OPINION

After the victory…

The regime of Baghdad has collapsed. However inevitable this may have been, it is particularly significant. At least the bloodshed – which millions of people all over the world regarded as pointless and inhumane – will stop. The joyful demonstrations, which were televised during the destruction of the statues Saddam Hussein built for himself, should not fool us. A couple of days ago, the same crowds were wielding Kalashnikovs and vowing to defend their dictator «with their blood and with their soul.» Perhaps everyone is simply relieved that their lives are no longer under threat. It is unclear what the new day dawning will bring, but we should push aside our preconceptions and await developments in the hope that the victors will abide by their pledges and declarations. The war is against Hussein’s dictatorial regime and not against the Iraqi people, the victors had declared. But because, in a dictatorship, it is practically impossible to distinguish between regime and people, the victors will have to avoid vengeful or punitive acts which would merely perpetuate hatred and division. The victors had promised to support a democratic regime which would be a «model for the entire Middle East.» It is unclear which particular democratic regime they have in mind, but this is chiefly a responsibility of the Iraqi people, who will be able to carry it out if given the freedom to express themselves.