In the new Iraq, some are more equal!

January 4, 2011

While the international community our leaders, the media and the public are preoccupied with the petty politics of Iraq, a dangerous place is emerging – a society that is intolerant of difference, breeds extremism and is getting more and more isolated in this age of integration.
With every day that passes the signs of this are becoming more and more clear.
One day, a Church is attacked, a few days later the Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha as if nothing has happened.
A few days later, Baghdad council decided to ban the sale or serving of alcohol in the capital.
Days later, the ministry of education decided to ban theatre and music studies from the institute of fine arts.
Last week, the number of women ministers was reduced to Zero. After starting with seven in the first cabinet in 2004, a womanless government was announced.
This week Muslims are commemorating Ashura, and the Christians did not celebrate Christmas as they are expected to respect the event!
Although the government, the media and public says that we are all the same, the reality today is that there are different Iraqis today. There are Iraqi Sunnis, Iraqi Shia, Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Yezidis, Iraqi Mandaeans and others.
If you happen to be a woman or an artist, a talented person, a secular, a liberal, a Christian or a member any other smaller religious or social group, your space is reducing by the day. Iraq is not yours as much as it is the country of the other. And very little is being done by the authorities to prove the contrary.
While the debate over liberties and the rule of law is usually overshadowed by security in some countries, it is the contrary in Iraq. Curtailing the liberties and undermining the rule of law is happening for the same reasons that the extremists are fighting for and not for security considerations.
In fact it is counterproductive, curtailing liberties, undermining rule of law and discriminating would alienate more people and hence their sense of ownership of the country would be reduced. This in turn would be at the expense of security.
In any society or country, when things start to go wrong, it would be the duty of the leaders of society and politics to bring things back on track.
In Iraq, the challenge is different. Iraq was never a country fit for all its’ people. It is everyone’s duty to prove the contrary. The leaders, the media and the public all bare responsibility to face this challenge.
Neither today seems to be up to the level. But of the three the leaders bare most responsibility.
If on Christmas Eve, a leader attended a church mass, or a leader made a strong statement against those who want to take Iraq back to the dark ages,www.ekurd.netor if PM Maliki does not come back to Parliament without women ministers, the media would report that and the public would follow suit.
It is gestures like these that would turn Iraq from being a theocracy of the dark ages to a country fit for all.

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