Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A touching speech

If you wonder why we went into Iraq. If you think what we did was for no reason. If you think all of the people of Iraq hate us. Please read the following speech given by Zainab al-Suwaij.

Thank you for your kind welcome.

From my heart, I offer you the traditional Muslim greeting: As Salam Alaikum-- Peace be upon you.

I am honored to stand here tonight. When I came to the United States from Iraq 12 years ago, I would never have imagined myself speaking to a group like this.

Living under Saddam Hussein, we could not gather as we do now to discuss things like democracy and freedom. We could only dream of a day when we could speak freely, and worship God in ways of our own choosing.

Instead, we lived under a murderer who used every weapon in his arsenal against us-- from tanks to torture chambers to poison gas.

When people talk about the war in Iraq -- I want to remind them that there has been a war raging in Iraq for the last 3 decades.

A war waged by Saddam against his own people.

I lived through it. I saw it brutalize my friends and my family.

But today, I come to tell you that Iraq enjoys a new day.

Yes, there is still bloodshed and uncertainty -- but America, under the strong, compassionate leadership of President Bush, has given Iraqis the most precious gift any nation has ever given another --- the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine its own future.

Already, the seeds of democracy are bearing fruit --- with popular elections recently held for local officials. And we know our children face a brighter future.

So as I grieve for the courageous Americans and Iraqis who were killed and injured during Iraq's liberation, I tell you proudly that their noble sacrifice was not in vain.

As Iraqis assume full sovereignty, they embrace the American people in friendship and gratitude.

I promise you: we will never forget what your sons and daughters did for us.

Thank you.