Home

Iraqis will use war to liberate themselves

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
David Hayes
12 January 2003

The way that Iraqis will take possession of war to reach for inner liberation is the decisive element in the story that is unfolding. This will transform the field of political calculation, inside and outside the country.

There are no perfect choices. No one would wish to start from here. The complicity and misdeeds of western states and corporations are indeed extensive, and must in time be paid for.

Yet, overriding all other factors is one, whose immensity no current debate has begun fully to register. The Saddam Hussein regime is the most pathologically violent in the history of the Arab world. Destroying it will be an unequivocal service to the Iraqi people and to humanity.

The revolution that will follow in the minds and hearts of Iraqis – astonishing, liberating, and inevitable - will be definitive justification for the war that has freed them. In Iraqi memory, it will be indelible.

The aftermath will be convulsive. The nature of the dictatorship has prescribed its own fate. Every grotesque monument will fall, every statue in every town will be blown up, every mosaic or document with his inlaid handprint and inscripted blood will be torn apart. Every trace of the monster will be erased from Iraqi life. Soon, not a single Iraqi will be found who confesses the smallest allegiance to his memory.

There will be many dangers in this period. The need for massive food, health, and infrastructural aid from the military victors will be urgent. Territorial integrity and stable governance will require intense efforts of military, political, and civil society cooperation.

Behind them, the political victors, the Iraqi people, will begin the confusing and necessary task of remaking their society – and in an extraordinarily painful process, exploring the meaning of living with trust and freedom in everyday life.

Iraqis are about to reclaim an active role in their own country’s history. They will be seen and heard telling, in their own voices, the unimaginable stories of these unforgettable years.

In the process, they will write a new script that makes sense out of nationalist madness, as Cambodians, Rwandans, and Bosnians have done before them. Every power in the world, everyone concerned with politics, should read, respect, and engage with it.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II

 

Will COVID break up the UK?

Support for Scottish independence is at record levels. Support for a united Ireland is at record levels. Support for Welsh independence is at record levels.

The British state's management of the COVID crisis has widely been seen as disastrous. Will the pandemic accelerate the break-up of the United Kingdom?

Join us on Thursday 6 August at 5pm UK time/6pm CET for a live discussion.

Hear from:

Anthony Barnett Founder of openDemocracy, he has often written about the need for a progressive England to emerge from the shadow of Britain.

Allison Morris Security correspondent and columnist with the Irish News, and an analyst of politics in Northern Ireland.

Harriet Protheroe-Soltani Trade union organiser for Wales and the south-west, vice chair of the campaign group Momentum, and has written about rising support for Welsh independence on the Left.

Chair: Adam Ramsay Editor at openDemocracy and frequent writer about Scottish independence, most recently in The Guardian.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData