So much for winning hearts and minds

Barclay (Dark Angel) Dec 16, 2004

  1. Barclay (Dark Angel)

    Barclay (Dark Angel) Ninja Hippy

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    This is the consequence of the war in Iraq.

    Bush and Blair think they can bomb their way to "victory", but for every man woman and child they kill, many more resistance fighters are created.

    Power and water supplies, sanitation, and medical assistance are all denied the people of Iraq. Food and water are at best expensive, and at worst, lethal. In reality, the occupying forces are seen as being utterly uncaring, and only out for what they can get.

    Hvae a look at this eye witness account. As with so many case histories, it tells far more of the truth than any government spokesman.




    The Sunday Herald
    12 December 2004

    *EYEWITNESS: Iraqís civilian body count may go officially undocumented
    but the widows and the orphans know the true extent of the toll
    By Dahr Jamail in Sadr City, Baghdad*


    The Sadr City area of Baghdad is a sprawling slum of nearly three
    million people. Predominantly Shia and the most poverty stricken area of
    the capital, most residents here celebrated the fall of Saddam Hussein
    and his Sunni dominated Baíathist regime.

    For it was the Shia people of Sadr, perhaps more than any other group in
    Baghdad, that suffered the most under his brutal regime.

    In a small, one-room house in Sadr City lives Suaíad, a widow with eight
    young children. ìI can do nothing but look at my children and cry,î she
    says, weeping throughout our conversation. ìWhat are children to do
    without their father? No matter what I do, things will never be the same

    Three months ago Suaíadís 30-year-old husband, Abdullah Rahman, was
    killed after being caught in crossfire between US forces and the Mahdi
    Army of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

    In Sadr City ñ renamed from Saddam City ñ the economy is in ruins.
    Electricity supplies are erratic and the water is so dirty that there
    are constant outbreaks of cholera, Hepatitis-E and diarrhoea.

    Like many neighbourhoods across Iraq, Sadr has seen more than its fair
    share of suffering. This the sort of place where civilian casualty
    figures, while difficult to monitor, are undoubtedly high.

    Last month The Lancet, the leading British medical journal, published a
    report that estimated there had been some 98,000 civilian casualties in
    Iraq as a result of the US-led invasion and occupation.

    The report which came in the wake of another assessment carried out by
    the non-governmental group Iraq Body Count (IBC) has resulted in calls
    to Tony Blair from a number of former diplomats, military men and
    academics to hold an inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq. They say the
    UK like the US has a duty enshrined in international law to record the
    deaths ñ a claim Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has refuted.

    ìThis is an estimate relying on media reports, and which we do not
    regard as reliable. It includes civilian deaths at the hands of
    terrorists as well as of the coalition forces,î insisted Straw in a
    written statement to the Commons in November.

    Whatever the real truth of the figures, they do little to convey the
    grief and economic impact on families like that of Suaíad Rahman who
    lose a father, husband or child.

    ìHis last day he worked his job selling used clothing,î Suaíad said
    quietly. Abdullah had come home for his break to eat with his family. He
    played with his seven-year-old son, then went outside to see what was
    happening when fighting broke out.

    He returned shortly thereafter to tell Suaíad he needed to go to close
    his small shop. Fighter jets thundered overhead dropping bombs, and
    small arms fire was audible across the streets.

    ìHis shop is all we have,î explained Suaíad, ìI asked him not to go, but
    he said he would be right back.î

    But her husband never came back. Suaíadís oldest child, Ahmed, is 14.
    Their small house is nearly empty. Aside from infrequent hand-outs from
    neighbours, they have no income.

    ìHe was our father, and we are needing him so much,î she explains
    holding her arms out while a small child sits in her lap, ìHe was
    everything in my life.î

    She pauses to catch her breath, but never stops weeping.

    ìWe are living alone now. I have four children with asthma. Sometimes
    they canít breathe and I can do nothing for them. All I do is stand with
    them and cry. He was helping me by taking them to the hospital and
    bringing the medicines, but now I am knocking on the doors of the

    She looks outside as tears run down her cheeks.

    ìGod will revenge the Americans for me. Now I have eight orphans, and I
    am the ninth. As they make us orphans, God is going to kick them out of
    our country. My husband did nothing.î

    Suaíad lives in the northern section of Sadr City, an area which saw the
    fiercest clashes last summer. While the US military does not keep a
    count of Iraqi casualties, the office of Muqtada al-Sadr estimates that
    800 people were killed in the fighting in this area last summer before a
    ceasefire was reached.

    The area was frequently bombed by US warplanes and helicopters. People
    are still wounded from unexploded cluster bombs found in small alleys
    between the cramped houses.

    Across the street from Suaíad, where crowded markets selling used
    clothing and shoes on old wooden stalls clutter the sidewalks, is the
    home of the Haider family.

    Fifty-year-old mother, Um Haider lives with 21 other family members and
    relatives in an old, three-room house which does not have a toilet.
    Pools of raw sewage stand near the outer walls of the ramshackle building.

    Her husband was killed in the Iran war, and her 20-year-old son, Ahmed,
    was killed during recent fighting in their area. His widow is pregnant
    and expecting a baby in the next month.

    ìHe was so polite and religious, but he was not a fighter,î said Um
    Haider, crying as she spoke of her dead son.

    The day Ahmed was killed a tank had been destroyed by the Mahdi Army.
    She went outside with him to see what happened, and he was struck in the
    head by shrapnel from a rocket fired at fighters from a US helicopter.

    ìHis blood was all over me while he prayed for God to save us,î she said.

    While her oldest son, Ali, and his two uncles work as labourers to
    support the family, Um Haider goes to her sonís grave each day.

    Abu Khadim, sitting nearby sipping tea, spoke of his nephewís death.
    ìThe Americans were taking everyone from the hospital in Sadr City if
    they were wounded, because they thought they were all Mahdi Army,î he said.

    ìSo we took him out of Sadr City. But the next day, he died anyway.î

    Ali, Ahmedís 22-year-old brother, expressed the rage held by so many
    Iraqis who have lost loved ones to coalition forces. ìWhen I grow older
    I will buy a Kalashnikov and Iím going to use it to shoot the
    Americans,î he said.

    In another small home in the area, Salam Mussa lives with the six
    daughters, two sons and wife left behind by his brother Naim who was killed.

    Thirty-two year-old Naim was at the nearby market when fighting broke
    out between the Mahdi Army and occupation forces. He was shot by US troops.

    ìI make $110 per month, but it is not enough,î said Salam while telling
    of how the family gets by. ìWhen the kids hear tanks outside they say
    these are the people who killed their father.î

    Naimís mother Kussir wept as her husband recalled their dead son.

    ìThis is the third of my kids to be killed. The Americans are savages.
    They do nothing but bring injustice.î

    Rheem, Naimís widow, cannot stop crying either. ìMy children keep
    looking at the pictures and remembering him too much. Zenab is the
    worst. Every day she is looking at the pictures and asking me when heíll
    come home.î

    Zenab, a four-year-old girl wearing rumpled clothes, sat nearby close to
    tears. ìI donít love the Americans because they shot my father. They
    frighten me with their helicopters every day. I want my dad to come back
    and have lunch with us again. Thatís all I want.î
  2. martin_e

    martin_e Pantheistic Cyberneticist

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    Living in a shed in Broadstairs
    Eye witness account of the first Fallujah assault (before they razed the "city of a thousand mosques" to the ground ...)

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