Iraqis to Bush: “You have left us with nothing”
By Mike Whitney
-- -- “Never had I fathomed, not even in my remotest
imagination, that a day will come when God's houses will be
attacked and destroyed. The way they are today, in Iraq...Never.
This Red Line is now crossed...Crossed, transgressed, trespassed
into blasphemy.” Layla Anwar “A Red Line” from An Arab Woman’s
According to a recent UN report, the Green Zone is now coming
under heavy fire on a daily basis. The report said that the
so-called “International Zone”--which houses the U.S. embassy
and Iraqi government office—is being pelted regularly with a
“barrage of mortar bombs and missiles…The attacks have become
more frequent and more accurate.” (Reuters)
The news of the mortar and missile attacks has been largely
concealed from the American people. The public already believes
the war was a “mistake” and the persistent bombing of America’s
“last sanctuary” in Baghdad just adds to the nation’s sinking
morale. The US is progressively losing its grip in Iraq and the
fighting is degenerating into a vicious free-for-all. The
“surge” has failed to achieve its political objectives, and this
is forcing the occupation to rely more and more on aerial
bombardment and counterinsurgency operations.
The war is in its fifth year, and still, Bush has not produced
anything even vaguely resembling a political solution. He is
The world’s oldest civilization is being destroyed before our
eyes---its cities laid to waste, its people slaughtered by the
tens of thousands. Saddam never could have dreamed of
devastation on this scale. We’ve ruined everything. Truckloads
of dead men are delivered to the Baghdad morgue every morning
where they are processed and then dumped in mass graves in
abandoned soccer fields or schoolyards. 20% of the population
has either been internally displaced or forced to flee into
Jordan and Syria. In Falluja alone, 65% of the buildings have
been destroyed and tens of thousands of its citizens are left
living in tent cities scattered across the desert--exposed to
the elements, living on crusts of bread and foul water. The
number of refugees has risen rapidly; 2 million in Amman,
Damascus and Cairo. They go wherever they can to avoid the
bombing and find safety or shelter.
“I will write for the refugees...
(with) no homeland except
the wind of illusion
and no shelter except
the humiliation of tents”
“For Whom do I write” by Musa Shu`ayb
The Iraqi people are now facing what Juan Cole calls an
“everyday apocalypse”---a complete security meltdown in which
crime and terror flourish in the seedbed of foreign occupation.
Bush’s war has created the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of
our time---700,000 dead, millions more maimed or traumatized for
life, and an entire country reduced to rubble.
“The dustbins overflow
and human decay.
Where to now my enemy?
Where to now my oppressor?” Layla Anwar "Poem about America"
Among those who follow the daily accounts of the war, the mood
has grown increasingly dark and pessimistic. It’s clear that the
Democrats are now as committed to the goals of the war as Bush.
They are both equally guilty.
The Iraq war is no accident. It is the logical consequence of a
corrupted system where all the protections for human rights and
civil liberties have been abandoned. All that’s left is the
voracity and bloodlust of an unelected oligarchy who dispense
death and destruction with complete indifference. Democracy has
been subverted in America---every part of the body-politic is
diseased. The war is just a reflection of America’s moral
Am I being too harsh?
Consider this article which appeared on uruknet.info this week.
(http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m33827&hd=&size=1&l=e) It provides
photos of 24 “special needs” children who were found naked,
starving and lying on concrete floors, in their own
excrement---their bodies covered with sores. All of them were
chained to their cribs. Some of them were near death. This is
the Nazi-like terror we have unleashed on Iraq under the rubric
of “democracy”. This is what “neoconservatism” looks like when
it is stripped of its ideological pretense and we can see its
true face---pure, unalloyed evil. It is no different than
We are starving and brutalizing children while we extol the
“America’s fallen” as if one life is more valuable than another.
What sort of sick joke is this? This is nothing more than
cultural narcissism served up by pseudo-patriots in the
political establishment who are drunk on death and power. They
worship violence like a god and they are pushing us all towards
“I will not pray to a god who
made the usurpers victorious…
My God has been lost
among the conquerors
I will not pray to a God
who is lost among the conquerors.”
“The Missing God” by Musa Shu`ayb
True---God has been lost among the conquerors, the occupiers and
the foreign armies.
Why don’t we hear the voices of the war’s victims? Why do we
never hear the stories of the people who are forced to live
beneath America’s bombs?
For 5 years, the western media has covered the war from the
perspective of the struggling American GI and the hardships he
faces in a foreign land. That may be true, but what about the
Iraqis who must endure the “everyday apocalypse”; don’t they
The US invasion has turned Iraq into a testing-ground for new
theories on counterinsurgency. One by one the cities in the
Sunni region have been surrounded with razor-wire; vital
supplies have been cut off, check-points set up, snipers placed
on rooftops, and the siege begins. Civilian neighborhoods are
branded as “terrorist strongholds” and pounded with heavy
artillery and aerial bombardment. We have declared war on some
of the poorest people on earth—ghetto warfare with the most
sophisticated high-tech weaponry ever invented.
Who will tell these peoples’ story? The New York Times? FOX
Here’s something you won’t read in the mainstream news: The real
disposition of the war changed more than two years ago when it
became apparent that the Iraqi resistance would not simply throw
down their weapons and give up. That’s when the assassination of
teachers and intellectuals went into high-gear. That’s when
archeological sites, museums, and anything else connected to
Iraqi cultural and historical identity—began to come under
relentless and withering attack. The attacks on holy sites and
mosques have persisted to this day. There is a conscious effort
to destroy all the religious symbols and monuments which bind
the people together in the shared experience of a common faith.
The same sinister forces which are inciting the sectarian
violence are trying to remove all sense of kinship, brotherhood,
nationalism and spirituality. Their objective is to “wipe the
slate clean” and rebuild the entire society according to their
If that is not genocide; then what is?
Here is the story of one victim of the US occupation. It is a
story of great personal loss and suffering. It’s really the tale
about all of Iraq; a nation that never threatened the United
States, but which has been crushed by evil, ambitious men who
care nothing about the death and suffering they have produced.
The story is called “My Shrine” and it is by poet and author
As I was staring out of the window, I noticed the full moon.
I remember when I was a child; I associated the full moon with
my love for my grandmother.
I used to tell her: "Bibi, every time I see the full moon, I see
you. You are my moon."
I absolutely adored my grandmother. She loved me kindly, warmly,
with no strings attached...
As benevolently and as gently as the moonlight.
So naturally on a full moon, I remember her.
As a matter of fact, I remember all my departed ones, members of
my family, my great grand parents, my ancestors...Everyone I
have ever heard of, even those remotely related to me.
Remembering them gives me a sense of continuity...A sense of
And now that Iraq is in pieces, their remembrance is even more
of a priority for me.
As a matter of fact, I dream of them often, or more like they
visit me in my dreams ... rather too often, these days.
And true to our traditions, every time they visit me in my
dreams, I make it a point to offer food or alms to any worship
place (be it mosque or church) in their souls name.
Another thing that reminds me a lot of my departed ones is
Sheikh al Gaylani (Gilani) mosque and shrine in downtown
Sheikh AbdelKader Al Gilani was a Sufi and a good number of my
family followed his teachings.
Some even say that we are related to him and can trace our roots
right back to 13th century Baghdad through the Gaylani school.
So when I heard that Al Gaylani mosque and shrine was bombed,
something in me snapped.
I felt it physically, something around my heart...
I have often visited this mosque, with members of my family, one
of which was my grandmother.
We would sometimes go in the morning and sometimes in the early
In the mornings, women (Sunnis and Shias - we never thought of
these terms before the occupation) would congregate, pray and
pay their tributes.
Some would distribute candies because a secret vow or wish had
So whilst praying, sweets would fall around me and it was always
a good omen.
In the evenings, you could hear after the muezzin's call to
prayer, the chanting -Dhikr - of the sacred Divine names,
repeated over and over until they mingled with the sunset and
This shrine is more than just a place of worship for me.
Every time I walked in there, I would draw strength, feeling it
infusing my roots with a new breath...
Everytime I sat there, I connected with all those who sat there
before me, all the way back to the 13th century...
This place symbolized for me, my sense of belonging, my sense of
In my mind, this place was my point of reference, like some lieu
that my inner compass recognized, gravitated towards, affiliated
and identified with...
An attachment beyond time, space and geography. An attachment
like some invisible rope handed down through generations of
worshippers and contemplators. All the way back...
When it got bombed, I asked Aziz who knows this mosque better
than anyone else, who was behind it. He replied matter of factly
as if he knew it all along :" Mahdi of Iran, Mossad and the
Americans."... And I believe Aziz for he knows.
And instead of sweets falling as a good omen, falling debris
buried the wounded...And instead of sacred chants uniting with
the sunset, the cries of mourning...
What have you done?
Not only have you smashed my country into tiny pieces.
Not only have you slaughtered my people.
Not only have you snatched my loved ones, my family, my friends,
away from me.
Not only have you destroyed our homes.
Not only have you exiled thousands of us.
But you have also managed to shatter my memories, pull them out
from their roots, like some unwanted weed.
You have managed to reach the only sacred place I had left.
The only place I had jealously safeguarded, secretly held in
silence, lest you should find out about it.
But you even managed to penetrate that too.
Leaving me with nothing...
Leaving me with absolutely nothing but this pen and paper and a
full moon staring coldly back at me.
We have destroyed Iraq and left the people with nothing. The
American people need to know this.
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