Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Iraqis On Iraq

The BBC reports on what ordinary Iraqis are saying about their country. Here is what a 32 year-old man from Basra had to say:
Let me describe our situation before the fall of the previous regime. We were like a sick, weak prisoner under the thumb of a cruel jailer.

Then, suddenly and without warning, the gates of our prison were flung open. We were told: "Come on, you are free!"
The previous regime used to tell us what to read, what to watch and what to listen to.

There were no newspapers except the regime's and the Baghdad and Shabab youth radio stations. Even then, Shahab was owned by Uday, Saddam's eldest son.

If you tuned into these two stations, you would hear all about the president's audiences and activities.

On television we had, once again, the Iraq and Shabab stations. And again, the latter used to air the president's sayings and had a very entertaining programme called "Poems about the love of the leader"!

The previous regime used to tell us what to say and what work we could do. It would decide how much we earned. Indeed, we did not even get salaries but "gifts" from the president.

Please note that the "gift" my sister - a doctor and a specialist - used to get would amount to only $8 per month.

Then the moment of salvation came. Perhaps I shouldn't use the phrase "moment of salvation", for to do so implies we were expecting such a moment when in truth we were feeling hopeless.

Call it what you will, it happened and it was a magnificent thing.

Iraqis are feeling better. They are breathing the air of freedom. They read, watch and say what they want.

They travel, work and receive a living wage. They use mobile phones, satellite dishes and the internet, which they did not even know before.

The negative side, which is transient, is that some here are trying to force others to accept their way and even using force to achieve that.

As for terrorism, we are now beginning to unite against it and to defeat it.

I say to you: Wait two or three years and you will be pleasantly surprised.

There is no mistaking the optimism in his voice! You can read more, pro and con, here.
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