Thousands of angry young protesters in various Iraqi cities are chanting the same slogan — “We want a homeland” — meaning “We want to reclaim our homeland.” Such a slogan reflects a profound shift in viewing reality and reconsidering its historical facts.
Through that slogan, in all its painful and hurtful honesty, and with its implied and embarrassing accusations of previous generations, Iraqis have marginalised all those who were involved in the crime of the gradual loss of Iraq and those who have witnessed it without moving a finger to stop it.
It’s not just the current government that is the target of the protesters; it’s the whole political class that has neglected national values and the religious establishment that has chosen to ride the train of politics and lost its faith in the divine principles.
Because the young people do not belong to a party and are not raising any doctrinal slogan — because they know nothing of the political conflicts that plagued Iraq before they were even born and because they have not been contaminated by the disease of conspiracy — it was easy for them to discover that this endless dark maze they are lost in cannot be a homeland, for no decent homeland can be infected with so many epidemics whose rot is filling their lives.
Iraq has become the scene of deception, lying, fraud, betrayal, vulgarity, banditry, moral collapse, forgery, misinformation, obfuscation of the truth and buying people’s moral consciousness, as well as assassinations under the banner of sectarianism.
Iraq has become a boat seized by ruthless pirates. They have imprisoned its owners in the bottom of its hull and enslaved them. The poor souls are no longer able to differentiate between the sunshine of March when Damask roses bloom and the tenth of Muharram when Iraqis mourn the anniversary of Imam Hussein’s assassination in their very own country.
The whole of Iraq was turned into a Karbala, as if there was a hidden power that wants to inflict eternal harm on Iraq and its people. The country’s imagination was wrapped in a black shroud and laments replaced its national anthem, while its people were smitten with poverty, ignorance, disease and eternal perdition as punishment.
No one has ever dared say “This is not a homeland.” The biggest lie in that swamp called Iraq was the word “patriotism.” Everybody used it and abused it without pondering the multiple distortions of its meaning.
There were times that cast heavy doubt on the patriotism of Iraqis. There was a deepening disappointment in the hearts of all those who loved Iraq. “That’s Iraq’s grave,” a friend told me as he wept. Is Iraq’s fate to be a huge grave?
“Can we really live in a grave called homeland?”
That is the question the young people of Iraq have answered today. The youth are confronting the previous generations with the truth. “We want a homeland” has become their demand, knowing that no one but themselves can achieve that goal; not the government, not the political class, not the United Nations and not the international community.
That is their story whose secrets no one will understand.
Iraq was lost because its people did not protect it. That’s all that can be said about it. This is certainly true of the reality of Iraq but it does hide a few important details. Iraq has been betrayed and continues to be betrayed and that’s what the young protesters are trying to counter with unexpected courage.
Iraq’s betrayal was arranged in deep darkness and was made to look like a natural event.
Since 2003, Iraq has been a hotbed of traitors who believe that their hostility to the former regime is enough to be a cover for their betrayal of Iraq but reality has exposed their betrayal because their betrayal and greed have left Iraq naked. The political class that seized power created an Iraq that people under the age of 20 did not recognise as their homeland.
Iraq’s youth felt like strangers in that horrible Iraq, so they came up with the slogan “We want a homeland.”
Their right to a homeland is not a service demand. This is because they see their destiny and they know that it can’t be filled with high hopes without a homeland.
There is a homeland called Iraq and that’s what needs to be restored.