Continuing our weekly series: Voices from the List, we keep our focus on Badia, a newly arrived Iraqi. So far we have detailed many of his experiences in Iraq, and he has been very candid in his descriptions of what it was like being an Interpreter during the war. In this segment we will discover Badia’s feelings about the New Iraq and the legacy of Saddam:
When asked about all the violence that he and other Iraqis have had to endure over the course of the war, (in the context of his being targeted by Shia militias) Badia saw much of it as having to due with the era of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath party.
Badia: Iraq became a victim [of] Saddam. Maybe [when] I see mistakes in Iraq, I feel those mistakes are related to what Saddam did…He destroyed the country, the culture, the mind of the people. So that’s why Iraq [is] now as it is. Forty years of Ba’ath government…
TLP: I think it’s very psychologically jarring on a culture when that happens.
Badia: Uneducated people, he destroyed education, thats why people join the militia. Not like me or you, educated so we can understand the bad ideas [from the good].
TLP: Saddam neglected the Shia for years and years, so there were many Shia poor who joined militias.
Badia: Under the name of Shia, but in reality it is not. They are not representatives of Shia. Me, I’m Shia, and I am against them
There can be little doubt that the legacy of Saddam helped to contribute the cycle of violence that has engulfed Iraq since the war. Badia’s experiences seem to reveal the same theme. Iraq, it seems, will need many years to get over that legacy, as well as the legacies of war and violence that followed the fall of Saddam.