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15年前,美国摧毁了我的国家

更新时间:2018-3-20 20:08:29 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Fifteen Years Ago, America Destroyed My Country
15年前,美国摧毁了我的国家

When I was 12, Saddam Hussein, vice president of Iraq at the time, carried out a huge purge and officially usurped total power. I was living in Baghdad then, and I developed an intuitive, visceral hatred of the dictator early on. That feeling only intensified and matured as I did. In the late 1990s, I wrote my first novel, “I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody,” about daily life under Saddam’s authoritarian regime. Furat, the narrator, was a young college student studying English literature at Baghdad University, as I had. He ends up in prison for cracking a joke about the dictator. Furat hallucinates and imagines Saddam’s fall, just as I often did. I hoped I would witness that moment, whether in Iraq or from afar.

在我12岁的时候,时任伊拉克副总统萨达姆·侯赛因(Saddam Hussein)进行了一次大清洗,正式篡夺了全部权力。我那时住在巴格达,并且很早就凭直觉对这位独裁者产生了本能的厌恶。那种感觉随着成长变得愈发强烈和成熟。1990年代末,我完成了我的第一部小说《加点:伊拉克狂想曲 》(I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody)。小说描写了萨达姆威权主义政权统治下的日常生活。故事的主人公弗拉特(Furat)是一名年轻的大学生,和我一样,在巴格达大学(Baghdad University)学习英语文学。最后他因为开了一个关于这位独裁者的玩笑而被关进监狱。弗拉特产生了幻觉,想象着萨达姆的倒台,就像我经常做的那样。我希望自己能够见证那一刻,无论届时我身在伊拉克还是远方。

I left Iraq a few months after the 1991 Gulf War and went to graduate school in the United States, where I’ve been ever since. In 2002, when the cheerleading for the Iraq war started, I was vehemently against the proposed invasion. The United States had consistently supported dictators in the Arab world and was not in the business of exporting democracy, irrespective of the Bush administration’s slogans. I recalled sitting in my family’s living room with my aunt when I was a teenager, watching Iraqi television and seeing Donald Rumsfeld visiting Baghdad as an emissary from Ronald Reagan and shaking hands with Saddam. That memory made Mr. Rumsfeld’s words in 2002 about freedom and democracy for Iraqis seem hollow. Moreover, having lived through two previous wars (the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988 and the Gulf War of 1991), I knew that the actual objectives of war were always camouflaged by well-designed lies that exploit collective fear and perpetuate national myths.

在1991年的海湾战争(Gulf War)结束几个月后,我离开伊拉克去美国读研究生。从那以后,我一直生活在美国。2002年,当支持伊拉克战争的呼声开始出现时,我强烈反对入侵的提议。美国一贯支持阿拉伯世界的独裁者,并没有从事输出民主的工作,无论布什政府的口号是什么。我记得自己十几岁时和一个女性长辈在我家起居室里收看伊拉克的电视节目,看到唐纳德·拉姆斯菲尔德(Donald Rumsfeld)作为罗纳德·里根(Ronald Reagan)的特使访问巴格达,并同萨达姆握手。这段记忆使拉姆斯菲尔德2002年有关伊拉克人的自由和民主的言论显得空洞。此外,经历过之前的两次战争(1980到1988年的两伊战争和1991年的海湾战争)后,我知道战争的真实目的永远会被精心设计的谎言所掩盖。这些谎言会利用集体的恐惧,并延续国家神话。

I was one of about 500 Iraqis in the diaspora — of various ethnic and political backgrounds, many of whom were dissidents and victims of Saddam’s regime — who signed a petition: “No to war on Iraq. No to dictatorship.” While condemning Saddam’s reign of terror, we were against a “war that would cause more death and suffering” for innocent Iraqis and one that threatened to push the entire region into violent chaos. Our voices were not welcomed in mainstream media in the United States, which preferred the pro-war Iraqi-American who promised cheering crowds that would welcome invaders with “sweets and flowers.” There were none.

包括我在内的大约500名流离海外的伊拉克人在一份名为《拒绝在伊拉克开战》(No to war on Iraq)的请愿书上签了名,我们的族群和政治背景各异,其中很多是异见人士和萨达姆政权的受害者。谴责萨达姆的恐怖统治的同时,我们反对发动一场会给无辜伊拉克人“造成更多死亡和痛苦”,并且可能会让整个地区陷入极大混乱的战争。在美国的主流媒体上,我们的声音不受欢迎。媒体更乐于见到支持开战的伊拉克裔美国人,他们承诺会有欢呼的人群,用“糖果和鲜花”欢迎入侵者。但是根本没有这样的人。

The petition didn’t make much of an impact. Fifteen years ago today, the invasion of Iraq began.

请愿书没有产生多大的影响。15年前的今天,入侵伊拉克开始了。

Three months later, I returned to Iraq for the first time since 1991 as part of a collective to film a documentary about Iraqis in a post-Saddam Iraq. We wanted to show my countrymen as three-dimensional beings, beyond the binary of Saddam versus the United States. In American media, Iraqis had been reduced to either victims of Saddam who longed for occupation or supporters and defenders of dictatorship who opposed the war. We wanted Iraqis to speak for themselves. For two weeks, we drove around Baghdad and spoke to many of its residents. Some were still hopeful, despite being drained by years of sanctions and dictatorship. But many were furious and worried about what was to come. The signs were already there: the typical arrogance and violence of a colonial occupying power.

三个月后,我回到伊拉克,和团队一起拍摄一部有关后萨达姆时代伊拉克民众的纪录片。那是自1991年以后我第一次回到伊拉克。我们想表现除了萨达姆与美国的二元对立外,我的同胞是三维的。在美国的媒体上,伊拉克人不是萨达姆的受害者,渴望被占领;就是独裁统治的支持者和捍卫者,反对那场战争。我们想让伊拉克人为自己发声。在两周时间里,我们开车在巴格达四处转悠,与当地很多居民交谈。很多人依然满怀希望,尽管多年的制裁和独裁统治让他们筋疲力尽。但也有很多人感到愤怒,并且担忧即将发生的事情。殖民占领国典型的傲慢和暴力迹象已经出现了。

My short visit only confirmed my conviction and fear that the invasion would spell disaster for Iraqis. Removing Saddam was just a byproduct of another objective: dismantling of the Iraqi state and its institutions. That state was replaced with a dysfunctional and corrupt semi-state. We were still filming in Baghdad when L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, announced the formation of the so-called Governing Council in July 2003. The names of its members were each followed by their sect and ethnicity. Many of the Iraqis we spoke to on that day were upset with institutionalization of an ethno-sectarian quota system. Ethnic and sectarian tensions already existed, but their translation into political currency was toxic. Those unsavory characters on the governing council, most of whom were allies of the United States from the preceding decade, went on to loot the country, making it one of the most corrupt in the world.

短暂的访问证实了我的判断和担心:入侵会给伊拉克人民带来灾难。推翻萨达姆只是摧毁伊拉克政府及其各个机构这一目标的副产品。取代萨达姆政府的是一个功能失调的、腐败的准政府。2003年7月,美英联军临时权力机构(Coalition Provisional Authority)的最高长官L·保罗·布雷默三世(L. Paul Bremer III)宣布成立所谓的理事会(Governing Council),当时我们还在巴格达拍摄。理事会成员的名字后面都注明了教派和种族。我们当天采访的许多伊拉克人都对这个种族教派配额制度感到不安。种族和教派之间的紧张关系本就存在,但将它们变为政治通货将是有害的。理事会中那些令人厌恶的人物大多在之前十年里是美国的盟友,他们继续掠夺这个国家,把它变成了世界上最腐败的国家之一。

We were fortunate to have been able to shoot our film in that brief period during which there was relative public security. Shortly after our visit, Iraq descended into violence; suicide bombings became the norm. The invasion made my country a magnet for terrorists (“We’ll fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” President George W. Bush had said), and Iraq later descended into a sectarian civil war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more, irrevocably changing the country’s demography.

我们幸运地在那个公共秩序相对安全的短暂时期拍摄了我们的电影。我们离开后不久,伊拉克陷入了暴力混乱之中,经常出现自杀式爆炸。入侵导致伊拉克吸引了大量恐怖分子(“我们将在那里打击他们,这样,我们就不用在这里打击他们了,”乔治·W·布什[George W. Bush]总统曾表示)。后来,伊拉克陷入了教派内战,夺去了数十万平民的生命,并导致另外数十万平民流离失所,不可逆转地改变了该国的人口构成。

The next time I returned to Baghdad was in 2013. The American tanks were gone, but the effects of the occupation were everywhere. I had low expectations, but I was still disheartened by the ugliness of the city where I had grown up and horrified by how dysfunctional, difficult and dangerous daily life had become for the great majority of Iraqis.

我再次回到巴格达是在2013年。美国的坦克不见了,但占领的影响无处不在。我的期望值很低,但我仍对自己成长的这座城市的丑陋感到沮丧,也为绝大多数伊拉克人失常、艰难而危险的日常生活感到震惊。

My last visit was in April 2017. I flew from New York, where I now live, to Kuwait, where I was giving a lecture. An Iraqi friend and I crossed the border by land. I was going to the city of Basra, in the south of Iraq. Basra was the only major Iraqi city I had not visited before. I was going to sign my books at the Friday book market of al-Farahidi Street, a weekly gathering for bibliophiles modeled after the famous Mutanabbi Street book market in Baghdad. I was driven around by friends. I didn’t expect the beautiful Basra I’d seen on 1970s postcards. That city had long disappeared. But the Basra I saw was so exhausted and polluted. The city had suffered a great deal during the Iran-Iraq war, and its decline accelerated after 2003. Basra was pale, dilapidated and chaotic thanks to the rampant corruption. Its rivers are polluted and ebbing. Nonetheless, I made a pilgrimage to the famous statue of Iraq’s greatest poet, Badr Shakir al-Sayyab.

我最后一次访问伊拉克是在2017年4月。我从我现在居住的纽约飞到科威特,在那里做了一个讲座,之后和一位伊拉克朋友通过陆路穿越了边境。我打算前往伊拉克南部的巴士拉市。巴士拉是我之前唯一没去过的伊拉克大城市。我计划在al-Farahidi街的周五书市上签名售书,它是为爱书人举办的每周聚会,模仿的是巴格达著名的Mutanabbi街书市。朋友们开车载着我四处游览。我不期望自己能看到70年代明信片上美丽的巴士拉。那座城市早就消失了。我看到的巴士拉破败不堪,污染严重。这座城市在两伊战争期间遭到蹂躏,2003年之后,它衰落得更快。由于腐败猖獗,巴士拉暗淡无光,破败混乱。它的河流被污染了,正在消退。尽管如此,我还是去瞻仰了伊拉克最伟大的诗人巴德尔·沙基尔·赛义布(Badr Shakir al-Sayyab)的著名雕像。

One of the few sources of joy for me during these short visits were the encounters with Iraqis who had read my novels and were moved by them. These were novels I had written from afar, and through them, I tried to grapple with the painful disintegration of an entire country and the destruction of its social fabric. These texts are haunted by the ghosts of the dead, just as their author is.

在这些短暂的访问中,令我感到高兴的一点是,我遇到了一些读过我的小说并被它们打动的伊拉克人。它们是我在远方写的小说,我试图通过它们讲述整个国家的痛苦解体和社会结构的分崩离析。死者的灵魂萦绕着小说中的文字,也同样萦绕着我这位作者。

No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago, I watched Mr. Bush on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.) The pundits and “experts” who sold us the war still go on doing what they do. I never thought that Iraq could ever be worse than it was during Saddam’s reign, but that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.

没有人确切知道,15年前伊拉克遭到侵略时,有多少伊拉克人因此死亡。据一些可信的估计,这个数字超过100万。你可以再读一遍这个句子。在美国,入侵伊拉克经常被称为一个“错误”,甚至是一个“巨大的错误”。它是一种罪行。那些行凶者依然逍遥法外。他们中的一些人甚至因为民众对特朗普主义的反感以及公民普遍的健忘而得以恢复名誉(一年前,我看到布什在《艾伦秀》[The Ellen DeGeneres Show]上跳舞,还谈论自己的画作)。向我们兜售战争的那些权威人士和“专家”依然故我。我从未想到伊拉克会比萨达姆统治时期更糟糕,但美国入侵所造成的后果以及遗留给伊拉克人的就是这样一个更糟糕的国家。

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