David Calling

Mithal al-Alusi & the Future of Iraq

Good news from Iraq!  Mithal al-Alusi has won a case which is a landmark of sorts. He’s the leader of the small (all too small) Democratic party, and a member of Parliament. Some years ago, he went to Israel, and there he proclaimed to the world that he couldn’t see occupation, only liberalism. All hell broke out in Iraq. And what did he do in the face of the storm? Why,he went back to Israel again to attend a conference, very publicly. The members of parliament voted to strip him of his parliamentary immunity, and the government brought a case against him. His lawyers argued that there is no law to forbid visiting Israel, and the judge duly acquitted him and restored all his rights. So he’ll be back in parliament.
If all Iraqis were like Mithal al-Alusi, Iraq would at last come into its own. Born in 1954, the son of an eminent professor, he was a determined opponent of Saddam Hussein, and therefore spent more than twenty years in exile in Germany. A Sunni, he nevertheless was an associate of Ahmed Chalabi’s and the Shia intellectuals around him. Returning to free Iraq, he has paid a terrible price. Terrorists murdered his two sons, and also burnt out his house. These outrages only harden his determination to do the right thing by his country. Supporting him through these atrocities, his wife is as admirable as he is. And we salute the judge who was not afraid to give the correct legal verdict in Mithal al-Alusi’s case. These are all extraordinary people, and they give real cause for hope.

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