Dr. Riyadh's Reflections on My Country, My Country
There is no safe place in Baghdad. We are losing our country.
Before we lived and worked together, but now we are losing trust in each other. It is like a phobia. I don't know why I hate my brother and my brother hates me. The people themselves have changed.
The problem of the occupation is they are not listening to the people. Not listening to the good people. Iraq is now a victim. Anyone who wants to fight the U.S. will do it on our soil. You have security in the U.S., but here there is only killing.
This film was for the elections of 2005. My party, the Islamic Party, did not participate in the elections for The National Council. However, we were given orders to participate in the elections for the Provincial Council 48 hours prior. The election results were expected because our people, the Sunnis, refused to participate in the political process. This was a stimulus for me to push my work forward. Because I felt that I was alone and outside the political system, I began working at Adhamiya Public Hospital (Al-Nu'man Hospital), the Baghdad City Council, the Adhamiya District Council and Al-Maghrib Neighborhood Council. The Baghdad Provincial Council dissolved the City Council illegally, which disappointed me. I am now engaged daily in an effort to bring back the City Council using the court system.
The Adhamiya Free Clinic is now my priority and I attend the clinic to treat the patients and provide them with humanitarian support.
[During the elections] I was engaged all the time, leaving my home most of the day and returning only to sleep at night. My wife became accustomed to this life and she was happy that I joined the government and began working in a government hospital.
[My family] was saddened by the election results. I feel that they created many new things to make me happy and forget the results.
The initial plan was to take part in the elections, but the aggressive fighting in Fallujah and elsewhere made our Islamic leaders and the public refuse the political process.
The Islamic Party listened to the people, studied the process carefully, and ultimately boycotted the elections because our public base refused to participate. It was the plan of the government to prevent Sunnis from sharing in the new government, which became one for Shiias and Kurdish people. If the people had approved the elections the situation would be so different. Now we are paying a high price with blood, lives, jobs, security, education, health, etc. This was a fatal mistake.
No one knows the future except God but I gave a warning to our people and party that if we did not participate, we would face a mass problem in all our lives, and this warning was registered in the film.
Regarding Abu Ghraib prison, the news about the abuses was not officially published at that time but I heard prisoners' stories supporting the claim.
I met the commander of the prison and he accompanied me. I requested many things from him, including the application of human rights laws, improvement of services and a review of the reasons of imprisonment.
In my second visit to Abu Ghraib, I saw much improvement in every way except one: they mix the detainees from Al-Qaeda with the ordinary cases. This leads to an increase in the number of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. I objected but not yet received a response.
Iraq is my spirit and my wish is for the Iraqi people to live peacefully and love each other and work together to re-establish this damaged country, setting up a government working for all Iraqis. I know that is a dream but I pray to God for it to be real.
Dr. Riyadh, October 2006
Back: Laura Poitras »