Report from Iraq
Between Fears and Hopes: Reflections on a Recent Trip to Iraq
Ahmed Alwishah, a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, is studying Islamic philosophy and is co-author, with faculty member Hossein Ziai, of a critical edition of Ibn Kammuna: Al-Tanqihat fi Sharh al-Talwihat: Refinement and Commentary on Suhrawardi’s Intimations, A Thirteenth Century Text on Natural Philosophy and Psychology. Earlier this year he visited Iraq.
Post-war reality in Iraq is charged with fears and hopes, fears of what is to come and hopes for an end to years of war and destruction. The day I arrived in Iraq was the day the US military captured Saddam Hussein. While there were signs of jubilation and celebration in the south of the country, there was only a reserved silence west of Baghdad. It was difficult to read the reality of Iraq, but one thing I observed clearly was the complete lack of order and security in most parts of the country. Cities in the south are relatively safe compared to Baghdad and parts north and west of the capital. Iraqis live day by day with this lack of security and logically they ask, "Why is it that the Americans, who have taken it upon themselves to run the country, cannot establish security?" The lack of communication between Americans and Iraqis, which I witnessed constantly throughout my trip, has dramatically increased the instability. Iraqis fear that this situation will continue and yet they celebrate their survival in an Iraq without Saddam's regime. My own hopes lie in the resilience of the Iraqi people to overcome the harsh reality they face today and to chart a better future for the country and for themselves.
Published: Thursday, June 17, 2004