The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=1641925# Iraqis Defiant at the Prospect of Yet Another War October 28, 2002 08:23 AM ET By Samia Nakhoul BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Faced with the prospect of their third war in two decades, Iraqis show little sign of panic. Having lived through eight years of war with Iran in the 1980s and the U.S.-led Gulf War in 1991, many Iraqis believe they have survived the worst the world can throw at them. "We have a saying in Iraq: 'Those who are already wet aren't scared of rain'. What is there to be afraid of?" said Ahmed Falah, an engineer. On the streets of Baghdad, most people have a fatalistic attitude to the possibility of an attack by Washington, which wants to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for his alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. "We believe that what has been written by God for us will happen. Nobody likes war but if someone comes and invades your country what would you do? Wouldn't you fight?," said businessman Wahab Ahmad. Iraqis, once among the most cultured and traveled people in the region, feel isolated as never before after 12 years of U.N. sanctions that have wrecked their economy and cut them off from the world. But despite the privations sanctions have brought, they try to live as normal lives as possible. Coffee shops are packed with men smoking water pipes and playing backgammon. Weddings are celebrated in traditional style and some people are even building new homes. Teenagers hang out in Baghdad's new computer centers, most of them hooked on computer war games in which the enemy is invariably the United States. "This is between us and our enemy," says Ihab Bashar, 14, as he and his friends play the latest shoot-them-up video game. "It is like us versus America and Britain." Fingers clicking on the console, Ihab shoots at helicopters with a multi-barrel rocket launcher. The helicopters explode with satisfying regularity. Soldiers parachute out. He turns his fire on the soldiers and the war goes on. OPEN ARMS? There is little to indicate that Iraqis are ready to greet invading American soldiers with open arms, as officials in U.S President Bush's administration have suggested. Indeed such talk only seems to rile Iraqis, some of whom scour the Internet for news of what is being said about their country in the outside world. "If there is a war we will all be united with Saddam. Bush's policy is imperialist. He has a grudge against Iraq because it is the only Arab country that defied America. He wants revenge," said Mohammad Hilal, a graphic designer, at one of Baghdad's new Internet centers. Access to the Internet, a new phenomenon in Iraq, has given young Iraqis a view of the world denied to them by sanctions. Now they can see new books, movies and the latest technologies. "Men of my age a generation ago had traveled the world. I haven't been outside Iraq. I haven't been on a plane. How can I know the world?" said Sarmad Shaker, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer. "I missed so much in my life because of war and sanctions." Now all eyes are on the debate going on at the U.N. Security Council. The United States, backed by Britain, has introduced a new resolution which Iraqis see as a license for invasion. They hope objections raised by France and Russia will be upheld. "We read the news to see if the world is sympathetic to us or against us. America has taken its decision to attack, but France and Russia are with us. We will see in the next few days if the international community will be fair to Iraq," said Hilal. _________________________________________________________ Have fun! Meet so many Arabs from all over the world through Maktoob Chat. http://www.maktoob.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk