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The streets of Iraq : protests, the public sphere and democracy
conference contributionposted on 01.01.2009, 00:00 authored by Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan
Since the invasion of Iraq by Coalition forces in 2003, much attention has been paid to the violence ravaging Iraq’s streets, so much so that they have become synonymous with bloodshed and chaos. This paper begins by countering this prominent view with a brief outline of some of the more positive scenes that have played out on Iraq’s streets, including the successful elections of 2005 and 2009. The bulk of the paper builds on this discussion to detail the various protest movements that have emerged across Iraq since 2003, including those organised by Shia clerics, minority movements, women’s organisations and Iraqi worker unions. This paper concludes by arguing that the willingness of normal Iraqi citizens to exercise their democratic right to protest indicates the degree to which democratic ideals are taking hold in Iraq and represents a fundamental step towards a more peaceful and inclusive future.