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No to dictatorship.” While condemning Saddam’s reign of terror, we were against a “war that would cause more death and suffering” for innocent Iraqis and one that threatened to push the entire region into violent chaos.
Moreover, having lived through two previous wars (the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988 and the Gulf War of 1991), I knew that the actual objectives of war were always camouflaged by well-designed lies that exploit collective fear and perpetuate national myths.
I was one of about 500 Iraqis in the diaspora — of various ethnic and political backgrounds, many of whom were dissidents and victims of Saddam’s regime — who signed a petition: “No to war on Iraq.
Furat hallucinates and imagines Saddam’s fall, just as I often did.
I hoped I would witness that moment, whether in Iraq or from afar.
Shortly after our visit, Iraq descended into violence; suicide bombings became the norm.
The invasion made my country a magnet for terrorists (“We’ll fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” President George W.These texts are haunted by the ghosts of the dead, just as their author is.No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago.Bush had said), and Iraq later descended into a sectarian civil war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more, irrevocably changing the country’s demography. The American tanks were gone, but the effects of the occupation were everywhere.I had low expectations, but I was still disheartened by the ugliness of the city where I had grown up and horrified by how dysfunctional, difficult and dangerous daily life had become for the great majority of Iraqis. I flew from New York, where I now live, to Kuwait, where I was giving a lecture. I was going to the city of Basra, in the south of Iraq.Three months later, I returned to Iraq for the first time since 1991 as part of a collective to film a documentary about Iraqis in a post-Saddam Iraq.We wanted to show my countrymen as three-dimensional beings, beyond the binary of Saddam versus the United States.Many of the Iraqis we spoke to on that day were upset with institutionalization of an ethno-sectarian quota system.Ethnic and sectarian tensions already existed, but their translation into political currency was toxic.That feeling only intensified and matured as I did.In the late 1990s, I wrote my first novel, “I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody,” about daily life under Saddam’s authoritarian regime.