Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Following Obama, Black Iraquis Run for Office
By: Mohammed Abbas
The Free Iraqi Movement will be the first to put black candidates on the Iraqi ticket for the provincial elections on January 31st. The election will be the first held under Iraqi law since the US overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003. There will be eight black candidates in the running. Obama's election in the US gave many black Iraqis hope for an end to the discrimination they often face.
History of slavery and the issue of ancestry often leave black Iraqis in a position of degradation, and very few have decent jobs. "Abd" is the Arabic word for slave and is still often used, although not always with the intention of being insulting.
The Free Iraqi Movement wishes to ban the word "abd" as it perpetuates the idea of the black as a slave. The movement also is looking to have blacks labeled as aminority which would grant them benefits.
Light skinned Iraqis fail to see the discrimination taking place and believe that blacks are on equal ground.