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Word for word

A preamble that rambles

By Times Staff
Published October 31, 2005


Iraq's election commission last week confirmed that voters ratified the country's new constitution in voting on Oct. 15, clearing the way for elections in December.

The document reflects the tangle of competing interests and ideologies in Iraq. No interest group is left out, no great achievement overlooked, no laudatory word spared.

Here, translated by the Associated Press, is the preamble. Suffice it to say that it is not as spare and direct as our own "We the people," nor will it be easy for Schoolhouse Rock to set to music.

- MIKE WILSON, assistant managing editor/Newsfeatures

PREAMBLE

We the sons of Mesopotamia, land of the (messengers), prophets, resting place of the holy imams, the leaders of civilization and the creators of the alphabet, the cradle of arithmetic: on our land, the first law put in place by mankind was written; in our nation, the most noble era of justice in the politics of nations was laid down; on our soil, the followers of the prophet and the saints prayed, the philosophers and the scientists theorized and the writers and poets created.

Recognizing God's right upon us; obeying the call of our nation and our citizens; responding to the call of our religious and national leaders (and our national forces and politicians) and the insistence of our great religious authorities and our leaders and our reformers, we went by the millions for the first time in our history to the ballot box, men and women, young and old, on Jan. 30, 2005, remembering the pains of the despotic band's sectarian oppression; inspired by the suffering of Iraq's martyrs - Sunni and Shiite, Arab, Kurd and Turkomen, and the remaining brethren in all communities - inspired by the injustice against the holy cities (and the south) in the popular uprising and (burnt with the sorrows of the mass graves, the marches and Dujail and others); recalling the agonies of the national oppression in the massacres of Halabja, Barzan, Anfal and against the Faili Kurds; inspired by the tragedies of the Turkomen in Bashir, and as in other parts of Iraq, (the people of the western region have suffered from the liquidation of its leaders, symbols, tribal leaders and displacing its intellectuals, so we worked hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder) to create a new Iraq, Iraq of the future, without sectarianism, racial strife, regionalism, discrimination and (elimination).

Terrorism and "takfir" (takfir means to declare someone an infidel) did not divert us from moving forward to build a nation of law. Sectarianism and racism did not stop us from marching together to strengthen our national unity, set ways to peacefully transfer power, adopt a manner to fairly distribute wealth and give equal opportunity to all.

We the people of Iraq, newly arisen from our disasters and looking with confidence to the future through a democratic, federal, republican system, are determined - men and women, old and young - to respect the rule of law, reject the policy of aggression, pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their cares, the children and their affairs, spread the culture of diversity and defuse terrorism.

We are the people of Iraq, who in all our forms and groupings undertake to establish our union freely and by choice, to learn yesterday's lessons for tomorrow, and to write down this permanent constitution from the high values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the developments of science and human civilization, and to adhere to this constitution, which shall preserve for Iraq its free union of people, land and sovereignty.

-- Word for Word is an occasional feature excerpting passages of interest from books, magazines, Web sites and other sources. The text may be edited for space but the original spelling, grammar and punctuation are unchanged.

[Last modified October 30, 2005, 12:11:04]


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