“First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who’s next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?’ …the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.” – Daniel Kofman

A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

It was the biggest flat screen television Yusuf had ever seen in all his thirteen years. Looming over the town square, it was a 1gargantuan rectangular reminder that this city, where he had grown up, was no longer his own. Once so familiar to him, it had not been his own since the men came. The men who came on what they called a holy mission. The men with the guns. Now, some of these men were setting up the giant television in the middle of the town square.

Yusuf idly waited for it to come on with neither curiosity nor 2anticipation. It would broadcast whatever it was going to broadcast. Very likely the same message would be 3reiterated, except that the moving pictures would be larger in scale. The new regime called itself ISIL, the acronym for ‘The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’. *ISIL is carrying out “God’s work”. ISIL will “cleanse” the nation and the world. ISIL is the “mighty liberator” of the people.

ISIL definitely has liberated me from school, thought Yusuf. Some of his friends still attended the neighbourhood school, but Yusuf’s parents had decided to keep him home after his last homework assignment. It had consisted of colouring an Islamic State flag and memorising the lyrics to an ISIL anthem. Yusuf’s parents reckoned no education was better than an 4indoctrination.

“Come away from the window, boy,” Mother commanded irritably. “And lower the blinds. There’s really no point looking, is there?” Yusuf held his peace and did not talk back. He knew that Mother did not really mean to snap at him. She was just as frustrated as he was at being cooped up in the house day in, day out. Before the city had been “liberated” by the men with guns, Mother had been one of the city’s busiest paediatricians. Now, most ladies were “liberated” from work as it was “dangerous” for them to leave the house without a male accompanying them. Mother struggled to come to terms with the looming reality that she, and so many other women in her country, could forever be shut out from the outside world, and be doomed to ignorance.

Those concerns aside, Yusuf knew that Father’s extended absence was wearing Mother’s nerves thin. Yusuf wanted to give Mother a hug and tell her, “There, there, everything is going to be all right,”, just as she used to do when he was a small child in bed with the mumps. However, Yusuf knew better. Some niceties were better left unspoken.

Where is Father? How is Father? When would Father be back? Would Father be back?

Yusuf had heard the horror stories. Neighbours had spoken in hushed tones, tactfully changing the topic of conversation whenever he walked past. Such things were not meant for the ears of the little ones. Flogging. Torture. 5Maiming. The only good thing about such punishments was the fact that they were public. Thanks be to God, Father had not been the star of any thus far.

There was no point in giving voice to the unspoken worry weighing on both their beings by clumsily attempting to reassure Mother. Instead, Yusuf chose to play the clown. “Perhaps they’ll show a rerun of Captain America!” he piped up in the silliest voice he could muster.

Mother could not help but smile in spite of herself. “Silly boy!”

The floor was already spotless, but she resumed with the broom and dustpan regardless. The soft swishing sound took up where conversation left off, rhythmically keeping time, a metronome steadying both their heartbeats.

Down in the town square, 6oblivious to mother and son, the screen flickered to life in the 7embers of an expiring sun.



What do people do when their country is taken over by undesirable militant leaders?

Some just flee, to a better land, for a better life. Find out about why people from isiL-occupied cities seek sanctuary in Europe.

Migration crisis: Refugees recount horrors of living under ISIL >https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nlVG5avc50

How can Europe ease unprecedented migration? > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWCXxdz3WzY




Afghan girls lead worse lives than their mothers

Afghan women were granted voting rights in 1965, six years before switzerland. in the 1920s, women could work and had the freedom to choose their husbands. Women even made up 70% of the teaching force in Afghanistan in the early 1990s.

Yet, today, war-torn Afghanistan, which had been under the terrorist taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be born a woman, according to a survey by the thompson reuters Foundation. in fact, the after-effects of the taliban rule in the country have resulted in the majority of women marrying before the legal age of 16 and almost nine out of ten Afghan women being physically, sexually or psychologically abused, or forced into marriage (global rights 2008 survey). olden times were certainly much better for women in this country.

* the islamic state of iraq and the levant (isil), also known as the islamic state of iraq and syria (isis), the islamic state of iraq and ash-sham, Daesh or islamic state (is), is a salafi jihadist extremist militant group and self-proclaimed islamic state and caliphate. the group is led by and mainly composed of sunni Arabs from iraq and syria. As of march 2015, it has taken control of territories occupied by ten million people, inciting an exodus of refugees towards Western Europe from iraq and syria.



[Word Bank]

1. gargantuan: enormous

2. anticipation: expectation

3. reiterated:said something again or a number of times, for emphasis or clarity

4. indoctrination: the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically

5. maiming: injuring a person or animal so that part of the body is permanently damaged

6. oblivious: not aware of or concerned about what is happening around one

7. embers: small pieces of burning or glowing coal or wood in a dying fire.

1. inside mosul: What’s life like under islamic state?, from the British Broadcasting corporation, 9 June 2015.
2. islamic state turns to widescreen tv propaganda in iraq, from yahoo news, 14 June 2015



Article extracted from Inspire Issue 5 (pages 5-7)

Click here to learn more about Inspire magazine.

Written by: Mr Jeremy Au-Yong from www.theacademicworkshop.com