A year ago, on the seventh anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, photo- journalist Hadani Ditmars returned to a land she last visited in 2003, when she went to research her best selling book Dancing in the No Fly Zone. With more than a million people dead in the wake of post- invasion violence, an infrastructure in ruins despite $53 billion in "aid", and a corrupt Government whose human rights abuses echo the terror of the Saddam years, the situation was bleak. But Hadani found signs of life amidst the devastation, which she documented in the May 2010 issue of New Internationalist. The national theatre had re-opened, women continued to defy oppressive fundamentalism, and young people dreamt of a better future, where a renewed sense of national identity trumped sectarian divisions.
Now on the eighth anniversary of the invasion, groups like Human Rights Watch continue to document the suffering of Iraq's vulnerable civilian population. But the protest movement that is sweeping the Arab world has caught Iraq by storm. Governors have resigned and bloated salaries have been slashed. Arguably the new protest movement has had more effective results than years of armed resistance. But as government troops continue a violent crackdown, and with the traumatic legacy of 3 decades of war, sanctions and invasion, what is the future for Iraq and her resilient yet defiant people?
Hadani Ditmars speaks with special guest Jane Kokan, founding Frontline club member and producer of For the Love of the Leader: Libya.
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