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In Solidarity with the Iraqi People

“[W] e must understand that the resistance movement in Iraq is a resistance movement that all of us have to support, because it's our war, too”. - Arundhati Roy (1).

Ghali Hassan • 30 May 2004

When one looks at Goya’s paintings (Disasters of War), one is struck by the brutality and inhumanity of the French army in Spain. Eventually, Napoleon’s back was broken in Spain by small but determined resistance of guerrilla fighters. Napoleon once said of Spain, “That unfortunate war destroyed me . . . All . . . my disasters are bound up in that fatal knot”(2). Indeed, Napoleon lost more French troops in Spain than in Russia. The comparison with the American army in Iraq today, is not dissimilar in term of violence and destruction inflicted by the U.S. army on one of the greatest civilisation of human kinds.

The Spanish word guerrilla means, “little war”, described the tactics used to resist the French empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, guerrilla warfare and tactics are centuries old. Guerrilla bands in Iraq began emerging immediately after the U.S. forces entered Iraq, evidently because of the power vacuum that developed when the Iraqi regime collapsed, and the U.S. army failed to establish effective authority of their own. The Iraqi resistance groups varied, some are former soldiers or workers but others being religious persons with local influence. Although these groups are not centrally linked, almost all of them shared an enthusiastic devotion to Islam and an enthusiastic rejection of the brutal U.S-British occupying forces.

The brutal and horrific behaviour of the occupying forces towards the Iraqi people have contributed to increase support for the Iraqi resistance among the Iraqi population. Furthermore, the use of torture, sexual abuse and the apparent murder of Iraqi detainees in prisons at the hands of occupying forces, removed any doubt about the “real” intention of the occupation, and united the people against the enemy, the “infidels”. Sectarian differences did not block the Iraqis from uniting behind a common cause.

The wide cultural gap between the Iraqi culture and the culture of the occupying forces has contributed to the widespread resentment of the occupation. Occupation authority in Iraq publicly declared that the U.S army presence in Iraq is represented superior enlightened views and superior enlightened rule. The occupying forces saw the Iraqis as “terrorists” and backward people, who could only be controlled by force and who therefore deserved to be. Meanwhile, the American public, and to certain extent, the British and Australian public was told that Iraq as a whole welcomed U.S. army as “liberators” and that only a few misguided bandits opposed the occupation. The opposite is true. Support for the occupation in Iraq is very minimal and only found among some Iraqi Kurds in the north, and those “expatriates” returned to Iraq with the occupying forces. The fact that a Vichy government have not been found in Iraq is a proof.

Recent polls conducted in Iraq showed that the majority of Iraqis (over 85%) want the occupation to end and U.S.-British forces to leave Iraq. This is very significant in that the guerrilla fighters are able to melt easily within the population, which make them very strong and unpredictable force to fight by regular army of soldiers, tanks and helicopter gunships. With bases of support among the population, the Iraqi resistance have been very successful in Fallujah and other parts of Iraq. Many Iraqis are joining the resistance to truly liberate their country from colonial occupation.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a form of globalisation by armed conquest. This armed conquest is the relic of colonialism and we should not allow it to success threatening the future of the planet. In addition to its violent crimes against the Iraqi people, the U.S. is systematically and illegally milking Iraq of its oil revenues, and selling Iraqi industries to American corporations. Currently, the Bush Administration is skimming the benefits of high oil prices, while keeping silence.

Washington and London are not in the business of spreading “democracy” and “freedom” in the Middle East. It would be a good idea, but that is not what the U.S. and Britain are doing. The record speaks for itself. They spread “dependence, subordination, and dictatorship”, Noam Chomsky said recently. The people of the Middle East have long experience in this dishonest and flawed democracy promises by the West. The U.S. and British forces are intended to stay in Iraq; otherwise their whole invasion and occupation debacle is crimes against humanity because the reasons are a complete fabrication.

More than one thousands dead Iraqis a month are added to more than 12,000 innocent civilians killed by the invading and occupying forces. The Iraqi people need our support. Their struggle is our struggle against unjust system. The belligerent and violent U.S. behaviour has increased the threat of terrorism and anti-Western feelings around the world. The message to motivate people around the world cannot be clearer than: End the illegal occupation and give Iraqis their freedom. The lies to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq need to be exposed vigorously.

The global peace movement who courageously opposed the invasion of Iraq should declare its solidarity with the Iraqi people in fighting a colonial occupation army, and U.S. imperialism. Arundhati Roy have spoken of non-violence resistance movement “allowed to atrophy into feel-good political theatre, which at its most successful is a photo opportunity for the media, and at it’s least successful, simply ignored”(3). However, there is hope. In the U.S., Britain and Australia, popular support for the imperialist war in Iraq is down, and the majority of people are against the war on Iraq. In my own opinion, the antiwar movement is growing into a worldwide anti-occupation movement.

Recently, the Spanish people have rejected to be part of brutal empire. Because the Spanish people believe that another world is possible, and they know how to help built it. We have the moral, legal and political obligations to change the course of empire. Our solidarity with the Iraqi people will give them a voice, and like the Spanish people, the Iraqi people will prevail over empire.

[1] Arundhati Roy, Interviewed by Amy Goodman at www.DemocracyNow.org, 5/19/2004.
[2] Napoleon Bonaparte, Memorial de Sainte-Helene, Vol. 1 (Paris: 1961 [1823]), 609-10.
[3] Arundhati Roy, How deep shall we dig? ZNet, 01 May 2004. www.zmag.org/content.


Ghali Hassan is in the Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au

 

 

 

 

 

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1 June 2004

 

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