by Jerry Keys
On the day the wall came down
They threw the locks onto the ground
And with glasses high we raised a cry for freedom had arrived
Pink Floyd (The Division Bell, 1994)
On April 9, 2003, I witnessed a changing of the guards in Iraq. I knew it was a very poignant moment because it had me reflect upon 9/11, the Fall of the Berlin Wall and VJ Day. I was not around during VJ Day and was not even in kindergarden when Saigon fell. But I knew history had been made.
The dragging of Saddam's head from the statue that was toppled said volumes. Every citizen knew the definition of poverty and terror. While Saddam lived in lavish palaces, his people were starving at his doorstep. Care was not in his doctrine but assassinating at will was.
Thousands of families had been freed from tyranny. Lives were replenished. For a split second, I could actually understand how the Jewish population felt some 58 year earlier. Lives that were almost bound by chains were now broken, free to display their thoughts and emotions about their government.
On the day the wall came down
The Ship of Fools had finally run aground
Promises lit up the night like paper doves in flight
A promise of a new day. Lives and families will now begin the tumultuous task of rebuilding. The scars from Saddam's quarter century reign will not go away anytime soon but healing now begins. It always begins with that small step.
I dreamed you had left my side
No warmth, not even pride remained
And even though you needed me
It was clear that I could not do a thing for you
Many children watched their fathers and brothers die fighting for a cause they did not believe in. Unlike the Vietnam War where refusals to fight were not punishable by death, they were in Iraq. Death to the man whom defies Saddam and death to his entire family as well.
Now life devalues day by day
As friends and neighbours turn away
And there's a change that, even with regret, cannot be undone
The soldiers that attempted to leave the Iraqi army were promptly shot in the back of their heads. Die fighting for a cause you believe in or die fighting for a cause you know is destined to fail. A man attempts to think of the plight of his family still at home but either way, his answer will most likely lead to death. Choosing to die is one thing, being forced to die for a lost cause is another.
Now frontiers shift like desert sands
While nations wash their bloodied hands
Of loyalty, of history, in shades of gray
I woke to the sound of drums
The music played, the morning sun streamed in
I turned and I looked at you
And all but the bitted residue slipped away...slipped away
Now that Iraq is free of Saddam's rule, who will take an active part in the most ardent task of rebuilding the fallen country? Will the countries involved have their own hidden agenda (oil)? Will the Shiites bring about a similar revolution as Iran saw some 25 years ago? Freedom is a gift almost everyone takes for granted until it is gone. We all know the EU and the United Nations and NATO are more intent on exploiting the money possibilities in Iraq than the people's well being. The oil will be well taken care of but will the people of Iraq?