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Ansar Al-Hureya Humanity Association

A Look at the Intellectual, Cultural and Legal Bases of the Political and Social Project of Blacks in Iraq Arabic literature and written works have failed to include a product of scientific value or intellectual content on the suffering of blacks in Iraq, the social and economic oppression they suffered, the terrible conditions they lived in, and the grievances that still cast their dark shadows on their living conditions. Iraqi writers, except Dr. Faisal alSamir, refrained from writing on the issue. Dr. al-Samir wrote a book entitled The Revolution of the Negros in which he dealt with the ordeal of blacks through the Umayyad and Abbasid Eras and the reasons that stood behind their rise against the Abbasid Caliphate in a mass revolution, as described by some writers who wrote on Muhammad bin Ali, or The Companion of Negros as he is called. Our writers in general failed to look into this issue and they neglected it despite its harshness and heavy impact on these people who

are still called slaves in an age that witnessed the collapse of the strongest edifices of slavery in the world. I dont intend to review here the reasons that stood behind not bringing forth the issue of blacks and the disastrous conditions they suffered throughout the history and not presenting it as a subject for social and political research and investigation. This is an issue we might deal with in another paper. What is important here is to bring this issue under consideration raising its many facets that have never been the subjects of the interest intellectuals nor politicians in a country called The Cradle of Civilizations. Writing about blacks in Iraq is a historical review of pains, troubles, grievances and many pictures of the mans oppression of his brother and his use and exploitation of him the way he uses an inanimate tool or an animal. So we will not deal with the ordeals these people suffered because of their colour since Dr. al-Samir has extensively dealt with the issue in his book mentioned above. What interests me and interests a large group of my fellows today is to remind the others who have not yet paid heed to the rights we have similar to those enjoyed by the minorities and communities of the Iraqi society, those minorities who at least gained some of their rights or took a promise to meet their demands, consider them or understand them. I am also concerned here in reviewing the theoretical foundation of

the idea of letting blacks raise their voice demanding their consideration as a constituent of the Iraqi community calling at the same time for their inclusion with whatever the other have gained of different privileges. First of all, I say that the most outstanding of these difficulties is the social discrimination they collectively face which has been very detrimental to their social value and instrumental in alienating their civil rights. This issue, despite not being projected to the public in a way that renders it a tangible issue by all, still exists and negatively influences the communal spirit of this group of people. This alone gives them the right to spare no efforts in fighting and eliminating this discrimination as a negative thing deep-rooted in history, i.e. the days when blacks were displayed in the markets just like any cheep merchandise with its own tradesmen who took their profession trading with human dignity without observing any rights for these people. All this backed by superstitions, myths and obsolete notions lacking objectivity and the feeling of the right of each man to live free as he was created. Some might object by saying that slavery markets did not trade in blacks only since there were many races. Even women who gave birth to some of the outstanding figures of history may have been displayed on slavery markets just like the sons of the black race. Though I dont find this argument

illogical, I believe that it will eventually find itself obliged to accept the premises on which we built our first idea: this issue has historic roots that have had and still has influence on the mindset of human communities and their relations with this group or that. And if we follow the influence of slavery markets on the social status of women and their relations to men, we will find that the values and ideas that governed those markets are still casting their shadows on the relation between men and women to the extent that annihilate the humanity of women, rendering them into goods similar to other goods without their awareness of the negative influences this relation reflects on their status as human beings on their own. We can say that the dowry paid by men to women is a residue of trading with the other sex on slavery markets. And it seems that the Prophet of God (PBUH) was aware of the social implications of exaggerating in the value of dowry taken from men when he said: Find yourself even a ring of iron to give as dowry. He wanted to draw our attention to the idea that the less a womans dowry is, the higher her honour and the more valuable her humanity. The opposite is true when a woman becomes like any merchandise or goods traded by people. Slavery markets and their transactions have failed any notion of the notions of liberty in the mind of a woman. Calls

that set her free and broke some of her shackles have not come but from free writers who were early aware of the serious impacts of this unbalanced relation between men and women on the humanity of human society with its two halves. Therefore, the great German thinker Nietzsche says:

Women are only liberated by those who are fully liberated. The existence of men lacking conceptual and practical freedom cannot help in liberating women of the shackles they still suffer. This is also true for the effect of social relations not established on fair human foundations on the conditions of those who have thought, and still think, that they are slaves. I might find it forbidden to go into this issue which would lead me to carry my hammer to bring down a lot of idols still being worshiped by our society, idols enjoying their sanctity and place unsusceptible to change before the advent of that very far era when believe in the freedom of thinking becomes a sacred religion for the society. So I will just point to the effect of the continuation of some relations in consolidating certain values long abandoned by liberated peoples of the world, stressing that social and political communities established on the basis of civilized awareness of their historical suffering are the most capable of ensuring a bright future for the country. True democracies were not

built on any other basis than the feeling of persecution practiced by political, social and intellectual systems on humans. Voltaire, who was one of the enlightenment philosophers who set the foundations for French democracy, say: Everything in this universe is persecuting me, even the things not yet born. Voltaire here points at the reality of the existence of humans as a creature suffering and will continuously suffer like this as far as they are governed by relations formed prior to their existence and as far as there are institutions forcing them to abide by these relations and act accordingly. Such awareness liberate humans at least intellectually from the inevitable course of history that found its theoretical peak in the ideas of Hegel the idealist and the economic theory of Carl Marx and establish the infrastructure of the democratic system which believes in the absolute freedom of humans in selecting the type of political system they opt for. From here we can say that the rise of the black jinni out of the bottle of its awareness of its ordeal in history will be a new sign among the sings of development of the Iraqi society and will be at the same time a strong condemnation and practical too of all forms of political maneuvers on democracy as a way of thinking, course of action and form of attitude. Empowering this component to achieve its aspired liberation will be a daunting test for the credibility of all democratic visions and ideas promulgated by others. And

this will also apply to the attainment of Iraqi women of their goal in acquiring their human status in its full form which would be another proof for the realization of the credibility of democratic political thinking in Iraq. From here we will also realize that our call is not a racist call and it does not stand on a racist consideration. Blacks do not represent one race much more than they express their attitude as partners in one unified suffering and destiny. Throughout the political and social history of Iraq, blacks were slaves and the notion of slavery has been inevitably linked to the colour black. This extremely backward notion has been supported by categorically baseless myths, ideas and novels. Blacks has been genealogically attributed to their ancestor Ham, one of the sons of Noah, whose father invoked Allah against him for his misbehavior and laughing at his father while lying stark naked and over-drunk, according to the Jewish myth. It seems that the laymen have been communicating this awkward episode as an unrefutable truth thus building into their heads the theory they uphold today on the religious basis for ostracizing blacks and downgrading them to the lowest grades of inferiority as a form of punishment for what their ancestor did to his drunken father.

The echoes of this fabricated episode have not stopped at certain limits but rather used as a basis for further influential episodes one of which is the fallacy on the mean organic composition of blacks, which lead some to believe in the inferiority of blacks and their biological subordination to whites. So often, some writers try to attribute to the peoples who took the lead in the Americas, after their discovery and bringing large numbers of blacks through piracy and other means, some of what we think as their own ideas, such as the idea that squalid blood runs through the veins of blacks and it is other than the blood that runs through the veins of the whites. People forget that these ideas are not new but belong to ancient times. These ideas are nowhere vividly depicted than in the verse of the poet Al-Mutanabbi in which he satirized Kafoor: Dont buy a slave but with a rod slaves are defile and sour Who would teach the negro black a virtue his white people or his hunter ancestors? This verse full of racist visions and ideas, still taught at Iraqi schools as a masterpiece of poetry and typical satire, is a clear and true expression of the attitude of the society towards








according to Al-Mutanabbi, the poet and wise man. A critic once described him, Abi Tammam and Al-Buhtori as: The poet is Al-Buhtori. Al-Mutanabbi and Abi Tammam are wise men. So when we agree with this critic who distinguished AlMutannabi as a wise man, we find that our critic has ignored such a harsh judgment rendered by the wise poet on blacks describing them as defile and sour, telling us that we will never be able to deal with them unless we lash their backs with rods. This unfair, even extremely racist, idea hides the reality of what the society has held and taken as for granted and refrained from debating it. A proof of this came from the critic who failed to re-consider the idea and outline it as one of the defects of the wisdom or literary message of AlMutanabbi. Each man of letter has a message. This message should have its cultural influences based on developed awareness. But if the poet re-shapes common ideas in carefully worded linguistic expressions, the literary work will be degraded and suffer from blatant defects. Though no one could demand AlMutanabbi or others of his contemporaries to adopt truly liberated ideas, free of the shackles of common concepts at that time, we cannot now relieve these poets, who best represented the culture of their time, of their responsibility

in establishing better developed cultural values. Or else, what is the value of their works other than that? We can say that Islam, as an intellectual message, has paved the way for the birth of such intellectual attitudes. We find evidence for that in many sayings some of which attributed to the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and some attributed to the wise caliphs, of which are the second caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab and the Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, (may Allah be pleased with them). The second caliph said: Since when you enslaved people who were born free?. As for Imam Ali, it is said that a white woman objected to equalizing her with a black women. The Imam took two handfuls of sand in his palms and said: I swear to Allah I dont know if any of these handfuls is better than the other. All of you are the descendents of Adam, and Adam is created of sand. With these two sayings, we can say that Islam took the lead in establishing sound human values that lay the pillars of free human thinking that takes equality among human races as one of its crucial and most serious issues.

However, the tyrannical control of Bani Umayyad over the people, the dignitaries and the nobles, in particular, encouraged them to leave these attitudes called upon by the two caliphs behind since equality does not produce the

necessary support for the despotic ruler by those who think that they are superior to others and that the ruler should not care about them. This was the reasoning of the caliphs of Umayyad and Abbasid upon which they built their disregard of equality among the people and the categorization of people into nobles and ordinary people and masters and slaves. This produced a lot of principles unrelated to Islamic thinking such as the principle of social fitness some Islamic scholars have talked about in these two eras which later became the basis for practices and concepts adopted by others who disagree with those scholars on many basic issues. The people of Iraq, for instance, held that it is religiously illegal for a layman (of the general public who are not the descendents of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) to marry an Alawiyyah woman (a descendent of the prophet); also, it is illegal for some craftsmen, blacksmiths and farmers who grow vegetables, for example, to marry the daughters of farmers who grow wheat, barley and rice. Consequently, the principle of not marrying a black man from a white woman came out on the basis of the inferiority of his ancestry and unfitness as a human to marry a woman who is a descendent of a better race with noble blood running into her veins. This idea had its deep impact in consolidating the feeling of human inferiority in the minds of

blacks that it became something for granted. This resulted in many negative effects that have impeded any human activity aiming at improving the reality of this aggrieved component of society. The idea of social inferiority that came out of legitimizing the principle of social fitness and taking it as an unchallenged divine ordinance created a wide cognitive vacuum. At that time, humanity did not have knowledge of concepts we know today such as the ones related to justice, equality and human rights, which paved the way to backward ideas to fill this vacuum till believe in the existence of human differences and the existence of a race or a class that is better than the other was consolidated. Consequently, blacks were put at the bottom of the social hierarchy and they came to be known as slaves, which means servility, ignominy, absolute obedience, alienable will, mean origin and ancestry, lost freedom, etc., all of which excludes humans out of the circle of persons fit to play a major role in life or occupy a senior post in the government or society. Psychologists, sociologists, and people who specialize in psychological and social studies realize more than others what nomenclatures used by the society to characterize its people mean and any effects of them on their various activities. They also realize the extent to which conditions of

a society can influence the kind of nomenclature chosen to this or that. Nomenclatures chosen by a society for one of its

components or classes create an intellectual and scientific attitude toward that component or class at the same time and outline the political and social framework within which all other dealings come to light. Jean Paul Sartre , in his book The Jewish Question, writes: To merely look at Jews as Jews gives them the right to have their own national entity in which they exercise their existence in this world. Though we have reservations on this idea that gave intellectual and logical legitimacy on an entity made in the corridors of strategic interests of colonialist and imperialist powers, it still has its power to accurately explain many attitudes. Our look at others as people different from us with regard to the essential characteristics of their political or social existence is a process of identification and demarcation of the boundaries of this existence. And as long as the attitude is always like that, we should grant them the right to practice their freedom and express their will within the limits of natural and constitutional rights given to other classes and groups that do not differ from them with regard to general characterization of their existence within the society. Thus, and since the effective Iraqi Constitution that has the

approval of the people through referendum, as supporters of this Constitution claim, there should be no obstacle on the way of anyone to get its rights. And since the Constitution grants Kurds their rights in enjoying their independent national entity, other minorities have rights similar in form and kind. We dealt above with the political and social premises of our Association in that it takes its legitimacy from practical necessities of the world of reality. Here we will try to address some of the ideas and attitudes related to the personality and identity of the Association and see if they carry a racist tendency, as some have claimed and charged without verification or scrutiny. First of all, I reiterate time and time again that history alone is enough to support the legitimacy of establishing this Association. Nevertheless, it also finds additional justification in the political reality of Iraq. In Iraq today, political formations, parties and movements are often divided into religious ones that take religious sects as their imprint, such as the Daawa Islamic Party, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution and its affiliated factions, and the Sadrist Trend, all of which are Shiite political groups in their precepts and tendencies. On the other side, we find Sunni political groups that take AlTawafuq Front as their wide banner, and they are generally

sectarian parties that take their legitimacy from the Sunni sect. Against sectarian political parties and groups, we find nationalistic parties. Kurdish parties collectively can be considered nationalistic since they address and defend Kurdish issues, and they are nationalistic groups that exist independently from other nationalistic groups in Iraq. Besides Kurdish parties, there are parties and movements that represent Assyrians, Turkmen, Yazidis, and Christians. These in fact have racist or nationalistic precepts, if so to speak. If we count the number of MPs who represent these sectarian and nationalistic parties and blocks, we will find that they are more than two thirds of the Parliament. This means that the government which runs the country is built on a sectarian and nationalistic basis. So it becomes inevitable for the other groups that have similar political and social existence to enjoy the right of having their representatives who express their wills in this way or that, and to have their parties, movements and organizations that care for their interests. The Islamic Daawa Party, a Shiite party, was formed out of the feeling and awareness of its original founders of the ordeal and grievance suffered by Shiites in Iraq while religious scholars of the Sunnis were advocating and supporting the tyrant and his attitudes;

moreover, they were legitimizing all his behavoiurs and practices. This is also true of the establishment of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution when necessity called for the unification of the fighting struggle against the tyrant and the formation of military factions capable of confronting the military machinery in the position of the regime, so the Badr Brigade appeared in which all Shiite military formations that took the marshes as a battle ground to fight the dictatorship were included. As for the Sunni groups, the Islamic Party, for example, was considered a natural extension of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. It was formed in the early 1950s when Muslim Brotherhood realized that will no longer be capable of continuing their activity under this name. The activity of this party remained limited now, and maybe gradually subsided till it was no longer mentioned, and it did not re-appear until after the fall of the regime of Saddam Husein. By the same token, the other factions that were formed and included in Al-Tawafuq Front immediately saw the light, i.e. after the fall of the regime, out of the necessity of the confrontation with the growing Shiite trend. As for Kurdish parties, we said that though they were formed since long time ago, they retained their nationalistic and even separatist tendency, as it shows in the attitudes of their leaders from time to time.

Therefore, we can say that the existence of these parties and their ability to take control of the country do not give the others who are marginalized the right they demand in not only having their voice but stress on their other right which is to take rights by force if necessary. Logic and justice do not give something to someone and deprive the other of it. All Iraqis are partners in this country and what is legitimate for this person is legitimate for the other without the need to explain whether its tendencies are legitimate or not. If it is correct for this country to be governed by sectarian and nationalistic parties, which is what we witness now, without the opposition or denouncement required for the country to come out of its serious ordeal, confronting the blacks or denying them their right in forming into parties, movements and societies will be an act against justice and common sense. Blacks are not a nationality or race. They are rather an oppressed class, and I think that no one in unaware of the size of this oppression. They also do not adhere to a racist tendency since they are among its victims. The tragic conditions in which blacks lived throughout the past centuries, which still has its effect on their lives, were the result of the feeling of Arab tribes of their superiority over the blacks and the inferiority of blacks to these tribes. On that basis, Ansar Al Hureya Humanity Association, which was the practical response for the aspirations of blacks in Iraq on the social and political levels, was not a

racist Association, as accused by some. Racism, as seen by political scientists, is the theory that justifies social variation, exploitation and wars on the pretext of the belonging of peoples to various races. This theory attributes human social dispositions to their biological features and classifies races into superior and inferior races. Racism was the characteristic feature of Nazi thinking in Germany and with it Hitler was able to justify his aggressive wars against peoples and to carry out genocides. Racism is the religion of peoples and movements that claim they to belong to superior and distinguished races. Jews can be described as racists since they say they are the people chosen by God. Blacks in Iraq and some Arab countries, on the other hand, lived through the centuries at the bottom of the social hierarchy. So, how come they feel superior to others? Can they adhere to a concept they themselves were its victims throughout the history? Thus, accusing our Association, which seeks to break the last shackles and free its oppressed people, of racism would count as a trying to kill the ambitions on which we built the legitimacy of our initiative in seeking a better future in which blacks will never be mean slaves or marginalized human beings without any role in this life. Ansar Al Hureya Humanity Association is an association with democratic precepts. It believes in political dialogue as a

sole method to achieve its goals. It is a national association which believes in the unity of Iraq and seeks to consolidate the foundations of its effective cultural existence. It is a secularist institution with no affiliation to any religious sect. It believes that people are free to choose what they believe in and what to practice of religious ceremonies as far as theses practices dont cause harm to others or impede the human being from building its bright future. Stressing on that, I believe it is necessary to say that the Association is a scientific one, so it believes in scientific achievements and strongly believes that scientific knowledge is the way the leads peoples to development and prosperity. Thus, it renounces any trend that does not believe in science such as racism that was one of the outcomes of backwardness and ignorance that were characteristic of the ancient ages and was a direct cause for the spread of backward ideas and theories such as racism. Most of the researchers of the factors of development of the peoples firmly realize that humans deprived of basic rights related to its life, human dignity, honour, and safety cannot be instrumental and creative for a distinctive civilization. Creativity hinges on freedom with all its senses. Blacks will never be able to be effective human beings if they still believe they are slaves. Also, those who are free among blacks, i.e. who believe in their freedom and their equality to

other races, cannot go far in expressing this feeling in a society that puts a lot of hurdles that limit their initiative and their progress. Blacks still live like strangers in their countries. They cannot aspire to anything that common norms in the society do not allow, and these norms do not allow blacks to take over senior posts. There are certain limits for blacks to stop at and not to chase far ambitions, which is something unacceptable according to these norms. This feeling was consolidated by the feeling of the blacks of their inferiority to others which negatively influenced its role in effectively taking part in political and social fields in particular. Thus, the political history of Iraq does not record that a black took the initiative to establish a party, a political movement, or a humanitarian organization since s/he thinks that he will not find support or acceptance of her/his leading of this organization. The society thinks that a black is deficient and incapable of achieving her/his goals due to her/his cognitive and professional limitations. Thus, politicians found no necessity in resorting to any black to chose or designate as a leader since they feel in advance that this choice will be faced with strong opposition that move others away from supporting this politician.


The General Secretariat of Ansar Al Hureya Humanity Association