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.
Nuha Al-Radi
12 January 2003

It comes as a big shock that in this age of supposed democracy, a country can be invaded, colonized and occupied in so blatant a manner – daisy-cuttered and e-bombed, all in the name of peace. And that it’s even feasible to look on, like at a play unfolding or something live on T.V. Even more extraordinary is the fact that this war on terror and all the so-called ‘Islamic’ terrorist activities that are taking place all over the world are the work of every nationality except Iraqi. There is no logic to this action, unless it is the logic of power and greed, hypocrisy and lies. These are the virtues and morals of the U.S. - the country that rules the world. It is morality driven by the black gold - oil.

I am a potter, sculptor, painter. I try to visualise things. Right now I am in Pakistan preparing for an exhibition. One of the journalists interviewing me asked me why my work did not depict Iraq – the million children dead, the results of 12 years sanctions, the damage left behind with the depleted uranium etc. During the first Gulf War I was in Baghdad and wrote a diary that was published. It was just every day life under bombardment, which later became just living and trying to mind one’s own business. I wished then that something could happen to the U.S., and now 12 years later a repeat is about to take place, on a now weak and battered nation, 22 million people trying to mind their business and live their lives.

A dictatorship within is to be replaced by a military occupation from outside. We already know how much (and how little) care is given later to helping put right the damage done. How can we hope for a different reality?

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


How can Americans fight dark money and disinformation?

Violence, corruption and cynicism threaten America's flagging democracy. Joe Biden has promised to revive it – but can his new administration stem the flow of online disinformation and shady political financing that has eroded the trust of many US voters?

Hear from leading global experts and commentators on what the new president and Congress must do to stem the flood of dark money and misinformation that is warping politics around the world.

Join us on Thursday 21 January, 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy 

Further speakers to be announced

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