October 30, 2019
Fed up with years of corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services, thousands of Iraqis are taking to the streets to protest for better living conditions and a better future. Most of the young people from the community when out on the streets to show the government that they are done standing around and want their rights back. They are protesting for better social services, but the government does not appreciate them protesting so it has become a violent situation. Some people have even been killed in these riots. According to the protesters, the protest began because of the removal of Abdul-Wahab Al-Saadi, a highly respected general who was an anti-ISIS fighter. People were upset because he was dismissed from the leadership of the counter-terrorism command, where he was trying to help Iraq abolish terrorism.
Also, the youth in Iraqi has become tech-savvy, so they are now seeing how other people in different places are living. They have realized that the conditions in Iraq are inadequate for the kind of money Iraq has because of their oil wealth. It doesn’t add up that most people live in poverty, they are questioning where all the money is going. For this, they are in a rage as stated by the New York Times, “The Iraqi leadership shut down the internet, imposed a curfew, deployed security forces and was largely unapologetic when they opened fire on demonstrators.” In Baghdad, there was a week of daily protest and now the streets are silent and in disaster. In Najaf, families are saddened but the tragic event of having to bury their loved ones. Sabah, an Iraqi explained that the government, “…shoot the innocent and the criminals together. People are protesting for income and bread. Look at the youth. Every day, they go out in thousands. What is the result?” He is explaining that there is no positive outcome of the protest only people dying.
Sources state that the youth first started the protests peacefully, demanding an end to uncontrolled corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services. All of a sudden it became a clash with security forces and armed groups. As reported by PBS NewsHour, “The Iraqi government pledged to add public sector jobs, and today approved a grant for employment development. ” But this may not be enough because this was done to calm the people down. A protester explained to a PBS interviewer in Iraq, “We went out protesting because we are in pain and suffering. There is no electricity, no jobs, and people are dying of starvation. People are sick. It is a curse.”
“I came out to the streets to ask for reform in my country and to find salvation from the mafias who have stolen my country and was greeted brutally by the security forces,” said Ibrahim Ahmed Yusuf, 34, who was wounded in the neck while marching in Tahrir Square in Baghdad. He continued saying “We are peaceful protesters, but the security forces treated us with brutality as if we were animals, not humans demanding our rights.” When this rage ignites, it does not help out the already unstable government and just leads to conflict with the authorities and the citizens.
The citizens are trying to improve their situation but the government seems to be against them.