hunger, and the need that shakes the lives of most people, there is a priceless blessing- the blessing of peaceful living, even though under the shadow of poverty, or a pig-like dictator. It doesn’t matter, for life goes on, in sweetness and bitterness, the night must move away, things must improve somehow, for that is God’s way in the universe, and God’s way does not change….
The continuity of matters is an impossibility… everything changes and vanishes, and only God remains… *******************************
War is the ugliest thing that can be committed by a human against a human, and against the whole universe; cities, bridges, and buildings get destroyed, things that were built and depleted the budgets of countries, especially poor countries; bridges, schools, hospitals, civil and military buildings built in years, being blown up in moments. What cruelty, what recklessness?
I look at the video games played by my children or the neighbor’s; they’re exactly like what happened on the ground in Iraq; massing armies and allies, equipping war machinery- tanks, war planes, helicopters, machine guns, land-to-land missiles, land-to-air missiles, and other killing and destruction weapons, then- the battle starts on computer. The children find these games amusing, they encourage them to keep on, to challenge, until they break their enemy and laugh while enjoying victory. But reality doesn’t resemble the game on computer, soldiers and officers shouldn’t laugh in victory… the results in reality are painful, bloody, and disastrous; the results in reality are real corpses, real blood, real civilian and military buildings demolished, with real people inside; a destruction of these people’s lives for decades ahead. The air raids destroy bridges, buildings, streets, houses, schools and hospitals, no matter- the idea is to destroy the enemy. And who is the enemy? A rock, a tree, or a block of reinforced concrete in the desert? The enemy is a human, just like the attacker. How do you kill a human, destroy his city, kill his wife and children, or at least- destroy their future if you left them alive? How can you let yourself do this? If you were a soldier, a pilot, an officer in the army, an administrative person, or any member working in the war team against the other? War is a cursed game, and every one who let himself take part in it is cursed, and for what? Outwardly, it is big talk- like loving ones country and defending it, but covertly, in most cases; we receive salaries for this work, we live and our families on this salary, we cannot disobey orders, or- there are some material incitement that would make us agree to join the war team, and that’s a bigger disaster, it means- mercenaries; people who trade themselves and their conscience for petty worldly gains, profits they took for spilling people’s blood in other countries, people they do not know, or know anything about, but they are supposedly enemies that should be destroyed. That is the essence of the idea…
Are these humans? Animals do not wage destructive wars against each other. These people are below the animal level in comprehension, and uglier in actions…
And the environment? The whole environment is polluted by wars; the soil, the water, and the air. The numbers of deformed births rose up in Iraq after 2003, according to the statistics of Iraq doctors we met with many times, the pollution in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is caused by heavy elements is causing many difficult diseases, like kidney damages, the neurological system, arthritis and joint ailments, and more. These diseases are caused by elements remaining in the water after the war, and cannot be removed unless by using certain water treatment systems, which are usually high in prices, and most people cannot afford to buy them, and the state cannot use a central water treatment system to remove these toxic elements from the water. There is also the depleted uranium, used in the Iraq war, the environmental pollution it caused made the rate of cancer go high, especially among children, who cannot realize it is around them, in a damaged Iraqi war vehicle, destroyed by a missile carrying depleted uranium, perhaps the children would spend the whole day playing around that damaging radiation polluted piece, unknowing….
If those who waged wars thought- what would their hands reap after this foolish venture, perhaps they would have hesitated. If they had a grain of mind and perception, but- greed and avidity blinds their eyes and suspend their minds….
********************** ***********
I go back to sad Iraq, looking at it after six years of war and occupation. In the newspapers and the news you read different and various reports, some are true, some exaggerate, and some lie, about what happened in Iraq and what was accomplished in Iraq. A mixture that causes headache, and confusion. Then you go back on the Internet to see websites for many international organizations who have programs in Iraq; some for studies, some for training personals, some projects for the refugees and the displaced, some follow up on health issues, asking for donations, some follow up on women’s issues and ask for donations, and some follow up on children’s issues and ask for donations, and so on,…and so on… we became an important issue for trading; each person who wants to promote his organization, would come forward to knock on doors and beg for the Iraqis. Oh, my God! You hear about projects with millions of dollars spent yearly in Iraq by the UN or other international organizations, you imagine that Iraq is living in comfort and bliss, that the Iraqis suffer from nothing; the dictator has fallen, hundreds of Parties were formed, hundreds of newspapers were issued, and hundreds of satellite TV channels, the people now have mobile phones, internet, and satellite receivers, an elected Iraqi government, an elected Iraqi parliament, and many amazing things…wow…Iraq lives in heaven, that’s how the story of Iraq being circulated through the international media, and especially the American media…. But there is another side of the story, and other facts that are being marginalized. Outside Iraq now there are, according to the statistics of reliable international organizations, around 5 million Iraqi refugees. Of those, I saw with my own eyes the lives of the poor classes of them while I was in Jordan and Syria, I worked with many organizations to achieve some projects for them, and I saw that the level of the services presented to them is merely drops of water to keep them alive, barely… as for the middle or rich class Iraqis; their families split and scattered, some live in Jordan, parts of the family live in U.A.E., Europe, America, or still in Baghdad. I seldom meet an Iraqi family of those who are still all living on one spot after the war. Take us, for example; we used to live in one house, with my three sons around me, now, only one of them is with me, the rest are in different countries, and so are my brothers and sisters; before the war we were all in Iraq, now- only one is in Iraq, and seven are scattered in different continents….
As for those who live in Iraq, or you call them directly and you can have a network of connections in different cities and towns, individuals or organizations, in the east, west, south or north, you hear nothing but calls for help from there; we want clean water, we want enough hours of electrical power, we want medicines, we want job opportunities, we want projects for widows and their orphans, we want long-term solutions for the displaced, we want projects for the young generations, we want the villages’ schools to be repaired, we want…, we want…, we want… so, where are the stories of reconstruction, the millions of dollars that the news and newspapers, especially the Americans, are talking about? Where are the accomplishments of the young Iraqi government and the parliament, in two or three years? We hear nothing but that (……….), a Minister, stole millions then fled outside the country, and no one sued him, that (……….), a parliament member, has also stolen, or joined in a plot, in explosions, in disasters, then went out of Iraq, fled to another country and no one pursued him. We also hear in the news about scandals and discoveries of criminals in the Police Force and the Army; of professionals who led sectarian killing squads against innocent civilians, then, hundreds of them would be discharged from their jobs.
Where is the questioning? Where is the punishment of the bad? Where is the reward for the good?
Is this a young democratic state, or a garden of chaos with its walls in ruins, so the thieves would steal and run away, without a guard on the gate to stop them, or a judge inside the garden to judge them? The poor are dying of hunger and need, crying, calling for aid and no one cares about them, the rich are getting richer but no one knows what is rightful of their wealth and what is ill-gotten. Some banks around the world are filled with money stolen from Iraq, but no one investigates, and no one cares.
Poor you, Iraq. Why is all this happening to you? Is it because you are the country of wealth and welfare, and all are greedy to get you, lurking to get you? Or because you defy your foes?
I tell myself: I do not think we deserve that all these disasters would befall us… we are not angels, we are humans like all others, there are the good and the bad among us, there are the weak and the strong, there are the believers and the disbelievers. But what happened to Iraq is a great trial, and a big test for us all, Iraqis and non- Iraqis. We ask God that we should not be of those who are bewitched by this matter, thinking that God the Mighty does not hear or see what is happening in Iraq, thinking that God is not rightful, letting injustice spread, prevail, and be victorious. But God in his highness looks, sees, and is testing us; how we act while living in this mess? Whose side shall we take? The killers and thieves’ side? Or with those who help the people and save them? Or with a third side, living in a closed bubble, caring for nothing but fulfilling their petty, small daily whims?
This is the sum of the world’s philosophy; why do we live? Each one of us chooses his own way by his will…. And the team of killers and thieves plundered the country’s wealth and goods since 2003 till now, and the team of urgent human aid is poor, gathering crumbs of donations from here and there to give small aid here and there. The equation is not even, at all.
This is the reality of things on the ground, in my experience….
How shall the future of Iraq be?
For me, in my opinion, Iraq will keep on moving in that direction as long as the occupation remains, the country will be weak, without a will, and I mean- the government and the executive systems, so that the justification will always be there for the occupation to remain. Even if they withdraw the armies after 18 months, that doesn’t mean total independence. There will remain some visible or invisible lines connecting Iraq with Washington, and Iraq will remain a follower as long as the lines remain.
When will things change?
When a new Iraqi leadership comes to rule; a nationalistic, brave, strong leadership that has a clear vision to solve Iraq’s problems, a leadership with the confidence to implement realistic programs and solutions to solve the country’s problems. Then, that leadership will ask the occupation to re-size itself, and diminish its powers. This is along battle, a long struggle against the occupation, its presence, and its power on the land of Iraq. And these aren’t naïve dreams; these are facts I see as if by eye, but will take long years to achieve. This is the way of the universe’s Creator, and you won’t find a change to God’s way….
The unjust goes away, the dictator falls, empires grow weak, abate, and vanish. The right remains… and justice prevails… these are the laws of God…
And I smile, at the sixth anniversary of occupying Iraq, in spite of the sadness weighting on my heart, but I will never give up hope, ever; that Iraq will come beck to its people, that a brave nationalistic leadership will come, a leadership that wants only Iraq’s interest, will negotiate the occupation out, and will withdraw all the occupation’s powers.
When will that day come?
Only God knows…. But it will come, no doubt… for these are God’s laws on earth…

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