A future stolen from generations to come

A future stolen from generations to come
1978/79. Students of the Department of Spanish Language at the University of Baghdad, academic year 1978/79. Photograph: Bahira Abdulatif © Bahira Abdulatif

A future stolen from generations to come

The photo of these students from the late 1970s could be from any developed nation at the time. But this is Iraq in the 70s. These students represent the new generations who, educated at university, would no doubt have pushed for democratic change in their country based on integration (communities, gender…), and the concept of citizenship —deeply rooted for decades in Iraqi society. The photo —students of both sexes enjoying a picnic— is inconceivable today and allows us to understand the terrible regression in all layers of society which the sanctions from 1990 to 2003 and the 2003 invasion and the subsequent regime have imposed on Iraqi society, in addition to its terrible cost in human lives, well documented by international organizations.

The remembrance and reflection on the tragedy of Iraq —which is still ongoing— can be inscribed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda Peace, justice and strong institutions

«We cannot hope for sustainable development without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law. […] Armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, affecting economic growth, and often resulting in grievances that last for generations.»