Yesterday as I went to work I was saddened to learn that one of my most treasured mentors has officially retired, and I immediately remembered one of the most useful pieces of advice that he has ever given me years ago when it comes to dealing with crises over which I have no control: "Approach life on a day-to-day basis. Your immediate emotions and reactions in response to a crisis will often change and become irrelevant over time".
As an Iraqi I have been dealing with crises over which I've had no control since my birth in Baghdad in the 1980s. On Friday after waking up to the news that the US military assassinated Abu Mehdi Al Muhandes and Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad the night before I was in full-on panic mode, mostly because what happened brought back serious "previous wars launched by America on my Iraq" flashbacks and made me dread having to experience it all over again.
Today as I wait for more awful things to happen to us as they usually do in this doomed region, I am feeling an incessant need to keep reminding myself and everyone else who is reading this to NEVER FORGET ABOUT TAHRIR!
With all the "World War III/Impending Doom" hot takes that are flooding conventional and social media, news of an imminent proxy war that is going to be fought in Iraq between the US and Iran has made it even easier for many to overlook the fact that many people in Baghdad and several other Iraqi provinces have been relentlessly protesting systematic corruption since October 2019.
The Tahrir Uprising has impressively morphed itself from scattered, unorganised protests into a larger-than-life, invincible sociopolitical "movement". Unlike some previous protest waves in this country that were unfortunately marred by outright sectarian bigotry and public manifestations of extremist ideologies, Tahrir protesters have made a point of embracing a wholesome Iraqi identity and affirming the patriotic nature of the Uprising from the start.
One of the MANY strengths of Tahrir is its inclusivity, the fact that it has become a welcoming home for all concerned Iraqi patriots regardless of their individual backgrounds. Tahrir not only tolerates but embraces and encourages the active participation of female protesters, The authentic Iraqi flavour of Tahrir is a major contributor to the continued public support of the Uprising.
Protesters have endured weeks of brutal oppression by players on the pro-government side. Despite the fact that the intensity of the protests has understandably lessened recently for obvious reasons protesters are still admirably determined to continue with their revolution until their demands are met.
One of the most important demands of the protesters has always been restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and a swift end to ALL malevolent foreign interferences in the country, they want a homeland that is free and stable, they want a system that puts the interests of Iraqis first and foremost and makes sure to safeguard their welfare at all times.
Before the sh*tstorm that hit Baghdad last week we were so close to witnessing an actual success in the form of Parliament working on passing an amended Elections Law. The passing of an upgraded Elections Law followed by snap elections would have been a big leap forward and a significant step towards realising the ultimate goal of the Uprising which is an overhaul of the entire political system.
But of course we are Iraqis, so we cannot have nice things.
Right now the focus has shifted from the Uprising and the absolute necessity of implementing radical political reforms to the very real possibility that Iraq is running the SERIOUS risk of becoming an arena inside which both America and Iran will "battle it out".
Yesterday the Parliament that was supposed to be busy with the new Elections Law and the choosing of a new PM instead of caretaker PM Adil Abdul-Mehdi (who "offered" his resignation) until snap elections are held passed a non-binding resolution that recommends that the Iraqi Government must work towards ending foreign military presence in Iraq. America's crankiest toddler Donald Trump threatened Iraq with brutal sanctions if the Iraqi Government goes ahead with expelling the US troops from the country. I grew up in Iraq under the US-imposed sanctions in the 1990s and to say that I am devastated by the possibility of having to go through it again is a huge understatement. Iraq under the US sanctions was a lifeless, colourless place with no hope and no future. The sanctions ruined my childhood and adolescence, I honestly do not know if I can survive sanctions this time as an adult.
The protesters and all the decent Iraqis out there who are behind them are probably asking themselves : "What government? What Parliament? Haven’t we been protesting for months because as far as we are concerned both the Government and Parliament are illegitimate and must be changed? Isn’t that the point of passing a new Elections Law and holding snap elections? Why are the illegitimate government and illegitimate Parliament making drastic decisions that would end up hurting us and compromising our interests?".
I am very aware that the protesters have been through SO MUCH since the beginning of the Uprising, but in light of what's been happening recently in Iraq and the region keeping the Uprising alive should become the number one national priority. Iraqis do not trust this Government and Parliament to make crucial decisions on their behalf, which makes the attempt to change the system via snap elections even more necessary than ever before. We must not let the morons of this Government and Parliament ruin our future and recklessly gamble with our lives, their time is up and they simply have to go.
There are no easy solutions to Iraq’s current predicament, as is usually the case. We must make our peace with the fact that regardless of what will happen ordinary Iraqis will suffer, because when you are Iraqi suffering and loss are implied. That doesn’t mean that we should allow the current system to get away with it and act as if it has legitimacy, it does not! The least we can do is continue to push for the amendment of the Elections Law to be finalised so that snap elections can be held. It’s going to be extremely difficult, but we should not stop demanding it regardless.
Other than that I honestly do not know what to do. The unhinged buffoons in Washington and Tehran are totally fine with throwing my Iraq under the bus, and the rotten political class in this country is not interested in protecting ordinary Iraqis from what's about to come. I think I'll just pray that Baby Yoda would do "the magic hand thing" to sort out this utter mess because I am out of ideas.
#IraqFirst #NoToTheIranianRegime #NoToTheUSGovernment