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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June 2005, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
One day in Iraq: Your comments
Iraqi women at market in Baghdad smile as Iraq soldier walks past
On Tuesday 7 June the BBC reported in detail on events in Iraq throughout the entire day, from dawn to dusk Baghdad time.

We spoke to people across the country to ask them what it is like to live in Iraq. We also looked at all the main news events in detail and examined what the media had to say.

Can you tell us about how your day was in Iraq? What was it like where you live in the country? If you are not in Iraq, what would you ask someone who was there?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments and questions reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Many Iraqi expat youths, such as myself, have no sense of belonging thanks to the Baathist regime forcing our parents to leave
Lawan Hawizy, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
As a Kurdish Iraqi, I can tell you that I still and have always supported the liberation of my country from the criminal regime. The way I look at it is that many Iraqi expat youths, such as myself, have no sense of belonging thanks to the Baathist regime forcing our parents to leave, we are foreigners everywhere. Now with the liberation of Iraq, I can see myself moving there in the future and settling down and ensure my children don't have the same issues of lack of belonging as I've had to suffer. br />Lawan Hawizy, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Think about the children who have to grow up in this constant fear and chaos, how the hell can people live like this? In constant fear of death lingering over their heads 24/7? Iraqi children will grow up mentally scared for the rest of their lives because of this war.
Sam M, Birmingham, UK

It is clear that we in the West cannot get a fully accurate picture of whether life is better or worse for the Iraqi people as a result of the invasion by reading this (or any other) comment section. The truth is that for some people life is better, but for others it is much worse. Whether or not the invasion was right or wrong is a subject for discussion (and maybe international law suits) at a later date and is absolutely irrelevant for now. What is relevant is how to improve things for the remaining Iraqis so that they can rebuild their country and their identity. Of course, no amount of 'freedom' will compensate for the loss of loved ones. I hope people like Um Sara will be able one day to forgive us.
Nic, Swindon, UK

Having worked on humanitarian projects in Iraq since June 2003 I have nothing but respect for the honourable way most Iraqis conduct their lives in the face of often great personal danger. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel look at former Yugoslavia, now at peace and prosperous... Baghdad/Iraq will be the tourism capital of the Middle East within 5 to 8 years, guaranteed, and the brave Iraqi people can hold their heads high and reap the rewards as they have truly deserved it.
Pete, London/Amman/Baghdad

Life in Iraq seems tough, according to the reports on "one day in Iraq." But am I to believe that not a single positive thing is happening in Iraq? How about reporting some of the good things, as well?
Jeff, Cincinnati, USA

I have best wishes for Iraq. Every citizen must struggle against the insurgents, every member of the security forces must be ready to defend themselves at all times. When it's over, concentrate on rebuilding Iraq, and make sure that the US and UK give as much help as possible to atone for the lack of a clear international mandate for their actions. We want to be friends and we want to help.
John, UK

Both the positive and negative reports we are receiving from Iraqis about the situation in Iraq are informative. However, we should careful not to view such opinion through an ideological prism. For example, the Bush administration tends to focus on one dimensional "positive" reports from Iraq (mainly from Kurds) and then generalises from these that this is the reality on the ground.
Walls, Brighton, England

Is one day in Iraq enough to give a picture of what is happening since the Alliance took over Iraq? I doubt the truth will ever come out. People are scared or happy. The opinion will be hearsay. One day is not enough to talk about a movie I have seen recently on any war, let alone Iraq that is having hammering daily by the car bombs and suicides.
Firozali A Mulla, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania

What would have happened if Saddam had died in power?
Mike, France
I have a question: what would have happened if Saddam had died in power? Would the country have remained relatively peaceful or would it have descended into a bloody civil war? Would this have dragged neighbouring countries into the mess, thus arriving at a situation much more complicated and more hopeless than it seems today?
Mike, France

I would like to ask the Iraqi people whether they think the situation is going to improve in the foreseeable future. Also do they think that Al-Qaeda was present in their country before the invasion, or was that something which happened as a result of it?
Dave, England

It is not a simple question of which was better - Saddam or the US - rather that Iraq seems to have been thrown from the frying pan straight into the fire. Iraqis are individuals and hold different views on the occupation and regime change based on how it has affected them personally.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany

We have a situation where the country's wealth is protected at any cost and the human wealth being wasted at minimum cost.
Kamal, UK/Iraq

We now know Saddam had no WMD. I am sure someday, Iraqis will know he did not commit any crime. Someday Iraqis will find they were better under Saddam. Saddam is not a criminal until convicted by an international court of justice.
Faruq Husain, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Power, water and sewage continue to improve as dilapidated infrastructure is replaced
Thomas, Heidelberg, Germany
While it has been a couple of months since I have been in Iraq, I can tell you that the life of most Iraqi's is vastly superior today compared to 1, 2 or even 5 years ago. In 10 of the 14 provinces, one is as likely to be hurt, killed or robbed on a daily basis as one would be in London, Paris or New York.

Power, water and sewage continue to improve as dilapidated infrastructure is replace and for many in the Shia areas, these services are being provided for the first time. The success story of what the average Iraqi has achieved over the last two years is truly inspirational. You won't read about these triumphs in the daily post or see them in a report on the TV because there is no political mileage, no drama and no money in these daily little victories improving in places where they existed but
Thomas, Heidelberg, Germany

My set of questions to the every Iraqi citizen would be as following: 1. Are you happy to see democratic Iraq? 2. Post election; are you satisfied with the rehabilitation process so far? 3. What do you presume about the locality you reside, will it improve or deteriorate in next five years? 4. Post war do you think the civil war within the Muslim community will still be an ongoing saga for years from now?
Shib Sen Chaudhury, Calcutta, India

As an Iraqi, I would like to ask the people in the West, What will you do if another country invades your country and treats you in a way that you wouldn't even do it to animals and take all your country's wealth and leave you devastated and yet blames you for the problem and praises themselves and their actions to their people and the media? I really need an answer if any one has got it.
A. Wahead, Iraq/UK

Will the Iraqis be much more optimistic about the future
Chernor Jalloh, Almeria, Spain
Now that those terrorists are trying to lay down their arms, and take part in the government, will the Iraqis be much more optimistic about the future and look forward to reconciliation despite what has been happening since the fall of Iraq?
Chernor Jalloh, Almeria, Spain

I have a question for an Iraqi. What is your estimate of the total civilian casualty because of the invasion/aftermath? And as a person from a blue state, I want to deeply apologise for pains our actions have caused.
Rakesh Sharma, USA

I am from Sri Lanka, a country that has been in civil strife for almost 22 years now. The war came about because of a division in race and beliefs between the Tamil and the Sinhalese people. Being a Muslim myself, I know that the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam is vast, and is almost equivalent to two completely different religions. I would like to know if the opinions posted on this website are from Sunni or Shia Muslims. I think that highlighting this might explain the extreme nature of Iraqi opinions, which always seem to be either completely for, or against the US invasion of Iraq.
RM, Singapore

I am struck by comments from Iraqis and Americans that sound so different
Tom Wasson, Philadelphia
I am struck by comments from Iraqis and Americans that sound so different. Americans around here also brag how Iraqis must be better off now that America provided freedom. But Janis Joplin, the 1970's rocker, sang, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose". I never thought that song was real or relevant until I heard those American comments quoted on the BBC.
Tom Wasson, Philadelphia region USA

Wrong or right, the Iraq people now have their own government. I am hugely disappointed in the void of positive news being generated by the BBC as concerns the everyday life of over +20,000,000 Iraqis. Please try to find a balance in your somewhat biased reporting. It is not all guns, bombs, and bloodshed.
Matt Blundell

If this is liberation, I'd hate to see what America would be doing if it was actually trying to harm the Iraqis. This sorry episode has actually made oppressed people everywhere reconsider just how much they would like to be "liberated" by the USA. If they don't have any oil, they don't have anything to worry about.
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand

It's easy to forget that the killings are being perpetrated by supporters of deposed tyrant Saddam Hussein, whose departure is not missed by most Iraqis.
Lee Jakeman, York, England

My brother is a retired US army soldier who has been in Iraq close to two years, working for a US security company. He was recently telling me about his work in Iraq and how they always feared an ambush. I asked him what vehicle he drove: a Suburban was his reply. I suggested he use a less American-looking vehicle that would not let would-be attackers know they were coming a mile away. His reply: "then the Americans soldiers might shoot at us". With the Suburban, he chose the lesser of two risks. Make your own deductions about life in Iraq for Iraqis.
Gilles, Montreal, Canada

I only have one question to ask the people of Iraq, that is "is it safe for me to come back home?"
Zaid Al-Hindawi, Iraqi exile in London, UK

It was deep hope and faith that kept the Iraqi people going under Saddam, a hope and belief that someday they would be free of him even if they had to wait for natural death. If the American war is seen to have failed to produce an opportunity for long term freedom, then the Iraqis must be feeling that they have lost their last chance, and when hope is lost, all else withers and dies. Sad day for the entire world and a real question over the policy of using violence to solve violence.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago.

Sometimes I wonder how much more the Iraqi people can take. Yet, I know that before Saddam seized power Iraq had the best health care system, educational system and legal system in that region of the world. I believe that will be restored to the Iraqis in the future. Keep up your hope, determination, national vision, and hard work to bring it about. We are pulling for you throughout the world. Freedom and democracy are worth the enormous sacrifices required. We in the West nearly lost ours during WWII.
Janet, Edmonton, Canada

The only thing worse than a mistake is continuing the mistake
James Kelley, Brooklyn

It is disheartening to read the statements by Iraqis that are unhappy with the status of their country. The arguments for and against the war both had merit, but now the only thing that matters is fixing this mess and ending the pain. My question to the Iraqis is, can the US provide a solution, or are we part of the problem? The only thing worse than a mistake is continuing the mistake. As someone who departs for military service not too long from now, I'd like to conclusively know whether our sacrifice there is appreciated and wanted.
James Kelley, Brooklyn, USA

My heart goes out to those who have died in the struggle for freedom. If I had a question for the Iraqis, it would be "Do you feel free?" As much as I abhor tyranny, I also believe freedom is not what one sets up like when constructing but what inherently evolves like vapour out of a boiling kettle. True freedom lies with the Iraqis, i.e. if and when they are ready?
Olawale Olanrewaju, Dublin, Ireland

I am an Iraqi citizen who had to leave the country a month before the war, then six months later I went back to stay for several months. Believe me, I was shocked to see how a country and its people can change in only a few months. I still have my family there and, unfortunately, whenever I talk to them hoping things have improved, it turns out that it's getting worse. All we Iraqis need is security, electricity and water. Let us not ask for too much for the moment
Maha, Valencia, Spain

I would like to know if Iraqis will support the new government once the coalition leaves or if they view it as a puppet of the occupiers.
Jim, NJ, USA

The suffering, hurt, anguish, anxiety, fear, oppression, racial tensions all still exist in Iraq under no means of freedom
Ajiy Habeb, Middlesex

The day Saddam was captured was a day for many Iraqis around the world to finally accept that his reign was over. This was also a joyous day and hope for prosperity in Iraq, hope for the future of the people who suffered brutally under Saddam's regime.

But the war is not over. The suffering, hurt, anguish, anxiety, fear, oppression, racial tensions all still exist in Iraq under no means of freedom. The USA did not control Iraqi borders for at least six months after the war was declared over which made way for terrorists. For six months. Just imagine how many terrorists had arrived in Iraq, daily.
Ajiy Habeb, Middlesex, England

I would like to ask Iraqis if their view of the American invasion and occupation are coloured by having lost family members or friends to Saddam Hussein, the American military or to the insurgents. Have they had their houses broken into by the American military and family or friends disappeared into American-controlled prisons?
BJ Kalmbach, Wisconsin, USA

I feel the suffering of majority ordinary Iraqi people. I would like to know how they deal with this vast number of casualty which is almost part of daily life. I know that human suffering has its own limitation.
Dr Qudrat Nasraty, California, USA

This is on behalf of two friends of mine who live in Baghdad and who cannot write English. They are, like everyone else, caught in the violent uncertainty about their future. They want to know whether they can qualify to be refugees in the UK. Since Tony Blair is responsible for what is happening in Iraq it is his moral duty to allow Iraqis to live in Britain to escape from car bombs, rapes and kidnappings. The problem of Iraq would be automatically solved if US, UK and Australia let Iraqis enter with indefinite leave as compensation.
Adel Ali, London for Abdullatif Said and Hisham Al-Arabi, Baghdad

To Adel Ali, London for Abdullatif Said and Hisham Al-Arabi, Baghdad: I truly wish Iraq could find peace. However, you can't have both i.e. freedom to become a refugee in the UK and the withdrawal of all foreigners from Iraq. Perhaps we should withdraw - the Iraqi people did not invite us there - but what do you think would happen if we did? The insurgents would be Saddam replacements. There was only one Saddam. If we go you will have many Saddams. I don't know what the solution is but I sincerely hope Iraq will become a better place for its citizens and they will find peace and prosperity.
Sue, Birmingham, UK

To Sue, Birmingham, UK: Thank you for your well meaning reply but you can't have it both ways too. None of my Iraqi friends are asking for withdrawal of the occupying troops since they believe that it is a pointless exercise, well, unless they suffer massive setbacks resulting in thousands of deaths. In the meantime, good people of England and their government should extend hospitality to the Iraqis who just want to be safe. This war and the events leading to it have been such a mess that the self congratulating excuse of removal of Saddam is nothing more than a laughable lame attempt.
Adel Ali, London

So the best anyone can do is to keep fingers crossed, like Sue from Birmingham
Adel Ali, London

Once again on behalf of my two Iraqi friends in Baghdad. Both Abdul and Hisham believe that the first step of returning Iraq to normalcy is to have a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops, however conditional and tentative. Second step is to dismantle any reference to sectarian divisions in elections, appointments and jobs. Playing Shia, Sunnis and Kurds against each other just cannot work, unless it is a strategy to keep Iraq unstable.

The third is to let Iraqis build Iraq, that is to say, all the contracts worth billions awarded unilaterally by American should be quashed and fairly and openly re-awarded. And lastly, they believe that any truly democratically anywhere in the Middle East cannot and will not be blindly pro-American; the worst part is that they fear that Americans know this. So the best anyone can do is to keep fingers crossed, like Sue from Birmingham.
Adel Ali, London

Thank you BBC for letting the Iraqis speak for themselves for once - instead of having the usual Western armchair liberals spout their anti-American bias on their behalf. I support the action the coalition took from the outset - the picture of Iraqi women coming out of polling booths and rejoicing reaffirmed that belief that we were moral and justified to act. Reading the comments here from Iraqis really drives home to me what the continued sacrifice was and is for. Good luck and peace and prosperity to the people of democratic Iraq, and shame upon those who sit in the comfort of their Western democracy and try to deny you the same rights because it suits their politics to do so.
Roger, Whitwick, England

To Roger, Whitwick, UK: You must have access to a completely different BBC website from the rest of us, then. By my estimation, at least half of the posts here from real Iraqis are of a pessimistic, critical nature.
John Gibson, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

To Roger, Whitwick, England: You say that the comments of Iraqis here are proof that the war was worth it. Really? Have you bothered to notice the several comments by Iraqis here who described their lives as being one of constant fear and expecting to be killed at any moment? What about those comments? Do they count? I guess it's better to live in denial and say we did the right thing then look at the situation on the ground objectively and admit that a mistake (a mistake based on lies and deception if I may add) has been made.
Adnan, Montreal, Canada

4-5 reported bombings - resulting average loss of 30 lives a day, is Iraq better off? Isn't it also valid that the last couple of years of occupation has resulted in more loss of lives and infrastructure than by Saddam during his rule?
Rakesh, London, UK

People need to know the difference between security and living in fear. Saddam kept things under control because he would simply eliminate whoever opposed to him. Now, there is democracy and freedom, people are free to do and say whatever they want. The chaos, sense of insecurity is caused by the insurgents. Killing in combat is totally different from beheading people with their hands tied behind their backs. Insurgents don't want USA and the coalition to be successful in Iraq because it will show the world we were right removing the threat. But make no mistake about it, we will be successful, and we will win with or without insurgents. The coalition will free Iraq for good. Trust me on that.
William, Chicago, Illinois, USA

A friend has just returned from Baghdad, only to report that what one sees on television, is no more than of one per cent of the truth. The mayhem that the invasion created for the Iraqi people is beyond belief. The insurgency goes from strength to strength, the torture, abuse, and oppression are common place. Iraq has been destroyed and will never be the same again. The insurgents do like that scenario, for it helps as a breeding ground for their own purposes. Not even Allah can now help the innocent Iraqis.
Farida, London, UK

I would be interested to know if petty crime is higher now, under coalition rule, than under Saddam's regime. What has changed either way?
Hywel, London, UK

There is also much good work going on across the country to improve all aspects of the nation's infrastructure
Ross, Basrah, Iraq
I am a British military engineer working to try and improve the Iraqi electrical system. Despite the gloomy news you read from Iraq every day, there is also much good work going on across the country to improve all aspects of the nation's infrastructure. Every Iraqi that I have met has been welcoming, kind and friendly and I consider myself lucky to be in a position to help The rights or wrongs of the war seem a totally irrelevant from where I am sat. I simply believe my contribution here is worthwhile.
Ross, Basra, Iraq

From BBCArabic.com: In spite of all the bad things we face on a daily basis in Iraq, life is beautiful without Saddam. Today there's a lot of talk about sectarianism but no one looks back to remember who the people Saddam governed Iraq with were. Today even as you see Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and others in the government there is talk about sectarianism and monopolisation of power by one group. Are 35 years of Ba'athist rule not considered sectarianism! The problem today in Iraq is the breath of Ba'athism and sectarianism that still hovers over the minds of some people and we should fight that to live in peace like other people. .
Jalal Baghdadi, Baghdad

There does need to be a bit more focus on what's going on outside the major cities. The comparison is often made between the Hussein days when they had reliable water and electricity infrastructure and the current situation where these facilities are less reliable. What is less often reported is that in more remote/poorer areas these services weren't present previously - current partial provision being the result of something in place of nothing, not remnants of a bells-and-whistles infrastructure. If this perspective is indeed true, then it shows up a media which are showing their usual metropolitan/chattering-class bias and/or determined only to show the pessimistic side.
Liz, London, UK

In as much as the majority of Iraqis regard the coalition troops as an army of occupation, there will be no freedom in Iraq until the resistance has succeeded in expelling them. Only then can the ordinary Iraqi citizens have freedom and security.
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK

I know several Kurdish refugees from Iraq, one of whom suffered severe injuries under Saddam. Their lives here as refugees are not great, but I don't see any of them keen to go back to the "New" Iraq. That speaks volumes for me.

I spoke to an Iraqi student who came from Mosul for a three day youth conference in Cairo. He said they welcome the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and they are really against the US Army's move from liberation to occupation. He said there is a need for peace and security before democracy is applied to the country and free participation of all parties. Iraq youths want the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq without leaving military bases there for the sake of peace in the oil rich country where loss of lives is on daily bases.
Yasin Abdallah, Cairo, Egypt

As an Iraqi, I am uniquely qualified to post on this discussion. First off, life is definitely better under the coalition than under Saddam. Saddam's regime killed thousands of my fellow Iraqis. The only way people in the "West" don't see this is because they have a media with a liberal bias.
Abdul Al Suja, Ramallah, Iraq

From BBCArabic.com:Iraq is a country that has been suffering from wars and bloody conflicts for 5,000 years and what you see now is a decisive episode of the bloody Iraqi saga. Perhaps its richness is what attracts all these wars, or maybe it's the despair of its people - whatever the reason the result is the death of innocents, the spread of fear, terror and injustice. I don't remember any period longer than a year without wars and destruction. Now the dream of every honourable Iraqi is to live in peace and quiet. We have grown accustomed to storing food and the basics of life. My hope from God is to grant the people of Iraq peace.
Heymen, Irbil

People here are no different from the rest of humanity - they want security, stability and economic luxury
Hashem al-Baaj, Najaf
From BBCArabic.com: Today's Iraq is not frightened by the multitude of visions and the conflict of ideas, but what hurts it and hurts its people is the daily car bombs and explosives. People here are no different from the rest of humanity - they want security, stability and economic luxury far from the shadow of terrorism and the tyranny of the occupier, and they have placed these hopes in the ballot boxes and will do so again in the coming elections with unprecedented confidence and with insistence to which all lovers of freedom will kneel and the end will be beautiful.
Hashem al-Baaj, Najaf

I would like to ask people in Iraq who have had experience of both US troops and British troops - are there any significant differences in their approach? Does it depend on local conditions, and do they vary a lot, or are things pretty similar all over Iraq?
Marion Burkimsher, Chevry, France

There is one question that I would like to see answered by Iraqis in Iraq. "If you could return to your life in Iraq as it was before the allied invasion, would you? A simple yes or no would reveal far more than pages of biased reporting by disinterested journalists.
Al, UK

From BBCArabic.com: I am a married Iraqi woman living in Baghdad and I have three sons. We begin our day by waking up at 0600 and I listen to the news on BBC and prepare lunch for the family before heading to work. My husband and I work in the health ministry and live in Waziriya. My sons go to their schools in Karada and this causes me some concern because of the distance between Karada and Waziriya, in addition to the security situation and the fear in case any family member is late to arrive home. Yet our situation is much better.

I hope to write a novel about what happened and is happening in Iraq and I hope for my children to proceed with their studies and specialize in what they like and in what their grades qualify them for. Our lives are marred by some difficulties because of the changes the country is going through, such as regular power outages which causes confusion especially at night when it's very hot and we wake up very tired. My most important aspiration is for my young son who is now studying in the faculty of fine arts to succeed and become an internationally acclaimed artist, since he is in love with sculpture.
Suhaila Abbas, Baghdad, Iraq

What will be the long term effects on the education system?
Siobhan, London
How has education been affected? Are children able to go to school? How do they get there safely? What will be the long term effects on the education system?
Siobhan, London

Having just returned from a business trip to the Middle East, I didn't hear one voice of complaint regarding the British and American actions in Iraq, it was the contrary. The 'locals' enjoy their new found freedom and so do the surrounding countries such as Kuwait which is now experiencing high levels of investment due to the increased stability in the area.
H Campbell, Perth

If we do nothing (Sudan) then we are guilty of witnessing genocide. If we intervene (Iraq) then we are accused of warmongering. Perhaps it's time for the west to stop any interference in outside politics, and simply deal only with democratic nations. Let the rest of the world pull itself together, then we can help them.
Chris, UK

From BBCArabic.com: It is hard for me to compare the situation in Iraq with other nations. When I see the world through the television I feel a lot is missing. Why are we like this? I pray to God to make things normal again, and for Iraq to have eternal electricity.
Safaa, Kadissiya

I would like to ask people in Iraq how well they think our press covers their situation. What, in their opinion, is being covered well and also what they think is being covered badly. What would they add to the story if they could?
Steve Mac, Boston MA USA

I left Iraq in my childhood. Last year I went back to Iraq for the first time in 24 years to see family in Baghdad and Ramadi. I was shocked at the dreadful state the country was in. I blame the former regime and especially the USA for the destruction of the country. I truly believe Iraq has gone to the dogs. The new government is corrupt, the police force is made up of militias, criminals/terrorists roam the streets, competent civil servants are purged from their jobs or executed, electricity on for only four hours a day, sectarian/ethnic tensions/killings are rife. If this is the New Iraq which is supposed to be a beacon of hope then I don't want to be a part of it.
Mohanned Rahman, Oxford, UK

From BBCArabic.com: Is the Iraqi situation that bad? Yes there are some problems but things are going in the right direction. The residents of any area can make it safe or otherwise. When you shelter insurgents you have to expect trouble. As for the sectarian issue, this is promoted by some Arab channels which refuse to have democratic governments like that of Iraq, and time will prove this.
Ahmad al-Saadi, al-Amara

From BBCArabic.com: I lost my husband due to the current situation and with him I lost all my dreams and hopes, and the dreams of my children. All I can say to describe my state now is that I am afraid of everything. I am afraid when I head to work and back home of the danger I could face on the streets and I fear for my children and the unknown. Simply put, I live a state of insecurity in all its forms. This sums up our life in Iraq.
Um Sara, Baghdad

When you hear the stories about Iraq, you would imagine nobody is willing to go and work there. Far from it. A recent exercise to recruit those willing to work in Iraq from Uganda is something worth pondering about. Over 10,000 recruits applied and even appeared for the interviews and screening. Of these only 100 were eventually recruited and travelled to Iraq. Talk about the choice between working in a war raging area and living in absolute poverty (1$ or less a day)
Godfrey Kalikabyo, Kampala, Uganda

Unless people feel free and safe they're not free
John M, Lynemeads, UK
My first question would be to ask them whether they feel free: free to walk in the streets, around the market; free to travel to see family and friends; free to go out into the country for a picnic. Whatever the form of administration or rule of law unless people feel free and safe they're not free. What Iraq needs now, probably with the continued presence US force, is real international involvement to rebuild the country, the country's infrastructure and, most of all, to rebuild and guarantee its freedom.
John M, Lynemeads, UK

A government's foreign policy is always dictated by its own self interest. If the Saddam regime was sitting on water, not the worlds second largest reserves of crude oil, he would still be there doing business with the USA just like before.
Jane Jones, Sandwich, Kent

Do the Iraqis really resent the Americans or consider them as liberators from the yolk of tyranny? Of course the Abu Ghraib fiasco would have cost the Americans dearly. Time is a definite healer and the Iraqis have shown their stoic nature in the face of unrelenting adversity. Iraqi children would have lost educational opportunities and perhaps the G8 nations and UNESCO could try and assist Iraq in rebuilding its tattered educational and technological infrastructure. What are the priorities of the Iraqi people now? Iraq has to invest in the future and this needs massive aid from international and benevolent organisations.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

I have just come back from Iraq after six months helping the engineers there repairing power utilities. The majority of people there are very warm and friendly. They cherish their emerging democracy and want to keep it. The country has a long way to go, but we must not let the bombers win. Democracy and freedom are worth fighting for. We can ensure that the dreams of the ordinary Iraq people become a reality.
Paul Collier, London, UK

I am ashamed at what my nation has accomplished. I feel for the people of Iraq and wish them stability, peace, and happiness. Just as our western political leaders do not know how to progress from here, neither do I and that hurts me. This is a mess and the stomach-wrenching thing is whilst I believe the invasion was wrong, to have done nothing was worse, a crime we have been guilty of for a decade.
Joseph Postin, Tamworth UK

How do you choose between freedom and security? I completely understand why some people would yearn for the stability of the Saddam era, but sometimes critics of the invasion seem to value the freedom of the Iraqis less than they value their own. We don't consider our freedom from dictatorship a trivial matter: many have fought and died for it; it is considered worth suffering for. Are the Iraqis different in this respect?
David Pritchard, Madrid, Spain

Why is it that all the information we receive is of death and destruction?
Andrew Wheeler, Madrid, Spain
Most of the suffering that occurs in Iraq actually happens in Baghdad and surrounding areas. Why is it that all the information we receive is of death and destruction? What is happening in other Iraqi cities? Why doesn't the world press and media show us the other side of the story. Surely there are other cities where Iraqi citizens enjoy relative peace and get on with their lives in freedom.
Andrew Wheeler, Madrid, Spain

I want to ask Iraqis, 'what exactly do you need, and how can the Western governments best help you?'
John, London UK

The need to remove Saddam, his party, dynasty, influence and policies was paramount. Iraq will recover in time. Next question?
David, Leicester, UK

So often you hear of "people living in fear" - it's become a stock phrase in the media that is often misused. These reports really make you realise how awful every moment must be for the people in Iraq - the constant terror, dread and worry for themselves and their loved ones. It must be exhausting in every sense, and with no end in sight. Having made the brave decision to go in and try to make things better in Iraq, what are the US and UK doing to help Iraq's people get back on their feet? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be working.
David, Tonbridge, UK

I don't live in Iraq, but I think I have a good factual idea of both the former life in Iraq and the current. Former: Iraq had one of the best literacy rates. Cities were clean and infrastructure was in good tact. People had access to all daily needs including electricity, food and water, and people had a peace of mind. Current: Minimal water and electricity. Foreign occupation has been the cause to the creation of insurgents. This will lead to a new generation of foreign haters. Iraqis will never win their peace of mind again, the foreign occupation has stole it.
Shaheer Tarin, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

To Jack, Illinois, United States. Under Saddam there were at times many military coups and uprisings in the south and north and even in Baghdad. Saddam was getting old and it was just a matter of time that a successful revolution would happen, but the US and UK were in a hurry, so Iraqis missed the chance of real freedom.
Dia, Iraqi living in Estonia

One day is like one year - 60 attacks a day by the insurgents. Of course hostilities ceased a year ago when the war "finished"- according to G W Bush. Like most things that the current American administration does in foreign policy, it never finishes what it starts.
Chris Kisch, Milton Keynes, UK

I would ask someone who has lived all their life in Iraq, whether the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians (family members, close friends) has been worth it, given the current situation.
Steve Massey, Cheltenham, UK

Setting up a new and free country doesn't happen overnight
Dee, Sweden
I would ask someone in Iraq whether they felt the West helping them to achieve freedom, democracy and a life without fear of retribution, torture or death is worth the unsettlement until the Iraqi people themselves show they are a nation to stand on their own without oppression and build themselves a new and free land. Setting up a new and free country doesn't happen overnight and there is bound to be casualties and upheaval, but surely being able to live without fear is worth rebuilding hospitals, schools etc? Don't forget you now have the chance to do this if you unify yourselves and root out those who do not wish this to happen.
Dee, Sweden

I would ask someone who has been brought up in the US whether they could ever understand how Iraqis feel - having suffered through dictatorship, they have now lost control of their own country, security and wealth. This is not freedom, and I see no crowds throwing flowers to thank the great America for freeing them from their situation.
Jai Gomer, Cardiff, UK

I would first offer an Iraqi citizen my apologies for the actions of my Government and the comments of some of my countrymen. I would then ask them how they feel about the increasing conflict between national and religious groups in their country.
Nancy, USA

How do the people feel having an invading force present? As they were no threat to Britain, do they feel the number of their countrymen who have been killed is justified?
Jon S, Reading, UK

From BBCArabic.com: I want to say that the situation in Iraq is not good, but we can see that the heroes of Iraq sacrifice themselves to keep the smiles on the faces of the children. Pray to God to preserve the heroes of the police and the army and the guards and every honourable Iraqi who protects the smiles of the children and women of Iraq.
Iraqi citizen, Baghdad

From BBCArabic.com: Our Iraq is wounded. With these words I begin because Iraq is truly wounded and is now bleeding, and we are bleeding with it as well. Since my childhood I have never known in Iraq a smooth, normal life. We have never known a beautiful life. Since my childhood I have been seeing tragedies and war and misery flooding us from every corner. I am now 24 years of age and misery still pours on us. Saddam goes, Zarqawi comes. Zarqawi goes, someone else comes. Such it is, and I wonder: when will we be able to live in freedom and security and peace? Security is lacking in the lives of Iraqis. If you go out of your home you don't know if you're coming back alive or not. Either because of car bombs or explosives or thieves. We walk in fear of everything around us and anyone standing next to us.
Karwan, Baghdad

From BBCArabic.com: I have visited my country after 24 years of abroad and I have seen such joy at the downfall of the most tyrannical regime in history that I had never seen before.
Mohammad al-Baydani, Sydney, Australia

From BBCArabic.com: Iraq is the country of the forgotten, of those forsaken by humanity who are withering beneath the heat of the sun and of bombs, one after the other. No one knows anything about them except through the daily news in just a few minutes, and then they disappear from the face of the earth to get back to their daily lives and their daily death. Everyone steals their dreams and kills their innocence and spreads their bodies in the streets. This is the destiny that will never abandon us and that we won't abandon. This is our Iraq which is beautiful despite its cruel bitterness.
Ali al-Rassam, Iraq

I have a lot of Iraqi friends - their day starts by wanting to go back to their homeland and the day ends by watching the news counting the victims
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan
As a Jordanian, I knew Iraq as a very lovely and beautiful country. The Iraqi people are like every one else - peace loving and wanting the good things in life. [They have been] caught between the greed of their leaders and US interests in the region. All their lives are shattered. I have a lot of Iraqi friends - their day starts by wanting to go back to their homeland and the day ends by watching the news counting the victims... I hope the UN will soon act to end this crime and give them security and a new start under a UN mandate.
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan

I would ask someone who has lived in Iraq if they thought Iraq could have ever had the chance to be free under Saddam or any of his successors? Are they not better off under US occupation than being tortured and killed in secret prisons and on the streets?
IF, Russia

Driving home yesterday I looked at several refugees now living in Cyprus. Maybe they were from Iraq, maybe not! They were living in run down buildings possibly left from the Cyprus invasion 1974. The thought struck me that at least they appeared to be safe, even though they were surviving day to day by finding work wherever they can, mostly labouring on building sites. It must be terrible for the ones still in Iraq or they home country that sleep and live in fear for their lives. Democracy at a price! But is the true cost really worth it?
Paul Thomas, Cyprus

I was hostage for four, fall months in Iraq, in 1990. I am ashamed, appalled, and incredibly fortunate I was held by fellow human beings, with more respect than me. I'd be dead if I were hostage, or detainee, in the current sickness. In one particularly stupid moment, I felt entirely justified when I spat directly into the face of the Iraqi guard who had just transferred me from one hostage site to another. He wiped his face and walked away. Twenty minutes later, I was knocked unconscious by a pool cue to the head, and came around to five of his colleagues kicking my head, ribs, mouth for a few minutes. Then they stopped. I was sore, incredibly badly, bruised ribs, broken teeth, and I did nothing but groan for the next few days. Had I done that to a British "hero", yet alone an American, I'd have been dead within 10 minutes.
Brian Wetheridge, El Paso, Texas

My family and I lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's regime, but in those days, there was security, water and hospitals and schools. Now everything has been decimated by the occupation of the US forces. I have evacuated my family, my mother, brother and little sister to Germany, where life is stable for the moment. In the days of Saddam Hussein, my mother said: "living in Iraq was secure and stable, now the American occupation has destabilised our country." Only time will tell... when will there ever will be peace in Iraq?
Zeedious Ostradamus, Berlin, Germany

I would ask someone who has lived in Iraq if they thought Iraq could have ever had the chance to be free under Saddam or any of his successors?
Jack, Illinois, United States

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