Iraq: Six Years On

It's the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war and while bloggers remember the past, few seem to look to the future anymore.

Pioneering blogger, Salam Pax, who started the Iraq blogging phenomenon looks back six years to the beginning of the war. In a series of posts, Salam reveals previously unpublished notes from the days he did not have electricity to blog. His wish to break from the past is clear when he writes:

In three weeks time it’s the 6th anniversary for the fall/liberation of Baghdad.

Baghdad Falls / Baghdad is liberated.. all semantics. What is fact is our life in Iraq as we knew it ended at that day.

Since the start of the war in 2003 we had to move house three times for various reasons…

While looking through the boxes of our belongings I found the notebook, with newspapers, photos and the flyers I had kept. As five years have passed and we’re entering the our seventh year of our post-war/post-Saddam lives I thought it would be good to look over these notes and share what I have from that time with you… I will upload it all online and throw the pieces of paper I have away. Hanging on to all of this for six years is enough.

For Sunshine, the war coincides with her time at high-school. At the leaving party for her school she remembers the good and bad events at her school in the six years that have passed:

My best memory [was] when I asked my friends to make a surprise for our friend R who lost her dad and several relatives, I thought she needed to feel excited and happy so I decided to buy her a PC computer, my friends participated with some of their savings and I bought the computer, wrapped it and took the present to school. The students, teachers, and R were shocked, it was the best birthday gift ever..

Beside all the good events there has been very painful memories, when R lost her dad and several relatives, when M lost her mother, whenever a classmate have to leave Iraq, or get a threat, as well as all the times we had to hide under our desks when shooting starts, there has been terrifying battles near school, a mortar once fall, too many car bombs exploded, mines etc .. Many times we had to go walking among the tanks; our way to school is dangerous.

I'll always remember the good events and laugh, and the hard ones will only give me the strength, power and make me prepared for every hard thing I may face in the future

Laith reviews his dreams and reality:

When the US military started what they called Operation Iraq Freedom, I really felt so happy for one thing. I thought Iraq would be free again and we would have real government with politicians who really care about Iraq future and its people. I had a real big hope that services will be the best again and we would live happily again. I never thought that we would start killing each other for the sake of some strangers or to kidnap each other for money but I was completely wrong. I was sure that the American administration had planned very well for the stage after the war but I was wrong again. Nothing really changed in Iraq after six years. To be honest, we have one big change. Now we have hundreds of political parties that do nothing to Iraq and all they care about is their interests. After six years, the Americans approved that they came without any plan because most Iraqis are still poor and deprived from the simplest human rights. Iraqi governments and the American administration failed completely in putting Iraq once again on the right path.

I have to admit that after six years of the invasion, ALL MY DREAMS HAD GONE WITH THE WIND

After years away from Iraq, Attawie can only think of what she misses:

I'm away from beloved Baghdad. I'm away from family and friends. I'm away from the land I was born on; away of the soil I took my first step on, away from the house I was raised in, away from my neighbors, I'm away … but… not mind and soul.

War, chaos, loss of uncountable people and things, unemployment, corrupted system, mysteries, sadness, chain of mischief, lost dreams, burnt houses, smell of death, widows, orphans, tears, sad stories, cruel memories… That's all what we are left with?… I don't want to sound devastated. I don't want to show despair. I just want to tell you the picture is not pleasant, And it needs a lot of repair. What's going on right now is unfair.

I lost my focus and lost my words. I'm not sure if it makes sense. But that's all you're going to get on a Day Like Today. Life is frozen… the clock is broken. The prayers you're saying are not answered today… Oh Iraq, returning has become the dream that makes my day. Your memory is the sweetness in this bitter life. You are the sound of laughter, background music for this noisy life, the kiss on a mother's forehead, the grip of an infant fist.

Faiza writes a long post of her feelings after six years of war and occupation and concludes:

I smile, at the sixth anniversary of occupying Iraq, in spite of the sadness weighting on my heart, but I will never give up hope, ever; that Iraq will come back to its people, that a brave nationalistic leadership will come, a leadership that wants only Iraq’s interest, will negotiate the occupation out, and will withdraw all the occupation’s powers.
When will that day come?
Only God knows…. But it will come, no doubt… for these are God’s laws on earth…

And, in the way that only Layla Anwar can, an essay comparing the creation of a new Iraq to a mother giving a forced birth of a mutant baby:

It was a monster infant. A hydra with a hundred heads, a hundred skulls, an octopus with a hundred arms, a deformed face with hundreds of eyes, bulging..its skin made of scaling scabs, its body made of slime, an invertebrate crawling, with no legs to stand, and from its mouth, instead of gurgles, it drooled a burning caustic froth…

And it has kept crawling for 6 years already, sniffing like a rabid dog, sniffing for more…keeping scum for company and preying for more fresh blood…more fresh meat…

It was exactly six years ago and she is still lying in that delivery room which now looks like an overused, stenchy morgue…drowned in her own blood, mummified with slogans and jargon…her womb and mouth stuffed with newspaper articles and essays…with words…stuffed with a silent forgotten death, like the desolate forgotten walls of this city, where rats and roaches furtively scurry along, feeding on the monster's vomit and excrement…feeding on ashes and dust.

And on that note I will leave you to make up your own mind if the war in Iraq, six years ago, was really worthwhile.

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