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Dear List, This article was published in the Shi'a News. It's written from the heart. And I wish the mainstream media would stop this contemptible propaganda to cover their leaders' guilt. Elga <START FWD> http://www.shianews.com/hi/middle_east/news_id/0000735.php Published on: Thursday, 14 Shawwal 1423 (19 December 2002) Story of an unknown Iraqi child Baghdad, Iraq By Mohamed Ahmad Prior to my trip to Iraq in July, I did have some prior knowledge as to what to expect there. Being the ceaseless reader and researcher that I've always been, I regularly read articles, periodicals, and other reports by a number of writers, journalists, and human rights organizations on the issue of Iraq and the post-Gulf War situation. I've read extensively the writings of intellectuals such as Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, as well as a number of others, all of whom are fervent critics of U.S. foreign policies in Iraq, the Middle East, and the world in general, and all of whom, through the authentic gathering of data and reliable scholarship, portray to the world (as best as they can) the awesome and repulsive effects of those ruthless policies on the Iraqi population. I also regularly skim through annual statistical reports on the Iraqi issue by a number of non-profit human rights organizations, such as the usual annual U.N. reports, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. It would be safe to say that, even prior to my visit to Iraq, my knowledge of what I would be encountering was thorough and extensive. Or so I thought. The reality is that everything that I saw and faced was much more than surprising and shocking. For when dry data is rendered into reality, when statistical figures are converted into real people, true suffering, children dying, families starving - it is not nearly sufficient or even honest to label these as merely surprises. It was indeed much more than that. Perhaps a close similitude would be the prior knowledge that we all have that the sun is bright and hot. Yet if one is to actually say, go to the sun, he'll no doubt discover that the sun is much brighter than he could ever have imagined or expected, so much as to even blind you. It would likewise be much hotter than any numerical figure could have described, to the extent that you'd be burned to ashes before even the completion of this thought (in one's mind). Perhaps that's a stupid example, but it's the best I could come up with. In brief, no amount of knowledge, no imaginable quantity of books or figures, could have prepared me for what I was to witness and experience in Iraq Mohamed Ahmad In brief, no amount of knowledge, no imaginable quantity of books or figures, could have prepared me for what I was to witness and experience in Iraq. What multiplies the problem, on a personal basis, is that I seem to be cursed with an acute photographic memory. Indeed even now I can see, through the lens of my mind, all of those poor and starving people who reached out their hands to me - either while walking in the marketplace or wherever else - in the hope that I may be able to bestow upon them some generosity or relieve them of some of their unbearable suffering and pain. I can see the mother, covered in a black jubba, along with her young but pretty daughter, waiting at the door of a mosque I was going to along with a cousin of mine named Asaad. And seeing this in my mind, I feel time and again an astounding sorrow and ache in my heart, as if I am being relentlessly stabbed with the knife of life and it's many tribulations. I think to myself: "What possible sin or crime has this mother and daughter committed that could be so great as to deserve a punishment of such wretchedness and shame? Where are the husband of this woman and the father of that child? Dead perhaps, from war or poverty (both of which Iraq has always had an overdose of)? Or has he simply left them on account of the humiliation that he felt for not being able to sufficiently provide for them? And where does the lady and her daughter live? On the streets? On the doorsteps of that very mosque? Why? WHY? Why does no one have the mercy and compassion to take them into their own homes, provide for them, sustain them?" Most of my anguish goes out to that little girl, whose face looks as if it has not been washed for some time, and yet is still exceptionally beautiful. Such a pretty girl with sparkling eyes, about the age of eight or nine. When she approached me upon my entering the mosque prior to the commencement of the Friday prayers, I tried to look into those bright eyes, but my heart shrank and shriveled up and I was forced to give her some of the little money I was carrying with me at the time. After we finished our prayers and I was leaving, the same child entrapped me once more with the same spell, and I gave her all of what I had left. And I thought to myself then, as I think also now, "what was this girl thinking of when she begged of me to be generous to her? Did she know how much care and compassion I possess for her? Or did she maybe think that I was one of those many who give either to show off or who give with paradoxical feelings of disdain and regret? What does she think of her life, or of life in general? Does she hate it and blame it for her own wretchedness and sorrow? Does she despair of it and have no hope for any future change? Perhaps she would wish to die rather than live in this despair? What was this child thinking when she held out her hand to beg? And why is humanity as a whole so ridiculously silent to the crime being committed against her, in the name of freedom and democracy? Such a pretty, beautiful young girl, so ripe, so bright, and yet her plight and those of many like her will all be drained down the memory hole in the annals of history. No one will know who she was, what her name was, what her ambitions in life may be (other than begging and surviving), what her likes and dislikes may be, ect. In fact it seems as if no one even wants to know the details of these things, and therefore she is simply blotted out of existence. And thereby so wondrously confirmed is the anomaly that history is written by the victorious, i.e. by the rich and thereby important. The poor and insignificant, they do not reserve the right to exist in the selective memory of history. Their whole existence is irrelevant, unworthy of mention. Those worthy of mention are the rich, the wealthy, the powerful, and the affluent. Those who, in effect, usually reach their affluence and status by stomping on the rights of that young Iraqi girl, who confirm their importance by negating her existence, whose wealth is a monstrous accumulation of that which is wrongfully stolen from her. This child has become to me the epitome of the wrongs and injustices thrown down on the people of Iraq. She is the true incarnation of the general Iraqi experience, the revealer of Iraq's sorrow and pain. When she held out her hand to me and gave me that ironic smile, I promised myself there and then that I would henceforth hold that nameless girl, that unknown child, in the highest possible esteem and respect. She would (and has) become one of the magnanimous ideals of my life. And as I now write these words of her, though I may certainly fault in some of my descriptions of her, still my intention is to immortalize her, to be witness to her existence in life, to profess her denied rights, to condemn and speak out against all those who have reduced her to a state of poverty and begging. I will, until the end of my life, struggle for this child, to force her remembrance into the annals of history, no matter what the cost. For power is said to concede nothing without a struggle. And though I curse myself twice over for not being able, at that time, to help her more than what I did, to provide for her and shelter her, I am reminded that Allah is the Sustainer of the Worlds. Through her smile, through her bright eyes, it is as if that child had already forgiven me, had pardoned me for my inability to do more for her. Yet those same twilight eyes, that same pretty face, pleaded for me to struggle for her, for her rights that have been unjustly deprived from her, for her right to freedom, liberty, and justice. All nice ideals, you will notice, and all the same ones that those "important" people in life claim to be protecting and preserving, while actually doing the opposite. She silently, through the brain channel, asked me to stand up for her right to live and to play as other girls, to attend a normal school like other children, to be happy and innocent in life as others of her age. More than 5000 innocent civilians were killed when Saddam dropped chemical bombs on northern Iraq More than 5000 innocent civilians were killed when Saddam dropped chemical bombs on northern Iraq So I hereby accuse and condemn, now and forever, those phony and lying Western "democracies" who claim to be the protectors of human rights, of actually being the rapists of those noble ideals. At their head, the head of the snake, the epitome of hypocrisy, is the United States of America. I condemn them as being the executers of injustice as oppose to justice, of slavery as oppose to freedom, of servitude as oppose to liberty, the breachers and enemies of all human rights, the antagonists of all those principles that they claim to uphold. Madeleine Albright - The woman who believes killing more than half a million Iraqi children with sanctions is 'worth it'. How much difference is there between Saddam and this flag bearer of democracy and human rights. Madeleine Albright - The woman who believes killing more than half a million Iraqi children with sanctions is 'worth it'. How much difference is there between Saddam and this flag bearer of democracy and human rights. This may sound to some as an exaggerated and hysterical response. Some will no doubt accuse me of having an over- charge of emotion while I am writing this. But that's pretty easy to say. Those who have seen what I have seen and felt what I have felt will find my comments perfectly justifiable. For those who may disagree, I must ask you to go tell that young girl that my struggle for her cause is wrong. Or that my hatred and will to fight against her oppressors is hysterical! Go try to persuade her that her poverty and suffering is a necessary evil, that what she's being put through is necessary in order to "contain" Saddam Hussein, that her suffering is really no big deal because it's all to prevent Mr. Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction! Go look her in the eyes, damnit, and tell her that she is to blame for the actions of a man who was groomed and supported by those same nations who now wish to rid of him! Go tell her that she must be deprived of her daily meals, of a decent home, on account of a government that neither her nor her people elected! Go tell her that she is to blame for her own pain and starvation! Go tell her that you're affiliated to an ideology of Blaming the Victim. If anyone has the courage to do so, then I sincerely encourage you to go along with it. As for myself, I swear by Allah, that I will forever, as long as I am alive and able, fight by word and sword for the rights of this unknown child and against those who have wronged her. And if ever I betray her or fail to do my utmost for her cause, or if I ever compromise her rights, then may Allah smite me with the blow of humility and wretchedness in this life, and a painful doom in the next. Amen, Lord of the Worlds. <END> _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk