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Haifa Zangana: What does the future hold for us?

Haifa Zangana: What does the future hold for us?


What does the future hold for us? The exit of occupation troops from Iraq is imminent. For us, the question is no longer when the troops are leaving, but rather how they will deal with the chaos and destruction they created, how to compensate the people they killed and maimed, and how to build bridges with Iraqi, Arab and Muslim population to regain hope in democracy. On the eve of US led invasion, Nelson Mandela described it as “the US wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." It has.

Life in post “liberation” Iraq is not just the continuity of misery and death under new guises. It is much, much worse - even without the extra dimensions of pillage, corruption and the total ruin of the infrastructure. The occupation has managed to end our hopes, as Iraqis in opposition, of persuading our people of the humanity of democracy and how it would, put an end to all abuses of human rights, torture, and violence against women, death penalty and public executions. As if we have to go through another chapter of what Hanna Arendt termed ‘banal evil’ of functionaries extinguishing life by remote control without thinking.

We who had dreams of going back home to help rebuild our country have been joined now in exile by another 2.5 millions. Hopes to see the “new Iraq” is diminishing with every house demolished, with every school and hospital bombarded, with every family forced to leave home, with every woman widowed. Despair is overtaking our souls and we know very well, from the Palestinian tragedy of occupation and injustice, how volatile is despair when mixed with injustice and how indiscriminate violence could be.

The new implant called terrorism, introduced in Iraq’s body under “War on terror” slogan has grown fast in Iraq and neighbouring countries. Now, in order to regain people’s trust and believe in democracy, we have to face the huge task of fighting the occupation troops and its mercenaries, the sectarian medieval political parties and its militias, the gangs and terrorists. The daily carnage, the meaningless violence in Iraq, justified by tiresome US politicians and their stooges as necessary to establish democracy, has often forced us to distance ourselves from any project carries the word “democracy”. Democracy for people in the Arab and Muslim world has become a dirty word.
The US has failed spectacularly in Iraq yet it is still criminally high on the cocktail of power, arrogance, and ignorance. But above all racism: what is good for us is not good for you. We are patriots but you are terrorists and this racism unless dealt with by people of the world will continue to cost us all innocent lives and blood.

Personally, I find the way out of the mess, for both the US and Iraq, almost clear, provided that the occupiers are willing “to see”. In fact we, a group of over one hundred Iraqi writers, artists and academics in exile, did summaries our position, on the future of Iraq and the Middle East, in a letter we delivered to the British government, few months before the invasion. We said; “That a real change can only be brought about by the Iraqi people themselves within an environment of peace and justice for all the peoples of the Middle East.”

This continues to be the case. It implies that the occupiers have to get off their tanks, take off their racist dark glasses to see us as ordinary people just like themselves. We are not terrorists but willing to risk our lives defending our homes, families, and way of life, history, culture, identity and resources. We do not hate Americans and we do not want to humiliate America but we fight to get rid of the occupation, its greed, brutality and humiliation. We simply believe that Iraq belongs to Iraqis.
As for Iraqi women, one of the biggest blunders of the US policy in the Middle East is regarding Iraqi women who were planned to be the beacon for Arab and Muslim women’s liberation and rights. However, some Iraqi women, in the disastrous process of the war and occupation, were allocated the role of feminization of the occupation. A new breed of colonial feminists was nurtured inside Iraq to act as the cheer leaders of the US policy, mostly while on tour in the US. The majority of Iraqi women resist being a pawn in a military game or a segregated minority in the game of “creating active minorities” designed to divide and rule, even if the designers were women.

The only peaceful future will have to be based on equality, respect, and justice for all men and women bearing in mind that the only route to end the instability and terrorism in the whole Middle East will have to go through Palestine and accepting the right of resistance which is a basic human right as well as a moral responsibility. That was the case during the Algerian war of independence, the Vietnamese war of independence, and is the case in Iraq now.

Haifa Zangana,
Iraqi novelist, UK

Bericht aan de Bevolking is een initiatief van Het beschrijf, in samenwerking met het B/Russell/s Tribunal. Een aantal auteurs van deze teksten treedt ook aan op de Literaire Wake n.a.v. 5 jaar oorlog in Irak, op woensdag 19 maart van 20 u. tot 24 u. in Literatuurhuis Passa Porta, A. Dansaertstraat 46, 1000 Brussel. Zie

Link naar het overzicht