Iraq: a state of despair
|January 26, 2012||Posted by Alaa Jasim under international|
Something many people do not know about me is that, despite being born in Liverpool, I consider myself to be Iraqi. My parents both come from Iraq, I learned Arabic at the same time as English, and my family lives by Iraqi tradition. And throughout the past decade, I have watched the nation from which my parents originated be slowly, but surely, torn away from me. It think it is pretty clear now that I was never going to be an advocate of the war in Iraq, and over the years my opposition to this ludicrous endeavour has become only more vehement.
False accusations of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were the key into Iraq, and the incessant bombing caused thousands upon thousands of deaths. And then – here comes the shocker – it turns out that all of the accusations were indeed false. But by this point, it’s obviously ‘too late’ to stop the attacks. “The country is in chaos, we need to get rid of Saddam Hussein, we will fight for democracy!” True to their word, the Allied forces did take Hussein down, but the troops killed more people in a year than Hussein during his entire time in power. Is that really a victory?
Saddam Hussein was not a good man. He committed many crimes against fellow human beings but, as much as it pains me to say it, Iraq was stable under his rule. By all accounts, the war was a conflict with illegal foundations, and many people didn’t agree with it. I was still very young when I heard the announcement for war, but I remember the protests, and I remember actually being in one of the marches. Hundreds of people yelling: “Bush, Bush, we know you, daddy was a killer too,” and things like “1, 2, 3, 4, we don’t want your bloody war.”
I think the brutality of the war is something that our generations will never forget. Those shocking images on the news – but when you take what was in the media then, you have to multiply it by about ten to get the reality. The country was in a state of despair, and now it still is. One of the most beautiful countries in the world brought to ruin. It’s gotten to the stage now where people ask me, “Are you ever going to go there?” and I honestly don’t know. My parents would have loved to take me, I know that much, but now they tell me they don’t want me to see my country brought to this state. It’s upsetting, and it’s genuinely heartbreaking to know I will probably never even meet my grandparents.
Sometimes I catch myself wondering what the purpose was of invading Iraq. Why would anyone bother? There were clearly no WMDs. I mean fair enough, get rid of the dictator, but don’t get rid of the bulk of the population with him! Things aren’t getting much better over there. I read a headline saying that if Iraq wanted to recover it would have to split up, but really there isn’t much left to split, is there? I’m not sure anyone can deny that the country has fallen into ruin, and I’m not sure I even want to see it in this state.
I have always disagreed with war. I don’t think killing people to assert your power is effective. It wastes time and money, lives and resources, and all to no avail. People are always shocked when I tell them I’m Iraqi, and even more so when they hear that I have family over there. Day to day I have no idea whether they will still be alive. My grandmother can’t even be transported over the border because of how frail she is. Soldiers sometimes just burst into houses and gun down everyone in them. I don’t think that’s how fighting for democracy should be done. I don’t think that’s how anything should be done.
It’s been nearly a year since I started writing for The Student Review and for the whole time I’ve kept quiet about Iraq. But now I feel like it’s time for me to say what I really think, because someone other than my direct friends and family might as well know my views. Some of you might even find this insightful, I don’t know – but I really hope you find it interesting either way. Your comments, as always, are welcome.