Monday, October 10, 2005

Jalal Talabani -- worth quoting

We can measure the worth of a man better by his ideals than his accomplishments. In a guest column in the Times of London the president of Iraq appeals to the British not to abandon the cause of a democratic Iraq.

...those who attack mosques and churches, who murder schoolchildren and labourers, who behead foreigners and who kidnap humanitarian workers are not engaged in “resistance”. Those sabotaging Iraq’s first democracy bear no resemblance to the resistors of foreign occupation in wartime Europe. Rather, they are, in their ideology and record, contemporary representatives of the fascism that wreaked such havoc 60 years ago in Europe. They are supremacists and racists, as worthy of our contempt as those who practised apartheid in South Africa.

Nor do these terrorists have a popular base. They are drawn from a minority within Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority. They have no political wing and no manifesto beyond punishing their fellow Iraqis for welcoming British and American liberation and for daring to vote. Many of the suicide terrorists are not even Iraqis, but foreigners driven by religious fanaticism and al-Qaeda’s death cult — the poisonous gift of the Arab world that supported Saddam and now vilifies our nascent democracy.

There are occasional immoral voices that call for a new dictatorship to be installed in Iraq as, they claim, a less laborious means of imposing order. Order is certainly important, but so is freedom. A restored dictatorship in Iraq will be neither friendly nor benign. Animated by vengeance and fed by oil, a new dictatorship will again seek to make Iraq into the Arab Prussia and the overlord of the Gulf, goals [to which] Iraqi regimes before Saddam aspired...

Stirring words.
Win, lose or draw these ideals will stand as a high-water mark of a democratic tide in the Middle East. The image of an "Arab Prussia" is a particularly compelling reference.
Thanks Andrew Apastolou.

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