It’s a beautiful morning - sunny, warm instead of hot, a bit hazy, quiet. Through the picture window I see some leaves edged in brown; I welcome the thought of Autumn. I grab a coffee and sit in my armchair, laptop ready, hearing the crickets in the forsythia bush outside the window.
Today’s news is warmed-over, almost like the world is holding it’s breath or sleeping in like my family is this morning. Either trying to catch a few more moments of blessed sleep or waiting for the next big story to hit. My bookmarks are a mess. I begin organizing them and stumble across a link I’ve not visited in a while: Baghdad Burning. One click and I’m in another world. I catch up on the last few post by Riverbend. I feel her despair, applaud her spirit, cheer her bravery. I’m grateful for the Internet as an uncensored conduit of information human’s need to hear, pondering the irony of how tools of empirical Capitalism work to expose atrocities committed for the sake of greed and gain.
Words leap from the page:
(On the Lebannon war)
And the world wonders how ‘terrorists’ are created! A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing… Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks she’s going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then he’s delusional.
(On the Haditha rape-and-slaughter)
It’s like Baghdad is no longer one city, it’s a dozen different smaller cities each infected with its own form of violence. It’s gotten so that I dread sleeping because the morning always brings so much bad news. The television shows the images and the radio stations broadcast it. The newspapers show images of corpses and angry words jump out at you from their pages, "civil war… death… killing… bombing… rape…"
Rape. The latest of American atrocities. Though it’s not really the latest- it’s just the one that’s being publicized the most. The poor girl Abeer was neither the first to be raped by American troops, nor will she be the last. The only reason this rape was brought to light and publicized is that her whole immediate family were killed along with her. Rape is a taboo subject in Iraq. Families don’t report rapes here, they avenge them. We’ve been hearing whisperings about rapes in American-controlled prisons and during sieges of towns like Haditha and Samarra for the last three years. The naiveté of Americans who can’t believe their ‘heroes’ are committing such atrocities is ridiculous. Who ever heard of an occupying army committing rape??? You raped the country, why not the people?
In the news they’re estimating her age to be around 24, but Iraqis from the area say she was only 14. Fourteen. Imagine your 14-year-old sister or your 14-year-old daughter. Imagine her being gang-raped by a group of psychopaths and then the girl was killed and her body burned to cover up the rape. Finally, her parents and her five-year-old sister were also killed. Hail the American heroes… Raise your heads high supporters of the ‘liberation’ - your troops have made you proud today. I don’t believe the troops should be tried in American courts. I believe they should be handed over to the people in the area and only then will justice be properly served. And our ass of a PM, Nouri Al-Maliki, is requesting an ‘independent investigation’, ensconced safely in his American guarded compound because it wasn’t his daughter or sister who was raped, probably tortured and killed. His family is abroad safe from the hands of furious Iraqis and psychotic American troops.
It fills me with rage to hear about it and read about it. The pity I once had for foreign troops in Iraq is gone. It’s been eradicated by the atrocities in Abu Ghraib, the deaths in Haditha and the latest news of rapes and killings. I look at them in their armored vehicles and to be honest- I can’t bring myself to care whether they are 19 or 39. I can’t bring myself to care if they make it back home alive. I can’t bring myself to care anymore about the wife or parents or children they left behind. I can’t bring myself to care because it’s difficult to see beyond the horrors. I look at them and wonder just how many innocents they killed and how many more they’ll kill before they go home. How many more young Iraqi girls will they rape?
Now, the sublime sunlight is strained. I get more coffee and glance at the newspaper open to an almost-finished crossword. The facing page celebrates a local theatre’s upcoming program of music, dance and comedy revues. It’s surreal. Am I on the same planet as Riverbend? Certainly mine is a different world. As I breath the welcome weekend breeze, resting up from another five-day episode of sweat, toil and backache that barely keeps the family fed, I read what others must live through so I can have the privilege of driving to work.
Oil fuels my world; oil is bought with blood. Therefore, oil is blood. We gather the blood of innocents and burn it for electricity, for logistics, for gasoline. Because of death, I can type on my computer, drive to the store and ogle the latest consumer gadgetry. My food is brought to me by blood-burning trucks; my home is cooled by generators fueled by blood; my comfort is assured by the blood of others.
The sun is not-so-bright, now. The haze outside a sign of pollution, not moisture. The weatherman says it might get up to 92 degrees today - the average temperature of fresh blood. Surreal.