Saturday, November 05, 2005

Abdullah Muhsin of the Iraqi Workers Federation: "We are nobody's pawns"

From his letter to The Guardian in response to charges from George Galloway and the Stop the War Coalition,
Iraq is not another Vietnam; the so-called resistance are no maquis. The resistance offers at best another dictatorship modelled on Saddam's regime, at worst an al-Zarqawi-inspired mediaeval theocracy using Iraq, rather than Afghanistan, as a base for its war against the US and Arab regimes. These forces offer only hell to Iraqis and harbour some of the world's most dangerous ideas.

They have no open social or political programme and no popular base, and are feared by most Iraqis. Widespread, popular sentiment against the foreign occupation of our country does not translate into legitimation of these forces. With the support of the British and international labour movement, and others, we have a duty to ensure that the voice of Iraqi civil society is heard.
He reminds me of someone I once met from the Jewish Labor Bund who told me of their debates in Poland in 1938 over whether to join the Communist Popular Front (then against Hitler but not for long) or to take an independent pox on both your houses position to facism and communism.

The debates were still fresh and relevant to him in 1974 when thinking about the War in Vietnam. That too was a pox on both your houses position when deciding between Nixon and the Communists (again).

All I could think was some choice; how did he escape the hell soon to be unleashed. I never heard the personal story, only the abstract debates; and perhapes the reality of life was far too horrifying and there was solace in theory.

Muhsin should be thankful for George Bush and Tony Blair and the troops that allow him some space to organize and debate the choice. Sadly, the secularists, liberals, and socialists in the Arab world pretty muddled right now it seems and it's mostly because they borrow so much from the west. A reformation in Islamic thought will need Islamic roots.

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