Join the March Against Terrorism
This rally, however, is NOT limited to Muslims and Middle Easterners.
The choice of peace or war lies not with the Iraqis who ignored terrorism and intimidation to vote in their millions, the Iraqis to whom I am accountable. No, that decision lies with the terrorist minority that despises freedom and spurns every offered opportunity to enter the political process. The attacks on election officials, the suicide bombings of voters, and the cowardly attacks on brave Iraqis waiting in line to join our fledgling security forces are not the tactics of "resistance" or "freedom fighters" but of murderers and criminals. Nor are the terrorists by any stretch of the imagination the repressed or the disadvantaged. They chose violence despite consistent exhortations to contribute to the new Iraq. They are, for the most part, representatives of the old regime, Baathists who gorged themselves on their compatriots' riches. They are not the dispossessed of the earth but those who have been deprived of their palaces.
Saad, 32, Basra, Sound Engineer
Let me describe our situation before the fall of the previous regime. We were like a sick, weak prisoner under the thumb of a cruel jailer.
Then, suddenly and without warning, the gates of our prison were flung open. We were told: "Come on, you are free!"
[...] Then the moment of salvation came. Perhaps I shouldn't use the phrase "moment of salvation", for to do so implies we were expecting such a moment when in truth we were feeling hopeless.
Noura, 32, Baghdad, Computer Engineer
Iraqis should remember the law now is not as it was under Saddam.
They should remember we have a golden chance of freedom, a wish shared by many other suppressed nations.
Nada, 32, Mosu, Government Worker
We never imagined that the Turkmen community would have a political party representing them in Iraq, but this is happening now. We have our own flag, too, in addition to the Iraqi flag.
This was impossible during Saddam's era. Had we dared to do any of these things then we would have ended up buried in a mass grave.
Kaban, 31, Baghdad, Electrical Engineer
There have been many changes since the fall of Saddam's regime, but the most important change was that we feel free.
Many Iraqis had lived in fear of the regime for years, therefore the first step along the way to democracy and freedom was getting rid of that fear.
This freedom led to breaking the isolation which had engulfed us Iraqis - especially the Iraqi intellectuals - during the Saddam era.
The only thing that worries us is the security situation. However, those who say that security was better in the past are completely wrong.
It is true we did not have suicide car bombings in Saddam's era, but our homes did not feel safe from the intrusion of Saddam's security men, who came in the middle of the night to kidnap, kill or rape.
Walaa, 25, Baghdad, School Teacher
From what I have seen, I can say that the Sunnis in Iraq do not live in isolation from the political and social circles of life, as many people outside Iraq seem to believe.
Nothing has affected our relationships with each other - we face the same problems. This applies to Sunnis or Shia, Christians or Muslims, Arabs or Kurds.
Unfortunately, the refusal by some Sunnis to participate in the elections was the cause of some political isolation.
Imad Mohammed, 25, Baghdad, University Graduate
After the regime change in Iraq, I expected radical changes in Iraqi society. I hoped things would improve.
This is true in some cases. For example, as an Iraqi, I am no longer afraid that the secret security service will arrest me.
I am no longer afraid that I could be tortured, jailed, or killed simply because some officials do not like me.
I am no longer worried about losing my dignity or my life. And I am also getting a higher income, like most Iraqis.
I have bought a new car - which was a dream for me - and all commodities are available in the markets now, in contrast to Saddam's time.
Iraqi want to live in peace after long years of wars. They just want normal lives without violence and sectarianism.
I hope that one day Iraqis will overcome all the difficulties they face. I hope they build a new country for this generation and the coming ones.
Informed Syrian sources have said that the national conference of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, which will be held most likely the seventh or the eighth of the coming month, with make a decision to dissolve the party's national leadership. The engineer Ayman Abd al-Nur told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that it is expected that the first conference in a quarter of a century will decide to transfer the national leadership of the Baath Party to a National Council which will be headed by a Supreme Administrative Office.If this change is for real rather than just trying to show change but not really change, then I have to say that Bashar Al Assad outwitted Saddam and it is one of the most important changes in the region's political dynamics. However, if it is just a show, then it will be clear very soon and it will prove that there is no - and there will never be - a smart Baath leadership!
Abd al-Nur added that it was not known yet whether or not President Bashar Assad would head this upper organization or if he would appoint one of the party leaders to head it, except that he did signal that the largest part of the process of change to the constitution of the Baath Party and its implementing law and basic ideology had already been performed, and this meant the substitution of the phrase "social justice" for the term "socialism" and the phrase "democracy" for "freedom." And following on what had been rumoured as to the existence of ideas calling for changing the name of the party to become the "Democratic Party" [hizb al-demaqratiya, I'm not making this up] instead of the Arab Socialist Baath," Abd al-Nur emphasized that this matter was set for discussion for the conference.
One of the things that we, that is, my self-styled self-imposed Patron and I, talked about during that fateful two hour meeting was the possibility of – drum roll please – holding multi-candidate presidential elections coupled with free parliamentary elections where the Baath Party will compete on the same constitutional footing as any other party.Read the rest here. Amirji's ideas will be passed to the president himself! Yes, Al Assad!
Had this person, let’s call him here General Dashing for simplicity’s sake, been any other state official, I wouldn’t have given his statements a second thought, and would have easily dismissed him as just another word-peddler, just like me sometimes, if I may wax self-critical.
Being who he is, though, made me take what he said in this regard very seriously. These “people” seem to have finally realized how deep their crisis happens to be, how existential it really is, and this, it seems, has compelled them to finally accept the intimate link between the way out and the necessity of undertaking radical internal political reforms, something they would never have contemplated, I know, just a few short months ago.
Now this must be good, isn’t it? I mean what more can we ask for?