Just over a year ago Kurdish leader Barham Salih delivered a speech to the Socialist International in Rome urging support for the liberation of Iraq. His appeal was, as we know, ignored by most of the fraternal delegates.
Recently the Socialists gathered in Madrid and Salih was there again, with another appeal to the comrades. His speech can be found in full here
Ethnic cleansing began in Iraq in 1963, when the Baath Party seized power . Around a million people have been displaced, mostly Kurds but also Turcoman and Assyrian Christians. The fascist regime of Saddam has cost the lives of at least two million Iraqis. Four million more have been forced to become refugees. So far more than 170 mass graves have been uncovered throughout Iraq. These mass graves should vindicate the morality of this war of liberation in Iraq.
I as a Kurd and as an Iraqi, I know, perhaps more than others, that war is devastating and should be questioned. However, for us, this war was to end the brutal war that has been waged against the people of Iraq. It was a war to bring us the opportunity of peace and freedom. And I will tell you unequivocally we are grateful to the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Italy and So many other nations that have come from a far to deliver us from tyranny and fascism. Moreover, being here in Spain I must offer our profound gratitude to the Spaniards who have come to help in our hour of need, and paid with their lives for freedom and justice.
Despite images on western television screens depicting Iraq as a violent calamity, most Iraqis, who have known nothing but the murder and mayhem of Saddam’s rule, the last ten months have seen astonishing progress towards the creation of a free society.
This is the first time in their history, possibly in the entire history of the Islamic Middle East, a people are able engage in wide ranging political debate over the future of their country. Free press is flourishing at an amazing pace in Baghdad and else where throughout Iraq.
No doubt, this political process, like any other democratic process, is at time confusing and messy. The certainty of terror has been replaced by the uncertainties of people searching and debating solution affecting of people searching and debating solution affecting their future. This is a remarkable success that must be recognized and appreciated.
With political progress, the terrorists’ onslaught intensifies. Irbil was targeted for what it represents: a model of stability and openness, and democracy. This has been painful blow, but it only hardened resolve to root out the terrorist. Terrorism is in many ways a reaction to the political progress that is transforming Iraq toward a democratic society. The terrorists know that there is no room for them or their reactionary ideas, of nationalism or fundamentalism, in our nascent democracy.
Some in the west see in the terrorist onslaught as a yet another reason to question the legitimacy of the war. This is morally and politically wrong.
(Hat Tip to Last SuperPower who are slowly rebuilding their website)