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Raed Jarrar: Katrina vs. Al-A'emmah
Despite all the bush administration attempts of showing the anti-occupation movement in Iraq as “Sunni” or “Saddamist” or “Baathist” or whatever other labels were, the Sadr movement has turned the table and proved that Iraqis are against the occupation and all its imposed consequences despite their ethnic and sectarian differences. As-Sadr movement arranged many demonstrations last week, along with other Iraqi political movements around the country, mobilizing tens of thousands of Iraqi protestors asking for a better constitution and better public services.
I printed out a full Arabic version of the Iraqi constitution today. I’ll try to read it as soon as possible and discuss some of its details in the next post. I’m very busy working on a project located in the Iraqi marshlands. I finished one of the four phases already, and still have three to go. I barely have time to do anything these days, that’s why I’m blogging less than usual.
But I can’t stop watching and reading news!
Around one thousand people died in Baghdad yesterday, and other thousands died in New Orleans. It’s so sad to hear and see such human tragedies. It’s also so hard to stop thinking about the thousands who died, and the other thousands of their friends and families.
Even though the Iraqis and Americans who died had ten thousand miles separating them from each other, they had many things in common.
Katrina didn’t just cause the US cars to line up at gas stations. It kicked out one million US citizens from their own homes, and it killed thousands of Americans in some days. That made me remember the first days of the US invasion when thousands of Iraqis were killed and other millions were kicked out of their homes too, and our cars were lining up at gas stations.
One of my readers from the US wrote me today saying:
You have heard, of course, of the devastation that the hurricane Katrina has done to the city of New Orleans. I heard that the situation is desperate there, because there is “no clean water, no sewage system, no electricity, no food…” and it struck me that this is the situation that parts of Iraq have been facing not for days, but for months now.
I’m sure that every Iraqi has very much of compassion with the US people during this catastrophe, because Iraqis understand the meaning of death and collective displacement. Death and displacement were a part of Iraqis lives for the last years.
Most of the one thousand Iraqis who died yesterday came from As-Sadr city in Baghdad. They had different murderers in the same day: seven of them were killed by a mortar attack on Al-Kathum area, and more than 965 died because of Al-A'emmah bridge disaster two hours after the mortar attack.
No one can tell who’s responsible for the mortar attack. Even the Zarqawi group, being the most extremist and Takfiri group, never announced their responsibility for any of the coward attacks against mosques and pilgrims. Who’s responsible for the mortar attack is a big mystery...
On the other hand, everyone can tell who’s responsible of Al-A'emmah bridge disaster.
When the occupation forces, working side by side with the Iraqi governmental troops and paramilitary fighters, close all the bridges that lead to Al-Kathum Shrine in a day that everyone is expecting millions of pilgrims to come, everyone will tell you who’s responsible for the mass murder. When the A'emmah Bridge, which has been closed for the last 9 months by the occupation force, still has two feet-high concrete barriers placed in the way of pilgrims, everyone will tell you who’s responsible for the fall and death of the one thousand Iraqis. When hundreds of pilgrims fall in the river and die drowning because of the lack of emergency staff or river police boats, all of us should know who to blame.
No, not Canada.
Blame the US-led occupation for killing more Iraqis.
When I visited the south of Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, I was impressed by the level of self-organizing the Shia community has. Shia Iraqis don’t need anyone, including the Iraqi government, to help them organize themselves. They just need their cities’ streets to be open for them; they just need the occupation concrete barriers to be removed.
The US and Iraqi decision makers should be held responsible for this human tragedy in Baghdad. The minister of health asked for the resignation of both the ministers of interior and defense. As-Sadr movement supported the minister of health in his request too. The US administration should stop wasting US people money in killing Iraqis and occupying their country. The US money should be spent on the US citizens in need: the ones who lost their homes and relatives by Katrina.
Bush should pull out the US troops from Iraq as soon as possible and stop wasting billions of dollars on mass murders and destruction. The US citizens should stop funding and supporting Iraq’s chronic Katrina and its concrete barriers.