Free Iraqi

I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Winds of change from the south.

Thousands of students in Basra University demonstrated Yesterday against "terrorism". Al Basra University announced a general strike until the demands of the students are met. From Al Qabas Kuwaiti newspaper (Arabic). The rally was not against the terrorism carried by the Salafi/Jihadists but against the terrorist activities of the religious parties in Basra and mainly the Sadirsts.The Sadirists and representatives of some radical religious parties have appointed themselves as guardians on the people of Basra and many other southern governorates with She'at majority especially after their lists got the majority of the votes there in both local elections and national ones. Their armed followers appointed themselves as guards in all colleges, hospitals and government institute watching everyone and making sure no one violates their Shre'a. They filled these places with their leaders' pictures and their symbols, challenging anyone who objects to their actions saying that they represent the Marjiyia in Najaf and that they have the support of Sistani.The straw that broke the camel's back came last Tuesday when a bunch of thugs from Sadr office attacked a group of " Basra Engineering College" students, males and females, who were going on a picnic in a public park. The thugs started beating those young men and women without any discrimination which resulted in 15 male students getting seriously injured while the rest were taken to Sadr's office in Basra to force the rule of these terrorists' Shre'a on them, all under the eyes of the local police!Iraqi citizens in the south are generally conservative and they hold great respect for Sistani and that's why many of them voted for the Coalition List that includes many of these parties. But She'at Basraois as well as other She'at Iraqis are also civilized people who would never accept the rule of thugs and barbarians who want to take Iraq back to the dark ages. Thus while they tolerated them in the beginning probably out of fear and/or respect for Sistani, these brave students supported by their families and their teachers have said" Enough". They went on a strike demanding that the ING take over the mission of protecting colleges and hospitals, torn all these religious parties pictures and symbols that looked too holy to be touched for quite a time now and raised signs saying, "No to terrorism, No to Parties (meaning religious parties as they're the only ones in the scene there)" the students kicked the representatives of these parties out of their colleges.As Much as I'm distressed by the action of these thugs, I feel optimistic and proud of the bravery of the Students of Basra who stood against not only these radical thugs but also against a corrupt local government that supports or at least deliberately overlooks the actions of these terrorists. This is the change I was hoping to see, the change of heart s and minds against all sorts of fanaticism which without it all efforts whether by the government or America, with all the sacrifices of Iraqis and their bravery in standing against foreign terrorism, remains useless.Some western experts argue that since there is no democratic society in Iraq, the American liberation of Iraq did not and will not lead to democracy . The first part of this statement is true but the conclusion is flawed.Iraqi society, like most Arab/Muslim societies, is cursed with many problems that chain it and prevent the progress of democracy among its components. The worst of these chains and the hardest to break is dictatorship. By toppling Saddam, America offered Iraqis freedom from dictatorship but it couldn't and would never be able to liberate Iraqi from all other chains. Once Iraqis tasted this freedom the majority of them used it to back up their religious figures that were similarly oppressed at Saddam's hands and thus the religious parties won easily. This chain was not forced but was created by ignorance and the emotional bond between Iraqis and their religious symbols.However, once those religious parties started to use their power that is given to them by God (as they believe) and by the people (through the vote) Iraqis got shocked! This is not what they jeopardized their lives to vote for! They were not freed from Saddam only to face another tyranny, and therefore the same people who voted for the Coalition List have revolted against its fanatic religious components and they will continue their revolt until they win. This will be a peaceful struggle that takes its nature from the fact that American troops are on the ground to prevent any large scale oppression although it can't prevent smaller scattered violations of Iraqi citizens' rights.The anti-democracy forces are facing their worst enemies, a foe that is more formidable than American or Iraqi official troops. They're facing their own people from whom they got their legitimacy in the first place. They'll be fighting a lost battle without any weapon other than their viciousness while moderate Iraqis fight knowing they're the majority that even if it lost the government support it would still have some of it plus what's more important, the support of America, the power that provided the free environment and that will be there to maintain it if needed. Without Ameica's support such struggle would be bloody and most likely fanatics would win in the end but with that support fanatics get trapped between two mighty powers that leave them with a very small chance if ever.