Just as other oppressed Arab people, Iraqis have been demonstrating on the streets not only since February 25, 2011 —the date in which their demands were echoed by some foreign media— but three years before, when the Revolutionary Youth Movement was founded.
At that time, Iraqis demonstrated from the Northern —Erbil— to the deepest South — Fao— and also in Nayaf, Kut, Basra and Naseriyah. They demanded public services (water and electricity) and also denounced the Iranian toxic spillages in the South of Iraq.
Iraqi Security forces violently repressed the first demonstrations, causing several deaths and injuring many people. The international community made no response. That no one in the media or in the diplomatic sphere did anything to stop Nouri al Maliki government's repression caused the demonstrations to fade away. However, the young people involved in these demonstrations have kept on working to improve their structure, coordination and their ways of protesting, as well as to widen their social roots.
This work of coordination has resulted in the massive demonstrations that are taking place every day —since February 25, 2012—, in Ramadi (Al Anbar), where more than 200,000 people, according to Al Jazeera, blocked off the motorway from Bagdad to Syria and to Jordan.
The demonstrations have also taken place in other cities such as Samara, Mosul, Faluyah, Tikrit or Bakuba, among others. These protests are dated back in 2011 in Baghdad’s Tahir Square, and their demands came from there too: end of sectarianism; end tortures, rapes against the prisoners, women and men; the release of the innocent people arrested; the end of corruption and to bring to court all those responsible for the crimes. These demands are not at all different from those heard in Egypt or Tunis: Justice and Dignity.
Iraqis, as well as in Egypt and Tunis, have sung the famous “Al shaab yurid isqat al nidam!!!” (The people want to end the regime!). The Iraqi political system, imposed by the 2003 occupation, has nothing to learn from the neighbor countries regarding violation of Human Rights, despotism, corruption and in neglecting their own people; on the contrary, the Iraqi government is the master criminal.
In spite of the violent repression the Iraqi security forces and the militias related to the sectarian political parties in the government used against the people, the Iraqi people have gone beyond the frontier of fear. The road may be long, but it appears there is no way to turn back. Nouri al Maliki’s reaction to the latest demonstrations has been to accuse foreign elements of supporting them, to despise and insult the demonstrators and, above all, to try to convince the world that the revolution is sectarian.
Although the demonstrations are taking place in the so-called 'Sunni provinces," the demands, statements and speeches are unifying, anti sectarian and defend national unity; they also encourage people to expand the protests to the rest of Iraq, as you can read in the statement of January 1, 2013, signed by the main groups that lead the protests: "[...] We invite the rest of the provinces to demand in unity, without any division, all our rights, because this revolution has been, and still is, for all Iraqis and on their behalf." In fact, the core of the demonstrations, the city of Ramadi, has received support from other regions of Iraq, Shiite cities such as Basra and Naseriyah, in spite of the threats and detentions perpetrated by the security forces against all who show their support for the protesters’ claims. Besides these delegations’ support, important Shiite leaders have issued statements in support of the demonstrations and have invited the rest of Iraq to join them.
The most important of these leaders are the Grand Ayatollah Ahmed Baghdadi, Imam Jawad al-Jalesi or the Shia leader Qasem al-Tai. In other proof of unity and respect for the different faiths, Ramadi protesters decided to call last Friday, January 5th the "Friday of Hussein’s example," since the previous Thursday they commemorated the feast of Arbaeen.
The young men, the religious leaders, and the leaders of civil society who lead the demonstrations have not only managed to keep away sectarianism, but also any image or symbol that belong to the sectarian political parties, in order to reinforce the popular spirit of unity of the revolution. Despite few attempts attempted by some sectarian politicians to approach the revolution, the response made by the demonstrators has been overwhelming, as Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al Mutlak could feel on December 30, 2012 when he had to get away from Ramadi due to the danger of being lynched by the crowd.
The Iraqi Revolution has taken the common support from all political forces inside the armed Iraqi resistance. Besides the Shiite leaders mentioned above, it must be added, among many others, the statements made by the Baath Party, the Iraq Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, the National Patriotic and Islamic Front and the Movement of Iraqi Arab Nationalists. In all their statements they agree on the legitimacy of the demands, which are defined as a step forward in the fight against the U.S. occupation and the Iranian domination.
The armed resistance groups have also issued statements expressing their support of the protesters, but what is most important is that they have shown their willingness to fight the Iraqi security forces if they attack the protesters: "[...] We have never attacked a single Iraqi in these years of struggle, but if Nouri al Maliki uses violent means to break up these demonstrations we, men of the Army of the Naqshabandiya Tariqa, assume our moral obligation to defend you, brother protesters (...) we will use those thousands of fighters who fought against the U.S. occupation and all our military arsenal to defend the protesters, because that is our responsibility now." Likewise, other groups, like Jihad and Change Front and the Jihad al Murrabitin Brigades have issued similar statements.
With this statement CEOSI wants to show its public support to the legitimate demands of the Iraqi Revolution, which are nothing less than the continuation of the struggle of the Iraqi people for their independence and sovereignty, stolen after the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of 2003, and now virtually in Iranian hands after the withdrawal of most U.S. troops in December 2011.
We hope that the revolution will be spread throughout Iraq, maintaining their unity and anti-sectarian spirit, to end the current puppet regime and thus achieve a full sovereignty.
We urge to the international community to acknowledge the fair demands of the Iraqi people for the sake of freedom and dignity as it was done in the previous Arab Spring revolutions. Governments and people of the world should stand with people’s dignity and against repression and violation of human rights, now represented by the current Iraqi political system.