Friday, April 02, 2004

Fallujah, a God forsaken town

I decided that I would not comment about the Fallujah incident on Wednesday right away, but that I would give it some thought and write on it when the anger had subsided and everyone can see things clearly. People utter ugly remarks when they are confused and angry, myself included, and there are things we say that we may come to regret later. Check the comments section for the previous post and see for yourselves. I understand the reaction completely but I wish that a few commentors (they know who they are) would try to compose themselves or I should ask them to take their hateful drivel elsewhere.

You have to understand first that Islam had nothing to do with the disgusting behaviour we all witnessed from our screens. I'm not saying this in defense of Islam, of course, since some of you may know that I have abandoned Islam (and all other religions) ages ago. Theoretically, Islam is against that practice of dead body mutilation. Bukhari quotes a Hadith in which Mohammed (the founder of Islam) scolded and objected against a few of his followers who were engaged in mutilating the bodies of elder Quraish kuffar at the battle of Badr. Since then it was supposed to be haram to maim a dead body whether it was that of man or animals.

However, I believe that this is an exclusive Iraqi trait, and we have examples from our own recent history to prove it. For Iraqis who deny that, go here and here (warning: gruesome images), I got these historical pictures from my late grandfather. In the 1958 coup which overthrew the monarchy, the bodies of members of the royal Hashemite family together along with Noori Al-Saeed, prime minister under King Faisal II, were mutilated, dragged around the streets of Baghdad, and then hung to rot for days. Communists committed similar atrocities in Mosul and Kirkuk in 1959, ironically against Pan-Arabs, Ba'athists, and their supporters. Some Ba'athists did the same to Communists during their short lived coup in 1963. And again the Ba'athists after 1968, when they assumed power in Iraq for good, with a long list of atrocities against political adversaries, 'enemies of the people', 'traitors', 'Zionist spies', etc. Now they have resurfaced again it seems.

All the images of a long history of violence above have become deeply ingrained in Iraqi society, and I'm afraid we have become desensitized to such scenes a long time ago. As disgusting and horrible the Fallujah images were, you could see bystanders children there watching casually, if not cheering, without blinking an eye. I would not call those children evil, because sadly they do not realise what they have become. The people that defiled the dead bodies were not technically terrorists, Ba'athists, or insurgents, they were common folk which makes it even more depressing. All respect for humanity has long been lost in a large section of Iraqis. I admit this concept is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to a western audience.

I believe we would first need clerics and political parties to organise a rally to condemn this type of behaviour. I haven't heard any clerics, be they Sunni or Shia, speak against the incident yet. I've heard Iraqi figures denounce the act and I noticed that even the most anti-american people I know were against it, but no action followed. It even seemed that the Arab media was somewhat embarrassed by the behaviour of their 'resistance'.

Second, the CPA should gather all the prominent tribal leaders of Fallujah, Ramadi, Khaldiyah (since those towns are largely tribal ones) and give them two options; either to hand out all weaponry and ammunitions, plus any insurgents and foreign terrorists they have amongst them, or to face the consequences which could be pulling out of the area completely, halting all reconstruction and humanitarian efforts, and leaving it behind the rest of Iraq, if that's what they want.

Any other approach wouldn't work. Bombing innocents would create more outrage and anti-american sentiment from people who are still against others making trouble. The culprits that were shown on tv can be found easily via informants in the area, and they should be punished severely.

I have nothing else I can think of at the moment.

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Meanwhile, Abu Hadi's page has been updated and he describes his visit to the Old Baghdad and other adventures. Mina has also updated and she talks about her hopes in Iraqis.