Archive for April, 2004

are you really surprised?

So, a mob of Iraqis torch, beat, mutilate and hang corpses belonging to four American defense contractors on the same day that five U.S. soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing. 

U.S. media was shocked and awed. Despicable, horrible, horrifying.

While the killings are indeed gruesome and God help the families of those killed, I would like to ask what on Earth do you expect? These are people who suffered under 13 years of sanctions, constant and consistent bombing throughout the 1990s and persistent random trigger-happy killing of civilians by U.S. troops in the last year. Depleted uranium is destroying children and the future of Iraq. Joblessness, power outages, lack of communications — no phones in 80 percent of the country — and lawlessness. You want candy and flowers?

Grow up. Occupation begets every single form of violence to reject, deject, and eject the occupier. Take how the human body functions; enter a virus and white blood cells kick into action, surround the virus and eat it, adding to the body’s catalogue of immunity victories.

Jim Clancy of CNN says pictures of the bodies dragged through the streets were shocking to everyone, including the Iraqi people. I beg to differ. The problem here is the westernized, ethnocentric, Judeo-Christian, and downright racist approach to Iraq. Missing are the pictures of U.S. soldiers with their boots on the necks of detainees who have yet to be questioned. It seems U.S. soldiers believe everyone in Iraq is guilty till proven dead. How about Nic Robertson’s documentary which aired on CNN on Wednesday, March 31; did you catch the U.S. soldier who told an Iraqi, “Say yes, when I tell you to eat my ass…I want to shove my foot in his ass.”

Lovely. Now Coalition Provisional Authority king Paul Bremer tells us that there will be retribution in Fallujah, which has already seen its fair share of massacres for which the U.S. military absolutely refuses to take responsibility. Has the U.S. military taken responsibility for even one of the 21 journalists it killed in Iraq? Is it a coincidence that journalists who film the U.S. military taking a beating get killed? Propaganda, anyone?

So, Bremer will send in the tanks and the fighter jets and anything else he has. Countless civilians will die while Iraqi police look on. They will be called insurgents, terrorists, Islamic fanatics, Saddam supporters. What they will not be called is the Iraqi people! The civilian population will take up arms and likely cannibalize the next U.S. soldiers they get their hands on. The Iraqi police will have to choose sides soon enough.

Tip of the iceberg, U.S. media is short-sighted and ignorant of facts on the ground in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Basra is brimming with anger. If the Shiite community declares it is fed up, well…reminds me of a Kiss song — All Hell Breaking Loose.

Postscript: The mutilation of any dead body, any corpse, even that of an animal is strictly forbidden under Islamic law. According to the Prophet Mohammed, even spitting at a dead body – whether it is of an enemy or ally is irrelevant – is considered sacreligious.

[Firas Al-Atraqchi, B.Sc (Physics), M.A. (Journalism and Communications), is a Canadian journalist with eleven years of experience covering Middle East issues, oil and gas markets, and the telecom industry.]

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