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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Iraq: The Unseen Dead

Sarah Meyer, Index Research

Families Left Behind. With kind permission of Dahr Jamail.

When Robert Fisk was in London in October, 2005, he said, “"My view is the people who are dead would want us to record what happened to them."

George Bush, on a ship far from Iraq, announced “Mission Accomplished” with a grin on his face. Some of us who have witnessed war were angry.

The western governments, obediently parroted by the western media, say that people don’t want to look at pictures of the dead over breakfast, or on television before dinner. It would “upset” them. Photographs didn’t show “respect”, didn’t “honour,” the dead. Even photographs of coffins are still forbidden.

The real reason for the blanket ban on photographs of dead soldiers, dead mothers, fathers and children is that people might have sympathy for “the enemy.” There might be protest.

Well, I protest at this denial of reality. I protested at the time, and I continue to protest. I wrote a poem, Witness to War, when Al Jazeera was printing the faces of dead children on their front pages. The poem was printed on the website, Poets Against the War.

Witness to War
For those who have been a Witness to War,
please don't show us any more
red hoovered carpets,
pictures of presidents
or prime ministers or politicians
or military experts talking about 'moral high ground,'
'victory' and 'democracy.'
Don't show us press conferences,
diplomats behind microphones,
reporters in flak jackets, Hollywood stars,
soldiers in clean uniforms and expensive goggles,
cleaning planes leaving ships costing more than a meal
that would feed a country.

Show us children hanging from trees,
a mother wailing for her dead, dust tears,
shelled houses, empty towns.
Show us raped women, burning men;
soldiers riddled with shrapnel, or twisted dead,
shoes with only bones,
mass funerals, mass graves.
Show us body parts,
legs, arms, head flung ripped apart.
Show us the blood;
Show us refugees in dirt and despair.
Show us the ravaged earth
In silence.

Let us hear the nightmares of soldiers,
Show us reality unedited.
Let us hear and see the truth.

Listen to the people of peace.
Hear our rage.
Show tears.

Fallujah 19 November 2004. The IRC estimates that at least 60% of those killed in the assault of Fallujah were women, children and elderly.

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of Dahr Jamail.

For a detailed list of those wounded and killed in Iraq, see the daily Iraqi Resistance Report, compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr.

In Afghanistan, huge C-17 transport aircraft land or take off to bases in Qatar in the Gulf, to Germany or Uzbekistan to the north. All kinds of helicopters can be seen, from Apache gunships and Chinook transport helicopters to Blackhawks.

Why is the American military machine in Afghanistan and Iraq not "taking off" for Pakistan to help the dying earthquake victims instead of bombing and killing people for oil?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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