Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Iraqi women are speaking up for the first time in 30 years. I particularly like this woman's outlook.

"Thank God, we survived the Saddam regime," said Saniya al-Raheem, a petite 56-year-old housewife.

"Our living conditions remain very difficult, but I accept them because now is better than before. I can freely express my feelings and talk about my problems," al-Raheem said.

"I can even say the Americans are doing nothing to help us and I am frustrated because two of my grown-up sons are jobless," she said.

She already gets it. Conditions may suck but now she can complain and even try to do something about it without having to fear retaliation, torture and death.

"It was a cruel system. We were living under terror and we all suffered from it," said Balkis Al-Shamary, a 25-year-old clerk at an optician's shop.

"It was for our own survival not to talk about politics. We could not even discuss our personal problems openly," she said.

Yet, somehow, so many thought we could have a dialogue with Saddam to avoid conflict. When a regime crushes the life out of people in such a way destroying all possibility of an open society how can we expect those rulers to respect and abide agreements outside their own borders?

For Maha Abrahim, a 33-year-old who owns a wedding dress-hire shop, the end of the brutal regime allowed her for the first time to exercise freedom of speech.

"I like listening to radio discussions. They talk about small things such as traffic jams, police, electricity and people who guard our neighborhoods," Abrahim said.

"I like free discussions. I talk about these issues with my families and friends. This could never happen during the Saddam years," she said.

And that is a great start. They must concentrate on the local issues. Make sure your home, your street, your neighborhood, your town are headed in a better direction. We have removed the external threat and the Iraqis themselves must build up their nation from within. We can't force a nationhood on them, we can offer protection and guidance but they must decide to tkae responsibility for charting their own future (barring, of course, a "choice" for despotism again).

< email | 7/03/2003 11:20:00 AM | link

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