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20 Years since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq.
On the Ripples of War.
20 years ago I was in OAC— or Grade 13.
I was in a World Issues class at Cawthra Park S.S. and I remember giving a presentation on the impact of sanctions on Iraq.
The kids didn’t get it. Or believe it.
You can read an overview of sanctions on Iraq from 1990 to 2003. Economic sanctions for 13 years including the establishment of an ‘Oil-for-Food’ program.
Then the U.S. invasion in 2003.
It’s uncomfortable to write about.
My Chemistry teacher Ms. Fitz (seriously) was walking by on the morning of America’s shock & awe campaign.
She stopped before turning the corner and I remember her asking me with concern if I’m okay. I told her “yeah”. She paused for a second, said okay, and went her way.
I only registered a decade later why she asked; though Ms. Fitz was catching me way too late in the afternoon that day for an intervention.
I remember Mr. Durk, our World Issues teacher, asking me “what more do you people want?” More like Mr. Jerk, amirite?
From 1970 to the late 70’s, Iraq transitioned to Saddam’s government.
1980 - ‘88 a war with Iran, a self-started Gulf War, persecution of Shia and Kurds, a decade of sanctions, corruption, and an invasion by the U.S. in ‘03 until about 2011-2013.
Remnants of occupation, and then a war with ISIS through 2018, followed by mass youth-led protests throughout cities across Iraq.
About 60 years of modern instability.
Our connection to Iraq is fragile.
The last time my eye was on it was through Instagram, during the youth protests.
I connected with a lot of young artists and followed along their beautiful lives, University art classes and young love intertwined with the countries’ politics and war.
I imagine growing up and living amongst them and smelling the air.
Song by Nour El Zain.