I openly identify as a proud American. Like most citizens of this great land, I'm impatient, slightly out of shape and ignorant about world affairs and geopolitics. I'm spoiled with freedom, liberty and more opportunity than I can shake a stick at and loving every minute of it. Which is why I so appreciate the National Public Affairs Forum and City Club Raleigh, for hosting a talk by Lukman Faily, Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S. to help expand my perceptions.
I often tell people that I only hear about every third word from most events because I'm concentrating on what I see through the lens, during this talk, I heard a few words that left an impression on me.
My first takeaway is that many in Iraq's government realize that Americans, both inside and outside the government have "Iraq fatigue". We've been exposed to it on the news for so long and we wonder if progress is being made and if our nation's involvement was even worth it. I completely identify with this, mostly because I am so far removed from it and have only relied on traditional news sources for information.
My biggest takeaway, is that the people of Iraq are eager for democracy, but just not quite used to it yet, which is why we as Americans might perceive it as a volatile climate. If you and the generation before you have spent your life being told what to do, where to live and how to be; that is oppressive, but predictable. It can even begin to feel safe. Then, imagine all of the sudden, that stability is taken away. Even new found freedom can feel scary and get pretty messy.
Apparently, that has been the untold story in Iraq since 2003. The story most media outlets gloss over, because it makes for complex headlines and uninteresting soundbites. I'm rooting for the people of Iraq. I hope they find the peace and stability they seek.
I wish the same for my own country. Judging by the disposition of the current election cycle, we have more in common than most are willing to admit