As Americans of all ages celebrated Memorial Day by remembering our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who "die to make men free," to quote our famous Civil War "BattleHymn of the Republic," Iraqi youths remember their own who died in the October Revolution, and who continue to die for freedom in Iraq.
It began on Oct. 1, 2019, with a series of peaceful protests by young Iraqis fighting government corruption and Iranian influence.
At first, these protests were ignored by the Iraqi government.
Though some government officials were humiliated and shamed, the Iraqi government is now fighting back.
On May 9, 2019, an unknown gunmen assassinated an Iraqi activist, Ihab Al-Wazni, in front of his home in the southern city of Karbala. Al-Wazni was a vocal opponent of Iran’s influence in Iraq and Tehran-linked militia groups in his country.
On May 24, 2019, there were sparked protests following Al-Wazni’s funeral.
The protesters united under the slogan, "Who Killed Me?," armed with flags and banners bearing the faces of the dead.
Since October of 2019, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), 600 peaceful protestors in Iraq have been killed and 35 activists have died in 82 targeted killings.
Will those heroes who sacrificed their lives for a free Iraq be memorialized when victory is achieved in the same way that Americans memorialize their brave citizens who "died to make men free"?
As an Iraqi refugee to America, I find inspiration in the devoted appreciation of Americans towards their brave warriors who sacrificed their lives for a free America, beginning with the patriots who fought for American independence.
Americans in uniform have raised the American flag in wartime, not only on top of Iwo Jima, but figuratively on top of our nation's Statue of Liberty.
And, indeed, American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have created their own glorious history as they have fought (and many have died!) for the future of all American citizens.
The genuine rage of the Iraqi peaceful protests combined with the passion of Iraqi youths for a free Iraq is leading their revolution towards its real purpose.
Fighting to find the true Iraq is more inspiring than fighting against government corruption.
In their journey of finding the true Iraq, these protestors are fighting to uncover the dark veils of extremism and outdated beliefs from the Iraqi statue of liberty known as "Freedom Monument."
This statue is not only located in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square (aka Liberation Square) but is embedded inside every Iraqi patriot.
Its voice calls out for freedom that is not only a demand but a divine right.
And the brave Iraqi youth who fight for for this divine right are true warriors.
As the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" recounts, "Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet. . . . Glory, glory, Hallelujah. Our God is marching on!"
Understanding the real purpose of the Iraqi revolution, and that freedom is a God-given right, will lead these peaceful protesters to harmonious sequences of more dramatic realizations followed by maturing their collective voice towards their government, directing their future protests, and reviewing their approach towards victory.
That their government is dependent on Iranian control requires the protesters to purify their voice. As did the American patriots in their quest for independence, the Iraqi patriots should rely on divine inspiration as they focus their calls for Iraqi government independence.
Thus, Iraqi youth will fight whole-heartedly to gain their government’s dignity.
Iraqi anti-violence troops try to protect youthful protesters, and they do so in vain on account of Iranian-backed militias; this mandates that these protesters refine their efforts.
Inspired by America celebrating Memorial Day, the Iraqi patriots should shift their focus more toward celebrating their victories. They should strive to act as good examples of true freedom warriors, inspiring those who yearn for a free Iraq, but who are not yet ready to join the freedom warriors’ fight.
By celebrating the victory of the Iraqi October Revolution prior to its inevitable achievement, its message will become greater.
Such celebration will commemorate stories of these warriors and their fight to freely choose how to write their own history.
Their message will inspire the world and attract support globlally so they may push forward for a free Iraq: to create their own circles in the protests; to hold each other hands; to practice the expression of freedom; and to celebrate the Iraqi statue of liberty within them.
As we celebrate the inspirations of our American freedom warriors who fought and died for a free and independent America, I hope these Iraqi young men and women will move forward finding their own statue of liberty, and establish an independent government while honoring those heroes amongst them, who have sacrificed their lives for a free Iraq.
"Glory, glory, hallelujah. Our God is marching on!"
Mrs. Al Saadi is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman for PACEM Solutions International LLC. Mrs. Al Saadi is a refugee from Iraq and now a naturalized American citizen. Read Rana Al Saadi's Reports — More Here.
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