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A New Kind of Democracy
Published on Sunday, April 20, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
A New Kind of Democracy
by Hamsa Mohammed in Baghdad
 

As an Iraqi civilian, and after being through this war, and after listening to all that has been said and done, I want everyone to know that this war has just begun. This isn’t the end. And everyone should know that the Iraqi people are ready to sacrifice their lives for Iraq, and only for Iraq – not for Saddam, and not for the Americans.

For years, most people have seen Iraq only through Saddam We always tried to make people see them as two different things, but it was too hard. Now that Saddam is no more, the question is—what will the world see now?

The United States said, or to be more precise—George Bush said that they will enter Iraq as liberators not as occupiers, and that they are here to eliminate an aggressive regime, to destroy the weapons of mass destruction, to offer the Iraqi people freedom and independence, and to help Iraq regain a respected place in the world. But will Iraq be just another American State?

From my place now we are not even respected in our own land. We don’t have the right to say anything about what the Americans are doing. They hold the machine guns, and we don’t. Is this the new, George Bush democracy?

We are calling for democracy. We want our voices to go out to the world with no fear. But that is not possible because we are not free. We are not free to move, especially at night. We are not allowed to film near any U.S. military (just like with Saddam!). Al-Jazeera TV was threatened and accused that they were not showing the right (American) viewpoint, and their live pictures of the war were not true, and so their office got bombed and one of their reporters were murdered because the American government was not pleased with their programs. Is this the new, George Bush democracy?

Voices in the Wilderness was stopped from working at the Palestine hotel because they did some writing that showed part of this reality. So they had to be stopped. So where is the democracy? Where is the freedom?

We don’t even have the right to protect ourselves and our families. We see looting and crimes that are committed, and we can’t stop them. We can’t even say “no” to anything the American soldiers are doing, even if it is illegal.

For example, the weapons that they find now, in the city, they are destroying them in the middle of Baghdad – in the city where children, women, and men live, with no concern for what it might do to the properties of the people, and some of our people have lost their lives and houses because of those destructions. They don’t have any other place to live. Who is responsible for that?

In addition to that, the pollution that these destructions are causing to the environment, and the diseases that might appear because of no clean water, and not enough medicines, these things threaten all of us.

Who is in charge of this? Who is responsible for all these crimes? Or this the new, George Bush democracy, where no one can say, “No!”?

Hamsa Mohammed is a 22 year old Iraqi college student at Baghdad University, and captain of the women’s volleyball team. She hopes to be a writer.

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