Iraqi sculptor/journalist Skypes with Elon students
The former Periclean Scholar-in-Residence greeted a sociology Winter Term course on Jan. 10, 2012, with answers to their questions about his country.
Students in a Winter Term course video spoke Tuesday morning with an Iraqi journalist who worked for several Western news organizations and is now a producer for the Al Jazeera news network living in Baghdad whose assignments in recent years included Iraqi reactions to the Haditha massacre of 2005.
Ahmed Fadaam, a sculptor and journalist with connections to Elon University through his previous role as a Periclean Scholar-in-Residence in 2008, answered questions from student in Professor Tom Arcaro’s section of “Sociology Through Film.”
Questions involved, among other topics, the future of Iraq and its current leaders. Fadaam corrected students who believed the nation is governed by Sharia law. Instead, he said, politicians use religion to appeal to voters who have never known what independent parties look like because of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.
But using religion to appeal for votes has been counterproductive. “What this has created is division,” he said. “You can imagine where this country is going, with these people in power.”
However, with elections scheduled for 2014, Fadaam believes the Iraqis will steer their nation in a better direction.
Arcaro’s 30 students on the second floor of Lindner Hall also heard about the effect of the Haditha incident on Iraqis. Some class members have watched the 2007 film “Battle for Haditha” as part of their studies.
The incident took place in 2005 shortly after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine and injured two others. Accounts differ on what happened next, but ultimately, a group of Marines were responsible for killing two dozen unarmed Iraqis, and the court martial of a staff sergeant involved began this month in San Diego.
Fadaam said many Iraqis are upset that charges have been dropped against other soldiers involved.
His talk also came amid growing sectarian violence in Iraq just weeks after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.