It’s too easy to get lost in the UN resolutions, the diplomacy and the political jousting that surrounds the Iraq issue today. Now and then it is good to remind ourselves of what Saddam’s Iraq is and what basic freedom means for real people.

In 1991 in the city of Karbala rose up and freed itself from Saddam’s grip – for a few days. The US had promised to help an uprising but as we all know, cynically, the help never came and the revolution in this momentarily free city was brutally crushed.

Zainab Al-Suwaij was there as a 20-year-old Iraqi woman and retells the story of hope, fear and defeat in this moving article for the New Republic.

It ends with these words: “The night before I left Iraq, I burned my diary in an oven, page by page. Anyone caught with such a document would be killed. In all, I burned over 200 pages–full of details about what I had seen and done in Karbala. As the pages went up in flames, tears streamed down my face.

For many years, I have tried to forget what I wrote in those pages. But I can never erase those memories. Sometimes I feel I am back in Karbala. We are waiting for the Americans once again.”

Found via the interesting blog Look Back In Anger.