Riverbend is one of the most eloquent bloggers out of Iraq. She is a young woman in her 20s. Her blog has been silent for 2 1/2 months which has concerned many in the blogosphere. She is back.
The Lancet Study...
This has been the longest time I have been away from blogging. There were several reasons for my disappearance the major one being the fact that every time I felt the urge to write about Iraq, about the situation, I'd be filled with a certain hopelessness that can't be put into words and that I suspect other Iraqis feel also.
It's very difficult at this point to connect to the internet and try to read the articles written by so-called specialists and analysts and politicians. They write about and discuss Iraq as I might write about the Ivory Coast or Cambodia- with a detachment and lack of sentiment that- I suppose- is meant to be impartial. Hearing American politicians is even worse. They fall between idiots like Bush- constantly and totally in denial, and opportunists who want to use the war and ensuing chaos to promote themselves.
The latest horror is the study published in the Lancet Journal concluding that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war. Reading about it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sounded like a reasonable figure. It wasn't at all surprising. On the other hand, I so wanted it to be wrong. But... who to believe? Who to believe....? American politicians... or highly reputable scientists using a reliable scientific survey technique?
The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened. Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).
Billmon comments about Riverbends post.
Down the River
My question to myself, in other words, is like Thoreau's famous question to Ralph Waldo Emerson when Emerson came to visit him in jail after he was arrested for not paying his poll tax as a protest against slavery:
Emerson: What are you doing in there, Henry?
Thoreau: No, Waldo, the question is: What are you doing out there?
It's easy to think up excuses now -- we were in the minority, the media was against us, the country was against us. We didn't know how bad it would be.
We were all complicit. I was complicit. Because I was afraid -- afraid to sacrifice my comfortable middle class lifestyle, afraid to lose my job and my house, afraid of the IRS, afraid to go to jail.
But not nearly as afraid, of course, as the thousands of Iraqis who have been tortured or murdered, or who, like Riverbend, are forced to live in bloody chaos, day after day. Which is why, reading her post today, I couldn't help but feel deeply, bitterly ashamed -- not just of my country, but of myself.
I just hope that in the next life I don't run into Henry David Thoreau.
Another voice from Iraq.
Peace be upon you…
I have stopped writing on my website for a while now…
And the reason is perhaps; because I was occupied working with the Iraqis who fled the hell of life inside Iraq, or perhaps that I was bored from the same talk about the painful reality that is going on for more than three years, until I no longer like to talk, as if repeating the same words, uselessly.
Iraqis are still dying everyday; killed by trapped cars, sectarian militia, and death squads who carry out random assassinations on the streets. Or they die by assassinations organized against every nationalist or cultured Iraqi, against every scientist, doctor, or university professor…
There is someone out there who decided to assassinate everything in Iraq, everything that moves on the land of Iraq, and bears the Iraqi identity…
A Sunniey or a Shia'at, rich or poor, a Muslim or not a Muslim, cultured or not, with or against the occupation; all these are targets, and dead bodies are filling the streets, eaten by dogs…
And Bush is still living in his delusions, giving speeches about imaginary victories in Iraq. Is he fooling himself, or his people?
Perhaps both. This is what tyrants do, all over the world.
If Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, this Bush is no less a tyrant…
Currently he is imposing his viewpoint upon the American people, depleting the tax payer's budget to finance an unjust war, a war that destroyed Iraq, dislodged its people, and deprived the country of its national unity, peace, and security. All for what?
Iraq: Leave Or Be Forced Out
The Beginning of the End
Bush and Tet
Disarm the militias? How? They have totally infilitrated the military and police. They are the power behind the throne. He can no more disarm them than Bush can endorse gay marriage.
If he tries, they will kill him and his American guards, in the Green Zone. Bush is frighteningly detached from reality here. Maliki serves not one day longer than Sadr and Sistani wants them to. There is no Iraqi state, no reason for Iraqis to step up beyond their own personal motivation. Bush is literally asking the impossible and all the sloganeering or time tables won't solve that.
The only thing to do is to talk to the clerics to plan a peaceful exit over the next few months. The Iraqi civil war is going to blow up, we can't stop it and we can't control the outcome.
Middle East fears partitioning of Iraq
To Stand or Fall in Baghdad: Capital Is Key to Mission