The Iraqi in Britain: 'The people need peace and stability'

Sunday 23 March 2003 01:00

One of my first feelings was of sadness that Iraqi people are going through this again. They must be scared out of their wits. Another feeling was anger and frustration at the Government and their involvement. The sheer disregard for public opinion.

I don't trust this line about humanitarian intervention. It's handy that line is being used now when the Government is coming under so much pressure from anti-war movements. Most people do not trust what the Government is saying. The question is: why now? And why should they care? The only realistic reason is that war will benefit the UK economy with oil.

The UK says "we are freeing these people from a tyrant". Why did we not free them when Saddam was gassing people with the weapons the US and UK gave him in the first place?

Our friends and relatives don't know what is going to happen. They have asked us to pray for them. There is also a feeling they do not want us to worry. I feel they are holding back.

My uncle in Baghdad has built a shelter and they are in it when the sirens go off. A lot of people are staying indoors and hoping they will not die. These people have no control over what is going on. If they stand and fight will they be deemed to be fighting for Saddam or to protect their country?

The feeling is that one negative regime will be swapped for another. The future will be unstable. There is a huge risk of civil war – in the north with Kurds, in the south with Shi-ites. The situation does not inspire positive feelings.

The vast majority of people don't want Saddam. I know of people who have been tortured and imprisoned. These are people who have come to the UK. Only then can they talk about what has happened to them. People in Iraq need stability, they need the ability to breathe. They need the sanctions to be lifted, they need trade, they need to be able to choose who represents them.

There are those Iraqis who feel they must fight for their country, for their own homes and the right to choose their own future. They have been forced to make a choice that none of us would want to make. The people just want to live in peace.

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