The Stolen Dream

Sometimes I wonder about the deaf people of Iraq. What is their life like? How do they cope? What kind of a support system do they have? What about deaf Iraqi children? How much more terrifying have their lives become? Do they still go to school? Do they even HAVE a school? Are their parents alive?

There are estimates of 100 to 150 thousand dead civilians in Iraq thanks to the U.S. invasion and the ‘mission accomplished’ by President ‘Cowboy’ Bush.

I sit here and wonder….. are the American and British supporters of this war going to volunteer to adopt the orphans left behind? Or are they going to continue to gas up their huge SUVs and plead poverty?

I suspect that once again, it will be the people of my political leanings who will step up and take action. Yes, the progressive liberals and humanitarian pacifists around this nation that the Republicans like to call ‘unethical and unprincipled’ will end up being the ones adopting these children, just like they did the Vietnamese, Korean, European and Japanese orphans of wars past. Meanwhile, the members of the Republican party of ‘morals and values’ will continue to go to church, praise their Lord, send money to Televangelists spouting off about ‘unclean’ liberals, and say amongst themselves, ‘stuff happens.’

How many more civilians must die, how much more blood shed before the thirst of Washington and Lady Liberty and her supporters is quenched?

I dare you to read this article below, from the BBC, and others like it that have not been passed through the ‘be nice to my upset tummy’ filter such as the one FOX uses. Go ahead…. I DARE YOU. -Ken @ bibliomarket

The Stolen Dream of Iraqi Freedom
By Hugh Sykes
BBC News, Baghdad

I met a man in his home. He was using wireless internet.

They did not have that under Saddam.

As he clicked his mouse to open a document, he inadvertently returned to a website that he had just been visiting – hard core, full frontal, naked, young men.

They did not have access to that under Saddam.

It reminded me of a Baghdad cinema that I visited shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It had faded posters in the lobby of Top Gun with Tom Cruise.

I was compiling a report about entertainment in the new Iraq. I slipped into the auditorium to collect some sound effects for the radio report.

It was not Top Gun. The music was climaxing. So were the naked men and women on the screen.

“Did you show films like this when Saddam was in power?” I asked.

“No, never,” he replied.

Crime wave

The vortex of violence in Iraq was also, presumably, not an intended consequence of the invasion.

The intense crime wave which disfigured daily life in Baghdad and Basra and other Iraqi cities in the early days of the occupation has evolved into car bombs, roadside bombs, suicide bombs, sniper attacks, drive-by shootings and sectarian killings.

There have been mass abductions, minibus ambushes with the victims found dead in a field or floating in the Tigris river, torture followed by murder, severed heads left in cardboard boxes and hundreds of bodies found dumped in the street – often partially eaten by dogs.

Bombs have exploded in crowded markets, main shopping streets, mosques, churches, police and army recruitment centres, even buried under football pitches where children with no shoes play soccer in the dust.

The invasion was called Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ask 10-year-old Mohammed what he thinks of Iraqi freedom.

Mohammed was playing in the garden behind his house one evening after sunset. His father found him on the ground, moaning, with blood coming from his neck.

A stray bullet hit Mohammed and went through his spinal cord.

At first, he was paralysed from the chest down, but able to move himself about in a wheelchair. Now his arms are also paralysed.

Mohammed’s father – and many others I have met – say life was better under Saddam Hussein.

Brutal and terrible, but nowhere near as bad as it is now.

The Baghdad government now estimate 150,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion in 2003

Iraq has become Hell.

The horrors are so searing, so frequent that fear is a rampant virus, destabilising normal life so that even a trip to the shops or the walk to school are tainted with deep anxiety.

Is there a suicide bomber on this minibus? Is that parked car a bomb? Is that bag in that bicycle basket somebody’s vegetables or explosives?

Under Saddam, they say, you knew where the “red line” was. Now there is no red line.

Chaos warnings

“Stuff happens,” the outgoing American Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, once said about the anarchic disorder which developed in Iraq after the invasion.

But they were all warned – by opponents and by friends alike – that “stuff” would happen.

A Pentagon adviser and former US ambassador, Peter Galbraith, foretold “chaos” and “a breakdown of law and order”.

General Eric Shinzeki, former army chief of staff, advised that security in Iraq could only be maintained after the invasion if America committed between 300,000 and 400,000 troops.

He was slapped down by his superiors and accused of being “wildly off the mark”.

A prediction by an Arab friend of mine, made before the invasion had begun, sounded a clear warning bell to anyone who cared to listen.

“If the Americans do this,” he said, “there will be such a wave of suicide bombings and attacks on Americans that you will not believe it.”

Endless nightmare

The Baghdad government now estimates that the number of Iraqis who have been killed since the invasion in 2003 is 150,000.

This year, the death toll has been about 100 every day – 3,000 a month.

That’s 36,000 known dead in a year. The Iraqi government estimate feels about right.

In April 2003, as looters rampaged through Baghdad and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis found themselves without work, a man in a crowd said to me:

“We were dreaming of freedom. They have stolen our dream. What use is freedom of speech if I cannot work or feed my family or walk safely in the street?”

The stolen dream has now become a terrifying, endless nightmare

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8 thoughts on “The Stolen Dream

  1. yes, my own political agenda is clear as day, -as it should be.- this is a blog, after all. Blogs are personal and expressive and are not restricted to journalistic conventions and norms. The BBC article following my comments, however, is not political – it’s an honest accounting of what a BBC reporter saw and heard while in Iraq, and was reported without regard to political agenda.

    I’m sorry you feel offended by my prior comments. I did not mean them to be so. i only asked you to think about where that phrase originated from [they hate freedom] and asked that you widen your research to sources other than what republican or democratic media would have you read.

  2. Ken,
    What faith is a friend that insult his or her intelligence by putting the words in my mouth? You do not know me well enough that I speak with my mind and my heart. Whatever happens to “Freedom of Speech”, my friend?? By the way, read your own article carefully and you will find your own “political agenda” that is clear for all to see.

  3. Agnusdei –

    let me ask you about that phrase you used. “isolated Islamic members that hate “freedom””

    Do you truly believe that these islamic extremists attacked the world trade center merely because they ‘hate freedom’? if so, why do you believe this? Because someone told you so? Who was that someone? Did his last name start with ‘B’ by any chance?

    My point is, I know you well – I know you have the grey matter to determine the reality based on personal research, but so far, haven’t done so. don’t base your beliefs on what someone tells you. do some research in non-biased media and reports. This means media and reports originating from outside the USA.

    BBC, for example, is famous for telling it like it truly is, because they do not bow down to american political parties. Almost all american media have an ulterior motive, a certain stance they support through carefully worded reports that appear on the surface to be neutral, but really are not.

    To the trained eye, it’s quite easy to tell if a certain media outlet is republican, democrat, or independent. What you want to find, if you want to be considered a free-thinking intellectual, is the independent outlets, the one that let the news speak for itself without pushing a political agenda.

    I have faith in you, my friend.

    ken

  4. Perhap your article would have more meaning if you could recruit someone that is Deaf, has the experience of life in Iraq and speak from this angle on the horrific war it created in the lives of the Deaf civilians of Iraq. I could see how much devasation war produced and I sympathize with the people who suffered such tradegy, especially those with disabilities. I am positively sure they are in much dire situation than the norm. My heart goes out for them as human beings in general but not at the expense of our country in peril from the fanatics who hate America or countries that supported America, in acutality, that supported Democracy. I still think President Bush, even though he is not perfect, did a good job of defending our country from further destruction by the isolated Islamic members that hate “freedom”. I would love to hear the Deaf civilians’ story though…

  5. I agree with your respone to Wanderer… There is a connection between Iraq and Deaf people because.. obviously Deaf people live in Iraq too and are in one way or another, affected by the war. I couldn’t even begin to imagine! 😦

  6. Very good and thoughtful post. Another thing I cannot understand is deaf people who cannot connect themselves and our community to the world at large. We may be isolated in some respects, but we are by no means an island. Consider how deaf education would be enhanced if the money going to the “war” in Iraq were instead diverted to research and quality staffing and facilities for schools for the deaf. This has nothing to do with anyone’s leftist leanings or reactionary responses. It has to do with how much better off humanity and deaf people would be if we would put people in positions of leadership who have their priorities in the right place. Isn’t that supposed to be what the Gallaudet matter was all about? Yes, there’s a connection. Thanks for making it, Ken.

    – 3ric

  7. wanderer – to suggest that there are no deaf people in Iraq and that this war has not affected them is incredibly ignorant. just because the mainstream media has not focused on the deaf or other niche groups within the Iraqi population does not mean that they do not exist. your response is typical of supporters of the war…. ‘oh, no, do not break this war down into personal terms that i can relate to on a personal level, because it upsets my sensitive tummy.’

  8. I don’t see what the last article you posted has to do with Deaf people in Iraq. It says nothing about Deaf people. Yes, I agree that the war is horrific but your logic of connecting this article with Deaf people makes no sense. It seems that you’re just trying to connect Deaf and your leftist views of this war by posting this article in relation with Deaf people while in reality, the article says nothing about Deaf people. I suggest you rethink your logic.

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