I write to not forget

I write to not forget. To not forget my experience in Iraq, to feel alive and human; to not  become desensitised from the generalised malaise and constant forgetting that so easily becomes a defense mechanism victims of conflict unconsciously employ.

I write because I need to remember. To forget, to ignore, and disassociate is itself cruel, and inhumane. I write here to ensure this is the point of reference for all my writings in the future – that it starts with these thoughts, frustrations and realities.

More than before, I feel the need to write about the dire situation in Iraq, the ongoing and unresolved crises that continue to wreak havoc on untold millions. The horrendous, medieval conditions so many Iraqis live in; that should not be forgotten, nor should it be ignored.

Trauma, poverty, ignorance, war, corruption, fear, breakdown and catastrophe – those are the terms that define ‘modern’ day Iraq. Peace is an aspirational term, not a reality.

It is more than the conflict that is most ruthless to Iraqis; it is the everyday living conditions in which they live that are most worrying. Poverty is everywhere, in the languages people speak, in daily repertories and in the fear that life for so many people is brutal and short.

I write to not forget the mass trauma that is Iraq today. The collective trauma that often hides more than it reveals, a trauma interwoven with all facets of life that it becomes invisible, even integral to daily life.

Distance is calming.


About Mehiyar

Dr Mehiyar Kathem is a researcher at University College London (UCL). Mehiyar completed a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he researched peacebuilding interventions and the formation of Iraq’s domestic NGO sector after the 2003 War. During this research, he looked at the gradual evolution of Iraq from totalitarian dictatorship through the country’s emerging domestic organisations. His research interests include statebuilding, civil society peacebuilding and the ways in which development, politics and money interact at a local level. In 2012 and 2013, Mehiyar conducted field research in Iraq for his PhD programme, spending a year meeting with and interviewing domestic NGO actors, political parties, government officials and international donors. Previously, Mehiyar worked on a number of grassroots programmes geared to build the capacity of civil society organisations and continues to advise international donors on the effective design and delivery of projects in Iraq. He tweets at @mehiyar

One comment

  1. I wish I can write, I choose to forget so I can go to work, keep on moving on, and drink Iraqi tea like there is no tomorrow. I choose not to write so I can find hope in the unknown and not get trapped in absurdities of my reality. I find solace in the numbing series to distract me from thinking about the unpredictable future and the problem I have no power to change, but I need you to write its hard to be the keep sane but I find your writing very important, to document our present and recent history, to keep Iraqi informed, when did we get wrong and how not to repeat the same mistake over and over and over.

    Hopefully, someone will read, someone will understand, when there is large enough number change will happen, in the time being keep doing what you are doing I am reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: