Spc. James Justice, from the 84th Engineer Combat Battalion, operates a bulldozer on a construction project near Balad, Iraq. The unit, which works seven days a week, switched its operations from day to night to avoid the brutal desert heat. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.
This is a letter to the American people from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani who traveled to New York this week for the opening of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly.
In this letter to the people of the United States, Talabani describes Iraq’s security situation, challenges and progress, and his country’s special relationship with the U.S.
I am going to be emailing this letter to my son and brother so they can see that they and their fellow troops are appreciated by the people of Iraq.
As I am visiting the United States for the second time representing free and democratic Iraq, I felt it my duty to give you an update on what has been achieved in Iraq over the past year and on the challenges that lie ahead.
The first thing I would like to convey is the gratitude of all Iraqis, who are fighting for a democratic government and a civil society, to the Americans. Without your commitment, our struggle against despotism could not have made the progress that we have achieved. No expression of thanks could be enough for those who lost loved ones in Iraq. We feel your pain, we honor your sacrifice and we will never forget you. To those of you who have family and friends in Iraq today, we say: Your sons and daughters are helping us through a historic transition. We will always remember the enormous sacrifice that America is making for Iraq.
Thanks to the United States, we are transforming Iraq from a country that was ruled by fear, repression and dictatorship into a country that is ruled by democracy and has the values of equality, tolerance, human rights and the rule of law at its heart.
April 9, 2003, the day of liberation, heralded a new era in the history of Iraq and the region. That day triggered a sequence of events that laid the foundation of a modern Iraq that is at peace with itself and the world. All segments of Iraqi society have benefited from liberation.
Under Saddam Hussein, the majority of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq were marginalized; Saddam and his gang were ruling in the name of this community. But in reality, the Sunni Arabs never had the chance to choose their representatives democratically and have a say about their future. Today, they have 58 deputies in Parliament, a vice president, a deputy prime minister and a speaker of Parliament; all were elected by the people of Iraq.
The Shia majority of Iraq was for decades oppressed and discriminated against. They did not even have the right to practice their religious ceremonies. Now, they are equal citizens and hold key posts in government and parliament through their democratically elected representatives.
Kurds were second-class citizens. They suffered from genocide and chemical bombardment; now they are equal members of Iraqi society and active participants in the running of their country, Iraq. The same applies to the Turkomens, Assyrians and other groups of Iraqi society.
Iraq finally has an elected and representative government, a huge contrast to the authority of a vicious tyrant. In other words, Iraq is no longer the property of a gang that ruled by fear and repression. Every Iraqi today feels they have a stake in the new Iraq.
With the regime of Saddam gone, the countries of the Middle East no longer worry about the threat of new adventures by Saddam and his army across Iraq’s international borders.
Every time that I visit the United States, I am convinced anew of the virtues and health of the American idea of government, and of the generosity of its people.
I was here around the same time last year. Here is what has happened between then and now, although I must say that I do not think that our situation can be understood simply by following the latest news. A much broader view of Iraq must be taken. For this, I will start with the economy.
Be sure to read it all. There is much more. It’s really worth the read as President Talabani provides a progress report on what is happening in Iraq now. He understands what we (and they) are fighting for and calls America Iraq’s “sibling” in the world. Interesting term and evidence that Talabani understands that not only American men are working hard for the success of the Iraq venture but American women are too.
Trackback URL for this post:
1 Comment »
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
Trackback URL for this post: