[The following statement by diasporas Iraqi academics was issued on 11 November 2019 in solidarity with the current Iraqi uprising.]
We Stand With the Iraqi Uprising
We, a group of Iraqi academics living and working in the diaspora, stand in full support with the demands of the uprising in Iraq and strongly condemn the barbaric response of the Iraqi government and its paramilitaries.
Since the beginning of October, Iraq has witnessed a new wave of massive demonstrations demanding the end of the corrupt sectarian rule in the country. The uprising is unprecedented in its scale, shape, and demands. It has been led by the youth and the disenfranchised, including women, and has been joined by Iraqis from all backgrounds and regions across the country. Unions, syndicates, and students of all levels, including children, are on strike and have called for civil disobedience.
Protestors have demonstrated a commitment to non-violent civil disobedience and have called for bringing down the corrupt Green Zone regime put in power after the 2003 US-led invasion. This uprising is inclusive, women, especially young women, are very active and participate despite the repression and the backlash from security forces and armed groups.
These month-long protests have been met with unprecedented lethal violence from the government. Reports from the country indicate that more than 330 people have been killed and more than 15,000 wounded by government and paramilitary groups who have been using live ammunition, machine guns, stun grenades, anti-riot tanks, and military grade tear gas to quell the peaceful protests.
The Iraqi authorities have also imposed media, Internet and telecommunication blackout and have imposed curfews and restrictions on movement using roadblocks. Peaceful protestors have been threatened, arrested, beaten up, kidnapped and assassinated by security forces. Attempts by local journalists and intellectuals to voice the protesters’ demands have been met with intimidation, torture, and assassination by armed groups and militias close to the Iraqi political elites.
Protestors demand the dissolution of the government, parliament and provincial councils, the establishment of an interim government that would organize new elections under international supervision. They demand a fair investigation of all the killings and that the killers are brought to justice. We call on our colleagues and on the International community to pay attention to what is happening in Iraq and support us in bringing and amplifying the voices of the Iraqi people to the rest of the world.
This is a turning point in Iraq’s history. We are in awe of the courage, strength, resilience, and creativity of our people. We lend our support. You are building a better future for our country.
Dena Al-Adeeb, University of California, Davis
Nadje Al-Ali, Brown University
Khaled Al Hilli, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Zahra Ali, Rutgers University-Newark
Amnah Almukhtar, Columbia University
Marsin Alshamary, Harvard Kennedy School & MIT
Sinan Antoon, New York University
Yousef K. Baker, California State University, Long Beach
Omar Dewachi, Rutgers University
Shamiran Mako, Boston University
Zainab Saleh, Haverford College
Omar Sirri, University of Toronto