A report from Iraq

A report from Iraq
: A writer from The Atlantic reports from Iraq:

Student demonstrations, the traditional street forum of Middle Eastern nationalists, were suppressed by expulsion from schools, by jail sentences, or by bullets. Teachers were forced to report to the secret police on their students, and the reverse was probably also true…. Recently discovered police records indicate that in the city of Baghdad alone nearly 20,000 agents for the secret police kept watch. When one takes into account the Iraqi literacy rate, this means that virtually every educated man had a police double.

That was written in 1958, after the coup that put the Ba’athists in power. OK, that’s an old and cheap rhetorical trick, the nothing-new-under-the-sun gambit. But that’s not my point.

It’s important to remember that the Iraqis face a new and democratic future for the first time in their history. It is an advantage that they and we must not squander.

: That story comes from the archives of The Atlantic, which read through all its stories on Iraq since 1958. Good reading.