An Iraqi offers thanks

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KymarFye, May 8, 2003.


    Thank You
    An Iraqi poet celebrates the dictator's fall.

    Thursday, May 8, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

    Let me confess something: I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Saddam Hussein's statue toppled in Baghdad.

    I am a poet and know that eyes can, and do, deceive.

    For three decades, part of them spent in prison, part in hiding and part in exile, I had often dreamed of an end to the nightmare of the Baathist-fascist regime. But I had never dreamed that the end, that is to say Iraq's liberation, would come the way it did.

    Again and again, I watched the footage showing the fall of the statue. It was as if I was afraid it might slip from the realm of my memory. But it was not until my sister, whom I had not seen for years, phoned me from Baghdad that I was convinced that "The Vampire" had fallen and that we were free.

    "Hello Awad," my sister said, her voice trembling. "The nightmare is over. We are free. Do you realize? We are free!"

    It was not the mullahs of Tehran and their Islamic Revolutionary Guards who liberated the Iraqi Shiites.

    Nor was it Turkey's army that came to rescue the Iraqi Turkomans from Saddam's clutches.

    Amr Moussa, the Arab League's secretary-general, and the corrupt regimes he speaks for, did not liberate Iraqi Arab nationalists.

    Iraq's democrats, now setting up their parties and publishing their newspapers, were not liberated by Jacques Chirac. Nor did the European left liberate Iraq's communists, now free to resume their activities inside Iraq.

    No, believe it or not, Iraqis of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions were liberated by young men and women who came from the other side of the world--from California and Wyoming, from New York, Glasgow, London, Sydney and Gdansk to risk their lives, and for some to die, so that my people can live in dignity.

    Those who died to liberate our country are heroes in their own lands. For us they will be martyrs and heroes. They have gained an eternal place in our hearts, one that is forever reserved for those who gave their lives in more than three decades of struggle against the Baathist regime.

    It is not only the people of Iraq who are grateful for the end of a nightmare. A majority of Arabs and Muslims are also grateful.

    The chorus of lamentation for Saddam consists of a few isolated figures espousing the bankrupt ideologies of pan-Arabism and Islamism. A Moroccan Islamist tells us that the American presence in Iraq is "a punishment from Allah" for Muslims because of their "weakening faith." But if the toppling of a tyrant is punishment, then I pray that Allah will bring similar punishments on other Arab nations that endure despotic rule.

    The U.S. and its allies should not listen to those who wished to maintain Saddam in power and who, now that he's gone, are trying to find a clone to put on a throne in Baghdad. Those who are urging the coalition to leave Iraq as soon as possible wish none of us any good. A precipitate departure could trigger intervention by Iraq's predatory neighbors and foment civil war.

    Replacing one of the most vicious tyrannies with a working democratic system is no easy task. But it is a task worthy of the world's bravest democracies.

    The U.S. and its allies took grave risks and showed exceptional courage in standing up against powers such as France and Russia, and their unwitting allies in the "peace movement," who tried their desperate best to prolong Saddam's rule. We now know that many of those "peaceniks" were actually in the pay of Saddam. Documents seized from the fallen regime are being studied by Iraqis and will expose the professional "peaceniks" everywhere.

    The U.S. and its allies should be prepared to take a further risk, and ignore the supposedly disinterested advice of France, Russia and the Arab regimes to salvage the political and social legacy of the dictatorship. Last February, the U.S. and Britain stood firm and insisted that Iraq must be liberated, regardless of whatever anyone might say. Today, they must remain equally firm in asserting that Iraq must be democratized. They should not leave Iraq until they are asked to do so by a freely elected Iraqi regime in Baghdad.

    In the meantime Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin, Kofi Annan and others have no authority to speak on behalf of my people.

    Mr. Nasir is an Iraqi poet, until recently exiled in London.