Samir Adil, president of the Iraqi Freedom Congress, is on a tour of the United States sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. He most recently spoke in Barre, VT. The following May 5 account from Vermont’s Rutland Herald is misleadingly headlined: Adil and the IFC are not seeking support from the US government, but from anti-war activists, trade unionists and other grassroots progressive forces in the US.
Iraqi editor seeks U.S. support for secular rule
After watching his Iraqi countrymen and the United States fight along increasingly ethnic and religious lines, Samir Adil believes the only way his country can achieve stability is by creating a government blind to church and race.
The Baghdad resident arrived Wednesday for a two-week tour of the Northeast and South, culminating with a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. There, he hopes to gain support for the efforts of the Iraqi Freedom Council, which is striving to install a secular government in Iraq.
Adil, president of the IFC, will speak at 6:30 p.m. today at Castleton State College’s Herrick Auditorium.
“We know it’s a hard job, but we’re working to get thousands to join,” he said in a phone interview. “The majority of people in the Middle East want a secular government, but the nationalists impose religious governments on the people.”
The IFC support base is comprised largely of student, labor and human rights organizations interested in pursuing nonviolent solutions for uniting and stabilizing Iraq, Adil said.
The 42-year-old newspaper editor blamed Iraqi’s turmoil on the politically ambitious wing of the Islamic faith and the U.S. occupation, which he said is creating more problems than it’s curing.
“Iraq is an international battlefield,” he said.
During his tour of the United States, Adil said, he wants to offer a perspective on life in Iraq that Americans aren’t getting.
“Our movement has a chance to talk about the situation in Iraq — a situation not reflected in the media,” he said.
What Americans don’t know, he said, is that Iraqis are less concerned with freedom and prosperity than they are about their immediate safety, which he said is constantly in danger from both sides of the conflict.
“Civil war actually started in the country two years ago,” he said. “You can be killed at some checkpoints just because of your name. If you’re Sunni, you can go. If you’re a Shiite, they kill you and throw you in a ditch.”
He said, “The international (terrorist) groups at work in the country are attacking innocents, too, but the occupying forces don’t care about the people in the country. I’ve seen tanks in Baghdad just watching the situation unfold without ever intervening.”
That’s not to say that Adil misses the regime of Saddam Hussein. In 1992, Adil, who worked underground as a Communist Party member, was imprisoned for six months and tortured so severely over the course of 25 days, he said, that he has lost part of his hearing and some mobility on his left side.
But Adil said he doesn’t believe progress can be made while the U.S. occupation lasts and he fears the American presence could permanently unravel the threads holding the country and its different factions together.
Also, Adil was not imprisoned by Saddam as a member of Iraq’s Communist Party (which has variously collaborated with Saddam and US imperialism), but as a member of an independent communist organization today known as the Worker-Communist Party.
A significant development in the consolidation of Iraq’s civil resistance is the recent move by the union representing workers in the Southern Oil Company to join the IFC. From the IFC homepage:
Letter from Samir Adil to the Leaders of the Southern Oil Trade Unions On the Occasion of Their Affiliation to Iraq Freedom Congress and Being Elected to Its Central Council
Brother Hassan Juma, president of Southern oil trade union
Brother Falih Abood, Secretary General of Southern oil trade union
Brother Abdullah Al-Maliki, Secretary of Basra trade union
On behalf of IFC central council and myself, I would like to express our great feeling of having you joined our organization IFC; also I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate ourselves for electing you to the central council to join the leadership standing.
The occupation has destroyed the entire country and converted it into a global battlefield. Moreover it continues the efforts to deliver the deathblow to the rest of the life basic factors. Here it is imposing the International Monetary Fund conditions on people, abolishing rations subsidy at this critical time when the unemployment in its highest rate ever, and opening fire on mass protests at every given opportunity as it did in Kirkuk last January killing 2 people, and the same took place in Samawa and Nassirya earlier.
Iraq Freedom Congress seeks to be a framework of the libertarian movement in the society where the labor movement considered its avant-garde. The modern history of Iraq is always mentioning proudly the great role of the oil workers strike of Gawerbaghi that brought down the pro-British government and convulsed the monarchy in 1946. The workers in Iraq, especially the oil workers may have a great role in the struggle to end the occupation, extirpation of terrorism and building a society where peace and prosperity become prevalent.
We consider your joining IFC as an enormous step and tremendous accomplishment to our movement. Progressive figures and radical leaders taking charge in the central council empower us to secure the achievement of our goals. As the IFC is proud of having leaders like yourselves among its ranks, your choice of joining IFC is also your pride provided that you have chosen to be leaders of the first progressive movement for liberating Iraq and human together.
Long Live Oil Workers
Long Live Iraq Freedom Congress
Iraq Freedom Congress
March 26, 2006
Samir Adil’s speaking tour continues. See the AFSC website.