FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Shall I Tell My Fellow Syrians and Iraqis?

by

Shall I explain to these besieged, patient, impoverished millions that this war is the last one? Shall I confide that it’s hopeless; better get out? (To where?) Shall I urge them to enlist their sons with the moderate rebels who the coalition will support? Or, say “Forget about reforms; even if the current leader is ousted, Arabs are just not ready for democracy”?

Shall I argue: “The Sykes-Picot division of their homelands created your national boundaries; so don’t be so attached to them”? Shall I go there to help care for the wounded and the orphans? Or plead that I didn’t vote for this president, just as liberal Americans assured their Iraqi friends a decade ago that they hadn’t supported the administration that invaded Iraq in 2003?

Shall I placate those already settled in the West with “Aren’t you happy you left”?

There’s no way for people here in USA to imagine what Syrians and Iraqis are thinking; and thereby offer advice, or relief.

And then there’s the war machine. It needs feeding. And there are European and American leaders needing to show they’re capable of thwarting a threat. The enemy too. It needs to be shown how this ‘civilized world’ can and will crush it.

So another war is announced. That is to say: ‘smart bombing’ is underway and a coalition is in line to liberate these millions. War plotters caution us that it’s not going to be a fast fix, unlike that bombing campaign across Libya which nobody here will talk about today. Not like drone operations in Yemen and Pakistan which turned their people against the USA and its once respected ‘no-war’ president.

How can any Iraqi who remembers how America’s military assault on Fallujah turned so many into antagonists expect anything but more instability, more strife, more division? How can inhabitants of northern Iraq welcome the alliance of outside forces with the ambitious Peshmarga if they later find themselves absorbed under unfriendly Kurdish rule?

In Syria, citizens sighed with relief when just months back the chemical weapons destruction program was successfully concluded. Damascus too surely expected to earn some reprieve with that. Perhaps many Syrians, whatever their ethnicity, began to shelter behind government forces as a lesser evil after witnessing the excesses of al-Nusra and other wild rebel groups. And if they looked to Egypt and Libya as models of liberation, Syrians may have wisely concluded: “Maybe after some years, we can try again”.

I suppose everyone is making preparations for the new war. Somehow, they will have to suffer another era of deprivation and uncertainty.

Barbara Nimri Aziz is a veteran anthropologist and journalist. Her latest book is Swimming up the Tigris: Real Life Encounters in Iraq (2007).  

 

Barbara Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. Find her work at www.RadioTahrir.org. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinnes: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail