A million lives later, I cannot forgive what American terrorism did to my country, Iraq

NB: George Bush and Tony Blair are as culpable for war crimes as is Vladimir Putin. If we can’t see this and say it, we are at an advanced level of Orwellian doublespeak. DS

Sinan Antoon

In early 2003, I was living in Cairo and carrying out research for my doctoral dissertation on a famous Iraqi poet who lived in my hometown, Baghdad, in the 10th century. But I was increasingly anxious about the Baghdad of the 21st century.

Like millions of people across the world’s major cities, I took part in the massive protests against the then imminent invasion of Iraq. Tahrir Square, the centre of the revolution that toppled the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, eight years later, swelled with tens of thousands of angry Cairenes. We headed to the nearby US embassy, but the riot police pushed us back with batons.

The drums of war had been beating for months. While there was popular opposition throughout the world (there were coordinated protests in 600 cities in February 2003), the war’s architects, merchants and cheerleaders were vociferous and dismissive of those of us who warned against the catastrophic aftermath for Iraqis and the region, labelling anyone who questioned the war a supporter of dictatorship….