No Fear But Careful Planning
Since 17-30 July 1968, the people and the revolutionary Government of this country have learnt significant lessons from their experience. Prior to this, there had been other equally significant lessons for the people, learned from the bitter setbacks which they had suffered before the Revolution of 1968 and those they witnessed or experienced in the Arab homeland and the world at large. One of these lessons is learned from producing a decision or formula at the wrong time or hesitating to produce them at the right time. According to the art of revolutionary action, the question of adopting a decision or formula at the wrong time or hesitating to adopt them at the right time is one of the most delicate problems for the leadership in any society, under any regime and during any stage of forward change of society. The most dangerous aspect of the failure to maintain this formula lies in the effects which lead to the loss of a section of the people rather than of those who would never be considered as part of the people. It is a grave matter to push a section of the people in front of our own guns as a result of mistakes, which are committed, rather than of any hostile intentions or acts on their part.
We must stop here at this juncture to say that any measure, which may be taken against the conduct of some people, must be adopted with care or we may lose them. This applies even to those who oppose the Revolution in one of its stages as long as they remain objectively within the historical framework of the Revolution and the people.
Such leniency and tact must, nevertheless, be in keeping with the general framework of policy, which ensures the continuation, and progress of the movement of the Revolution and not at the expense of the security of the Revolution and the necessary building of defenses against any danger threatening it.
Here, the correct balance must also be struck in time and place, in harmony with the result of the social, political, economic, psychological and other factors. To avoid losing a section of the people who are with us now or who may be with us in the future is vital in the treatment of any legal or social issue or any other matter in general. We want to see society united rather than divided, but when we say 'rather than divided' we do not mean to take a Utopian view and ignore the contradictions, which must exist within the strata of society and in life itself. Nor do we mean to halt the march of the Revolution for the sake of avoiding some losses, which are objectively and scientifically necessary for its forward march. What we mean is that we ought to avoid conflicts being imposed on matters in which flexibility can be applied in such a way as to reduce our losses or prevent any losses charged against the Revolution by the people or any section whose allegiance is important to us.
Now, under what covers are the counter-revolutionaries acting in this area? There are many covers, some of which take the shape of a narrow and distorted interpretation of religion, to oppose the social progress on the path of revolution. There are also those disputes about the position of women in society. There are numerous guises and forms. We are not afraid, but we must make calculations. We are not afraid, but we must not be arrogant. We fear nobody, but we have to be watchful lest we should lose a section of our people.
The question of modifying the position of the woman in our society within the correct and all other frameworks is a matter, which allows no hesitation. It is a matter, which we shall pursue in harmony with the development of society, the increase of its capacity for understanding and the continuity of its forward movement within the framework of the Revolutionary principles. However, if we decree the legal reforms incorporated in the present working paper, we shall need three years to implement them. Some of the other legislation in the working paper which we want to promulgate, including that which affects the position of women in our society, will need three years to materialize, and that will open an opportunity for challenging our measures three years before they are implemented, something which must be avoided.
We must continue our work in enlightening the people and educating them in the matter of the elementary rights of women and the necessary measures and means for supporting them. There should be no halt in the balanced forward movement of our society as a whole and our dynamic role in shedding the backward past. There is, however, no justification for putting forward hasty measures which would place a section of our people -who so far have been with us -in a hostile attitude to the Revolution. When no one is urging us to make haste to provide evidence of the progressive nature and socialist programme of the Revolution, it is not necessary to hurry in initiating matters and raising issues which may conceivably cause us substantial losses and alienate a section of our people, however small it may be. If such losses had been necessary, we would have taken those steps for the sake of our forward march.
During our deliberations, we have reached the conclusion that it is necessary to correct the position of women by force of law, but without the premature promulgation of laws, which may divide public opinion and give the rightist reactionaries a cover under which to attract some people who belong in reality to the Revolution and not to their camp.
A short while ago when I was talking to one of our brothers, I asked him about the American base in Cuba and whether the Cubans were planning to get rid of it in the near future.
This is a subject which illustrates for us the importance and care attributed by the Cuban Government to flexibility .We have absolutely no doubt about the revolutionary nature of the Cuban Government.
Such an attitude adopted by that Government, as we find, must be based on a special assessment calculated to serve the cause of the Revolution. There is no doubt whatever about the importance and correctness of the policy of revolutionary flexibility followed by the Cuban Government. This evaluation of the Cuban system does not denigrate my Baathist or Iraqi identity.
We want to make our own experiment in this part of the world, which is not that of Cuba or copied from any other country, but we may learn from the Cuban experiment or any revolutionary and socialist experiment. At the same time, we try to make our own experiment available to the world so that other people may also learn from it. We keep our minds open and do not hesitate to benefit from the experiences of others as long as we find them necessary and expedient.
This is how we assess the Cuban system notwithstanding the existence of a US base on the soil of Cuba. If such a base existed here in Iraq, we could not expect our Party and our people to appreciate the flexibility with which the Cuban Government has acted and is still acting in keeping, for example, the US base on Cuban soil, even if we assume that similar circumstances prevail in both countries. Our Party and our people would have found it impossible to take into consideration the importance given to flexibility in revolutionary action, in objective calculations and all that is written in the textbooks of political action and revolutionary literature. They would have turned to us and said: ' As long as there is a foreign base on our soil, we don't consider ourselves free in the matter of sovereignty or the economy or in any of the other fields.
There were acts of legislation included in the working paper for reforming the position of women in society, but we have removed them because of the considerations I have just mentioned. We have not removed them because of any vacillation or lack of understanding of the correct role of the woman in society .We have removed them while maintaining our full belief in her balanced and equal status vis-a-vis the man within the new society.