|The Basra Oil Terminal, close to the port town of Umm Qasr, is the main source of Iraqi revenue and a key supplier to the global energy market [GALLO/GETTY]|
Five years ago, I understood very little about the Iraq war. When asked to write an anti-war speech, I didn’t even know where to begin. Today, I know why it happened, and I cannot say this is a war like any other, or even that it is a just war.
This war has been too long, too painful, too costly, too evil, too inhumane and too unjust to simply be deemed an invasion, or even worse, a liberation. Today, right here, right now, I want this war to be recognised for what it truly is – a genocide against the Iraqi people.
It is a corporate hate crime. It is not a “just” war. It does not have a “just” cause. It lacks legitimate authority, it was executed with all the wrong intentions, it was certainly not a last resort, the probability of success was slim and most of all the weaponry has gone beyond “smart bombs”.
If the international community recognises the conflicts in Bosnia, Armenia and Rwanda as genocides where human rights are replaced with the extermination of ethnic groups, then Iraq deserves the same recognition – and more.
|Was the invasion of Iraq about oil? [EPA]|
Rape, indiscriminate killings and torture are all elements of genocide, but the situation in Iraq goes beyond that, fitting the description of something that is more 21st-century – a corporate genocide.
In stating that Iraq’s genocide is distinct, the point is not to reduce the relevance of previous genocides or leave similar slaughters in other regions unacknowledged.
Rather, it is to recognise that while the perception of genocide in Iraq is not new, the extent to which it is now a valid belief is.
Corporate genocide is the mass cooperation of a business-led military invasion, where a population is sacrificed for the economic profit of the invader. A corporate genocide goes beyond blind hate and killing innocent civilians to gain power and territory.
In pursuing its economic strategies, the US has caused the death and injury, deliberate or not, of millions of Iraqis.
Thriving on war
Foreign businesses that profit and thrive on war have gained new power in Iraq, but lack accountability. Private security firms have little motivation to promote peace – though it is their job – and to end this genocide.
Terrorising my people puts bread in their mouths and takes it away from the mouths of starving Iraqi children. Our war is their income.
To keep the money flowing, private security firms dehumanise Iraqi resistance and rebel groups by labelling them as terrorists. The international propagation of this portrayal is one element in the structuring of a corporate genocide.
Another is the inability of neither international law nor the international community to hold these firms accountable for their actions, including their killings of innocent people.
Individuals perceived to be a threat to the firm are treated as such and can be disposed of under the false guise of an attack, leaving the firms unaccountable. And because these firms have power, they can easily deny misusing it and be believed, if they admit to using it at all.
Not taking responsibility for destroying the lives of men, women and children marks a new chapter in the book of corporate genocide.
Rejecting imposed democracy
|An Iraqi woman votes at a polling station in
Sadr City in December 2005 [GALLO/GETTY]
It is clear that five years later, the US has achieved little in terms of its humanitarian agenda but much of the goals listed in its hidden corporate agenda.
Iraqi natural resources are being distributed and scattered among the most powerful corporations, with very little profit earmarked towards the rebuilding of Iraq.
This is what the corporate genocide is about.
There is much debate about whether Iraq can stand on its own after the departure of the US Army. But it is crucial to keep in mind that the US never held Iraq up as a country and it never helped Iraqis come together as a nation.
I said it five years ago and repeat it now: a Western-style democracy cannot be forced on a nation that does not welcome it.
To not believe that we, the Iraqi people, will establish a form of government that we see fit for our needs, by ourselves, is an insult to the Iraqi solidarity and historical heritage that has always, continues to, and will never cease to exist.
Nofa Khadduri is a student at the University of Toronto in Canada and has been campaigning against the Iraq war since the age of 15.