The Culture of the Occupation. 1
Echoes I hear from Baghdad and I will refer mainly to Baghdad as the center - the eye of the storm, so to speak, and from my observation of Iraqi refugee youth outside of Iraq, either those whose have already emigrated - been placed in another country or are still caught in a limbo, in some psychological no man's land, unable to move back or move forward...
The age group I shall focus on is the 15-25 years old or so. Bear in mind this is not an in depth sociological study nor is it meant to be. It is more like a mix of observations, experience and listening to people.
But before I do, I need to rewind back in time a little, first to the sanctions years then to the 2003 U.S occupation.
These young men and women were born during the sanction years or just a little before. The bulk of their growing up life experience in Iraq was marked by the first Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions years that lasted 13 years, in other words years perceived as years of "deprivation".
If you have not lived the sanctions you would not know what am talking about. The only image that comes to mind, a close enough picture - is one huge prison with transparent windows, where you are allowed to watch the outside the world but never participate in it.
The sanctions years were crucial in preparing the whole psychological atmosphere for what was to come later - the brutal destruction of Iraqi culture and society.
Yet despite these draconian sanctions that left the majority of Iraqis in a state of total helplessness, the societal fabric even though pulled at the seams, had not cracked open yet, nor did it disintegrate like in the subsequent post 2003 years.
It remained a deeply secular society in its intra sect /intra ethnic dealings. Religion played a role ,sure, but remained confined to the personal and overall cultural realm. After all, Iraq is an Arab country and Islamic contributions to the world came forth from the Abbassid period, where Baghdad was one of the most important centers of learning and contributions to world civilization. But Religion, never NEVER occupied the center stage as it has done post 2003.
A parenthesis here - Every time I attempt to write an overall picture of the Iraq of before and after, I need to take a break, a choking feeling grips me in my throat and the rage rises again, like some lava from a volcano unwilling to die down.
That is why, when I hear shits of Westerners talk of the Iraq of before and after, in particular the garbage Americans the so called experts who made a fortune dissecting us like insects, in occupied Iraq, I honestly want to go for their jugular, literally... These are opportunistic bastards who came late on the scene and are still aiming for a best seller. They sicken me, my contempt for them sickens me...
That is why I refuse, categorically to read ANYTHING, any analysis of the War on Iraq by an American - apart from an occasional article that never fails to make me cringe with disgust.