Why Iraq Needs a Court of Truth and Reconciliation Now

For example, the theft of public money in “new Iraq” alone deserves open debate. The people who have done these things should be questioned by ordinary Iraqis – and especially because we know that many of them have become powerful simply by manipulating others’ religious feelings, proclaiming themselves prophets. Imagine a scene where an ordinary Iraqi family dares to ask a cleric or a minister about how they’ve stolen Iraq’s resources?

South Africa came up with a scheme like this to deal with its own bloody history of apartheid and violent repression. Under the auspices of what was called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, hearings allowed those guilty of human rights abuses to testify and, in turn, be questioned by their victims. It was a sort of restorative justice, that despite its many critics, is widely believed to have had a positive effect.

In post-2003 Iraq, something similar would be one of the best things we could do to create a truly healthy Iraqi culture, free from violence, from financial and administrative corruption, the desire to murder and various socially exclusionary movements.

While the media and populace were busy watching the acrobatic performances of Hussein and his former colleagues, in my opinion, it would have been better to make these oppressors accountable for the damage they did to Iraqi culture. To our noble values, our positive and wonderful traditions of love, peace, humility, integrity and patriotism. All of these were sabotaged by the former regime’s war mongering and by its gangs, who spread a culture of hatred and revenge and a kind of social racism, whereby everyone was placed in two categories: people the regime could trust and people it couldn’t.

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