Lawyer and military officer Elan Carr, visited CSUN Monday to speak about his experiences in Iraq and his view about the country’s future to a gathering of about 25 people, most of which were members of the Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Carr is an American born to a Jewish Iraqi family. He is fluent in Hebrew, as well as Arabic, and has traveled all over the Middle East, prosecuting terrorists who have committed crimes against Coalition forces.
Recently returning from military deployment in Iraq, Carr brought with him a unique perspective on the issues affecting Iraq and the Middle East. Carr has traveled to different college campuses in an effort to share the reality he has experienced in Iraq and make clear the conditions of the country’s people.
Carr said he witnessed the scars left on people and places after the torment of being ruled by a cruel leader. Carr visited many prisons and torture chambers, and stood in cells next to execution chambers where people could hear their loved ones suffering.
There were signs of torment all over, he said, like scratched messages on walls in hopes that one day, someone would recognize their suffering.
“Thank God it goes on no more,” Carr said.
A little over a month ago, those who were once put through misery, tortured, wounded, and have lost loved ones, held up their blue fingers, proud to say, “Look, I finally voted,” Carr said.
Although he had known before that the Iraqi people would stand together to decide their own future, Carr said he had never seen it more evident than on Iraq’s Jan. 30 Election Day, when the presence of the entire country was felt at the polls with 58 percent of the population showing up to vote.
“They can finally stand up and say, ‘Our future is bright,'” Carr said.
To come together after everything they had been through shows the Iraqi people are relieved to finally have freedom they never knew existed, he said.
Carr gave an example of a 16-year-old Iraqi boy who stood out in his mind as a prime example of the respect Iraqis have for the U.S. troops.
“I want to become a U.S. soldier,” Carr said the boy told him.
Carr spoke about the quality of the soldiers in Iraq, and his pride in working with them.
“I saw examples of courage,” he said. “It was a privilege working with them.”
Omer Markush, president of Students for the Israel Public Affairs Committee, said he had heard Carr speak before and was inspired by his hopeful view of the Iraqi people.
What has happened in Iraq will have an impact on what happens in other countries in a positive way, Markush said.
“He gives a more positive and optimistic perspective that he experienced firsthand,” Markush said.
Gilbert Lopez, senior computer engineering major, said he was pleased about the positive ideas and views Carr presented.
“I had no idea about the positive vibe in Iraq,” Lopez said. “But I’m glad someone is getting out there to spread the word.”