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[casi] Peace Groups in Baghad.

Dear ppg & List,

On the face of it, the 'Occupaton Watch Center' (inspired by peace activists
in Palestine?), in Baghdad,
is an excellent idea. Described as a coalition of anti-war groups, with
connections to the US Greeen Party,
Quakers etc. - worthy sources & with vision - what could one possibly have
reservations about? Not everyone will agree with my views, here, but they
may stimulate some questioning.

For starters, unless anyone knows better, no anti-war groups existed during
the Baathist regime. Those was despotic times, dissent was never permitted,
unless from within the ruling family - but not always, even then! To openly
espouse dissent would, frequently, been tantamount to signing your own death
warrant. Human rights, in any real sense did not exist, the leadership
could, with impunity, commit any number of atrocities.

But the breakdown of Iraqi society, partly from the military invasion, and
it's aftermath, as well as the  years of sanctions, following the first Gulf
War, results from ill-planned policies without regard to the welfare of
Iraqi peoples. But other factors are involved, too. However neccessary it
may be to keep close watch on Coalition (mainly US/UK) soldiers &
businesses, it's not enough. To study human rights & wrongs, however genuine
the intentions, involves deep, profound soul-searching, to scrutinise
one's own behaviour & motives, constantly. Not just pointing fingers at the
occupiers. If one believes in Ghandian-style non-violence, for instance,
that may be perfectly alright, providing one has thought through the many
layers of issues, not merely using it, superficially, as a pragmatic tactic
to achieve certain political objectives, however worthy. Yet, Iraq is a
disaster-zone, requiring extreme urgency.

Even if considered justified, in some respects, to judge the
invaders/occupiers as the "baddies", Iraqis too
need to be self-critical & responsible. Is the utter mayhem, throughout many
areas of Iraq, totally the fault of the foreign soldiers & their hangers-on?
The thefts, rapes, murders, the wanton destruction all
around, even of hospitals?

I can see many of you thinking I'm giving support to the wrong parties, &
may be deluding myself. As some friends will confirm, I've been actively
involved with anti-war, anti-sanction, campagning for years, & have opposed
US-led Western policies. Despite that, & knowing the appalling sufferings,
inflicted upon the Iraqi peoples for many years, I still feel Iraqis, too,
should now learn to accept their own responsibilties. for their own
'destinies', collective as well as personal. Unless they make a conscious
decision to re-discover the true values of humanity - & live it! - then -
whether as a "dictatorship", a "democracy" or any other system, without a
sense of prevailing compassion, there is no hope, whatsoever, for the future
of Iraq.

Greetings,    Bert.

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