Iraq- Not Just a Country of Conflict

I recently returned from working in Iraq. I lived for over a month in Baghdad in the British Embassy providing training to members of the Commission of Integrity, an organisation whose job is to stamp out corruption in the new post conflict Iraq. We were based in the Commission of Integrity building which is in the Green Zone training their investigators, who are mainly qualified defence lawyers. In a training team of four, comprising two classes of twenty people working with two trainers in each class, we provided training in many subjects including:- Ethics and Values and Beliefs,Criminal Intelligence,Risk Assessment,Investigation techniques,Forensics and Exhibit Handling,Investigative Interviewing, Media Management and Case Management and lastly Operational Planning.It was an intense and very satisfying four weeks of my life.

I viewed the deployment with some trepidation as you can imagine and how wrong could I be. The country is a great place,albeit there is still a lot of danger particularly outside the International Zone. The people are committed and desperate to take their country forward and undergo all sorts of danger to fulfil their committment. It is easy to forget that Iraq is the seat of civilisation and gave us assembly democracy long before the Greeks, cuneiform writing, mathematics and lots more. The people have a great sense of their own history and are extremely proud of their country.Often the participants, who would travel daily from the Red Zone into the Green Zone for training,would wait for long periods at the checkpoints for their escort to bring them into the Green Zone at great danger to themselves, but they never wavered and attended the training evey day without fail.
I have only admiration and respect for them all.

I also gained a great insight into Islam and how much it means to people. It is not all about fundamentalism,and some of the biased perspective we are fed in our press and media is downright untrue.
Islam is a faith of peace and of course all the Abrahamic faiths have much in common, but the bulk of people just wish to practise their faith in peace and tranquility.

So, what did I learn. Well I reinforced my learning that most people want the same things in life, to live peacefully, look after their family, gain satisfaction from work and to achieve the best they can for themselves and their children. Those things never change wherever one goes in this world.

I hope that I will return to Iraq and help in the rebuilding of this beautiful country to help the people to find their place in a world which needs them so we can all, widen respect and understanding of all people.

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