Thursday, November 21, 2013
Iraqi minister 'calls for apology'
This video by Tony Rocca, co-editor of Memories of Eden, shows Baghdad as it was when 20 percent plus of its inhabitants were Jewish
We have heard pleas for tolerance from Iraqis before, but this statement by a senior Iraqi government official Fawzi Al Atrushi, excavated by the excellent Elder of Ziyon blog, is unprecedented: he is calling for Iraq to apologise to all oppressed minorities. It may, however, been a straw in the wind or words hastily retracted: EoZ could find no other mention of Al Atrushi's statement on the ministry of culture's website. (With thanks: Malca)
"Aswat al-Iraq reports that Iraqi Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture Fawzi Al Atrushi, at a conference on the rights of minorities in Iraq, said that 20% of the population of the city of Baghdad in 1921 were Jews, but now they are just footnotes in archives. He also warned that the same could happen to Iraqi minorities like Christians, whose rights continue to be restricted.
In a speech at the opening of the conference in Baghdad yesterday that "tolerance is not just a word to be thrown around."
"When King Faisal I entered Baghdad in 1921 some 20% of the city's population was Iraqi Jews, and now we are in the year 2013, this component of the Iraqi has turned into a mere archive we are trying to retrieve from the United States after they were repaired and restored."
Al Atrushi ccontinued, "The rights of minorities and tolerance among factions is part of culture and education and must reflect conduct on the ground, and not mere meetings and slogans and allegations about a reality does not exist."
"[Tolerance and coexistence] are the common ground and the common denominator between all religions and laws and international conventions, and it requires first and foremost the concrete embodiment on the ground. "
He said, "Indeed, majorities still prey on minorities, and males dominate, prey and marginalize women because violence is the dominant language among us."
Al Atrushi warned that "minorities in Iraq are in danger, and this is our challenge for advancement of all of us to build a civilized country linked to the world today, not in the past. "
He added that Iraq is "at a crossroads. Either live and come to terms with a state of citizenship and civil rights and democracy, or a divided nation, as happened in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and other countries."
He warned that Christians, who are at "the root of the historical identity of the nation, are diminishing daily. The Mandaeans, who make up one of the oldest peoples of Iraq, are subjected to exclusion and marginalization, and other Iraqi factions as well."
"Even the Kurdish people were threatened by the former regime by a most heinous racist war that threatened their existence."
Atrushi said, "We in the Ministry of Culture are interested in maintaining diversity and pluralism and coexistence between the segments and the components of the Iraqi people, whether ethnic, religious, sectarian or intellectual, because that is the way to weave a national identity of an Iraqi culture of diversity rather than a culture of one type. "
He stressed that for tolerance to be a reality it "must be accompanied by an apology, an apology from the majorities to the minorities, which provides a clean atmosphere and environment for reconciliation, all experiments done by civilized peoples prove it."
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