Iraq, the Unavoidable Global Trauma

Pablo Ouziel

Posted Aug 20, 2007      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Iraq, the Unavoidable Global Trauma

By Pablo Ouziel

Many decades ago in Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler stated the following; “I believe
today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty
Creator.” By now we have all had a chance to evaluate the consequences of
that “will”. In 2003 an article by the Israeli newspaper Ha¹aretz, quoted a
Palestinian leader claiming Bush said to him; ³God told me to strike at
Al-Qaeda. And I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam,
which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle

Studies conducted over the last few decades in regards to the impact of
National Socialism on ordinary life in Germany during and after that period
have catalogued a series of civilian attitudes such as keeping silent,
looking over one’s shoulder and feeling frightened, and have moved on to
evaluate the aftermath of such attitudes and the results of accepting such
extreme violence perpetrated on others. A lot of these studies have shown
collective signs of guilt, depression and even collective post-traumatic
stress disorder.

Added to these personal repercussions as passive supporters of the
atrocities, if we look further into the outcomes of the Second World War, we
can see how German people were often viewed with contempt because they were
blamed for Nazi crimes. Germans visiting abroad, particularly in the 1950s
and 1960s, received insults from locals, and from foreigners who may have
had their families or friends live through or perish in the atrocities. Even
today, in Europe and worldwide Germans are sometimes stigmatized by elderly
people who experienced the atrocities committed by Nazi Germans during World
War II.

So while as westerners we count the number of “our” soldiers wounded or dead
as a measurement of success or failure in this immoral war, we tend to
ignore the fact that all those Iraqis dead, injured or displaced are having
a long-term impact on our everyday life. If we wait for our governments to
decide when the killing has gone on long enough, I cannot help but wonder
whether in the not so distant future, we as westerners will be facing a
moral trial and the subjugate trauma attached to it. Just like the one faced
by ‘innocent’ civilian Germans who once upon a time, opted to allow Hitler
to flourish.

On August 10th 2007 the non-profit group Just Foreign Policy, claimed the
number of Iraqis killed as a result of the US invasion stands at a shocking
and sobering 1,000,985.
On July 30th 2007 a report released by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination
Committee in Iraq said that around 8 million Iraqis are in urgent need of
water, sanitation, food and shelter, and said that more than 2 million
people - mostly women and children - have been displaced within Iraq and
have no reliable income, while another 2 million Iraqis have fled the
country as refugees, mostly to neighbouring Syria and Jordan.

Although this traumatic event is confined to a particular country and
region, its effects and implications are of such magnitude that they rank
among those cultural phenomena that Max Weber, the German political
economist and sociologist, once referred to as being of ³universal
significance and validity.²

If we are not courageous enough to stand up for other human beings and the
carnage infringed upon them by western imperialist foreign policy, maybe we
can research our recent history and reflect on the consequences of such
actions on “us” and “our” children.  Maybe then although from a purely
selfish perspective, this collective acceptance of genocide will be reversed
and once again we can resume the path of peaceful democratic existence. If
that is not the case, I guess we are bound to the description the French
philosopher Voltaire gave of our collective apathy, when he said, ³no
snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

If that is our choice, just like humanity paid once the price for the “will”
of the Almighty Creator through the actions of Hitler, we are once again
bound to pay the price for the “will” of God through the actions of Bush.

-Pablo Ouziel is an activist and a free lance writer based in Spain. His
work has appeared in many progressive media including Znet, Palestine
Chronicle, Thomas Paine¹s Corner and Atlantic Free Press.