Blog Archive

Blog Archive – March, 2008

To remember our Iraq: more soldiers' testimonies? No!!

March 19, 2008

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

 I do not know how Iraqis around the world are marking the fifth year of the US invasion, destruction, occupation of their land. I doubt that many even note the date. Surely we can hardly think beyond this morning-- will we return home alive from school, work, shopping, the hospital? Can we think beyond when a visa or travel document will arrive, or a phone rings with unpredictable news? Year "Zero +5" has nevertheless been a chance to remind Americans themselves of what kind of catastrophe this has been for their  country. Anti-war friends have been working for years, not without some success. With the US public, now weary of the war and expressing sentiments that it should somehow end, we need to continue the education, and support this movement. But oh, look at what tactics arouse their consciousness! Confessions of atrocities by war veterans.They are frantic to act, as with their desperate, meager, blighted support for the Palestinian struggle. For brothers and sisters in those occupied lands, all they can do is circulate reports about hunger, disease, and unschooled youngsters there. Yet. I have to object to the latest anti-war endeavor--a display. The movement has found a new tool to pry the American people out of their sofas and off their ski-lifts. The arrival of the fifth year of the US invasion of Iraq finds us watching organized confessions by traumatized paid murderers --our Iraq war veterans. One after another, they describe personal carnage they committed as soldiers against fellow human beings-- detainees and other citizens-- in Iraqi homes, cars, workplaces, checkpoints, neighborhoods. We've seen the photos of marauding American hordes moving through Iraq. Thanks to embedded journalists we've been with them on their patrols, witnessing their obscenities and war cries, their gung-ho raids, their assaults into bedrooms, their barked orders to terrified families, their brutish, ugliness in combat. We saw their uncovered faces smiling over naked prisoners and corpses of their victims. I myself need no reminders. We are now so accustomed to images of that brutality; we can hardly distinguish between TV games and news images. Our minds are numb to violence. We need fresh stimuli. I can hear the brainstorming at anti-war strategy meetings. "We've got to have something new for the 5th anniversary. What can we do?" So someone came up with a new spin: American confessions from war, not just their dirty deeds in combat action but from their torture duty too. Likable, soft-spoken (traumatized?) good American boys spill out details of deeds committed against fellow human beings over there. At some level, it may be moving. But it's not really new. Don't you remember the torturers from Abu Ghraib prison, some having served their months' punishment or discharged, spoke on TV, calmly sitting in the living rooms recalling what they were convicted of? Have we forgotten the Vietnam atrocities?     How do you really feel about these confessions? A day, a week, a month of displays? Who do you feel for? And will any American ensure that such a war is never, ever repeated, that your brother or son never, ever does this? [ To remember our Iraq: more soldiers' testimonies? No!! ]


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