Washington Has Always Exploited Our Suffering

We remember the suffering Iraqis underwent due to U.N. trade sanctions, which lasted from 1990 to shortly after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The victims of the embargo were millions of ordinary Iraqis who were denied food and medicine and basic amenities.

The people of Iraq were the victims of the U.N.-imposed and U.S.-enforced sanctions, and paid dearly for them.

Former leader Saddam Hussein, his cronies and his aides didn’t suffer at all. The world knew this. The U.S. knew this. But still they persisted in keeping them in place.

Can you imagine how many Iraqis died because of these sanctions? The U.N. Children’s Fund – UNESCO – estimates that at least 500,000 Iraqi children below the age of five must have perished for reasons tied to the sanctions.

Instead of applying pressure on Saddam Hussein and his regime, the world turned against the Iraqi people. We went hungry because of his policies, while Saddam and his men were living in luxury.

They wanted impoverished Iraqi children and their emaciated parents to exert pressure on Saddam Hussein to force him to listen to the so-called “international community.”

They knew that was impossible. But still they felt – and that is the tragedy – morally justified in keeping the sanctions in place, despite U.N. cries that only innocent children, women and the elderly were the victims.

In all those years – 13 in all – the world tightened the noose on us and so did the regime. We were squeezed between the world’s hammer and Saddam Hussein’s anvil.

The pressure wore us out – made us powerless. It denied our children milk formula and basic antibiotics.

And when Saddam was removed we thought those days were gone and a better future was in the offing.

As we entered the era of “great democracy” we confronted the same faces that previously beamed at our suffering. The same faces that imposed the sanctions and persevered in keeping them in place for so many years, now besiege us.

They live in palaces, some of them built by Saddam Hussein. They are protected by trigger-happy guards and armored vehicles.

And ordinary, innocent Iraqis are still suffering. Prices, even of essential items like fuel, are beyond reach of the majority of Iraqis. Unemployment is rampant.

The government is apparently turning a deaf ear to our suffering and is determined to press ahead with the same policies that have taken the country to the brink of catastrophe.

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