Friday, April 04, 2003

Long resistance

Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi novelist, painter and journalist, was born in Baghdad tells BBC
I am very worried about relations between the Iraqi people and the British people - the hearts and minds of the Iraqis are not being won. The Americans are hated across the Middle East, and it seems there can be no redemption whatever they do.. This war, the bombardment of Baghdad and the siege of Basra, this is no way to win hearts and minds - not by killing Iraqis.
Look at Baghdad. It is seen as the stronghold of the regime and a Sunni Iraqi power base. But this is a more than 1,000-year-old city that is as cosmopolitan as London. By bombing Baghdad, you are bombing all kinds of Iraqi people. If you bombed the millions of people in London, from all their different religions and backgrounds, you would be hitting all kinds of people. They cannot be separated in Iraq as much as they could in London. Baghdad is a melting pot. A third of the capital's population are Kurds, the rest represent every single religious sect and national group that is in Iraq. To isolate a city, and say that the majority of people in it are Sunni or Shia and will behave in this way or that way is a terrible misunderstanding and shows ignorance.
I fear that this war is going to take a long time. It is not even a matter of months. In general, the Iraqi people are going to fight the Americans and British. We are told that Fedayeen Saddam or the regime's militias are the only people fighting, or that Iraqis are fighting because the regime somehow has a gun to their head. I don't believe this. The resistance we are seeing will continue after Saddam Hussein is gone, to try to get rid of the occupation forces, the sanctions, and to ruin the long-term plans the Americans have for Iraq. Anyone can pick up the history books and see the parallel. During the British occupation, Iraqis gave the occupiers no peace whatsoever, and the British were the first to use poison gas against the Iraqis.
I'm afraid the Americans are going to get the same thing.

(posted by Iman)

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