This is an extract from a book on America in Iraq - "The Assassins' Gates" by George Packer.
I like that the author talks about the psychological devastation left behind by the war. Post-war reconstruction is not just about building institutions, the economy and infrastructure. It the software is malfunctioning - if the minds of the people are still broken - then the hardware will inevitably fail.
The line between justifiable paranoia and outright delusion wasn't easy to draw in Iraq. Dr. Butti - the chief psychiatrist at a hospital in Baghdad - himself was having trouble making up his mind about the Americans. In the turbulent weeks following the fall of the regime he didn't know which way to turn, fearing for his own safety and distrusting equally Iraq's new political groups and the American's ability to create a decent society.
The looting had been a terrible blow to their natural allies in the middle class. Now, people like him were hesitant to stick their necks out. "Is it that we are paralyzed," he asked, "or that the American administration is paralyzing the situation so they can come up with their own ideas?"
With a few old classmates from Baghdad's Jesuit high school, Dr. Butti was setting up an NGO called the Baghdad Rehabilitation and Development Group. One of its proposals was the construction of the Gilgamesh Centre for Creative Thinking. In the prospectus, Dr. Butti wrote with perhaps a bit of self-criticism:
A great number of Iraqi people are suffering a great deal because of the severed communication with the civilized world, they suffer from lacking the ability to communicate with the others, they have lost the hope in the future, they suspect anything foreign, they are not sufficient in their professional performance, they don't feel enough responsibility towards the society, they don't feel enough responsibility towards the society, they lack the power to experience freedom, they don't comprehend the correct performance of democracy, they cannot deal with group working...etc. Rebuilding what the war has destroyed is a simple effort if compared with the task of rebuilding the distorted human person.
Come to think of it...it's funny how Singapore suffers some of the same symptoms:
they don't feel enough responsibility towards the society, they lack the power to experience freedom, they don't comprehend the correct performance of democracy, they cannot deal with group working
Hahaha! Maybe we need to fix our minds too...