We face constant challenges represented by the conflict between our identities and our social, cultural and religious legacies on the one hand, and the state we want and aspire to, which has not materialized since its declaration in June 1921.
One of the reasons for the failure or persistent failure of the state project is the contradiction between sub-identities, customs, traditions, and societal values deeply rooted in Iraqi life and between the state’s requirements and its constitutional, legal, sovereign and symbolic entitlements.
We need a state that preserves our dignity, gives us stability, and provides us with well-being and order, but in practice we are not prepared enough to relinquish legacies that hinder the emergence and development of this state.
Do we really have to give up our religious, national and tribal affiliation and give up our customs and traditions in order to have a real state based on sound foundations and institutions?
I think that the reason for raising this question stems from the nature of the forces and intellectual currents that formed the Iraqi political memory, and they are all left socialist forces such as the Arab Socialist Baath Party and the Iraqi Communist Party and Islamic parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Dawa Party, because these parties are international and ignore the Iraqi spirit in their philosophy, and they were not It is concerned with studying and analyzing the corridors of Iraqi identities or investing in “Iraqi women”. I mean here the aesthetics of the diversity of Iraqi society, its historical roots and its effects on the cultures of the peoples of the region and the world.
The nationalists were keen on an “Arab Iraq” at the expense of dozens of ancient identities in the Iraqi social formation, such as the Syriac-Arameans, the Mandaeans, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Armenians, the Kurds, the Turkmen, the Shabaks, the Jars, and the Jews, whose history exceeds three thousand years.
The Arabs of Iraq are a true and original component of Iraq and they are the object of respect and love for the rest of the components, but when Iraq is “Arab”, this places the rest of the national, ethnic and ethnic components in the embarrassment of an unnecessary, equal and unfair confrontation that does not serve any civilized or developmental goal.
As for the Islamists, they are striving in another trench for the sake of an “Islamic Iraq” at the expense of the deep and rooted presence of a number of ancient Iraqi religions, whether the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or Yarsan religions such as Yazidism and Kakaism, and even modern religions such as the Baha’i, along with more than 14 Christian sects and at least 6 Islamic sects, in addition to religious orders and intellectual and ideological currents.
It is not unreasonable for Iraq to exaggerate all this diversity for the sake of a specific religious color, no matter how rational that religion may be, in addition to the absence of a true theory of coexistence that the Islamists present to partners that justify declaring Iraq an Islamic state!
The Communists, for their part, fought for leftist and Marxist concepts that did not hide the tendency to take revenge on the diverse religious and cultural heritage of Iraqi societies. They also wagered on the weakness of the institutional and intellectual structure of the state to attack at the height of the rising tide of communism.
The Islamic Ba’athist Communist Trinity strived to expand and deepen the area of trenches to demolish the rich Iraqi diversity. The scene was complicated by the inability of the emerging state to absorb that conflict.
The Communists entrenched themselves in the cultural milieu and employed it as a tool to market and justify their ideology, while the Ba’athists entrenched themselves in the tribal offices and awakened their “Arabism” so that the tribe’s host became a platform for promoting nationalist thought and Baathist ideas. In contrast, the Islamists (Sunnis and Shiites) took control of mosques, places of worship, Fatwa and religious institutions, endowments and rituals and took advantage of them. Exploitation in this frantic conflict.
The Iraqi religion is no longer a religion, the culture is aesthetic and creative, nor the tribes are a social value system. The “Communist Islam” trinity has lost the centers of Iraqi life, its purity and innocence, and ravaged it, so that searching for the features of the lost Iraqi identity became almost impossible.
How should we deal with this complex equation?
The first step on the road to recovering Iraqiya begins with a positive, institutional and popular interaction with the reality of a “diverse Iraq.”
We do not have guests in Iraq, all Iraqis are original Iraqis. The Sunnis did not come from the island, the Shiites from India, the Christians from Europe, the Jews from Israel, the Kurds, the Shabak, the Turkmen, and the rest of the components of Iraqi society from anywhere else. We are all Iraqis and Iraq is indivisible and its identity is only complete with all its components.
Iraq will not be Iraq without the presence, recognition and empowerment of this mosaic. Iraq is an Iraq with all its plains, mountains, desert, cities, countryside, desert, marshes, and so on.
Our definition of the Iraqi identity should include all its components, that we celebrate the Shia Ashura celebrations, the birth of the Sunni Prophet, Christian birthdays, Kurdish Nowruz holidays, and all other community practices and rituals.
We need a responsible, fair and sincere culture of partnership that extends to the formulation of economic, security and sustainable development policies. It is not enough for us to have a number of Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish, Christian, Turkmen, or Shabak parliamentarians, but we must have policies that work to rehabilitate and develop the Shiite citizens. And Sunnis, Jews, Christians, Kurds, Arabs, Shabaks, Syriacs, Turkmen and Mandaeans.
The state should celebrate their presence and be painted in their beautiful colors, and reflect this in its media, political and social discourse, economic, commercial and cultural policies and all other centers of decision and development.
How can all of this be achieved without fighting wars and engaging in sectarian and racial conflicts and quarrels? How can this diverse spectrum be persuaded to accept this partnership and actively and effectively engage in it? These are the essential questions, for which we must search for clear, objective, measurable and test answers.
We must begin by dedicating the concept of citizenship, the decisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of transitional justice and the spirit of democracy, in order to put our feet firmly on a clear path to the transition to a fair, stable, and prosperous state of citizenship.