ONCE UPON A TIME …
Once upon a time, Iraq had the finest education system in the Arab world.
Once upon a time, Iraq exported its expertise in education to many countries.
Once upon a time, Iraq was considered by the UN “illiteracy free.”
Once upon a time, Iraq led the Arab world in scientific development.
Once upon a time, Iraq had the most modern and efficient highway system and public transport facilities in the Middle East.
Once upon a time, Iraqi women could dress however they desired: in sweat shirts and jeans, in mini-skirts, with stylish fashion, or, if they preferred, with a veil.
Once upon a time, the Iraqi public listened to rock and heavy metal music. Once upon a time, professional and amateur sports flourished in Iraq.
Once upon a time, the arts (of all kinds) were visible all over Iraq. Once upon a time, Iraqi homosexuals were not condemned to death because of their sexual preferences.
Once upon a time, it was a criminal offense to kill Christians or Palestinians. The term used for any crime of this nature was “murder.”
Once upon a time, world experts on archaeology and antiquities were welcome to Iraq in an effort to discover the history of the country and then preserve it. Once upon a time, veterans of the Iran-Iraq War were highly revered by the Iraqi government and public.
Once upon a time, 55% of the Iraqi work force consisted of females. Once upon a time, females held important positions in the government, business and the fields of engineering and science.
Once upon a time, foreign workers were welcome in Iraq. They provided many services in the areas of agriculture and the construction of the Iraqi infrastructure.
Once upon a time, any scholar of Arab history was welcome in Iraq as a guest of the government. They were allowed unlimited access to historical documents so they could enhance the writing of Arab culture and share books and articles with the world.
Once upon a time, Baghdad was called “The Paris of the Middle East.” Once upon a time, Baghdad had many parks and recreational areas that families safely used.
Once upon a time, the citizens of Iraq were called Iraqis, not Shia or Sunni or Turkomen or Kurds or Chaldeans or any other designation.
Once upon a time, Iraq had no depleted uranium that was responsible for the deaths and birth defects of thousands of children.
Once upon a time, Iraq’s drinking water was safe.
Once upon a time, diseases such as hoof-and-mouth disease and malnutrition had been eradicated from Iraq.
Once upon a time, Iraqis did not lock the doors to their houses and left them wide open.
Once upon a time, Baghdad nightlife was vibrant with street performers and the smell of mouth-watering food, not the odor of blood and death.
Once upon a time, Iraqi citizens could safely walk the streets with no thoughts of harm occurring.
Once upon a time, Iraqi children were not obliged to turn to prostitution to earn enough money for their families to buy food.
Once upon a time, a gallon of gasoline cost less than one cent in Iraq and there were no long lines at petrol stations.
Once upon a time, electricity was available 24 hours a day in Iraq. Once upon a time, Iraqis were not worried about poisoning themselves when they drank water from their taps.
Once upon a time, Iraq led the Arab world in technology.
Once upon a time, Baghdad’s streets were clean, not strewn with garbage and human bodies.
Once upon a time, Iraq had a functioning government that addressed the needs of the citizenry of Iraq.
Once upon a time, Iraq was great.
Once upon a time is the opening phrase of many fairy tales. In the case of Iraq, once upon a time was once true. For today’s young Iraqis, the facts are hidden from them and they may consider them to be fairy tales because their Iraq differs greatly from the one depicted here.