Archive for category Iraq

A Sad Day for the World

I watched the news closely as it became clear that Saddam Hussein’s hanging was imminent. Charged for crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on one of the many allegations, he was hung on the 30th of December at the Khadamiyah intelligence centre in Baghdad at 6:00am. I woke up to see the Footage of Saddam, as he walked himself to the gallows, staring down the masked Men that surrounded him. This footage was then followed by clips of footage that portrayed Saddam at the pinnacle of his oppressive tyranny and the interviews of many Kurds celebrating his death, and a new beginning for Iraq.

It couldn’t have been further from the truth. There are no denying Saddam’s crimes and few will take the indefensible position of doing so. However, the situation in Iraq is one that deteriorates day by day, December now officially the worst month of the war since it began-the monthly death toll at its highest.

A minister from Saddam’s government appeared on Sky news within recent days and began his interview by stating that Saddam was a terrorist, but the current Prime Minister (Maliki) and cabinet that govern the country are no less than tyrants. “They are not politicians, they are businessmen getting rich on oil money” he said, as he was cut short by the Sky news correspondent. A figure known by few is that oil leaves the country at $ 18.00 a barrel to the United States and Britain, while international prices fluctuate in the sixties. Yet these statistics and others such as those about Iraqi casualties rarely hit our screens. Few know the real figure of Iraqi casualties since the war began, as numbers of Allied forces increase by the digit.

Many are criticizing the court for not following proper procedure in Saddam’s trial. The law states that in cases regarding capital punishment, a defendant may not be punished till he is trialed on all accounts. The trial was said to convict Saddam by the 27th of January. Yet it happened a month earlier, in what seems a hurried attempt to finish ‘unfinished business’ before the exit strategy is in place.

Libya announces 3 days of mourning, and a CNN middle-east analyst justifies the ‘lack of celebration’ or rather silence as a common norm amongst the Arab world. Another car bomb kills 30 in Kufa. Perhaps that’s why they are still quiet.

In this hour, watching footage of the man undoubtedly guilty of the deaths of over 180,000 Kurds I question if the world has ever so slightly progressed. France used a similar foreign strategy in the 1700’s, invading countries on account of ‘defending the homeland’ and establishing a republic so that the people of that country could enjoy the basic freedoms they deserved. Napoleon had the King of Spain executed at the steel scaffold like a common criminal in front of thousands, promising a brighter future to the people. The French soon had to leave Spain, just like the Americans and the Brits will soon leave Iraq. One questions that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Iraqi people, as the anarchy continues and the tyrant is executed a martyr on the holy day of Eid.

Extracts from Saddam’s hand written letter after being convicted of the death sentence:

“Here I offer myself in sacrifice. If God almighty wishes, it [my soul] will take me where he orders to be with the true martyrs, If my soul goes down this path [martyrdom] it will face God in serenity……..I call on you not to hate because hate… makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking. I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us.”

“Dear faithful people,” Saddam added, “I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any honest believer.”

Eman Niazi FY

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Iraq’s education system collapses: Report

 

 

 

CAIRO — Three-and-a-half years after the US invasion-turned occupation, Iraq’s school and university system is collapsing with students and teachers deserting classes and even some fleeing the country to escape killings, kidnappings and security restrictions.

“Education here is a complete shambles,” science professor Mohammed told the Guardian on Thursday, October 5, using only his first name after returning from the funeral of a colleague who was killed in an explosion.

“Professors are leaving, and the situation – the closed roads and bridges – means that both students and teachers find it difficult to get in for classes,” added the 60-year-old professor.

“Between September 8 and 28 two members of the staff were murdered. The staff was supposed to be 42. Now there are only 20,” Mohamed said.

“Students are really struggling. To get them through at all, we have had to lower academic levels. We have to go easy on them. The whole system is becoming rapidly degraded.”

For the fourth time this year a bomb exploded in bustling Tehran Square in downtown Baghdad Thursday, wounding at least 20 day laborers waiting at a spot popular for seeking work.

In the north of the city, a bomb exploded in a mixed Sunni and Shiite district, killing two civilians.

The latest attacks came after a US military spokesman told reporters that attacks by car bombs and roadside booby traps are running at an all-time high.

Operation Together Forward, a joint US-Iraqi security plan, has brought 15,000 US troops and more than 40,000 Iraqi soldiers and police onto the streets.

Yet, the loyalty of Iraqi security forces has been in question, with some Shiite-dominated units accused of collaborating with the militias and death squads fighting a sectarian dirty war which leaves 100 people dead every day.

Iraq on Wednesday, October 4, demobilized an entire 800-strong police brigade and quarantined them in a US military base where they will receive what a US spokesman said was “anti-militia, anti-sectarian, national unity training”.

Drop-Outs

The ferocious violence has forced many Iraqi students and teachers to stay at home, fearing to leave lest being kidnapped and killed.

“Education in my area is collapsing,” said a high school teacher in Amariya.

“Children can’t get to school because of road blocks. The parents of others have simply withdrawn them from the school because of the fear of kidnapping.”

Mohamed, who quit the education system four months ago, said students attending the classes were increasingly dropping out.

“If children have to travel by car, we are much less likely to see them. When I left, we had 50% attendance.

“We see parents when they come in to ask for the children to have a ‘vacation’, and they admit they are too scared to let them come,” he said.

Ala Mohammed, a high school student from Zafaraniya concurred.

“The journey is too long and too unsafe. I don’t know whether I will be going to college or stay jailed at home,” she said.

She was supposed to join her college in Adhamiya, a neighborhood notorious for violence, but she had no other option but to ask for a deferral.

Fleeing

Many Iraqi parents are sending their kids to learn abroad.

“The people who have got the money are sending their children abroad to study,” said Wadh Nadhmi, who teaches politics in Baghdad.

“A lot – my daughter is one of them – are deciding to finish their higher education in Egypt.”

Nadhmi said many professors were doing the same.

“What has been happening with the murders of professors involved in the sciences is that a lot of those involved in medicine, biology, maths have fled.”

Professor Saad Jawad, a lecturer in political science at Baghdad University, stressed that universities are increasingly dominated by militias.

“The militias from all sides are in the universities. Classes are not happening because of the chaos, and colleagues are fleeing if they can,” he said.

“The situation is becoming completely unbearable. I decided to stay where many other professors have left. But I think it will reach the point where I will have to decide.

“A large number have simply left the country, while others have applied to go on prolonged sick leave. We are using MA and PhD students to fill in the gaps.”

More than 181 university professors and academics have been killed in violence since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Another 85 senior academics have been kidnapped or suffered attempts on their lives, according to the Association of University Lecturers in Iraq.

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