Mosque shooting --an Iraqi view
Tuesday, November 16, Baghdad--Iraqi internet essayist Riverbend writes: I'm feeling sick--literally. I can't get the video Al-Jazeera played out of my head:
The mosque strewn with bodies of Iraqis--not still with prayer or meditation, but prostrate with death--Some seemingly bloated... an old man with a younger one leaning upon him... legs, feet, hands, blood everywhere... The dusty sun filtering in through the windows... the stillness of the horrid place. Then the stillness is broken--in walk some marines, guns pointed at the bodies... the mosque resonates with harsh American voices arguing over a body--was he dead, was he alive? I watched, tense, wondering what they would do--I expected the usual Marines treatment--that a heavy, booted foot would kick the man perhaps to see if he groaned. But it didn't work that way--the crack of gunfire suddenly explodes in the mosque as the Marine fires at the seemingly dead man and then come the words, "He's dead now."
"He's dead now." He said it calmly, matter-of-factly, in a sort of sing-song voice that made my blood run cold... and the Marines around him didn't care. They just roamed around the mosque and began to drag around the corpses because, apparently, this was nothing to them. This was probably a commonplace incident.
We sat, horrified, stunned with the horror of the scene that unfolded in front of our eyes. It's the third day of Eid and we were finally able to gather as a family--a cousin, his wife and their two daughters, two aunts, and an elderly uncle. E. and my cousin had been standing in line for two days to get fuel so we could go visit the elderly uncle on the final day of a very desolate Eid. The room was silent at the end of the scene, with only the voice of the news anchor and the sobs of my aunt. My little cousin flinched and dropped her spoon, face frozen with shock, eyes wide with disbelief, glued to the television screen, "Is he dead? Did they kill him?" I swallowed hard, trying to gulp away the lump lodged in my throat and watched as my cousin buried his face in his hands, ashamed to look at his daughter.
"What was I supposed to tell them?" He asked, an hour later, after we had sent his two daughters to help their grandmother in the kitchen. "What am I supposed to tell them--'Yes darling, they killed him--the Americans killed a wounded man; they are occupying our country, killing people and we are sitting here eating, drinking and watching tv'?" He shook his head, "How much more do they have to see? What is left for them to see?"
They killed a wounded man. It's hard to believe. They killed a man who was completely helpless--like he was some sort of diseased animal. I had read the articles and heard the stories of this happening before--wounded civilians being thrown on the side of the road or shot in cold blood--but to see it happening on television is something else--it makes me crazy with anger.
And what will happen now? A criminal investigation against a single Marine who did the shooting? Just like what happened with the Abu Ghraib atrocities? A couple of people will be blamed and the whole thing will be buried under the rubble of idiotic military psychologists, defense analysts, Pentagon officials and spokespeople and it will be forgotten. In the end, all anyone will remember is that a single Marine shot and killed a single Iraqi 'insurgent' and it won't matter anymore.
It's typical American technique--every single atrocity is lost and covered up by blaming a specific person and getting it over with. What people don't understand is that the whole military is infested with these psychopaths. In this last year we've seen murderers, torturers and xenophobes running around in tanks and guns. I don't care what does it: I don't care if it's the tension, the fear, the 'enemy'... it's murder. We are occupied by murderers. We're under the same pressure, as Iraqis, except that we weren't trained for this situation, and yet we're all expected to be benevolent and understanding and, above all, grateful. I'm feeling sick, depressed and frightened. I don't know what to say anymore... they aren't humans and they don't deserve any compassion.
So why is the world so obsessed with beheadings? How is this so very different? The difference is that the people who are doing the beheadings are extremists... the people slaughtering Iraqis--torturing in prisons and shooting wounded prisoners--are "American Heroes". Congratulations, you must be so proud of yourselves today.
Riverbend's weblog, Baghdad Burning, can be found at: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ Her essays there go back to the beginning of the war.
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |