The attack on a flotilla of boats bringing aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has, quite rightly, captured the attention of people across the world. It has also opened up a whole Pandora’s box of questions that I am asking myself: what, and how do I feel towards Palestinians? I was, like many British Iraqi youth, completely immersed in the Palestinian cause in the days of yore…before Iraq turned me sceptical.
I couldn’t stand it that the downtrodden in Palestine would come out in support of the regime that had itself trodden on so many Iraqis. Pictures of Saddam, Uday, Qusay and even Zarqawi adorned Palestinian protests, and I hated it. So I decided to not care.
But, there’s a problem. Palestinian feelings towards Saddam and others who have Iraqi blood on their hands does not justify their murder or their oppression. Injustice is injustice, this is not a matter of politics or religion, it is a matter of morality and decency. We should not allow others, who we may despise, to set the benchmark for our morals and our ideals.
This is particularly true in Iraq. The torture of those accused of acts of terrorism should not, in my opinion, be condoned. They should be brought to justice under due process. I say this not because I care, even remotely, for terrorists. But because I care about the standards we ourselves, who often think of ourselves as agents of change and activists pursuing a brighter future for Iraq, go by, which I hope we can set for ourselves without allowing others to dictate them for us.