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Let’s re­mem­ber Madeleine Al­bright for who she re­al­ly was

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Often, after the demise of political figures, their troubling histories are whitewashed in the name of respecting their memories and the feelings of their families. The passing of former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday has been no exception.

Western media responded to the news of her death with a plethora of obituaries eulogising her achievements. Countless statements have been released, by governments, institutions and public figures, celebrating the “trailblazing” politician for being the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of State and for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former President Bill Clinton, under whom Albright served as America’s top diplomat, referred to her as “a passionate force for freedom, democracy, and human rights”. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, proclaimed she “was always a force for goodness, grace, and decency – and for freedom”.

For me as an Iraqi, however, the memory of Albright will forever be tainted by the stringent sanctions she helped place on my country at a time when it was already devastated by years of war. Millions of innocent Iraqis suffered terribly and hundreds of thousands died because of the sanctions which, in the end, achieved almost none of Washington’s policy objectives. As we remember Albright’s life and achievements, we must also remember those innocent Iraqi lives lost because of her policy decisions.

The most prominent memory of Albright that I have in my mind is from........

© Al Jazeera

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