Earlier this year eight Iraqi students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three read the debate in Commonweal about the sanctions imposed on Iraq from 1990 to 2003 (“Better Than War?” February 10). The students belong to the Iraqi Student Project and are in Damascus, Syria, for nine months of preparation in hopes of gaining undergraduate scholarships to U.S. colleges. Ironically, as guests of Syria—where over a million Iraqis still live as refugees—they are again living under sanctions.
After reading the Commonweal articles by Joy Gordon, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, and George Lopez, the students wrote brief responses. The following excerpts are taken from three of those responses.
—Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak Directors of Iraqi Student Project, Damascus
My father’s stories always had the same beginning—“In my days....” I used to listen carefully to the wondrous tales of an Iraq I hadn’t seen. My parents told me stories about a different Iraq, a wealthy Iraq. After I came to Syria, I stopped listening to my father’s “glories of the past.” I could not comprehend or imagine a prosperous Iraq where pleasant and...