Which Side Are You On?

“But independent journalists reporting from Fallujah have described a scene consistent with the one broadcast by Al Jazeera. Rahul Mahajan, a U.S. journalist in Fallujah, estimated that of the 600 Iraqis killed in Fallujah, 200 were women and 100 young children, with many of the adult male casualties also non-combatants. He reported witnessing “a young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head” and “a young boy with massive internal bleeding” at a clinic (CommonDreams.org, 4/12/04). Mahajan recounted that during the “cease-fire,” “Americans were attacking with heavy artillery but primarily with snipers”– with ambulances among the targets. The sniper activity was also reported by U.S. journalist Dahr Jamail (NewStandardNews.net, 4/11/04): “Fallujah residents say Marines are opening fire randomly on unarmed civilians and have attacked clearly marked ambulances.”(Source: Common Dreams)

The real world is complicated. It’s not monolithic, an easy slab of moral certainty and ethical imperatives.

But sometimes, you must draw your own line in the sand. You must say, “This far and no further.”

If you’re reading this, you’re relatively privileged. Since most people in the world live four hours walk away from their water supply, let alone modern telecoms, you’re doing quite well.

That’s a danger of the net: we become blas? to the reality that us “netizens” are merely modern-day Marie Antoinettes, gossiping on our forums and whining in our Livejournals while the peasants stare hungrily through the gates.

Simply put, we’re rich because we keep most of the world poor.

Look at the amount of pollution issued by the West and you’ll see why the US and EU have issues with the Kyoto treaty. We rape the world of its resources and then wag our fingers at any “developing” country impudent enough to build a factory or two. How dare you chop down your rainforests – you must maintain them as a carbon sink for all our big fuck-off cars and aircon.

This is our arrogance, the double standard of our “civilised” nations.

The illegal invasion of Iraq is simply a continuation of this mindset. Our yellow media whipped up a beautiful moral panic, spreading Butcher Blair’s propaganda without question. We had to liberate the people of Iraq! They wanted us to go in there, anything is better than Saddam, our media said. And remember all those fucking ridiculous WMD claims from Bush and Blair? Now they’re irrelevant, we should all just “move on” and forget about it all.

But what is the reality? This is what’s happening in Fallujah:

“These [casualties] include the mother of six-year-old Haider Abdel-Wahab, shot and killed while hanging out laundry; his father, shot in the head; Haider himself, and his brothers, crushed but dug out alive after a US missile struck their house. They include children who died of head wounds. They include an old woman with a bullet wound – still clutching a white flag when aid workers found her. They include an elderly man lying face down at the gate to his house – while inside terrified girls screamed “Baba! Baba!” They include ambulance crews fired on by US troops – and four-year-old Ali Nasser Fadil, wounded during an air strike. The New York Times reporter who found the infant in a Baghdad hospital described him lying in bed, “his eyes wide and fixed on a spot in the ceiling”. His left leg had been crudely amputated. The same reporter found 10-year-old Waed Joda by the bedside of his gravely wounded father. “American snipers shot at us as we were trying to flee Falluja,” said Waed… at least 350 of the dead in Falluja have been women and children.(Source: The Guardian)

This is the truth of the liberation of Iraq. The US army have now massacred an estimated 600 – 700 civilians in Fallujah alone. In one city.

According to the US forces, all these people were legitimate targets, all of them “Saddam loyalists,” “insurgents” or whatever handy label was around. Women and children – are they really leftover Ba’athist fighters? Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to what the US claimed to cover up its massacres in Vietnam? The enemy then was the red menace of Communism, the enemy now is, apparently, Islamism. Different names, same result: piles of butchered dead that are invisible to the US government. Liberated corpses.

Those dead just don’t matter to us. They have brown skin, they have funny names, they don’t drive cars, they aren’t on the Atkins diet, they don’t have websites, they don’t watch Big Brother, they speak foreign. They’re not real people at all.

I want to make those people real to you.

Imagine a Muslim country invading Britain. Imagine their armed forces attacking Derby, deliberately targeting Christian churches because that’s where the Christianist terrorists are. Imagine squads of snipers praising Allah as they shoot down unarmed civilians throughout the city centre, till the gutters run with our blood. Imagine them killing 700 people from your home town.

And then imagine their military leaders claiming all these people, all these civilians were actually dangerous combatants, “legitimate targets.”

How would you feel?

This isn’t history, this isn’t Vietnam. This is taking place now, with the direct support of our government. If you ignore this evil, if you turn your eyes away and flick the telly on, it’s taking place with your support.

The choice is yours: do you support murder or not?

If you don’t, you must do something. The first thing is to speak out when you hear drones mindlessly repeating Blairite bullshit. Ask them about civilian casualties, point them to the websites of charity groups detailing US massacres in Iraq. Don’t stay silent. Your silence will enable the murder of more Iraqis.

Then do more. Write songs, print flyers or write websites. Become a source for other activists.

This is the most crucial task: do what you do best. If you’re a musician, photographer, comedian, shop steward, whatever, use your natural abilities to wake people up to the truth of our occupation of Iraq.

As much as the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews, as much as the massacres committed by Pol Pot or the Indonesian government, the current situation in Iraq is not a grey area. Sometimes it is as simple as good versus evil.

Which side are you on?