Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Liberation Day

For me, April 9th will forever be Liberation Day.

Last year, I expressed my feeling about this time of year in column titled Absolutely Worth It.

This piece continues to express how I feel. Yet, five years on, the sum of anniversaries has an added personal symmetry for me.

It was on this day, in 1998, that I formally joined the Iraqi opposition to Saddam at a young age a few days shy of 22. I had dabbled before here and there, but it was then that I took the plunge to do this for real. At first, my family thought that it was a waste of life, but they eventually came around after I made this argument: I won't do this forever, no way, but I'll do it for a maximum of five years or until whenever Saddam is overthrown within that time period. My paternal grandfather, my parents, and my uncles had all be badly bruised by their forays into politics, and those experiences had left them with broken hearts, surrounded by broken things. Another generation trying to fix things, especially after the bleak horrors of Saddam, was a fool's errand, a waste of youth, a despairing venture.

I sold my own stint in this field to my folks as a form of mandatory military service that I'd have to go through before I did the proper middle class thing of finding a real, paying job. Their attitude turned from one of initial hesitation to an outpouring of unconditional support. My brother, especially, took it upon himself to help me get by throughout the years I worked as a volunteer. I could tell too, as the years advanced and liberation was within sight, that my father and mother had started to look upon me with something beyond pride, closer to awe. This sustained me with immeasurable power, and clarity of mind. It kept me centered when I was scared or despondent or vengeful for I always had a point of reference to the values I was brought up with.

I always thought it was kind of neat, in an anecdotal manner, to have Saddam's overthrow coincide with the promise I made to my family. It took exactly five exacting years. On this fifth anniversary though, the symmatry strikes me on a more profound level.

I remember that the overthrow of Saddam had become one of my three constant New Year's wishes from an early age, probably when I was around 8 or 9; wishes that I made every year, with liberation being the foremost. To have served in whatever minimal capacity and to whatever minimal effect in this great and noble cause is my deepest well of self-worth. I was one soldier among many, but wherever I go, there's an invisible medal hanging on my chest for the part I played in this victory over tyranny. It is also my own liberation from whatever neurotic fears I may have: should I glimpse a white piano crashing into me, I know that the last thought in my soon-to-be-smashed head would be that there was meaning in the time I had among the living, and that having something to do with the events of April 9, 2003 was plenty meaningful for one lifetime.

Five years on, this pride continues to swell with the certainty of righteousness, and with the fuller realization that this New Iraq, of which I can claim the tiniest of ownerships, is destined for immense, necessary roles in the service of civilization and civility.

On this very personal day, I remember the family that closed ranks behind me; the friends who gave and gave and gave; my comrades, some dead, some living, all made better and more glorious for the path traveled together. And I remember myself and I am thankful for a life unburdened with shame and regrets. Thankful too for this invisible medal on my chest.

So, on this April 9th, I wish you all a Happy Liberation Day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Liberation Day to YOU.


6:41 PM, April 09, 2008

Blogger bg said...


Happy Liberation Day TG!!

great story.. (thumbsup)

God bless you & all those who made this
day & many days to come possible.. :)


6:58 PM, April 09, 2008

Anonymous brw2487 said...

Great post Nibras! Happy Liberation Day! April 9th will always be one of the best days of my life as well. Long live the New Iraq!

10:09 PM, April 09, 2008

Blogger Lee said...

good post.

1:19 AM, April 10, 2008

Anonymous gj said...

Dear Nibras,

You Shia both secular and true-Muslim/religous, along with your Kurd counterparts, drafted a ground breaking constitution and electoral system: a model for the rest of the Arab/Islmaic world.

In my opinion the "power sharing" embedded in your constitution and the way in which we see the Iraqi Parliament working today circumscribing as it does executive power is what has held your country together during the almost unimaginable horrors of the last five years.

Fantastic acount of your own back ground and journey. More of it, and more inside gossip about what's really going on, pulease.

But remember: it's not over yet, Nibras! Still a way to go.....

In meantime, Happy Liberation, to you, your family, your friends, your comrades, especially in memory of the fallen ... you all so deserve this moment.


3:45 AM, April 10, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy. You and your nation have earned it.

-U.S. Marine

12:38 PM, April 10, 2008

Blogger Max said...

Happy Libration Day Nibras. thanks for letting us share a little of your justified exultation.

1:23 PM, April 10, 2008

Blogger bg said...


OT.. HT Amy Proctor via GP

Transcript: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Iraq


[ROBERTSON: Presidential candidate Barack Obama has indicated that if he becomes president he might draw down U.S. troops here very quickly. Do you have concerns about that?

AL-MALIKI: No, I am not concerned at all. I believe that our troops are very strong, and God willing, this year we will have the rest of the capability and power with the arrival of weaponry from FMS for military purchases or direct import and purchases by our troops. I am not at all concerned, and this is the decision of the next American president. He assesses the interest of America and the forces on Iraqi soil. I only say what has been achieved through the global war on terror should be considered in the decision to keep or withdraw or increase or draw down the Multi-National Forces in Iraq. Not only for Iraq, but we have entered a global war against terror, as President Bush described it. It [terror] wanted to use Iraq as a launch pad, but it's spreading in the world, even America. The decision to stay or withdraw should take into consideration the nature of the war declared against terrorism in the world.]

most significant point made.. i can't count how many times Bush / Maliki & many others have stated the same exact thing, yet it still seems to fall on deaf ears, most especially Obama's.. *sigh*


1:42 PM, April 10, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy liberation Day to you Nibras. I didn't expect you to be that young.


3:15 PM, April 10, 2008

Blogger Iraqi Mojo said...

I agree with you, Nibras. Interesting that I also referred to Liberation Day in my post. The first sentence of my post looks very similar to yours. I swear this is the first time I read your post! Happy Liberation Day, and thank you for your hard work.

4:29 PM, April 10, 2008

Blogger bg said...


belated 'Happy Liberation Day' to you Iraqi Mojo.. :)


7:19 PM, April 10, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gunmen kill aide to Shiite cleric in Iraq

Those damn Ba'athists again!

3:30 PM, April 11, 2008

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