Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2003 / 16 Adar I, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | More than half a million people took part in antiwar protests in Britain last weekend. Two who didn't were B. Khalaf, a neurologist in London, and Rania Kashi, a college student. Both are Iraqis, and both are convinced the marchers were marching for tyranny, not for peace.

"Where were you when thousands of Iraqi people were killed by Saddam's forces at the end of the Gulf war?" asked Khalaf, who was a doctor in the Iraqi army during the Gulf War, in a letter to the Guardian. "Only now when the war is to reach Saddam has everybody become so concerned about human life in Iraq."

"Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years," noted Kashi in an email to British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed to the antiwar marchers. "Are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?"

"It is morally repugnant that people walk in marches across Western cities calling, essentially, that the Iraqi people be kept in their collective jail with their tormentors," said Dr. Mahdi al-Bassam in a letter to the Houston Chronicle. "In a country where more than 200,000 persons annually disappear because of institutionalized killings, liquidations, weapons of mass destruction experiments on political prisoners, and out and out community demolitions, a war that could bring hope for a better life is but a small price to suffer."

"Why is it now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America's policy in Iraq, when it is actually right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of horrors?" Kashi asked.

"Of course it would be ideal if an invasion could be undertaken not by the Americans, but, by, say, the Nelson Mandela International Peace Force," Kashi went on. "That's not on offer...That such a force does not exist - cannot exist - is a failing of the very people who do not want America to invade Iraq, yet are willing to let thousands of Iraqis die in order to gain the higher moral ground ...Do not use the Iraqi people as a pawn in your game for moral superiority - one loses that right when one allows a monster like Saddam to rule for 30 years without so much as protesting against his rule."

Khalaf asked the antiwar marchers to ask themselves why, out of approximately half a million Iraqis in Britain, fewer than a thousand took part in the peace demonstration. But he was speaking to an audience deaf to the pleas of the oppressed. Leftists in the West has become everything they once professed to despise: self-satisfied, reactionary, anti-intellectual suckups to dictators. Marchers carried signs with anti-American and anti-Israeli messages, many of them profane. But not a single marcher held a sign protesting Saddam Hussein and his bloody rule.

A leftist who understands what leftists have become, and who still has enough of a conscience to be shamed by it, is Nick Cohen, a columnist for the Guardian:

"Iraq is the only country in the Arab world with a strong democratic movement. Yet I wonder how many who marched know of the dissenters' existence," he wrote. "The demonstration's organizers have gone to great lengths to censor and silence. How else could the self-righteous feel good about themselves?"

The Stop the War Coalition, which is dominated by the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, cohosted the antiwar march with the British Association of Muslims, which distributed a newspaper saying apostasy from Islam "is an offense punishable by death," Cohen noted.

"The Trots aren't Islamophobes after all," Cohen said. "The only Muslims they have a phobia about are secular Iraqi Muslims who, shockingly, believe in human rights."

"The Iraqis must now accept that they will have to fight for democracy without the support of the British Left," Cohen said. "Disgraceful though our failure to hear them has been, I can't help thinking that they'll be better off without us."

"One day, not long from now, when Iraq is free, Iraqis will despise those who marched to keep them in Hell," wrote JWR's Mark Steyn.

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© 2002, Jack Kelly