I was in a meeting yesterday, when a senior Iraqi official gave a short impromptu speech on how he feels his country can rise up from under this conflict: He said that he is so incredibly impressed on how a country like America, with such extreme diversity, can unite under one flag. He feels that the people of Iraq should see themselves as Iraqis. This pride in nation is the key to stability, security and success.
I’ve had many an Iraqi tell me that the differences of the sects here are not so vast – that the rift between them is generally artificial created by those in power, or desiring authority, in an effort to create fear and intimidation. A lot of this is being influenced from outside of Iraq. Within Iraq, there are many tribes with diverse sects and even mixed marriages. Today, many of these tribes now see the evils of the insurgents and have started to work with the government of Iraq and coalition forces to defeat these groups. The Iraqi reconciliation movement is gaining momentum.
We often take our patriotism for granted – but with so many citizens so disenfranchised with the government (both executive and legislative), our American pride is not as strong as it once was as a whole country. How often have we heard some under-educated entertainer say that he/she will leave the country if “so-n-so” is elected? Yet millions of people are willing to risk their lives to get to America… where else in the world can you find such freedom and opportunity? Many thousands of local Iraqi translators go out on combat missions for years, risking not just their lives, but the safety of their family if discovered… they do this for the slim hope that they will be one of the few selected for a special visa to move to America. I have such respect for these people and such embarrassment of those entertainers with some talent, beauty, and access to a microphone, but inadequate intelligence.
I’m an optimist – with a mix of reality. Just about anyone can complain about what has been done, I like to look forward to see was can be done.