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IRAQ: Terrorizing a Nation into Homelessness: Who is Responsible?

Eman A. Khammas | 06.05.2007 10:12 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | Terror War | World

Last January, the municipality of Baghdad published a short advertisement calling tenders to bid on burying the tens of "unidentified" bodies found in the streets of the capital every morning for almost a year now. Few months before, the Iraqi ministry of Health proudly declared that it imported two big refrigerators with a capacity of 2 hundred bodies each, to keep those "unidentified" bodies. At the same time a new very big "state" graveyard was created to bury the bodies, after giving them numbers and taking their pictures , just in case one day a family would be lucky enough to identify a son, a husband, or a father…

This is why millions of Iraqis are leaving home. Every morning, a long queue of black-shrouded women, of all ages, wait for hours at the gate of the Baghdad morgue, asking for the body of a loved one who disappeared, kidnapped, or arrested few days ago…Men do not look for the dead in the morgue, because there are always some armed men hiding around the corner hunting those bereaved fathers and brothers. By passers in streets everyday do not dare to approach dead bodies scattered here and there, somebody might be watching and would shoot them.

These are just few examples of the new Iraqi scene, which bypassed any imaginable limit of the absurd and the surrealist. Not to mention anything about the bombings, the car bombs, the random shooting, the kidnapping, the indiscriminate and collective arrests, the horrible stories of torture in prisons…(PM Maliki said in Sharm Al-Sheikh that the security is progressing and the security plan is going well).

The daily life conditions are simply impossible in Iraq now, but this is not why the Iraqis are leaving their country, they do not have this luxury…they are fleeing for survival, for being, they are well aware of the refugees conditions inside or outside Iraq .

UNCHR says that 4 million Iraqis are homeless now; other refugee organizations say that the number is the double. But how big the number is, does not matter, really. The fact is that the so called international community recognizes now, four years after the US-led occupation of Iraq , that there is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq , although the crisis began 4 years ago, or to be more accurate 17 years ago, when Iraq was devastated, put under the most outrageous international sanctions that killed and uprooted 5 million Iraqis. In the last 4 years hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed (again the numbers are not the issue here, whether they are 600.000 or 800.000, according to the latest estimation last year). What is this called if not a genocide?

UNCHR held an international meeting in Geneva late last month, calling upon the world nations, states and organizations to help the starving, homeless Iraqis, begging for donations to aid one of the richest countries in the world, and to open the doors of safety for the fleeing nations from the hell of violence.

Lately, many other prestigious international organizations sent out similar warnings of an impending tragedy in the Middle East : the Intel Red Cross, the Human Rights Watch, and the Amnesty International. Good, it is important to raise the awareness of the world to this crisis, and to urge the peoples to help the Iraqis. But it is really striking how NONE of these prestigious organizations, including UNCHR, actually named the real perpetrator of these crimes. None of them called the original crime in its name, or the original criminal in the proper name: the occupation and the US administration.

This is extremely important. Not only because the US is legally and logically responsible for the suffering and the humiliation of the homeless Iraqis, and there for should pay every cent to guarantee a dignified life for every one of the Iraqis. And please do not misunderstand me. I am NOT calling upon the Americans to send financial aid to the Iraqi refugees. NO, NO. I am just stating a fact, and the fact is the pentagon spends $8 Billion (8000.000000) a month on the military operations in Iraq , but the US donate 18 million to the relief program ALL OVER the WORLD, if they do at all.

But it is more important to hold the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq responsible of all the suffering, the destruction and the genocide, because this is the only correct first step to solve the Iraqi refugees, and other, problems. But unfortunately, no one was "undiplomatic" enough to call the criminal a criminal in his face, to say the least.

In fact, the high commissioner of the UNCHR referred to "complexity of the situation" in Iraq , the "sectarian violence", the "relevant parties"! without mentioning who they are, and actually praised the Iraqi government willingness to address the needs of the displaced and to support the efforts of the hosting countries!!. But please, Sir, the Iraqi government IS responsible for the safety and well being of all the Iraqi people INSIDE their country, not only the homeless, but all the people, otherwise, if it is incapable or unwilling to do that, it should go away, simply.

Amnesty International, on the other hand, called upon the Iraqi government, the "multinational forces", and the other governments and leaders in the region to "redouble their efforts" to find a political solution!! NO, please, what they have already done is more than enough.

Well, these organizations are talking from a "humanitarian" point of view, not political. But the humanitarian face of the Iraqi problem, a catastrophe in itself, is a reflection of a bigger and more dangerous problem: the criminal occupation. Some Iraqi refugees left the country because they were terrorized by the sectarian militias, that is true, but who is behind these militias. How many people outside Iraq have heard the name of Shiite or Sunnis before the American invasion? Who allowed them and included them in the new Iraqi security forces? Who maintains them? It is the Occupation.

So the Iraqi refugees become a burden on the others! My God, these are the best of the Iraqi minds. It would be very useful if the UNCHR tell the world how many of them have a higher degree in sciences, how many of them are university professors, medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, officers, teachers, linguists, intellectuals, journalists, artists…these refugees build Iraq, why would they need a third country to host them. Is not it in the interest of the occupiers that they should be far away from Iraq ?


Eman Ahmed Khammas is a former co-director of Occupation Watch, Iraqi writer, journalist and translator. She's a member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee and currently living in exile.

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. It was photography — Snapper
  2. A good way to do it — Dister