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How Can Merkel Care about Iraqis More than Their Leaders Do?

Al-Mada, Iraq, July 25

The Iraqi government continues to take a neutral stance against the kidnappings, killings and violence unfolding in our streets. Other than the same old statements issued by the Ministry of Interior warning that the state will not tolerate violence or chaos, nothing has been done to restore security and stability to our country. The state, backed by its security apparatus, continuously insists that it will not allow any actor in Iraq to possess weapons and terrorize the population. The slogan “arms in the hands of the state” has been repeated to us much like a broken record. But the killings continue and the investigations barely keep up. People have started joking that as dozens of assassinations and kidnappings take place around us, the government simply buries investigative files in secret archives with the hope that this will make them go away. Unfortunately, perpetrators are not brought to justice. Nothing has changed except for the tragedy of the victims’ families. After losing their loved ones, these families are forced to live their lives in fear, anger and bereavement. What saddens me most is that the government has all the means necessary to ensure public order and hold criminals accountable for their actions, but if we don’t have respect for ourselves, how will anyone else have respect for us? Several years ago, during the peak of the European migrant crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood in parliament as her country absorbed over a million Middle Eastern refugees, including thousands of Iraqis, and said: We will welcome these refugees with open arms and provide them with hope for a better future. Today, only a few years later, thousands of Iraqis live in Germany under a system that provides them with adequate healthcare, personal safety, affordable housing and financial prosperity. But those Iraqis living in Iraq are still deprived of their most basic rights. What has their government done for them? Where are their political leaders? How can a foreign leader have more respect for the wellbeing of Iraqi citizens than the Iraqi government itself? How can we ever build a better future for ourselves when our leaders care less about our wellbeing than do those in other countries? – Ali Hussein (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)