A Shi'a from Southern Iraq, Ms. Al-Suwaij participated in the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein, which she described in a recent article in The New Republic "The Fire Last Time" (Feb. 10, 2003). Ms. Al-Suwaij is the executive director of the American Islamic Congress (www.aicongress.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to building interfaith and interethnic understanding.
"Today in the U.S., as I watch soldiers shipping off, I see protesters chanting against American ambition and greed. Having lived through wars that were all about one man's ambition and greed, I am pained to see how these protesters have missed the mark. On behalf of Iraqis who cannot speak openly with reporters or who have given their lives trying to free Iraq from Hussein's brutal rule, let me say clearly: American, British and other allied soldiers are a sign of hope and liberation."
A Long Journey From Iraq Leads to Backing for War, Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2003
"As an American who was born and raised in Iraq, I am often asked, "Are you for the war on Iraq?
My answer: I am for ending the war in Iraq — and that won't happen until Saddam Hussein goes. "
"Saddam's war in Iraq has raged for more than 30 years. In 1968, his Baath Party seized power, and Saddam began his climb to become Iraq's dictator. To dominate the country, he has unleashed every known weapon in Iraq's arsenal against his own people — from tanks to torture chambers to poison gas. The war in Iraq has claimed more than 1 million lives and made 4 million refugees."
Iraqi People Yearn to Taste Freedom Again, USA Today, January 13, 2003
"As war with Iraq draws closer, commentators, journalists, and policymakers frequently question whether the Iraqi people would really support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But that question has already been answered. Although Americans remember the Gulf war, many do not realize that, for a few momentous days immediately after it, much of Iraq rose up in open rebellion against Saddam's regime. In fact, 15 out of 18 Iraqi provinces rebelled. I was one of the rebels."
Memories of a Free Iraq, The New Republic, February 10, 2003
"Americans do not understand how badly Iraqis have suffered, and how eager they are to be rid of the tyrant who rules them. I recently spoke with a peace activist who opposes U.S. action on Iraq. 'Is Saddam really that bad?' she asked. 'On TV, I always see Iraqis marching in the streets against the U.S.' I explained how we were forced to attend pro-Saddam marches as part of school. Those who tried to run away were beaten by the police. I also told her the story of how one of my classmates in third grade made the mistake of saying that Iran was not so bad. The girl disappeared one week later and never returned."
America's Debt to Iraq, Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2002