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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #113 - 1 msg

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   1. The student is gone; the master has arrived. I can still remember their screaming. (Mark 


Message: 1
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 18:31:16 +0100
Subject: The student is gone; the master has arrived. I can still remember their screaming.

=93The student is gone; the master has arrived.=94 by Dahr Jamail

This became a very popular saying in Iraq after the US ousted Saddam

The situation continues to degrade in occupied Iraq. I know I=92m
beginning to sound like a broken record... but the need to describe
life on the ground here continues, as I see it slipping from the news
as of late. Overshadowed by more dramatic stories like car bombs and
heavy fighting, the silent suffering that has become the daily
reality here just isn=92t catching much attention.

One exception was the LA Times recently reporting the US military\'s
claim that in the last 9 weeks over 800 people in Sadr City have been
killed by occupation forces. Doctors I talked to in the main hospital
there confirmed this, adding that the vast majority of them were
women and children.

Salam, one of my Iraqi friends, asks: =93Why is the news so quiet about
all of these things? In the last 6 months 20 people I know have been
killed, for nothing! They weren=92t fighters =97 they were just living
their life.=94

This is life in Iraq today.

I=92m trying to pay closer attention to these daily occurrences, as I
too have become desensitized by the bombs as I=92ve grown more
accustomed to this horrible situation. So I=92ll try to point out more
of what I=92ve noticed as of late.

It isn=92t the huge bombs =97 the ones make the news, horrendous as they
are =97 that have the greatest impact on Iraqis. It is the ongoing,
daily suffering of the Iraqi people. People dying from bad water and
starving to death because there aren=92t enough jobs just don=92t grab
the attention that bombs demand from the media.

And other things... last week Salam was in a car accident, and called
to tell me he was injured. Since it was at night, knowing it was
unsafe for me to leave the hotel he asked me to call a friend to come
help him. Thankfully, Abu Talat was home and quickly drove to his
aid. This is the 9-1-1 service in Iraq. Without much infrastructure
to speak of, Iraqis have come to rely more and more on their friends,
families, tribes, and mosques.

Then there are the constant reminders to Iraqis of how little control
they have over their lives.

Driving across the double bridge (formerly Saddam Bridge) in south
Baghdad there are huge, black metal sheets along one side of the top
of it. On each of them is written:

By Order Of The Coalition Forces
Do Not Tamper With Or
Remove Metal Sheets
Under Penalty Of Force

I was with my friends Hamoudi and Samer as we traveled to see some
other friends for a visit and lunch. I asked Hamoudi how he was

=93This is like a bad dream, man. I need to get out of here for a

For Iraqis, this is far easier said than done.

While at our friends\', the laughing and joking is inevitably broken
up by someone crying about the unbearable situation in their country.

At the same time, of course, the more visible violence continues.
Yesterday morning there was more fighting in Najaf. In the last week
alone four Iraqi Police stations have been blown up. There has been
fighting on the outskirts of Fallujah, several bombs in Al-Adhamiya
yesterday, IED=92s detonating under US patrols, political
assassinations in Kirkuk, nearly daily fighting in Sadr City, and the
assassination today of Bassan Kubba, the Undersecretary for
Multinational Affairs and International Organizations.

I recently interviewed another detainee from Abu Ghraib. Some of what
she told me reminded me of a quote from George Bush at the 2003 RNC

=93Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.=94

Um Taha was detained for 4 months. She told me that while in Abu
Ghraib she knew that many of the women in the prison were being

She told of detainees who would hold their Qu=92ran out of their cell
bars in order to have some light to read with. =93And when they did
this,=94 she said, =93soldiers would hit them on their arms.=94

Um Taha added that soldiers were distributing Christian Bibles in
Arabic to the teenage detainees, and that soldiers were forcing
detainees to speak English to them.

She told of being forced to use a sieve to separate feces from urine
in a waste bucket from the latrine in Tikrit where she was held prior
to her transfer to Abu Ghraib. Once this job was done, a soldier
dumped gas on the feces, lit them, and made her stir them for half an

During November, while in Abu Ghraib, she said many of the detainees
rioted against their mistreatment. She stated that as a result, 14
Iraqi men were stripped naked and sacks were placed over their heads
by U.S. soldiers, and brought into the corridor beneath her cell.
Thus, she had a clear view of the atrocities which ensued.

=93The soldiers made them all stand on one leg,=94 Um Taha recounted.
=93Then they kicked them to make them fall to the ground.=94

She said that Lynddie England, the female American soldier made
infamous in the widespread incriminating photos, was dancing around
laughing while using a rubber glove to snap the detainees on their
genitals. =93The soldiers also made all the men lay on the ground face
down, spread their legs, then men and women soldiers alike kicked the
detainees between their legs,=94 Um Taha said quietly.

After pausing, she added, =93I can still remember their screaming.=94

She said that in addition to this, the detainees were ordered to
crawl around the corridor on all fours and make cow and sheep noises
as the American soldiers laughed at them.

On September 11, 2001, George Bush said, =93I don=92t care what the
international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.=94

Mark Parkinson

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