Iraq has been under organized terror since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, targeting both the country’s infrastructure and the people’s minds. A terrorism that is targeting Iraq’s future.
Further to the killing of 160 university teachers in Iraq in the past, the world was shocked yesterday by the kidnapping of almost 150 persons from the Higher Education Ministry building in central Baghdad in an armed operation in which the uniforms of the Iraqi police commandos were used. Its details are more like those of a movie. The teachers are not the only ones targeted in Iraq, but also the scientists, clerics, doctors, professionals, pilots, and media men preceded them and above all, female students were kidnapped and women intimidated.
These terrorist actions do not suggest at all that they are the efforts of criminal gangs or small militias whose aim is to exploit the uncontrolled security situation in Iraq but it is obvious that these terrorist crimes are an organized effort behind which stand organs capable of acting and hiding and are beyond the reach of the law and in some instances, under its protection.
Therefore, the Iraqi Government, the political leaders, and the tribal leaders must shoulder their responsibilities toward Iraq and its sons, toward Iraq and its brain, so as to protect the real asset of the land that is full of them, its scientific leadership. Despite the desertification that hit Iraq over 30 years, the period of Saddam Hussein’s rule, and the dictatorship and repression through which the country went through, education remained Iraq’s flower whose scent reached the rest of the world. Neither oil nor water or archaeology is Iraq’s wealth but the minds of its people. The Iraqi leaders are responsible for the attack on Iraq’s intellect and the same applies to the American occupational forces. Securing the scientific centers is more important than securing the oil ministry and its pipelines and even more important than the entire Green Zone.
The Iraqi political leaders must also be aware that history has a memory that the peoples recall when the smoke settles and vision becomes clearer. Then they will find themselves before a more vicious trial than that of Saddam Hussein and his men.
They must remember that Iraq is greater and more precious that its ethnic groups, nobler than any political agenda, and that the political struggle has a red line which is the country and people’s security. Iraq today best demonstrates its late poet Al-Sayyab’s line “A thousand snakes drinking the nectar” in full view and hearing of those who want to govern the country with an erroneous logic, the sectarian one.
Iraq’s brains are everybody’s responsibility, inside and outside it, and yesterday’s crime is a condemnation of an Arab conscience whose duty today is to come to the support of the oppressed, by deed and not by word.