If there’s one phrase the warmongers cling to, it’s “the media never reports the good things happening in Iraq!” They cling to the idea that Iraq is a land of singing cartoon flowers and flying horses desperately; it’s just that damn media that’s keeping the truth from the people! The slightest repetition of this fantasy, no matter how lame and incorrect is enough to start a crazed wingnut linking frenzy. The news that Baghdad has been voted as having the Worst Living Conditions on Earth? Not so much.
Still, they continue to look for ponies amongst the rubble; a favorite claim is that Iraq is showing improvement because schools are “open.” Of course, what happens in those schools, or what happens to the students once they leave is immaterial. They’re open, dammit, and that’s all that matters!
BAGHDAD, June 4 — They started college just before or after the American invasion with dreams of new friends and parties, brilliant teachers and advanced degrees that would lead to stellar jobs, marriage and children. Success seemed well within their grasp.
Four years later, Iraq’s college graduates are ending their studies shattered and eager to leave the country. In interviews with more than 30 students from seven universities, all but four said they hoped to flee immediately after receiving their degrees. Many said they did not expect Iraq to stabilize for at least a decade.
“I used to dream about getting a Ph.D., participating in international conferences, belonging to a team that discovered cures for diseases like AIDS, leaving my fingerprint on medicine,” said Hasan Tariq Khaldoon, 24, a pharmacy student in Mosul, in the north. “Now all these dreams have evaporated.”
Karar Alaa, 25, a medical student at Babil University, south of Baghdad, said, “Staying here is like committing suicide.”
So, the students that manage to graduate in Iraq, who make it through school without being blown to smithereens, immediately leave the country, taking their knowledge and potential with them. And who can blame them?
They acknowledged that some of their classmates supported jihad against Americans as part of what they called “the resistance.” But they said most Iraqi college students did not participate, because they wanted the same things every student wants: a job, a family, a little fun, the opportunity to look cool.
Iraq, Mr. Rafid said, “is like any other country.” Then he caught himself. “Well, the bombings aside,” he said, “it’s just like any other country.”
In fact, he and his peers risked their lives to complete their studies.
Mr. Haitham, wiry and soft-spoken, with sensitive eyes, enrolled at Mosul University but transferred to be closer to his family. In Mosul, he said, his car was shot full of holes on his way to and from class. Baghdad is not much better, he said: on some days his mother has seen bodies in the road seconds after dropping him off.
“I had a plan one day to have a wife and kids and my own dental clinic,” he said. “They were good dreams. They’re gone.”
This is all just so damn heartbreaking.