<%-- Page Title--%> Reflections <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 133 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

December 12, 2003

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>

Just a Reminder

Nadia Kabir Barb

War is not about heroes or glory. It is not about the “good guys” or the “bad guys”. It is also not only about the big picture. War is about people, ordinary people, suffering and dying day after day. For many the war in Iraq has become yesterday's news and another topic for the newspaper archives. Whether we were “pro” or “anti” the war has ceased to matter and has taken a significant backseat to the daily routine of our lives. The sufferings of the Iraqi people have been pushed into the background. Now that there is no 24 hour news coverage, it is easier for people to distance themselves from post war Iraq. However, for the Iraqi people the luxury of putting the war behind them does not exist. They have the immense task of rebuilding their lives amidst death, destruction, anarchy and an occupying force.

As a society, we seem to have become more than a little de-sensitized to the actual horrors of war. Some may argue that in many cases peace is an end result of war. Maybe so, but it is easier to decide the fate of a nation and its people from the comfort of our homes especially when our personal safety or that of our families is not in question. How many politicians would take a decision which might actually endanger those near and dear to them? In fact it is ironic that people like George Bush so easily take decisions to wage war in a country situated thousands of miles away putting the lives of thousands of civilians in danger whilst having the highest security for his own personal safety. Does this mean the value of his life is worth hundreds of Iraqi lives or any other lives for that matter? When we listen to a tirade of statistics or newspapers reporting casualties or loss of lives, it may make us frown and shake our heads in pity but the reality of the events to do not make any direct impact. Do we ever think that the bullets fired by soldiers or civilians rip through flesh and shatters bones? Probably not. When we talk about “cluster” or “carpet” bombing do we ever think of charred bodies or severed limbs? Can we even imagine that it might have been us sitting with our family and that within a blink of an eye one of these bombs could annihilate our entire family? How many times do we actually try and understand the emotional pressure and scars that people in war ridden countries experience? Not very often I think.

November1,2003. Meanwhile the destruction goes on... Photo: AFP

If you look at post war Iraq the war having been declared officially over by George Bush in May earlier this year, what do we find? The crux of the whole argument for going to war was the existence of weapons of mass destruction so where exactly are they? Oh yes, there are none. In fact the whole war that was based on Saddam's possession of WMD seems to have been pure fabrication. Even the weapons inspectors sent to Iraq in place of Hans Blix and his team have not been able to find anything nor really do they expect to.

So, where is Saddam Hussein? Saddam who? “We seek him here, we seek him there, we seek him nearly everywhere, but the search is all in vain, to catch that damned elusive Saddam Hussein”. The US no longer seems interested in finding the man who they were determined to remove from power for all the atrocities he has committed. Hussein was a tyrant and needed to be removed from power but to go to war was not the answer. Once again George “Dubya” and his billions of dollars worth of human resources and technology have not been able to “smoke 'em out of their holes”. As far as we are concerned, both Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are still on the loose.

Having liberated the Iraqi people, what exactly is the price they have paid and are still paying for this so called freedom? Everyday there are more and more dead and wounded, civilian and non civilian alike. Even for the US army the number of fatalities has been stated as being around 400 but the numbers of US soldiers injured runs into thousands. According to Mr. Bush, he "can understand people not liking war, if that's what they're there to protest. I don't like war. War is the last choice a president should make, not the first. And it was the last choice, after endless years of diplomacy took place.” Are we supposed to have short term memory and forget that the weapons inspectors were pulled out of Iraq before they had completed their work at the behest of the US and Britain and do we just accept that despite the growing number of deaths in Iraq, we should feel good about giving them their so called “freedom”? But freedom in Iraq is not in the absolute sense for example, due to an order issued by the US-led authority in Baghdad in June, Iraqi courts are forbidden from hearing cases against American soldiers or any other foreign troops or foreign officials in Iraq and so far no American soldier has been prosecuted for illegally killing an Iraqi. So what kind of freedom or justice is this?

We can only speculate how much longer this state of chaos will continue in Iraq but the least we can do from the comfort of our home is spare a moment for the people there whose primary concern may be relief at having lived to see another day…




(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star