INSIDE IRAQ TODAY
by Husayn Al-Kurdi
Iraq expert and author Jeff Archer recalls an Iraq which existed once in one of his columns. He laments that “Once upon a time” Iraqi women could dress as they wished, while comprising 55% of the workforce and gaining the same free and even subsidized education which Iraqi guys got. He recalled a time when teens were free to be teenagers, listening to rock and roll, rap, punk, heavy metal and other musical strains of youth culture. He remembered a time when homosexuals were left alone and Iraqi citizens could safely walk their streets without fear of robbery, rape, kidnapping and murder. Archer was describing the days in which the much-vilified Ba’ath Party and Saddam Hussein were presiding over Iraq, days which most Iraqis of all backgrounds, those who have survived, pine for.
What has happened to Iraq in the ten years since the U.S.-led invasion and occupation has turned most of the country into a shambles. Electricity and water are hard to obtain and sporadic. The electrical, water and agriculture of Iraq has been destroyed over the course of the last 33 years, as Ba’athist Iraq struggled to maintain its independence, its integrity and its dignity in a state of siege and under constant attack.
Iraq was never given a chance to breathe, as it was warred on, had sanctions applied to the point of causing hundreds of thousands of infant deaths, had its infrastructure repeatedly and systematically bombed out and suffered three decades of hell, courtesy of the warmaking “Globalizers” of what is called the “International Community”, and led, to its everlasting shame, by the United States of America.
It was easy to pass this genocidal holocaust off on an uninformed and unsuspecting American public. Jeff Archer’s definitive historical account of the U.S. war against Iraq, “The Mother of all Battles”, has barely seen the light of day. Even putatively “progressive” publishers shy away from his singularly authoritative material on Iraq because he refuses to take an “Anti-Saddam” pledge of allegiance and points to the tremendous progress brought to the lives of Iraqis with the advent of the Ba’athist regime. While the urban legends about Saddam continue to circulate, the worsening condition of the Iraqis is overlooked. The fate of Iraq is being buried along with its people. The “Media” keep all focus on the “evil” Saddam, the “Butcher of Baghdad” as they called him.
But it was not Saddam who “butchered” Baghdad. Someone else poisoned the crops, killed the livestock, burned the wheat fields, left depleted uranium in various parts of the country that have already produced tens of thousands of stillborn and deformed babies and the usual accompanying soaring cancer rates in the neighborhood. Someone else poisoned the date palms and ruined Iraq’s world-famous date crop. Someone else bombed a shelter in 1991 which instantly incinerated over 300 children, along with several hundred others, including most of their mothers. Someone else brutally invaded the country, killing, raping and torturing as they went. Someone else brought in every species of hateful human scum to wreak vengeance on their enemies and on each other, death squads who were let loose on all educated people, on scientists and those who were loyal and useful Iraqi citizens. A wave of brigandage combined with a recrudescence of the most reactionary elements and a re-emergence of sectarian contention for land and resources has made a hell out of Iraq, with most of those enduring it wishing and hoping for a return to the old days of Saddam.
My dear fellow all-American mushrooms, who have been fertilized with Big Lies and left in the dark to suffer the cost of ignorance which can only be perpetual subservience, it was what passes itself off as “our” United States government that brought all these atrocities to pass and turned a promising Iraq into a hell for its people.
Every day, there are reported to be an average of 18 bombings and 53 violent deaths in Iraq. Religious fanatics target gays and women, often for death. It is estimated that over 750 homosexuals have paid for their orientation with their lives. The rock sub-cult known as the “Emos” were officially targeted by the Minstry of the Interior, which is known to operate its own squads as well as coordinating a network of others. 58 “Emos” were confirmed as murdered in March 2012, and the repression against them, as with others, continues. Many were killed by being crushed with concrete blocks. Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Mahdi army and the Badr Brigades have long been in on a lot of this type of activity.
This followed a long campaign of “De-Ba’athification” which may have involved the murder of over 120,000 “Ba’athists”, in which Moqtada joined other Iranian assets in wreaking vengeance on the Ba’ath. 16 of the “Emos” were disappeared in his bailiwick of Sadr City. They could be identified by their “Strange tight clothes with picture s of skulls on them”. Teenagers everywhere wear such clothing and will be listening to their music. But to do so in Iraq today may place one’s life in peril. Women who are out “unescorted” by an approved relative and/or wearing what the morality police deem as inappropriate face a range of punishments ranging up to the supreme penalty, often taking place instantly and on the spot.
The killing of a variety of Christians, other ethnic and national groups and religious sects has assumed intolerable proportions. 400 Yezidis were killed with four bombs in August 2007 alone. The Chaldean Archbishop and a lot of other churchmen of various denominations have been knocked off. Chaldeans, Turkmen, Yazidis, Assyrians and Sabaean/Mandeans (followers of John the Baptist) are all fleeing for their lives. 20% of the Iraqi population has been displaced. There are half a million homeless kids wandering around. People are selling their babies and children with the going rate around $10,000 but bargains are available as desperate parents want to save their children’s lives and possibly their own.
Iraqis are rising up in large numbers to reclaim their rights in the midst of this inferno. A broadly-based “Popular Movement to Save Iraq” has emerged. One of its leaders is Uday al-Zaidi (a Shi’ite), brother of Muntather al-Zaidi, famous for throwing a shoe at George W. Bush. Demonstrations have taken place on a regular basis, often on Fridays, in dozens of locales around Iraq, in virtually every major city or town. A protester set himself ablaze in Mosul. 20 were gunned down in a “Day of Rage” rally in Baghdad on February 25th. Over 30,000 prisoners are being held in unspeakably rotten conditions. One of the major demands is for their release, as well as the abolition of the death penalty, freely applied both inside and outside their jerry-rigged judicial system.
The protesters also called for a return of those surviving Ba’athists who loyally served Iraq, in contrast to its present rulers. A preacher in Ramadi exclaimed, “We are honored to be Ba’athists. The Ba’athists built Iraq for 35 years. Go to hell: you, your constitution and your ‘De-Ba’athification Law’!”
There are 5 million orphans in Iraq today. Many children no longer play in the street because it reminds them of all their dead friends. Over half a million of them perished during the US-imposed sanctions in the 1990s. It is hard to locate a family in Iraq that has been untouched by tragic and untimely death. The numbers of Iraqis taken as a toll of the wars and sanctions and death squads, those dying needlessly or being stillborn or as a result of DU and related war poisonings is reaching into the millions of souls. Somehow, this has attracted little or no concern or attention anywhere.
Iraqi diplomat Tariq Aziz, as he is being slowly tortured to death, summarized the situation in his country: “People are being killed every day in the tens, if not hundreds. We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country”.
Meanwhile, the people continue to pour out into the squares and streets all over Iraq, proclaiming that “It is Time to Recover Our Rights”. Sectarian death squads stage counter-demonstrations in support of the Nuri Maliki government and against any such notion as “rights” for others besides themselves and their right to continue their assaults on Iraqis. “Al-Qaeda” carries out largely sectarian-oriented attacks against Shi’tes, which the protesting masses condemn, as did and does the Ba’ath. Repression is breeding resistance. Too bad the world knows so little about what is taking place. Americans should ask themselves, should anyone ever have to undergo what Iraq has had to endure, and is still enduring?