If Iraq Became a Cause...
Jalal Mashta, Dar Al-Hayat, 2003/04/22
Palestine was lost when it became a 'cause.' Its destiny is no longer in the hands of its citizens. Instead, it became a subject of compromise in Arab and international political bazaars. Today's developments indicate that Iraq will turn into another such 'cause' and is on the fastest way to loss.
There are many 'experts' on the Iraqi issue who give orders and instructions to Iraqis as well as advice and sermons, without being or being known as ascetic or pious.
If it were only about sermons, things would be easier; for someone is deepening the wound when talking about "the fall of Baghdad," wrongly considering that Saddam and Iraq are one.
The fallen one (in several meanings) is the regime, whereas Baghdad is trying to emerge from the injustice it was living in. However, some 'brotherly' hands are trying to sink it back in a swamp of tyranny that certain Arabs imagine as a haven of stability.
Experts talk about an internal war axis in Iraq, in an attempt to trigger confessional feuds and national hatred so as to show that Iraqis are like spiders in a closed bottle, and that each one is trying to stick its poisoned needle in the other.
No one can deny the sectarian and national discrimination, which sometimes led to organized mass killings. But these crimes did not express a situation common to Iraqis; it was rather a strong expression of the nature of the totalitarian and despotic stage that Iraq has been going through for the past 25 years. Today, Iraqis are not looking for confessional divisions. They are looking for a way out of the dark decades, when the regime beheaded opposition figures without taking into consideration their confessional or national allegiances.
The Iraqis are emerging from darkness towards freedom; in the process, they will have to make sure they don't go blind, and fall into traps which they could be pushed into by 'benefactors' - for those who oppose Saddam's regime are used to revenge killings, and press those who are members of former regime to fill in a pretended inequity in national and confessional proportionality.
Although the Iraqis have showed so far a wise attitude, which surprised many, and did not listen to 'advisors,' the danger is still there, because by hammering iron continuously, one might kindle the fire of conflict.
It is obvious that the Iraqi cause is very important and has many Arab and regional dimensions. As such, no one can avoid talking about it. There is no doubt that the Iraqis need a wide support to eliminate the remains of the dictatorship stage, end the foreign occupation, rebuild the country and establish a pluralistic, democratic regime that opposes by its nature the political, confessional and national oppression practices.
There is a difference between support and tutelage. Iraqis are not minors and they have a cultural history that dates back to thousands of years, all of which will allow them to find a way out of the past decades, without turning into... a 'cause.'