A resistant and integrated country against occupation, confessionalism and sectarism
First message from the Spanish delegation of CEOSI in Iraq
21st April, 2005
Translated into English by Lola Oliván (CEOSI)
The electricity cuts have frustrated until now the sending of a first message of the CEOSI Delegation that since last Monday, 18th April, is in Iraq. Our arrive to Baghdad was quiet, although the siege imposed by the US forces to Rutba, a town 130 Km. away from the Jordanian border, did not allow us to meet with the people that should have accopanied us to the capital. The day before, the Resistance had destroyed two Humvee vehicles in the near highway and, as reprisal, the US forces had blocked the entry and exit of Rutba. Our intents of communicating with the US military were useless, since they did not allow us to come closer than 500 meters of their control check point.
We are lodged in adequate conditions of security in a popular neighborhood of the capital, protected and attended by a communitarian association. Our neighbors continue showing the same qualities we have appreciated during these years of visits to Iraq: hospitality, kindness, esteem, and gratitude; all that despite of the open war environment and generalized impoverishment in which the people live. It is a joy to see that the situation so horrible that this society goes trough has not finished with their most appreciable virtues: this is their second victory in front of the occupiers; the first was, without doubts, ruining the US project for Iraq domination. Because this is a situation that on the ground can be felt as marked essentially by the more than evident awkward of the occupiers, and the confidence of the Iraqi society, despite of the suffering, in defeat them.
Baghdad lives her 50 Km. of extension between areas fortified by successive walls of cement higher than two meters in the so called Green Zone (the residential area of Hotels, where the new political parties and ministries headquarters are located) and neighborhoods out of control of the occupiers.
An occupied country in War
We have not suffer relevant incidences but it is true that the reiteration of explosions and shots more or less near, the smoke columns elevating every day over the capital and the tension that can be apreciated in the occupation troops and in the auxiliary units accompanying them, as well as the low flaying of helicopters, remember continuously the permanent reality in which Iraq lives: that of a country under occupation. The most graphic image of this situation can be that of the US military convoys going across the city, specially in her periphery: the US vehicles carry on in their front and behind parts an Arabic and English written cartel that illustrated with two tibias and a skull warns to the Iraqi vehicles that getting closer than 300 meters can cost their lives.
The obstruction caused by the US controls and Iraqi Forces associated, the cuts of highways and the passing on of heavy military vehicles make of the journey in Baghdad a mousetrap that does not allow to come on time to appointments, to work, to school, or to University. The situation gets worse each time that the National Assembly meets since the occupation troops cut all the access to downtown doing of it a non transitable space. For their part, the collaborationist National Guard troops, hated by the people at least so much as the occupiers, move in a high speed in the city hided in sky masks and shooting from their white pick-ups.
In these days we have celebrated meetings with organizations, associations, academic institutions, and personalities in the capital, all of them against occupation. The common denominator to all of them is the rejection to the confessional and sectarian logic of the new institutions, as well as the distinction between the operations of the Resistance that are named as clean, and the indiscriminate and sectarian acts on which authorship, logic and intention our interlocutors are very clear: either they are a job of occupiers or they serve to their logic of inducting a inter-comunitary civil conflict that legitimizes the extension in time of their presence.
On Monday we held a meeting with Shi’a sheij Jawad al-Khalasi, General Secretary of the Iraqi National Foundational Congress (INFC), the organization platform that lodges many of the organizations, associations, and personalities against occupation. The meeting was celebrated in the Islamic University of al-Jalisiya, founded in 1911 by the grand father of al-Khalisi with the aim of tending in the same direction the religious and scientific educations. The University is located in al-Kadimiya neighborhood.
On Tuesday, the CEOSI delegation met with the Board Team of the Association of Human Rights ‘Free Voice of Society’. His President, Salman Hasan al-Farraji, and his Vice Presidnet Kamal Talabani, explained us the violations of human tights that the lawyers of the Association register: reiterated deaths of civilians in check points or for getting close to military vehicles, arbitrary, massive and indiscriminate detentions, tortures. “The brutality of the occupiers does not allow any channel of communication with the,”, states the President, in front of the nule attention that the US authorities give to the demands that the association presents on behalf of the Iraqi citizens. “The new Iraqi institutions [the interim Ministry of Justice] inhibits in front of the violations perpetrated by the occupiers”.According to the Association, 10.000 Iraqis are disappeared in US forces or Iraqi collaborationists clandestine detention centers. As an example, the uncle of Yasser Hameed al-Mohamedy narrated to us the circumstances of the disappearance of his nephew since 4 April, 2003, as well as on the frustrated actions taken since them to know on his whereabouts. Al-Mohamedy was 28 years all when he disappeared and he was then a University student.
After the visit to the Human Rights Association, located in Adamiyya, our delegation was invited by the Local Council (a body created immediately after the fall of Baghdad to cover the gap of authority and the suspension of social services) to visit the so called “Martyrs cemetery”, created in one of the corners of Abu Haifa Mosque. There they are more than a hundred of combatants fall during the fights in the neighborhood after 9th April 2003, seven Arab combatants, as well as the killed by the occupation forces since them; between them four brothers of the same family, all of them minors. In the moment of our visit, a group of young people were preparing a new grave for a neighbor killed in the attack of the same day in the neighborhood against the Iraqi police.
Interview with the CFNI
On 19th April evening, Wamid Nadhmi received us in his home; a veteran Iraqi politician, Nasserist, University professor and currently spokesperson of the CFNI. Nadhmi, critic with the previous regime he stayed despite of it in Iraq. He remembered the offer made in 1991 by the opposition sectors no linked to US and Great Britain to Sadam Husein Government for a political opening to face collectively the aggression against the country that at that time started by the sanctions regime.
Nadhmi attributed the impact of the sanctions, the growing of illiteracy and the impoverishment to the social de-estructuration, to the fastening of confessional and sectarian tendenciesin the Iraqi society favored by the US. To confront this, Nadhmi presented the CFNI as the effort of joining wide political and communitarian sectors opposed to occupation and that reject the logic of quotas of political representation according to confessional and ethnic criteria that US and Grate Britain have imposed over Iraq. However, Nadhmi explains that “the CFNI does nor monopolizes neither the fight against occupation, nor the patriotism, as neither CFNI is the political wing of the Resistance”.
Nadhmi showed up optimist regarding the call for the Second Assembly of CFNI, previewed to be held in Baghdad next 5th May. There their members hope to give to the anti-occupation platform an stable organization structure and more strong, a political frame and action agreement as well as to give more participation to other social sectors as those of Women associations, trade unions and those of the new generations.
On 20th April, the Delegation went to University of Nehrein, in south of Baghdad. During the visit Apache helicopters overflight and made shots in the nearest area, palm trees zone close to the Green Zone. The group was received by the Vice Chancellor, Dra. Wisal al-Azzawi and they held a meeting with the Director of the Political Science Department, Dra. Maha al-Hadithi, who narrated the effort to keep the educative services in a situation characterized by abandonment if no corruption of the new Iraqi institutions. Al-Hadithi explained the imposition of the US authorities: the previous Rector, a prestigious genetic specialist and President of the Sciences Academy who was democratically elected by the board after the war, was removed by the US authorities; the financial abandonment: from the 11.000 millions dinars of budget before of the war and despite of the sanctions, to the current 1.400 millions dinars; the difficulties of professors and students to arrive to the University, the electricity permanent cuts… “We are just hardly managing the wreckage of the State of Iraq”, she states. “We have learnt perfectly the sense of the democracy concept of US: you can say whatever you want and we will do whar ever we want”, summarizes al-Azzawi.
Reporting on the CEOSI Spanish Delegation on Iraq, 22nd, April, 2005
April, 22nd, 2005
Translated into English by Lola Oliván (CEOSI)
The Spanish delegation in Baghdad reports today, 22nd April, that they have visited Al-Kindy Public Hospital (where the Spanish Brigadists were during the war and where was delivered the medical equipment delivered by the Spanish Association “Cultura contra la Guerra”). Later on the met with his Director, Dr. Osama, who manifested to be “very worried for the state of the Health” in the country. It was very important to take up again the contact with this Hospital, lost since the beginning of the occupation. The delegation has also taken the impressions of an Oncologist regarding the evolution co cancers in the population of the area. In the evening, the delegation held and interview with representatives of the political party Independent National Gathering, a group opposed to occupation. It is worthy to point out the youth of its members.
The delegation has demanded from the Spanish official representative in the Spanish Embassy in Baghdad that the Spanish Government intercedes for the liberation of Abdel Jaber al-Kubaysi, leader of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) and a prominent member of the popular action against the invader troops, who is detained in the prison of Baghdad Airport by the US occupiers forces.