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Slaughter Stalks The Streets
The crowd shouted over and over, “Allah u akbar! God is great! Go home, Americans!” A small boy hurled his sandal at a passing American jeep, and then all hell broke loose. American troops proceeded to open fire with an M2 heavy machine gun on more than 1,000 unarmed civilians. There was no warning, no order to disperse.
Family members were flat on the ground, “hugging the dust” to escape the American bullets that screamed all around them. ‘Bismi Allahi Ar-Rahmani Ar-Rahimi,’ say the Muslims as they bow in prayer five times daily. It means, ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.’ There was no mercy in those American bullets. A few minutes later the shooting ceased, and was replaced by screams of the victims and their loved ones.
People ran towards the fortress housing American troops and pounded on the compound walls with their bare fists, in unbounded rage. Soon afterwards the nearby hospital was filled with women wailing in agony at the loss of sons and brothers, daughters and sisters.
People were furious because just a few days earlier when the families of Fallujah marched to the Al-Kaahd school to protest American takeover of the school, soldiers turned their guns on the protestors, also without warning. Thirteen were slain, including children. Scores more were wounded.
Fallujah, with a population of nearly 500,000, is located 43 miles west of Baghdad, and contains the core of Iraqi resistance to American presence. On the road linking the two cities is the Abu Ghraeb prison, formerly the symbol of Saddam’s oppression and today the symbol of American repression. In another era, Fallujah was called “the city of mosques.” Today it is called “the city of heroes.”
Every day in Fallujah there are attacks against the Americans. On September 23rd the U.S. 82nd Airborne dropped bombs on al-Sajr, a village ten miles north of Fallujah. Abed Rashid, one of the wounded, said, “This is not about overthrowing a government or regime change. This is genocide.” Jouri, the elder sister of Mohammed who was killed in the attack, screamed, “Why? Why?...Why are the Americans doing this to us?” Other women screamed and wailed in unison with Jouri. Mohsen, the cousin of the slaughtered Mohammed, said, “May God’s curse fall upon the Americans, for they have no fear of God….Are these American human rights?”
Families in Fallujah repeat the same story, that when American troops search their homes, they take away all the cash and gold. They are nothing short of conquerors and thieves masquerading in the world press as ‘liberators.’ The reason for Fallujah’s lack of electricity is due to resistance attacks on American troops. It is American punishment for those that dare to fight for freedom.
In Sichir, outside of Fallujah, two US fighter jets dropped nearly a dozen bombs or missiles on some poor farm houses. Zaidan al Khalaf, a survivor of that attack, said, “None of us are interested in politics… I swear we don’t have any weapons in our homes and we don’t have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don’t respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?....We are only peasants here,” he said. The Americans “came like terrorists.”
A neighbor, Abd Rashid Muhammad, asked, “Is it logical to attack children, people sleeping in their beds during the night?”
Sheikh Khaled Saleh, a cleric, said that “although unorganized and without leadership, the Iraqi resistance is a ball of fire in America’s face that will bring its end in Iraq.” Fallujah is covered with graffiti and posters telling the people to kill American soldiers, telling them to stay away from the convoys to avoid being hit.
If any person in Iraq, including in Fallujah, dares to speak the truth of what is happening there, he risks being accused of “incitement to violence” by American king Paul Bremer, and thrown into prison. Already the television networks of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya in Iraq have been closed down in Iraq due to their penchant for reporting the truth and for their fierce criticism of American occupation.
The families of Fallujah say, “We didn’t want Saddam. But after the invasion, with the bad behavior of the Americans, people are saying it was better under Saddam.” The families of Fallujah say, in the first two months after the war ended there was no resistance. The resistance began on June 28th, when the people marched to a school shouting, “We want democracy! We want electricity! We want water!” The Americans responded by opening fire. Seventy-three persons were wounded. The next day the people were in the cemetery burying their dead. It is Iraqi custom to fire shots in the air to celebrate the dead. Seeing this, the Americans once again opened fire on the funeral gathering. Twenty-one civilians died in two days in Fallujah. Thus began the resistance to American occupation.
In a separate incident, on September 17, U.S. soldiers fired on a wedding party in Fallujah, killing a 14-year old boy and wounding six others.
In still another attack, US soldiers fired without mercy on US trained Iraqi policemen giving chase to thieves. The policemen begged and screamed at the Americans to stop shooting, but the US troops continued firing for up to an hour. Afterwards the US officials stated that they had “no information” about the slaughter. Pieces of brains and teeth lying scattered on the road, along with thousands of cartridge cases, tell the real story.
The families of Falllujah say, “They said they would give us democracy…Now we understand what they meant…. Outside Iraq, they treat dogs better than Iraqis.” They also say that the United Nations will not help them because it is controlled by America.
According to the families of Fallujah, the Najaf bombing in which Ayatollah Baqr al-Hakim was killed was without doubt the work of America – to stifle opposition. They also hold Americans responsible for the bombing of the UN headquarters.
According to the people of Fallujah, the resistance there is made up of families – families furious with American behavior in their land. They say, there are no fedayeen in Fallujah, there are no al-Qaeda and there are no Ba’ath Party members in the resistance. It is families fighting for freedom from foreign occupation. They are furious, they are outraged, with the “bad behavior” of the Americans.
Fallujah has a history of suffering and resistance. In the first Gulf War in 1991 U.S. planes bombed the market in Fallujah, killing scores of civilians. When nearby residents ran to help the injured, the planes returned and bombed them also. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark reported more than 200 dead and 500 injured during that unprovoked attack on a public outdoor market. At the time, the military said its stated purpose was to “demoralize the civilians.”
It is estimated that during the so-called war, more than 20,000 Iraqis died. Since the end of the war another 10,000 have been slaughtered on the streets. An Iraqi woman educated at the Sorbonne said, “Let them come…. We have been burying invaders for centuries – and we have plenty of spaces next to General Maude.” [i]
“The final and most dangerous form of economic exploitation is fascist exploitation. In order to canvass national support to justify their exploitation, imperialists popularize the theory of nationalism. They portray their exploitation as rational and constitutional and based on national interest. The British imperialists, in order to legitimize their exploitation, embraced nationalist theory [jingoism]. Following the example of the British, Mussolini of Italy and Hitler of Germany moved along the same path. When communist imperialism was established after the Second World War, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin propagated the concept of Slavic supremacy. Likewise, the Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung built up Chinese superiority…At the very outset the fascist exploiters select a weak community which inhabits a region rich in natural resources.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Robert Fisk noted that the Pentagon since September has been studying The Battle of Algiers, a film on the Algerian resistance movement. The film is about “torture, torture, and more torture.” Algeria in the 1960s was the scene of the final attempt of the dying French colonial empire to regain its former glory. In its death throes, the French reveled in gory atrocities (studied first by Argentinian death squads and now by the Pentagon) that united the whole world in opposition. Today we see the American empire flailing like a dying snake. Its abortive attempt to enforce the dollar as the fiat currency and to seize control of all oil nations from Nigeria, to Venezuela, to Iraq and soon to Iran inspires its victims to unite in resistance against their common oppressor. This unity is welling at the grassroots level. Already the majority of the population of Europe, the Middle East and Latin America know in the most visceral way that this Iraq war is evil just as Americans felt the evil that was 9/11. Kubohoza is a Rwandan term meaning “liberated against one’s will.” Right now the Middle East is undergoing kubohoza.
The great political scientist, Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar points out that in the last stage of their power, capitalist regimes throw aside all masks and openly parade the violence of their greed. After World War II the US created the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, and finally the WTO to carefully set up a system of indirect exploitation and control. Michael Hudson has chronicled this in his book, Super Imperialism: The Origins and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance. Now the Nazi neo-cons in their infantile, imperial impatience have destroyed the institution of the UN, just as British support for Mussolini’s barbaric invasion of Ethiopia destroyed the League of Nations. Furthermore, in their open greed for profit they have directly installed Haliburton and Bechtel to loot Iraq in the tradition of ravening robber barons. Every time an oil pipeline is bombed, Haliburton and Cheney make money. Clearly terrorism is good for Haliburton business, just like the war in Afghanistan made millions for the bin Laden and Bush families via the Carlyle group. It is thus no surprise that the puppet leader of Iraq (Chalabi) is wanted by Interpol for bank robbery. This obscene display of greed has rendered the obtuse forms of the WTO, IMF and WB exploitation of third world countries redundant. This is why representatives of the previous era of subtle exploitation such as George Soros (the CIA slush funds conduit who precipitated the Asian economic crisis) are now coming out against the Bush regime. The world is beginning to wise up to the good cop (Democrat president)-bad cop (Republican president) routine of the American Empire. I ndeed the American people, who alone have the power to elect not merely the President of America, but rather the dictator of the planet, are beginning to wake up to their responsibilities.
The Bush rhetoric of bringing democracy to the Middle East is so openly fraudulent to non-Americans and a growing number of Americans that for the first time there is no equivocation. We stand in the presence of another evil empire that must be destroyed. Sarkar warned that a day will come when democracy will become demonocracy. This is the real ideology of our era - demonocracy--in which countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are plundered of their resources by the home business corporations of the Bush regime; in which people are bombed with uranium weapons that will poison their descendants for up to four billion years; and in which simple sisters and brothers are slaughtered in the streets with impunity. Ever since the 1960s, the Iraqi people have suffered from dictators and drug dealers like Saddam Hussein, put in power by George H. W. Bush. They have silently suffered as this evil man was armed with chemical and biological weapons by American corporations. Now they suffer not so silently under the direct violence of the Pentagon which supported him all these years. As the Iraqis themselves say, “Rah el sani, ija el ussta” – “gone is the apprentice [Saddam], in comes the master [US].” Thus it is not surprising that Saddam’s own men are being brought into the new administration in the same manner that the Pentagon made peace deals with some of the Taliban. It is time to stop going after Frankensteins and start hunting down the original Dr. Frankensteins who created monsters like Milosevic, Osama and Saddam. We need to smoke them out wherever they hide and bring them to justice at the International Criminal Court.
What has happened at Fallujah is an ongoing series of blatant war crimes that must be punished. When the British suppressed the Irish people in the last century, they used tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control procedures. When once on Bloody Sunday they dared to kill seven protestors, the whole world responded with outrage. But, in Fallujah, Bremer has not used even a few dollars of his billions to equip US forces with tear gas and rubber bullets. His forces do not bother to announce warnings on loud speakers. They do not bother to fire warning shots above the crowd’s heads. They do not bother to fire first at the feet of the crowd. Instead they coolly rake the crowd with gunfire as if they are back home playing an arcade game. They behave like this because they are counting on us. They are counting on us that, while for the white-skinned Christian Irish we would surely fight, for the olive-skinned, Muslim Iraqi we will merely yawn, change the channel, or at most send an email. Is it not an insult to our honor as human beings? Just as we could not help loving and fighting for the Irish in the last century, so at the dawn of this 21st century we must love and fight for the heroes of Fallujah who, like David, fight with stones and sandals against the most powerful military might on the planet. When we see on BBC TV, how unarmed men and women walk up to men with guns, roaring with rage at these marauders who ravage their land – how, how for the love of God, can we not follow in their footsteps? It is now our collective human destiny and mandate - to end forever the occupations in Palestine, Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, Chechnya Nigeria, Kurdish Turkey, Tibet and Iraq.
Yet, the perpetrators of these criminal enterprises are also victims. When they realize that even though they slaughtered the enemy, even though they sell their resources to the highest bidder, even though they terrorize the people - in spite of all this, they are just victims - at that moment they become veterans. At that moment they regain their humanity. Only then do they escape the miasma of caring only for the people in their own foxhole—of living like a band of weary wolves raging and wailing across the famished countryside. This moment of awakening has begun to dawn. As of September, 2003 soldiers are openly voicing their anger and disillusionment with the miserable lies fed to them by their Commander in Chief. Anthony Lappe, editor of Guerilla News Network, quoted an American sergeant as saying, “Yes, we are physically able to finish our mission, but mentally and spiritually we are dying.” Today those soldiers are not the only ones who are dying mentally and spiritually. It is the American people who are dying. Every time they hear of the death of another victim in this brutal occupation, Americans can take note that they are beginning the 21st century the same way they began the 20th century - in a brutal, racist, colonial war. In the aftermath of that war against the Filipino people, William Vaughn Moody wrote a poem that now resounds with each body bag brought home, that resounds each time we see the innocent faces of slain soldiers on the news:
Streets of the roaring town, Hush for him; hush, be still!
He comes, who was stricken down, Doing the word of our will.
Hush! Let him have his state. Give him his soldier’s crown,
The grists of trade can wait their grinding at the mill.
But he cannot wait for his honor, now that the trumpet has been blown.
Wreathe pride now for his granite brow, lay love on his breast of stone.
Toll! Let the great bells toll till the clashing air is dim,
Did we wrong this parted soul? We will make it up to him.
Toll! Let him never guess What work we sent him to.
Laurel, laurel, yes. He did what we bade him do.
Praise, and never a whispered hint but the fight he fought was good.
Never a word that the blood on his sword was his country’s own heart’s blood.
A flag for his soldier’s bier - who dies that his land may live;
O banners, banners here, that he doubt not nor misgive!
That he heed not from the tomb, the evil days draw near
When the nation robed in gloom, with its faithless past shall strive.
Let him never dream that his bullet’s scream went wide of its [Arab] mark,
Home to the heart of his darling land where she stumbled and sinned in the dark.
[i] Sir Stanley Maude was the British lieutenant-general who invaded Iraq and who died in Iraq. He had also assured the Iraqis, “Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies but as liberators.”
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Garda Boeninger is a freeleance journalist based on Fort Thomas, Kentucky, USA. Email [email protected] . © Copyright G Boeninger 2003 For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .