Finding empathy and commonality in the debris of Iraq

Try to understand non-American people and their struggles. Try to hear their distant voices.

This is in response to Jordan Rockwell’s Sept. 16 “U.S. doing what it can in Iraq.” This war on so-called “terrorism” in Iraq is flawed from practical, factual and humanitarian aspects. Indeed, a country who’s people lived under an embargo (in place by the U.S.), under the rule of a dictator, need to be saved. But how? Maybe we should drop some bombs on homes and schools, snatch the oil, give them curfews, cut off phone lines and raid their homes. Iraqis should thank us for the liberation. Now, Iraqis don’t have the freedom to leave their homes after 7 p.m.

Concerning these “cowards in Iraq” killing American men and woman, may I remind Rockwell that American men and women signed up to be in the army knowing they would have to fight any war Bush chose to wage. The Iraqi “cowards,” didn’t go to their doorstep and fight them.

Iraqi people are defending their country from an occupation. They are innocent people, who never asked for the trouble. American soldiers crossed the world and fought them. This is not to say that I don’t feel any sympathy for the soldiers or their families. It’s unfortunate that they’re fighting a hard-to-win war; it’s also unfortunate that they’re fighting one they don’t understand. It’s our president’s “crusade,” as he said himself. Oh yes, it is sad that they left families behind. What is sadder is the Iraqi people’s state. They never asked for what is happening to them. They never signed up for the life they’re living, the occupation they’re fighting, and never hurt anyone to deserve it.

Now, about the “insurgency.” Rockwell must know that the Sunnis were not supporters of Saddam. I can safely say they were harmed by Saddam’s regime more than the Shiites. All of the songs that were sung for Saddam, all of the dancing and clapping was done by Shiites. They were given free cars and money for doing it.

If Rockwell talked about the number of Sunnis in the Baath party, 90 percent of the members were forced. The truth of the matter is that there were just as many Shiites in the Baath party. They were not the only people hurt by Saddam.

Let’s assume Sunnis really ran the country, did they choose to bomb their own cities, cut off electricity, under-fund their schools, and cut off phone lines? Every Iraqi was a victim of Saddam in one way or another.

If Saddam was prejudiced and was out there to protect “his Sunni clan,” he would be called discriminatory, not a dictator. He honestly didn’t care about the Sunni/Shiite difference; he wanted supporters and admirers.

I will also tell Rockwell that there are no Saddam loyalists, there is nobody fighting for him. He’s not really liked (although many would rather pick those days over today’s occupation).

Let’s talk about the “holy war.” I think it was our president Bush that said this is a crusade Ö (dictionary definition of crusade is a holy war).

So you think “Jihadists,” (by the way, it’s Mujahideen) are fighting the American soldiers because they are from the West? Perhaps it’s true, these patriot Mujahideen don’t mind that the soldiers came in their country, dropped bombs over their homes, raided them and imprisoned innocent people.

Has Rockwell considered that a war being waged against their country in the name of “freedom” may have upset them?

Maybe they don’t enjoy watching their country being destroyed, guns being aimed at them, elderly people getting bags placed over their heads, schools being bombed, and at the same time being told they’re getting freedom and liberation.

Why is it that when Americans defend their country they’re patriotic, but Iraqi’s get called “cowards?”

Where is the empathy and humanity? Many others have failed to see that Iraqi people are humans too, that they are innocent.

They are not aliens; they are people just like you and me. They have families, careers and valuable lives; they just want to live in peace.

I will ask again, why when Iraqis defend their country are they called terrorists, but when we go and invade their country we are “liberators”? That is the double standard I don’t understand. Maybe everything the American government does is inherently good, and everyone else is evil.

Perhaps if we examined our government’s foreign policy we could figure out why most of the world hates us. No, they’re not “jealous of our freedom,” as Bush would say. We learn as schoolchildren that not everyone’s jealous of us, that is not the reason people may dislike us.

Sept. 11, 2001, was indeed a very sad day, but it’s doing our country a disservice when we don’t try to understand what would make people so angry with us. The U.S. government owes the American people an apology for what happened on that day. If you treat the world peacefully they will return peace to you. Are the Iraqi people not as innocent as the Americans that went to work on that day? Do they not have loved ones?

I urge people to understand empathy. Try to understand non-American people and their struggles. It’s too bad there’s not an adopt-a-heart organization.

Being a patriotic American does not mean nodding a head to everything the government says, and echoing their words. It means using your head and thinking. This country was built on the principle of freedom and free speech, sadly few exercise the right of free speech and freethinking.

The war in Iraq reminds me of Hiroshima-Nagasaki, (which some try to justify to this day) the occupation of Iraq is being justified in the same way. Nuking a country is not saving their lives, because more could have died. Everything we do is in the name of “liberation” and “freedom.” It’s only terrorism when we get hurt, not when we throw bombs over other people’s heads.

We are the only country that has used nuclear bombs, yet we take the liberty to police the entire world, making sure they don’t have any. While we’re at it, we can put on the Superman vest and be on the lookout for “terrorism” Ö and scoop up oil on the way. They should make a cartoon about our foreign policy Ö “It’s an oppressor, it’s selfish, it’s heartless Ö it’s the world’s Superman.”

With regards to the “government creating process” as Rockwell called it, it’s not a “creating process.” Iraq is an extremely civilized country, and to many people’s surprise they had some of the most developed civilizations in history.

The first person to come up with the concept of a “law” was an Iraqi, his name was Hammurabi Ö (you can Google him if you’d like).

Finally, I’d like to know what the grounds are for Rockwell’s claim that Sunnis aren’t being shut out. During the voting process, most of the Sunnis couldn’t get out to the polls because they had curfew in their area and the American soldiers were patrolling the streets making sure nobody left their home.

Not Fox 9 news or even ABC aired that. They only had stories on the Iraqi version of our American Idol.

Let me guess, Rockwell will want to know where I get my information. I get it from my distant family that lives in Iraq; I hear from them firsthand, the struggles that they go through. I get my news not only from the 5 o’clock news, but I drag myself off the couch and get news from many diverse sources.

I strongly suggest that the first item Rockwell add to his to-do-list (right after Googling Hammurabi) is try empathy, education and stepping out of an ill-informed mind-set.

Fatima Asamarai is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]