Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2003 / 16 Adar I, 5763
Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
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
"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
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
"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
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