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YOUNG PEOPLE IN IRAQ : FREEDOM OR DEATH | M6 | Enquête Exclusive

Once again Iraq is teetering on the brink. With demonstrators in the streets facing the forces of order who use violence to suppress them, one might think that history is repeating itself. However, this wave of protest is unique and much more powerful than all previous ones… This one was born on the Internet, it’s organized and is spreading faster than ever through Iraqi society. Those demanding economic reform, the end of religious conservatism, a halt to the corruption that is also poisoning the country, are 20-years-old and they want to change their country radically… In Bagdad, where this modern, alternative society is struggling to exist, we met these young people. They are artists, party planners, bloggers or simple citizens. There are women, too, demanding to live freely. They all know that their commitment may cost them their lives. The first warning was given almost exactly a year ago. And it was very clear: on September 27 2018, Tara Fares, a 22-year-old blogger with a following of nearly 3 million Iraqis was gunned down point-blank in the middle of the street. In the following weeks, other young women with an overly Western life-style suffer the same fate. These serial killings triggered an unprecedented wave of emotion. They also fired the anger of young Iraqis. Arshed Haibat is 30. Recently, he’s been organizing parties in Bagdad. Parties, non-existent until now, where boys and girls mingle. The price paid is hundreds of hate mails and death threats when he opens his mail box each morning. Arshed has to live in hiding, move regularly and leave no trace for those pursuing him… Angel and Maryam are 18 and actually have the same dreams as all young people of their age throughout the world. In Bagdad, however, walking hand in hand with a lover, wearing jeans or refusing the veil can cost you very dear. Mary is 22 and a blogger. At night, she attends alternative parties, discovering places you couldn’t imagine existing in Bagdad. With her million subscribers she shares her experiences, her latest fashion, music or photo fad. On the other hand, at home, she jumps at the slightest sound. What she fears is becoming the next Tara Fares. Because these young people, weary of living under a system that stifles them and sometimes kills them, are facing other young people, of a very different ilk. They come from the vast popular suburbs of Bagdad and are members of the Shiite militia. These young people have spent years at war. They conquered Daesh, see themselves as the liberators of Iraq and now intend to impose their vision of Iraqi society, that of rigorous Shiite Islam. Playing out in Iraq today is a mighty trial of strength. Young revolutionaries against the defenders of traditional and religious values.