To avoid using clichés, and in the spirit of accuracy, it is actually not hard at all to believe that a decade has past since the American led occupation of Iraq was launched. An entire country has been destroyed, leaving millions of lives shattered to bits and pieces, and the future of millions more has been held hostage by a failed state and a crumbling infrastructure.
Many of us remember taking to the streets of Toronto and other major cities around the world, emboldened by the anger we felt at the impending war on a people already beleaguered and beaten down by decades of sanctions and war. The arrogance and violent aspirations of the American government seemed like such a tremendous violation to the comfortable discourse of human rights and international law that Canadians were always happy to invoke.
Through our opposition to the war on Iraq, we began making connections between struggles of indigenous peoples here in Canada and apartheid practices in Israel, and we saw the linkages between the war waged against poor and marginalized communities in our own cities and that war which was to be waged against the people of Iraq.
Despite our opposition, the war did happen, and the occupation did take place. For an entire decade, we have been inundated with a simplistic analysis of what is happening in Iraq: two sects are fighting for control of the country. Nothing, of course, can be farther from the truth.
An absence of progressive Iraqi voices in mainstream coverage coupled with the chronic lethargy of foreign correspondents left us where we are today: disengaged with an issue that captured the hearts of millions only ten years ago.
From this stand point, a group of writers, artists and activists came together to create a platform where relevant, critical, and engaging content about Iraq could emerge. Please take a look at http://shakomako.net to find out about the last ten years and Iraqi culture, art and football as well.
Ahmed Habib is an Iraqi writer and journalist, currently living too far away from home. He is also an editor at shakomako(dot)net. Follow his Twitter feed on @ahmedhabib or by visiting http://shakomako.net