[News] Graves of Falluja show the reality of Iraq's occupation < By Rana Kabbani

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Tue Nov 23 11:44:41 EST 2004


No one is taken in by the US lies
The graves of Falluja show the reality of Iraq's occupation
Rana Kabbani
Tuesday November 23 2004
The Guardian

In an ideal world, the US-appointed interim prime minister of Iraq,
Ayad Allawi, would find himself answerable for his craven obeisance to
his American overlords, instead of using this week's Sharm el-Sheikh
conference as an excuse to condemn those who are fighting back against

A year and a half ago, CIA wings wafted him and his ilk back to
long-suffering Baghdad, the ancient capital of a resilient Arab
people, who had somehow survived two devastating wars, 13 years of
history's most punitive sanctions, the all-consuming degradations of
life under a totalitarian regime, the destruction and occupation of
their country by a motley crew of US soldiers, British tag-alongs, "a
coalition of the coerced and the bribed" - to use John Kerry's once
radical phrase - and the harpies and carpetbaggers in the form of
American private contractors, corporate swine, exiled Iraqi
fraudsters, and professional torturers. Iraqis watched helplessly as
their country's infrastructure was destroyed - electricity, sewerage,
houses, hospitals, schools, libraries, bridges, roads - and as their
national treasures were allowed to be looted, and their natural
resources robbed.

Now they are bankrupt, riven with preventable disease, chafing under
emergency laws and watching as respectable political figures are
roughed up and arrested for their party's stance on the methods of the
occupation. There has been a regression to Saddamite tactics - one
Islamist politician's daughter and grandchildren were reported to have
been arrested when he could not be found. Press freedom is muzzled,
and directives are issued to the media to follow the
interim-government line on Falluja, or else. But the graves of Falluja
speak for themselves: "Ya Allawi, ya jaban. Ya 'ameel al-Amercaan.
Sheel idak, sheel idak. Hatha shaabak mai reedak!"

This rousing chant, in Iraqi vernacular, which calls on Allawi to make
himself scarce for being a coward and an American agent, is being
chanted throughout the cities of Iraq in furious demonstrations.
Al-Jazeera showed one of these last week, which may explain why Allawi
scurried over to the more supine al-Arabiyya satellite station (which
most Arabs sneer at, although not quite as hard as they do at
al-Hurra, the Pentagon-financed and controlled propaganda station).
There he denounced al-Jazeera yet again, having already closed down
its offices more than three months ago, and harassed and insulted
their journalists.

In this, he was merely following in the footsteps of his American
taskmasters, who sought to blow al-Jazeera off the face of the earth,
first in Kabul, then in Baghdad, for allowing Arabs   to see what the
US was up to. What with embedded journalists giving us asinine reports
on all other stations, using marine-corps terms as though there were
no others ever taught them, and with Tony Blair forbidding anyone to
parody Bush, al-Jazeera has become more necessary than ever, simply
because it lets Arabs speak their minds freely, with eye-witness
reports of the most uncensored and unpackaged sort.

The fighting feminism on its For Women Only programme puts
institutionalised western feminism to shame. All that manufactured
outrage over the burka, which rose to a climax precisely as bombs fell
on Afghanistan; where are the cries of outrage now, when Iraqi women
are being incarcerated and raped in US dungeons, where tens of
thousands of their menfolk are also being held; when they are being
starved, denied drinking-water, bombed, buried alive in the rubble of
their homes, maimed and killed? It will prove to be America's dirtiest
war by far, and the one that   destroys forever its sense of purpose
and pride.

Three million people had to die in south-east Asia before that
arrogant American imperial misadventure ended. How many now?

In this newspaper, Allawi's deputy prime minister called Falluja a
necessary exercise, to root out "Saddam loyalists and foreign
fighters", parroting Donald Rumsfeld's pathetic line that all the
"terrorists" come from across the border, or are "dead-enders" from
Ba'athist days. But the only deadly dead-ender is someone who could
mendaciously argue thus.

All Iraqis watch as their homes and mosques are desecrated by soldiers
who shoot injured men in the stomach in pre-emptive lunacy that
mirrors that of their leader. They and a billion Muslims watched as
Americans forbade families from burying their dead, and allowed stray
dogs to gnaw the corpses of pregnant women and toddlers on the mean
streets of what was once Falluja, during Id al-Fitr, Islam's Holy
Feast. No one is taken in by the lies and arrogance and greed of this
racist war.

Iraq is an occupied country, with a proud and stubborn people, who
will never cease fighting till they are finally rid of their
unspeakable latter-day oppressors.

· Rana Kabbani is a writer and broadcaster

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

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