River / Girlblog from Iraq – 2004-11-14 23:55:15
Eyewitness: Smoke and Corpses…
River / Girlblog from Iraq
… I’ll meet you ’round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend…
(Saturday, November 13, 2004) — Murder… People in Falloojeh are being murdered. The stories coming back are horrifying. People being shot in cold blood in the streets and being buried under tons of concrete and iron… Where is the world? Bury Arafat and hurry up and pay attention to what’s happening in Iraq.
They say the people have nothing to eat. No produce is going into the city and the water has been cut off for days and days. Do you know what it’s like to have no clean water??? People are drinking contaminated water and coming down with diarrhoea and other diseases. There are corpses in the street because no one can risk leaving their home to bury people. Families are burying children and parents in the gardens of their homes. WHERE IS EVERYONE???
Furthermore, where is Sistani? Why isn’t he saying anything about the situation? When the South was being attacked, Sunni clerics everywhere decried the attacks. Where is Sistani now, when people are looking to him for some reaction? The silence is deafening.
We’re not leaving the house lately. There was a total of 8 hours of electricity today and we’ve been using the generator sparingly because there is a mysterious fuel shortage… several explosions were heard in different places.
Things are deteriorating swiftly.
Iraqis will never forgive this — never. It’s outrageous — it’s genocide and America, with the help and support of Allawi, is responsible. May whoever contributes to this see the sorrow, terror and misery of the people suffering in Falloojeh.
– posted by river @ 1:30 AM
One of Those Weeks…
River / Girlblog from Iraq
(Friday, November 12, 2004) — These last few days have been explosive — literally. The sounds seem to be coming from everywhere. I’ve gotten tired of running upstairs and out on to the roof to find out where it’s coming from. It feels like the first days of the war sometimes- planes, explosions, bullets, smoke… roads cut off.
We haven’t attempted to leave the house but an uncle who was supposed to visit called to say he wouldn’t be able to come because so many roads were blocked. Many people were told not to go to work and students stopped going to college yesterday. It’s one of those weeks. Some areas in Baghdad seem to be cut off by armed gangs.
Eid is in a couple of days and that means there’s Eid cleaning to do. The water was cut off all day today and the electricity was gone too. This seems to be happening all over Baghdad — we heard about the same situation in several areas. Can someone say ‘collective punishment’?! WE didn’t kidnap your relatives Allawi… it was Zarqawi, remember?!
Falloojeh is still being destroyed and the stories we hear are mixed. It’s difficult to tell what’s true and what isn’t. All we know is that there are dozens of civilians being killed. They also say 18 Americans have died and over a hundred are wounded.
Mosul is also a mess. They are saying there isn’t a tank or patrol car in sight in that city.
Read more about the situation at Juan Cole- would love to say more but the generator is going to be turned off in a couple of minutes.
– posted by river @ 1:57 AM
Rule of Iraq Assassins Must End…
River / Girlblog from Iraq
(Wednesday, November 10, 2004) — I’m not feeling well — it’s a combination of the change of weather and the decline in the situation. Eid is less than a week away. but no one is feeling at all festive. We’re all worried about the situation in Falloojeh and surrounding regions. We’ve ceased worrying about the explosions in Baghdad and are now concerned with the people who have left their homes and valuables and are living off of the charity of others.
Allawi declared a “State of Emergency” a couple of days ago… A state of emergency *now* — because previous to this week, we Iraqis were living in an American-made Utopia, as the world is well aware. So what does an “Emergency State” signify for Iraqis? Basically, it means we are now *officially* more prone to being detained, raided, and just generally abused by our new Iraqi forces and American ones. Today they declared a curfew on Baghdad after 10 p.m. but it hasn’t really made an impact because people have stopped leaving their houses after dark anyway.
The last few days have been tense and heart-rending. Most of us are really worried about Falloojeh. Really worried about Falloojeh and all the innocents dying and dead in that city. There were several explosions in Baghdad these last few days and hardly any of them were covered by the press. All this chaos has somehow become uncomfortably normal. Two years ago I never would have dreamed of living like this- now this lifestyle has become the norm and I can barely remembering having lived any other way.
My cousin kept the kids home from school, which is happening quite often. One of the explosions today was so close, the house rocked with the impact and my cousin’s wife paled, “Can you imagine if the girls had been at school when that happened–I would have died.”
Dozens of civilians have died these last few days in Ramadi, Falloojeh, and Samarra. We are hearing about complete families being killed under the rain of bombs being dropped by American forces. The phone lines in those areas seem to be cut off. We’ve been trying to call some relatives in Ramadi for the last two days, but it’s next to impossible. We keep getting that dreadful busy tone and there’s just no real way of knowing what is going on in there. There is talk of the use of cluster bombs and other forbidden weaponry.
We’re hearing various stories about the situation. The latest is that 36 American troops have been taken prisoner along with dozens of Iraqi troops. How do people feel about the Iraqi troops? There’s a certain rage. It’s difficult to sympathize with a fellow-countryman while he’s killing one of his own. People generally call them “Dogs of Occupation” here because instead of guarding our borders or securing areas, they are used to secure American forces. They drive out in front of American cars in order to clear the roads and possibly detonate some of those road mines at a decent distance from the American tanks. At the end of the day, most of them are the remnants of militias and that’s the way they act.
And now they are being used in Falloojeh against other Iraqis. The whole situation is making me sick and there’s a fury building up. The families in Falloojeh have been relegated to living in strange homes and mosques outside of the city… many of them are setting up their families inside of emptied schools and municipal buildings in Samarra and neighboring areas. Every time I see Allawi on tv talking about his regrets about ‘having to attack Falloojeh’ I get so angry I could scream. He’s talking to the outside world, not to us. Iraqis don’t buy his crap for an instant. We watch him talk and feel furious and frustrated with our new tyrant.
I was watching CNN this morning and I couldn’t get the image of the hospital in Falloojeh being stormed by Iraqi and American troops out of my head–the Iraqis being made to lay face-down on the ground, hands behind their backs. Young men and old men… and then the pictures of Abu Ghraib replay themselves in my mind. I think people would rather die than be taken prisoner by the Americans.
The borders with Syria and Jordan are also closed and many of the highways leading to the borders have been blocked. There are rumors that there are currently 100 cars ready to detonate in Mosul, being driven by suicide bombers looking for American convoys. So what happens when Mosul turns into another Falloojeh? Will they also bomb it to the ground? I heard a report where they mentioned that Zarqawi ‘had probably escaped from Falloojeh’… so where is he now? Mosul?
Meanwhile, Rumsfeld is making his asinine remarks again,
“There aren’t going to be large numbers of civilians killed and certainly not by US forces,”
No — there are only an ‘estimated’ 100,000 civilians in Falloojeh (and these are American estimations). So far, boys and men between the ages of 16 and 60 aren’t being counted as ‘civilians’ in Falloojeh. They are being rounded up and taken away.
And, *of course* the US forces aren’t going to be doing the killing: The bombs being dropped on Falloojeh don’t contain explosives, depleted uranium or anything harmful — they contain laughing gas — that would, of course, explain Rumsfeld’s idiotic optimism about not killing civilians in Falloojeh.
Also, being a ‘civilian’ is a relative thing in a country occupied by Americans. You’re only a civilian if you’re on their side. If you translate for them, or serve them food in the Green Zone, or wipe their floors- you’re an innocent civilian. Everyone else is an insurgent, unless they can get a job as a ‘civilian’.
So this is how Bush kicks off his second term. More bloodshed.
“Innocent civilians in that city have all the guidance they need as to how they can avoid getting into trouble,” [says Rumsfeld].
How do they do that Rumsfeld? While tons of explosives are being dropped upon your neighborhood, how do you do that? Do you stay inside the house and try to avoid the thousands of shards of glass that shoot out at you from shattering windows? Or do you hide under a table and hope that it’s sturdy enough to keep the ceiling from crushing you? Or do you flee your house and pray to God you don’t come face to face with an Apache or tank or that you aren’t in the line of fire of a sniper? How do you avoid the cluster bombs and all the other horror being dealt out to the people of Falloojeh?
There are a couple of things I agree with. The first is the following:
“Over time you’ll find that the process of tipping will take place, that more and more of the Iraqis will be angry about the fact that their innocent people are being killed…”
He’s right. It is going to have a decisive affect on Iraqi opinion — but just not the way he thinks. There was a time when pro-occupation Iraqis were able to say, “Let’s give them a chance…” That time is over. Whenever someone says that lately, at best, they get a lot of nasty looks… often it’s worse. A fight breaks out and a lot of yelling ensues… how can one condone occupation? How can one condone genocide? What about the mass graves of Falloojeh? Leaving Islam aside, how does one agree to allow the murder of fellow-Iraqis by the strongest military in the world?
The second thing Rumsfeld said made me think he was reading my mind:
“Rule of Iraq assassins must end…” I couldn’t agree more: Get out Americans.
– posted by river @ 1:02 AM