Saturday, August 1, 2015

Iraq: always on the rise.

Written to the sounds of this live set by Karim Sultan, and in response to questions posed by Common Dreams.

On the protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.

As many people know, civil society in Iraq has been under a sustained attack for several decades. Dictatorship, wars, sanctions and occupation have created intolerable conditions for citizens to organize within their communities or on a national level around the issues that mean the most to them, those issues revolving around the provision of the basic means of sustenance.

Despite these undemocratic conditions, rife with sectarianism and violence, corruption and theft, the people of Iraq have always remained outspoken in their opposition to the systemic destruction of their country, whether it is on social media, in coffee shops, or in the public squares of Iraq, protesting and demanding better living conditions for themselves and their families.

Therefore, when the call came from a group of media personalities and academics to gather in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on July 31 to protest the unbearable and inexcusable shortages of electricity, the response was undoubtedly going to be hotter than the relentless summer eating away at Baghdad, dubbed by many "the city of resilience." Young people, thirsty for an opportunity to gather outside the rhetoric of political parties, and their sectarian criminal agenda, rushed to the city's main square to demand better living conditions, chanting, "In the name of religion, the thieves robbed us."

At a moment when Iraqis are bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders, staring at the prospect of the country's complete collapse, surviving with little to no electricity, clean water, healthcare, education and security, for them to gather on the streets, unarmed, free from petty political alliances, to reject the sectarian division of the country, its theft, and ultimate destruction, is a tremendously significant moment for Iraq and its people.