A Civilized Nation 'Teaches' Iraq Barbarism

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Many
historians consider Iraq as the cradle of civilization. It was in
Iraq that writing was invented. It was in Iraq that the great Hammurabi’s
Code of Laws was first engraved. Iraq was the birthplace of Abraham,
father of the Jews and the Arabs.

The
territory now called Iraq was the center of the greatest powers
of the day. At other times it was conquered by Alexander the Great,
ravaged by the Mongols and dominated by empires based in Persia,
Turkey, Britain and now the United States.

One
of the first acts of the American occupation authorities in Iraq
is the
destruction of the tomb of Michael Aflaq
, an Arab nationalist
philosopher and a founder of the Arab Baath party which ruled Iraq.
This savage act was totally unwarranted and unjustified. It reminds
us of the barbaric actions of the Mongols centuries ago. Regrettably
this twenty first century barbarism is practiced in the name of
"freedom," "democracy," "liberation"
and "human
rights." What makes this barbaric action even worse is that
it is done by an "elected" government which tells the
world that its actions are taken in the name of the American people.

I
do not blame the American people for not knowing what atrocities
are being committed in their name. I watch U.S. network news so
I know Americans are not told what is really going on in Iraq.

During
WWI (1914–1919) the British army fought military battles with
the Ottoman (Turkish) armies that were stationed in Iraq. Many thousands
were killed and buried in Iraq from both sides.

We
have British cemeteries in Basra, Kut and in Baghdad where approximately
54,000 Commonwealth troops are buried. We have a cemetery for the
Indian soldiers who fought with the British army. We also have the
Turkish cemetery in Baghdad.

For
over 90 years since the establishment of these cemeteries the Iraqi
governments and the Iraqi people respected the sanctity of these
graves. In those 90 years Baghdad expanded so much that these cemeteries
became a prime property and were obstructing the full development
of badly needed project. Despite this the government of Iraq respected
its humanitarian obligation to protect these cemeteries.

In
fact in April 2002, a year before the attack on Iraq, the Iraqi
government approved the restoration
of the Australian cemetery
despite all the problems of the first
Gulf War and the 12 years of sanctions.

Mr.
Peter Francis, of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said:
"The (Iraqis) said that the government of Iraq attached great
importance to the longstanding War Graves Agreements between it
and the commission and that it was ready to provide whatever assistance
the commission required to carry out its work in Iraq."

Our
7000 years of history and civilization have taught us to respect
the sanctity of death and a respect to the graves of dead people
irrespective whether they are natives, occupiers or enemy soldiers.
These values are shared with other civilized people around the world.

Jon
Lee Anderson
writing in the New Yorker about a visit
he had to the British cemetery in Baghdad days before the American
invasion. His last paragraph was "As we were walking out of
the cemetery, we passed an obelisk with the inscription ‘Here are
the honoured Turkish soldiers who fell for their country in the
Great War, 1914–1918.’ When I pointed this out to Khalid, he
seemed confused, and I explained that the obelisk had been erected
by the British to honor their enemies. He smirked. ‘So, the British
have honor!’ he said, and he walked away, then turned back. ‘Maybe
they will do the same for us, after they have killed us. Thank you
very much.’"

I
hate to disappoint my friend Khalid. The American army did not respect
nor honor the Iraqi soldiers who died fighting for their country;
they let them rot in the streets. The Americans did not allow the
Red Cross to enter Fallujah for days after their "liberation"
of the city. Dead people we left to rot in the ruins of their houses
without burying them or moving them to a mortuary.

The
American administrator for Iraq, Mr. L. Bremer elected to "teach"
the Iraqis his set of values. He justified leveling "the tomb
to earth" by his desire to "eradicate the Baath party."
His barbaric action and "cowboy" mentality is strange
to the civilized world and would not even be accepted in his "wild
wild west." It is by any standard and for any reason a barbaric
act.

June
8, 2005

Ghazwan
Al-Mukhtar [send
him mail
] is a medical engineer living in occupied Baghdad.
You can comment on this column by visiting Ghazwan's
blog spot
on DemocracyRising.US.

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