February 4, 2003
authorities came to find my parents in the middle of
the night - they suspected my father of being involved
in the opposition. My uncle pretended to be my father
to give him time to run away. My father was taken to
the Iranian border by a friend while my mother was driven
to Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. She was hiding in a
small village when she gave birth to me in August 1980.
She later fled with me to Syria with fake documents,
before coming to Britain.
When Saddam's men come after one person they hunt the
whole family. My mother's sister and her family were
also suspected of supporting the opposition. In Iraq,
mere suspicion of something is enough to get you taken
in for questioning. Reports from people released from
prison say they saw the authorities burning my two-year-old
cousin alive in front of her parents to get them to
talk. As they refused my aunt was raped in front of
my uncle and executed. Eventually my uncle was also
executed. My grandparents managed to hide their one-year-old
son; he was later smuggled to Iran.
Iraqi Prospect Organisation was set up about 15 months
ago, by myself and a few friends. We don't have any
particular ideology - we want to promote the liberation
of Iraq and the establishment of a genuine democracy.
My work involves getting the voice of Iraqis represented
in the western media. The IPO has taken on a life of
its own and there are now 2,000 members all over the
world. Friends and family who visit Iraq provide us
with information on conditions inside the country once
they are safely outside Iraq.
visit Iraqi centres in London and have links with people
working in refugee camps in Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
People coming into these camps are not questioning the
need for a war, they are asking "what is taking
do hope that what people campaign on is not against
a war, but how war is fought and what replaces Saddam
fear is that some sort of military rule replaces Saddam.
I believe that would be catastrophic for Iraq's future.
All opposition groups want to establish a democracy;
without it you cannot guarantee the safety of all of
Iraq's different factions. Of course there would need
to be a clear plan and a transition period - you cannot
go from a dictatorship one day to a democracy the next.