A passage to Iraq [Archives:2007/1029/Community]

March 1 2007

By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy
[email protected]

Some powerful nations repeatedly raised various common mottos to invade and sometimes colonize others. Whether we call it “invasion,” “occupation,” “colonialism” or “imperialism,” by all means, it offers nothing but harm and destruction to such targeted countries.

Actually, it's not strange to see such countries spend a huge amount of money and devote armed forces and people for other nations' sake. Whether they settle safely or unsafely, invaders and colonizers are no more than enemies. Even though they settle for a long period of time, native peoples never accept them as friends and, of course, one day, sooner or later, they will be driven out.

The 19th century English novelist E. M. Forster depicts all of this in his novel, “A Passage to India,” about British colonization in India. History currently is repeating itself in the case of the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq. The terms and even the techniques may differ, but the aims remain the same. Instead of India, we now have Iraq and regarding this point, what Forster calls “A Passage to India,” is actually what we may call “A Passage to Iraq.”

Peacekeeping, freedom, justice, welfare, etc., are mottos the U.S.-British forces raised to invade Iraq. In “A Passage to India,” British settlers in India claim similar mottos, as British city magistrate Ronny describes: “We're out here to do justice and keep the peace 'm out here to work, mind and hold this wretched country by force. We're not pleasant in India and we don't intend to be pleasant. We've something more important to do.”

By the way, the “peace” occurring in Iraq actually isn't peaceful due to the daily blasts and military attacks that kill dozens of people every day. Everyone is enjoying “freedom” so that Iraqis live – I'm sorry, exist – by keeping quiet and doing nothing while surrounded by freedom offices whose easiest response is jailing, if not killing, anyone requesting help. Welfare is everywhere except in a small area of the world called Iraq where the smell of dead bodies is the only thing to enjoy.

This is the same freedom, welfare and peace Indians received from their British colonizers as depicted in “A Passage to India.” The British humiliated and aggressively treated the Indians, declaring, “The best thing one can do to a native is let him die.” These are the glorious achievements colonial and imperialist systems sincerely offer any nation that may give such clients the chance to treat its own land.

Greedy nations often spend a lot of money to invade and settle in others with the claim of keeping peace and freedom. One should ask, “Why aren't such amounts spent on poor countries in South Africa, for example, to save people from disease and starvation?”

A comparison between such poor countries and others like Iraq and India answers the question in the sense that nothing is offered free of charge. Though there are many reasons, absorbing a nation's wealth and natural resources is first; thus, we realize where Iraq's oil has gone and why Indians led such poor lives during British colonization.

This is the situation: instead of building a country's infrastructure for the nation's welfare, they run after the country's incomes to increase their own glory. Nobody denies that the U.S. has built something in Iraq – it's a great pipe to pump oil for their own interests. Alas, the oil that was Iraq's main source of income has become useless under U.S. welfare, freedom and peace.

Similarly, India's trade and shipment income no longer were for Indians who, furthermore, became mere consumers of English products like clothes and food, which Indians sufficiently produced for themselves before colonization. English people enjoyed good financial status on account of Indians who lacked it in their own land. Forster's description of the city of Chandrapore as divided into two completely different parts offers a glimpse of the poverty and miserable life Indians led compared to the English.

It's a mathematical game such countries play everywhere: “What's the income of losing so and so?” This is what every individual, child, old man or woman should learn and should be taught to others as a national duty because the future is mysterious and all should awaken awareness to ensure a better tomorrow for generations to come.

In fact, the relationship between invaders and colonizers with native peoples soon breaks down. There seem to be some relations between the U.S.-British soldiers and some of the Iraqis. However, these relations are either for personal benefit or just a trap for American and British people. Such relationships are unreal and soon will fade away.

The relationship between Indian Muslim Dr. Aziz and English ladies, Mrs. Moore and Miss Adela, who seem to be good friends at the beginning, doesn't continue and instead, they become hostile enemies. Actually, it's not only a matter of different cultures, religions, lifestyles, etc., but something lies deeply that keeps a great distance between the natives and the colonizers.

Surely, there must be a deep-rooted hatred and negative response toward the aggressive invaders. Even those who run after personal benefits feel disdain and hatred. Nearly four years have passed since Iraq was invaded and every day sees a wider negative response toward the American and British people.

This is what Ronny reveals in “A Passage to India,” stating: “I've had 25 years' experience in the country and 25 years seemed to fill the waiting-room with their staleness and ungenerosity. During those 25 years, I've never known anything but disaster resulting when the English and Indians attempt to be intimate socially. Intercourse, yes. Courtesy, by all means. Intimacy, never ever.”

How can such a hard-headed nation like Iraq accept an American or British soldier who daily kills innocent children and women; who leaves nothing undestroyed in search of armless militants (what they call terrorists) and who absorbs the country's oil and its natural resources?

In “A Passage to India,” it's not only the relationship between Aziz and the English ladies that negatively ends, but also his relationship with Fielding, who comes to India as a mere schoolteacher. Many times, Aziz tries to befriend such an armless English teacher, but he constantly fails and instead, they become enemies.

It's not only a man-to-man or a nation-to-nation or even a culture-to-culture relationship. Nevertheless, it's a relationship between a native seeking peace and a happy life in his own land and a strange, hostile client who settles by force in others' land for nothing except to rob the country of its wealth, impose aggressive rules upon its people and utilize its location as a center of power and authority to threaten neighboring areas. No nation accepts this.

Although an English author, this is what Forster brilliantly depicts at the end of his novel when Fielding and Aziz ride two horses together. Though they are supposed to control the horses' destination, the horses go separately because there's something deeper, as Forster describes in his words: “But the horses didn't want it. They served apart. The earth didn't want it, sending up rocks through which riders must pass single file. The temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House that came into view as they issued from the gap and saw Mall beneath, they didn't want it. They said in a hundred voices, 'No, not yet,' and the sky said, 'No, not there.'”

Thus, the Iraqi people will never surrender and one day, they'll drive out the U.S.-British forces like the Indians did to the British settlers in 1948. It's a lesson invaders and colonizers should learn – that the time will come to push them out barefoot if death lets some escape.

To conclude, in any colonized or invaded country, every drop of shed blood turns into a fountain of revolutionary anger, every penny exploited will be repaid and every friendly peace-loving individual soon will devote himself to violence to cleanse the homeland of such dirty mercenaries. This can be realized only through the mind's eye.

Majed Thabet Al-kholidy is a 26 year old writer from Taiz, currently doing his M.A. at English Dep, Taiz Uni.An ex-editor of Eng. Journal of the Uni. ([email protected])