the comments page in a blog makes more interesting reading than the blog itself. Over at Harrys Place
commentor Zin invited his friend Uri to post his comments. It is good to see that at least one other fellow Iraqi exile has a positive outlook. I post his comment here for your reading pleasure...
Thank you for the questions. I hope these answers are helpful to your discussions.
Who did you vote for and why?
I voted for the Iraqi Patriotic Slate (Iyad Allawi/ICP/Secular/and some tribal notables). My main concern in choosing the right list to vote for is the threat of growing sectarianism, religious intolerance and the impending catastrophic partition of my homeland. I do believe that voting for the Iraqi Patriotic Slate is the last ditch attempt by a secular democrat such as myself to keep- our country together. Unity is the only way to achieve independence, self determination and bright future for my people.
How did you end up in Britain?
Many members of my family have been opponents of the Baathist dictatorshipfor the last 40 years. My aunty was the founder member of the first women's liberation movement in Iraq, back in the 1950s. Others were members and supporters of the Communist Party, the trade union movement and the democratic opposion. Quite of few of them were imprisoned and tortured.
What is your view of Saddam?
Saddam was originally a paid CIA thug who was hired in the late 1950s with the purpose of destroying the Iraqi labour movement and also to destroy the nascent Iraqi civil society. He achieved his mission by enlisting right wing military establishment in Iraq, the corrupt ruling elite of Arab chauvinists, the oil greedy and anti communist USA and fellow Arab dictatorial regimes. In the process Saddam's bunch of thugs have managed to gas the Kurds annihilate the Iraqi left, wage a war on the Shia community, wage a war on Iran with the encouragement of the usual suspects mentioned above. Saddam's thugs played the divide and rule game between ethnic and religious sections of the community. His mission was accomplished when in 2003 Iraq went back to being a Western colony.
Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Why do you think the Americans invaded? What do you think of the occupation?
I opposed the Anglo American aggression, primarily because I realized that our people need to achieve democratic self determination free of the military terror, colonial rule and torture chambers. I knew that the invading imperial army will have a very different agenda from mine.
The occupation's first act after "victory" was to abolish the civil service, police and the Iraqi army. 400,000 Iraqi military personnel "liberated" from their duties and, for what purpose? The borders of Iraq were left unguarded. The ministries were looted and all records were lost. Why????
The US neo-cons wished to create their own utopian fantasy Iraqi state, like a brand new toy. Neo-liberal, "free market" free for all Iraqi replica of themselves. But instead of achieving Capitalist Utopia, they open the door to the Jihadi reactionaries from across the world to rain havoc on the defenseless Iraqi people. With no secure borders and no security, only the sectarian militias of Sunni and Shia Islamists could provide semblance of authority.
The US set up a Governing Council based on purely ethnic and religious sectarian basis, in order to reinforce that sectarian catastrophe.
The occupation forced through laws that allowed the US corporations to siphon billons of Dollars from the Iraqi oil industry, a large part of which is unaccounted for. The occupation tried to pass laws that will fasiliatte the privatization of Iraqi oil and all industrial infrastructure. The sectarian partition of Iraq will mean in the future that each regional warlord will be able to strike a separate dirty deal with Western corporations on the expense of the Iraqi people.
IN conclusion, I think the Iraqi people have been manipulated by the US led coalition, by mixture of brute force and false promises. Just like under any dictatorial regime. What's new ?
Should foreign troops be withdrawn immediately?
What do you think of the insurgency?
Counter-effective and rather stupid. If it was like the ANC in South Africa (non-sectarian and socially progressive), I would have supported them. I want to see my country free.
What do you think of the religious aspect to Iraqi politics?
Is Iraq a democracy?
Are you hopeful or pessimistic about the future?
Hopeful for independence, democracy and social justice.
In another three years time Iraq will have developed a stronger civil society or does he think that the ethnic/tribal rivalries present in Iraq make this unlikely?
I have no idea, but I hope for the former.
...later he added...
My soiled election finger is a testament to my belief that the colonial occupation of Iraq shMould be opposed in different possible ways. First step, Iraqi civil society should be mobilised to reject sectarian, tribal, ethnic and religious racism in our society. We must work to free ourselves from the oppressive feudal mindset that we have inherited in the years of colonial and dictatorial tyranny.
When large enough section of Iraq begin to see through the corrupt manipulation then they will act together as mothers, fathers, gays, women, workers, students who share a desire for liberty. Liberty from poverty, sexism, racism, colonial tyranny and free from fascist rule of any type. We already have a consensus on some of those issues according to the opinion polls.
The next step after that would be a program to empower a new resistance movement
Based on humanist demands to gain independence in order to share the oil wealth for building schools, providing free healthcare, education, workers rights, human rights and equality. We will achieve those aims: "Peacefully if we may forcefully if we must", as the British chartist used to say.
Someone asked if I could have voted if there wasn't an invasion. It's the same as asking if you would have continued breathing if you didnt hand over your purse to the guy with a gun pointed at your head. I can breath without someone holding a gun to my head. I would prefer to vote in a liberated and happy Iraq, thank you very much. Not in one occupied by colonialists who are dividing us up for their own reasons and preventing us from having real choices. We have had enouigh of people forcing things on us and terrorising us for whatever purpose.