Observers Peter Beaumont har intervjuet en rekke irakere om hvordan de ser på situasjonen ett år etter. Mange klager og syter og bærer preg av å ha levet 25 år i en politistat. Man blir sytete som et barn. Flere sier f.eks. at det er like ille som under Saddam, bl.a. en journalist som klager over at det ikke er ytringsfrihet. Kan være. Men behandlingen er en ganske annen. Har de glemt syrebadene?

Den mest frigjorte, bevisste er en kvinnelig advokat. Hun har evnen til å se situasjonen med åpne øyne:

If you could compare me – I am a 30-year-old woman – with another woman of my age from another country you would see how much it differs. We were deprived of freedom. We cannot express ourselves. We didn’t know other cultures. Say, for instance, that I became aware of how things were here at the age of ten then I have been living 20 years under a dark shadow and now things have changed.

I feel freedom. I feel I can learn. I can see the world. It is not only one thing I’ve missed! It is many things! When I went abroad (after the fall of the regime) and I saw what other countries are like, I really felt that Iraq was only a piece of land with no building at all. Iraq is a century behind the rest of the world.

Iraq: One year on

The war divided opinion across the world – but what do ordinary Iraqis think? Are their lives better? How have they coped with a momentous year? And amid the turmoil, is there hope for a brighter future? Our foreign affairs editor, who covered the conflict 12 months ago, returned to seek out the experiences of men and women across the country. Here are their stories