Balsam Mustafa

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‘The repeated failure to address Iraqis’ concerns has triggered cycles of protests.’ US soldiers and Baghdad residents, Iraq, May 2003. Photograph: Nam Hun Sung/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Twenty years ago, around this time, the US-led military operation to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein’s regime finally seemed inevitable for Iraqis. With it, the idea of leaving started to sink in.

By leaving, I do not mean fleeing the country. That was not even an option. After the 1990s Gulf war, and the international sanctions that followed it, Iraqis were isolated from the rest of the world. For many, there was no exit. Leaving meant departing schools, universities or workplaces, saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, and moving to relatively safer places within the country, away from the areas targeted by strikes and bombings.…  Seguir leyendo »