الواجهـة العربيـة

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Iraqi Voices

February 4, 2003

Yasser Alaskary

Voices on Iraq
Yasser Alaskary

The 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.

The 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.

We 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 so long"?

I do hope that what people campaign on is not against a war, but how war is fought and what replaces Saddam Hussein.

My 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.

Mary Graham



© 2007 Iraqi Prospect Organisation