Iraqis Calling for Change By Global Voices

Uprisings and demonstrations are currently occurring all over the Arab world. In Libya, Algeria, MoroccoBahrain and other Arab countries, people are arranging to protest; some are looking to topple their existing regimes, some are willing to simply fix them. Iraq is no different, and its people are calling for change.

Iraqis protest on 14 February, 2011. Photo taken from Iraqi Streets 4 Change's photo gallery.Iraqis protest on 14 February, 2011. Photo taken from Iraqi Streets 4 Change’s photo gallery.

Violent protests have taken place in Iraq in recent days, with anti-government protesters demonstrating against corruption, poor basic services and high unemployment.

Iraqi Streets 4 Change (Iq4C) is a website [ar] created by young Iraqis:

Who we are: We are young Iraqis, independent, and we love our country.

Why ‘Iraqi Streets for Change’?

Because we want to change the reality of life in Iraq on two levels: The first is to improve social services and push for urban development; the second is to change the reality of living in Iraq.

Their plan for achieving the desired change includes:

What is our goal?

At this stage we hope to:

  • Cover the protests in Iraq.
  • Create awareness among youth of the importance of protesting in a peaceful manner through the use of mainstream and new media, and the use of interactive arts to express themselves.
  • Train young men and women on how to use new technology to cover such protests.
  • Support Facebook pages by Iraqis, calling for the reform of the regime, in a correct manner – both technologically and knowledge-wise.

Voicing Demands

A page on Iq4C has been created for Iraqi people to voice their demands [ar]. Some people commenting on the page are looking for political reform, while some others are asking for better services and living standards.

Raya asked [ar] for better availability of services, especially electricity, which seems to be a very common request among those commenting:

توفير الكهرباء والحصه التموينيه اولا وفتح ملف وزارة الكهرباء والتجاره ومحاكمتهم علنا
We want electricity and food supplies to be available first, then an investigation into the Ministry of Electricity and Trade and the a public trial for them.

Tayyar Al-Gomhor-Al Iraqi believes [ar] that focusing on political reform should come first:

الاخوة الاعزاء لكي يكون المسار صحيحا يجب تشخيص السبب الفعلي للازمات التي نعيشها ومن ثم العلاج على قدر المرض . ان النظام السياسي فاسد فيجب اصلاح النظام السياسي بما يضمن اليمقراطية الحقة والفصل بين السلطات واشراك كل شراح الجمهور بالسلطات عن طريق المنظمات الجماهيرية اذن يجب ان نتبنى شعار اصلاح النظام السياسي كخطعريض وعنوان للمطالبة
Dear brothers, we have to find out the cause of our problems to be able to solve them. The political system is corrupted, and political reform that guarantees democracy and segregation of duties, and the inclusion of everyone is essential. We should make political reform our first and main demand.

Ameer wants [ar] to put an end to sectarianism:

سن قانون يقتضي بمعاقبة كل شخص يثير النعرات الطائفية وكل شخص يتكلم بمصطلح السنة والشيعة
Set a law that punishes anyone who helps in sectarianism or refers to people as Sunna and Shia in his speeches.

Ahmed Jaf’s demand from the government [ar] was simple:

نريد منهم ان يحترموا عقولنا
We want them to respect our minds.
Banner reads: “Tahrir Square number II”, in reference to Iraq's own Tahrir (liberation) Square, similarly named to Egypt's famous protest square. Photograph taken from Iraqi Streets 4 Change's photo gallery.
Banner reads: “Tahrir Square number II”, in reference to Iraq’s own Tahrir (liberation) Square, similarly named to Egypt’s famous protest square. Photograph taken from Iraqi Streets 4 Change’s photo gallery.

Initiatives for Change

Beside these demands, some people have decided to hold their own initiatives for a better Iraq [ar]; this call for action appeared on the Iq4C Facebook page:

Groups of young people will start in Iraq on Friday at ten in the morning to clean the streets of Baghdad from Mutanabi Street heading towards Tahrir Square, to prove to the government that we are able to make Baghdad much nicer than they did in previous years; shareholders are waiting for you in this campaign.

The Iraqi Shia scholar Ali Al-Sistani has said that he understands people’s demands, however he has urged [ar] them to hold peaceful demonstrations and not to attack people or property.

It seems that the things have not been that peaceful though, as Twitter reports from Iraqi capital Baghdad’s own Tahrir (liberation) Square have shown:

@kellymcevers: Protesters say plainclothes, clean-shaven thugs attacked after midnight in Tahrir Sq. Soldiers afraid to help. 6 stabbed. #Iraq #Feb25 #Iq4c

@Hamzoz: خبر غير مؤكد عن مقتل أحد المتظاهرين متأثرا ً بالطعن بالسكاكين في تظاهرة ساحة التحرير يوم ٢٠ شباط ، وخطف ثلاثة أشخاص#iq4c #feb25 #iraq
@Hamzoz: Unconfirmed news that one of the demonstrators died after being stabbed with knives during the demonstration in Tahrir square in February 20th, and 3 others were kidnapped.

Written by Tarek Amr

Soruce : http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/02/22/iraqis-calling-for-change/

 

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