Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraqis are the Most Resilient People | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The World Health Organization [WHO] has endorsed a report by the Iraqi Ministry of Health which states that the people of Iraq have been able to endure the tragedies and bloodshed of the past 5-yearrs. WHO described the Iraqi people as the population which has most endured tragedy, and therefore possess the mental resilience to overcome it.

The survey which was carried out by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and sampled more than 4,000 citizens found that the majority of them were able to overcome whatever crises they had witnessed or experienced. There is no doubt that the Iraqi people lived over thirty years of daily terror, yet while they experienced the years of violence that followed the [US] invasion, along with their suffering, they carried hope that this represented an end to their long nightmare.

Although the future of Iraq seemed precarious only a few short months ago, today we witness a stable Iraq. There were fears within the Iraqi parliament and the media, that Iraq would become divided into large states, which would certainly have resulted in eternal and endless wars. There were also fears that Iraq would become even more fragmented than this; divided between regions, governorates and cities, creating a scenario even worse than the previous one. Indeed the Iraqis were faced with even more dangerous possibilities, such as a sectarian and civil war, and the prophecy of Iraq becoming a new Somalia, Lebanon, or Afghanistan, to the point that this became reflected in the writing and statements of many Arab and non-Arab intellectuals who said this either out of fear, or to inspire fear in others.

Therefore it is not at all strange for the Iraqis breathe a collective sigh of relief at their having endured this, indeed they deserve to be optimistic and celebratory. Of course such feelings do not eliminate the tragedy of the three million displaced Iraqi refugees whose sorrow and regret in exile is undeniable, especially as nobody can be certain when and how this [exile] will end. The Iraqi emigrants are the group that most see a glimmer of hope in Iraq’s stability with regards the ending of their exile. The return of three million displaced Iraqis- although some estimate the number of Iraqis who escaped or were forced to flee their homes, lives and country at closer to five million- is not just the responsibility of the Iraqi regime that must grant them the right of return and full citizenship, but is also an international responsibility as well.

The success of the recent local elections confirmed the importance of the Iraqi national project, as opposed to the sectarian or regional projects that prevailed during the [previous] years of chaos. With the return of the majority of displaced Iraqis, the creation of a new Iraq will be confirmed even to those who previously cast doubts and questioned the potential of this ever happening. However if [their right or return] is ignored, or diminished, or they are denied the right to participate in politics i.e. forbidden from voting in local elections, then this large number of Iraqis will represent a dilemma that the government cannot escape from.

Perhaps the Iraqi’s cohesion and their psychological resilience during the [previous] chaotic years may explain why Iraq has not collapsed and how the country has managed to remain cohesive despite the rivers of blood, and the clouds of smoke from the bombings.

Anybody witnessing the activity in the [Iraqi] capital city cannot help but admire the optimistic spirit of the people of Baghdad, while those who pay attention to the election process in Western Iraq cannot help but admire how the region which was previously dominated by Al Qaeda is now the region that participated most enthusiastically in the political process. As for the South, the heated competition between the [political] candidates was the object of interest not just in Iraq, but also international, and is a positive and exciting result which confirms that four years enduring bloodshed has given rise to a mentality that can make its own decisions, without being dictated to either externally or internally.