Friday, February 21, 2003

Questions from an Iraqi
This is from a letter penned by an Iraqi woman who lives in exile in London. She poses some tough questions for the anti-war crowd. But she also has no great love for the US or western policy towards Iraq in general. And I think it is important to keep in mind our complicity in arming Saddam during the 1980's and our decision to turn our backs on the Iraqi people in 1991 after we left the country.
Read the entire letter here.

You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about its real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, it is you who are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq. I must ask you to consider the following questions:

Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past thirty years; are you willing to allow him to kill another million?

Out of a population of 20 million, 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their country during Saddam’s reign. Are you willing to ignore the real and present danger that caused so many people to leave their homes and families?

Saddam rules Iraq using fear; he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures large numbers of people for no reason whatsoever. This may be hard to believe, and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard-pressed to find a single family in Iraq which has not had a son/father/brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or ‘‘disappeared” due to Saddam’s regime. What then has been stopping you from taking to the streets to protest against such blatant crimes against humanity in the past?

Saddam gassed thousands of political prisoners in one of his campaigns to ‘‘cleanse” prisons; why are you not protesting against this barbaric act?

This is an example of the dictator’s policy you are trying to save. Saddam has made a law excusing any man who rapes a female relative and then murders her in the name of adultery. Do you still want to march to keep him in power?

Throughout my life, my father and many other Iraqis have attended constant meetings, protests and exhibitions that call for the end of Saddam’s reign. I remember when I was around 8 years old, I went along with him to a demonstration at the French embassy, protesting against the French sale of weapons to Saddam. I have attended the permanent rally against Saddam that has been held every Saturday in Trafalgar Square for the past five years. The Iraqi people have been protesting for years against the war: the war that Saddam has waged against them. Where have you been?

Why is it now – at the very time that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this email – that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America’s policy in Iraq?

Good question.


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