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Iraqi slogans and chants of solidarity with the Americans

In Tahrir Square, in the center of the capital, Baghdad, or on the Twitter platform, Iraqis observe the unprecedented protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, 

Iraqi slogans and chants of solidarity with the Americans
Iraqi slogans and chants of solidarity with the Americans

an African citizen who died during his arrest on May 25, when a white policeman strapped his knee to his neck for about 9 minutes.

"I think what the Americans are doing is brave, and they should be angry, but the riots are not the solution," said Yassin Alaa, 20, in one of the protesters' tents in Tahrir Square.

And only a few dozen Iraqis remain inside the tents of the main protest square in Baghdad, which just months ago witnessed security forces firing tear gas and live bullets at demonstrators who responded with stones or sometimes incendiary bottles.

Violence in demonstrations in Iraq has left more than 550 people dead, but almost no one has been held to account, which, according to Iraqis, is similar to deaths at the hands of police in the United States.

Common injustice

So, Iraqis today seek to share their experiences and lessons learned. Alaa says to the Americans, "Do not set fire to anything ... Stay away from it, because the police will treat you with force from the start and may act unexpectedly," adding that the most important thing is class unity.

"If blacks and whites unite and reject racism, the regime can never stop them."

Iraqis across the country have found similarities between the roots of the American protests and their community, and Haider Karim, 31, whose family lives in the United States and has participated in the Tahrir Square protests, says, "It is an ethnic war in the United States, while in Iraq it is a political war and a social revolution." against corruption". "But what we have in common is injustice."

Nonviolent discrimination

Iraq has its own history of racism, especially against members of a minority of African descent in the south of the country, whose roots go back to the Bantu race in eastern Africa.

In 2013, the head of the Ansar Al-Hurriyah Association for Black People in Iraq, Jalal Dhiab, was shot dead in the oil-rich city of Basra, but discrimination against this minority is often not violent.

"Our racism is different from the racism of the United States," says Ali Essam, 34, who is from this minority and directed a popular play about the Iraq protests last year.

"Here they make jokes and joke about black people, but in the United States if you are black then some people consider you a threat," he says. Solidarity extended to social media as well, as Iraqis modified their chants and protest slogans to fit the United States.

In one of the videos, an Iraqi elderly man appears chanting "obsession", a balanced rhythmic chant that Iraqis are famous for in joys and sorrows, and he was essential in the protests, to emulate the American gift. He said, "This is a promise, this is a promise. What we eat after. "

This elderly advises Americans to maintain the spontaneity and independence of their protests, and to prevent any foreign interference "from Arab embassies in them," similar to the US government's warnings to Iraqis last year.

Other activists used the "America rise up" sign in a copy of the popular slogan used in the Iraq and Lebanon protests.

Some have translated Floyd's last words and converted them into the tag "We also want to breathe."

It reminds us of Baghdad

However, not all approaches were comfortable. The governor of Minnesota, where Minneapolis is located, said street violence “reminds us of Mogadishu or Baghdad.”

The forces that US President Donald Trump briefly deployed to calm the unrest in Washington, D.C., were from Unit 82, which has just returned from its work in Iraq.

"Trump is using the American army against the American people," said Joe Biden, the Democrat candidate for the US Presidency.

But the Iraqis responded to it strongly on social media, saying, "Stop linking Baghdad to the unrest", while others turn to ridicule.

Commenting on videos of crowds storming stores in American cities, Iraqis quickly quote an unpopular statement from former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2003, in response to a newspaper question about widespread looting and chaos in Baghdad after the US invasion.

At the time, Rumsfeld's answer was that "chaos and looting is a natural consequence of the transition from dictatorship to a free country."
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