Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Rebuilding or repainting?

Every body is showing his desire to see Iraq being rebuilt, and this is a justified ambition for my countrymen, as our country suffered from destruction for decades. But what’s happening now? And what has been accomplished till now? And more important; how is this going to be done in the coming years?
As for me, I know that we’re passing through a transitional period, some may not understand the necessity for that, but it’s the corner stone to start the rebuilding process.
This period makes the view unclear for many of Iraqis, and this is justified for my generation who wish to see the process finished in a short time, because, those people lost the most beautiful years of their lives in the multiple wars and crisis caused by the past regime. And there’s not much left of their lifetime to enjoy the benefits of the changes.
Unfortunately, this is not going to be done in a short time, and Iraqis have to realize that.
When it comes to this issue, Iraqis have different perspectives; the 1st. one doubts the credibility of the new government and the rest of the world will to rebuild Iraq.
This group was the one that made benefit of the presence of Saddam’s regime to reach their goals, and when the regime was gone their advantages were gone too.
Those people will not spare an effort to show their pessimisms, and voice their fear that they expect the worse to be coming in the future, and those are the most prominent picture shown on the Arabic media, which never wasted the chance to make interviews with them and show them as the representatives of the Iraqi people, and they relatively succeeded in show disfigured pictures and facts about the truly happening.
One should not forget that Iraqis daily are facing an enormous momentum of biased media.
The 2nd. Group that represents the majority feels that the future is better and hopes to see that on the ground in the next several years, but this feeling of hope is mixed with fear that something might happen and interrupt the ambitious plan or force some countries to abandon their promises.
This may be due to the long and brutal reign of dictators, so the Iraqis learnt not to trust governments’ or officials’ declarations as all they have heard before was a series of lies.
However, what makes me feel optimistic; is that this group didn’t lose hope yet.
The 3rd. group of Iraqis sees clearly that there’s a bright future for Iraq and that Iraq will become one of the best nations in the ME. This comes not only from the desire and efforts of Iraqis, but also because they realize that the interests of Iraq meet with those of the powers that worked to liberate the country. This project is a necessity for the coming political and economical changes in the world and the ME in particular. These changes gained their obligation from the need to face the challenges that erupted in the last few years.
The last group believes that the project will take a long time and great efforts, and requires Iraqis to be united and to get over the selfish interests (tribal, religious or ethnic).
This group is trying hard to make this clear to the rest of Iraqis, but it lacks the capabilities and qualifications of strong media. That’s why it’s hard for this group to reach the minds of the others and exhibit their point of view. Any way, it’s fighting hard to do the job.

I see that it’s necessary for the rebuilding process to coincide with rebuilding of the political, social and economical thinking of the Iraqi people.
Without this, we will not be able to overcome the bad aspects of the past and the influence of the totalitarian theories, which dominated for decades.
We should concentrate on rehabilitating the constitutional institutes, to make these able to define civil duties and rights.
Without that, we won’t be able to build a modern, civilized Iraq.
Corruption, ethnic and religious preferences will create hard obstacles for the rebuilding process, but there’s still a significant point that many may miss, which is the citizen’s feeling about public interests.
It’s not easy to convince an Iraqi that the state possessions belong to him as well.
And the proof is what happened after the regime has fallen, which was not surprising to us.
The lootings that happened to the governmental buildings prove the feeling of the Iraqi that these did not belong to him, but rather to Saddam and his family.
And we noticed that as those buildings or properties had closer relations to Saddam, like military or security headquarters, as the looting and destruction were more intense, to the extent that some of those had even their bricks stolen.
The new administration should bring back the citizen’s trust that these foundations and properties are built to serve him and they belong to him just like every other citizen.
I stress once again, if the reconstruction is not accompanied by rebuilding of beliefs and thoughts, then the whole process will be just repainting, and not rebuilding.

by Mohammed.

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