In American media, Iraqis had been reduced to either victims of Saddam who longed for occupation or supporters and defenders of dictatorship who opposed the war. For two weeks, we drove around Baghdad and spoke to many of its residents.
Some were still hopeful, despite being drained by years of sanctions and dictatorship.
These texts are haunted by the ghosts of the dead, just as their author is.
No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago.
That feeling only intensified and matured as I did.
In the late 1990s, I wrote my first novel, “I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody,” about daily life under Saddam’s authoritarian regime.
No to dictatorship.” While condemning Saddam’s reign of terror, we were against a “war that would cause more death and suffering” for innocent Iraqis and one that threatened to push the entire region into violent chaos.
Our voices were not welcomed in mainstream media in the United States, which preferred the pro-war Iraqi-American who promised cheering crowds that would welcome invaders with “sweets and flowers.” There were none. Fifteen years ago today, the invasion of Iraq began.
Furat hallucinates and imagines Saddam’s fall, just as I often did.
I hoped I would witness that moment, whether in Iraq or from afar.