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News :: Human Rights : International : Media
Dahr Jamail, Freelance Journalist, Speaks at Arlington Church after Returning from Fallujah
27 Apr 2005
We have received such incredible response from people who were able to
attend th Dahr Jamail talk on Monday. I wish everyone could have heard
him - but for those who couldn't make it, here is a recap sent to us by
some people who were there.
Dahr Jamail spoke at Arlington Church, Boston, tonight, April 25th,
about the realities and complexities of life in Iraq. He spent a total of
8 months in occupied Iraq as one of only a few independent US
journalists in the country. He brought pictures, slides of Baghdad's
destruction and pictures of the waste and death during the siege of Fallujah:
faces mangled, babies burned, the abject sorrow of a man holding his dead
six year old killed by a sniper’s bullet. The suffering is immense—and
the Iraqis can never forget us, while we can go ahead with our
lives—except for those of you who have lost loved ones over there. Please read
this and pass it on. Ignorance is complicity.

I attended with Lucy M., and she wrote the report below, with my adding
things as I remembered them immediately after the talk. As we viewed
Jamail’s photos, it was impossible not to remember scenes from Hiroshima
and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped—they were definitely
comparable. Lucy states, “The pictures made me think of the U.S. as a
huge behemoth gone wild, losing its soul. Iraq is under a military
dictatorship.”

See this journalist’s reports at www.DahrJamailIraq.com.

These are some of the things we remember:

* A hospital in Sadr City (Showater I think) has no food, no cancer
drugs. The Ministry of Health was promised 1 billion dollars. They
have received nothing. Work has been done on the outside—primarily
painting—but inside any kind of minimal care and service is lacking. The
toilets in the Intensive Care Unit are holes in the ground, and utter
filth.
* In Baghdad, a city of 5 million, there is electricity only one to
three hours per day. Bechtel has received $3.8 billion dollars for
water treatment plants, but very little water treatment has been
effectuated. Pictures showed water trickling in stench holes. The polluted
water has caused serious disease, esp. in children, who have also been
killed crossing roads to get water for their families.
* There is a gasoline crises, long lines, two days or more for
gasoline. Burgeoning black market in petrol—meanwhile, the U.S. military
orders its oil tankers (that have stalled due to mechanical failure)
burned. One soldier was told by an Iraqi how that is to see they are
spending hours and days waiting for gas to drive their cars.
* There are at least 2 car bombs per day. Lancet survey estimates
98,000 Iraqis dead, and that is almost certainly substantially under
the actual number due to various reporting sources not having a full
count. There are at least 50 attacks per day. U.S. soldiers now dead:
1,571 and ten times that many seriously wounded—some with brain injury
(from bombing affecting them like shaken baby syndrome) and in vegetative
states.
* Human Rights Watch on the siege of Fallujah and news from other
than the corporate media, which came out after the attack on the city:
There were two attacks, the first after the killing of the four
civilians, whose bodies were mutilated, whose pictures we saw over and over in
our corporate media, which neglected to say who the civilians were.
They were members of Black Water Security (US company), mercenaries, paid
$500-$1500 a day for pillaging and raping the city. In all major
newspapers in our country (80 times at least) they were referred to as
"civilians." Their deaths prompted our heavy handed response. Another
matter rarely reported by the corporate media: the religious leaders in
Fallujah spoke out strongly and clearly against the mutilation of the
bodies.
* 60% of the wounded were women, children and elderly—many were
buried in soccer fields because the cemeteries were full. This journalist
showed row after row of makeshift graves with handwritten markers, and
an interpreter confirmed for him that the 60% figure was quite
conservative. It was a massacre. The New York Times said the attack was
"tremendously precise." Bremer said we manifested "vigilant resolve." It
was, in fact, a free fire zone. Anything and anybody was shot at, a
target. People got shot trying to leave. Ambulances were targeted—we saw
photos of bullet holes in them. Many, many people could not leave due
to illness, or age.
* During the second siege in May, 2004, Fallujah was burned to the
ground. The photos showed the devastation, our tax dollars at work,
small children wandering about in the rubble, one all alone with his
bicycle. Although the citizens of Fallujah were told to leave a week
before the attack, many could not, due to physical handicap (hence a photo
of a dead man toppled over his crutches) or economic inability—no place
to go. Moreover, the U.S. military closed off the city 3 days into the
week leave time, making it impossible to exit.
* During the so-called cease fire, we continued dropping bombs.
People reported on their neighbors for payment of $100 to $500. Houses
were then bull dozed, sometimes with the "insurgents" inside and
sometimes not.
* Our military invaded the hospital. We broke international law
time and again. No tents or refugee supplies were provided. People
could NOT leave. Many photos by this jounalist showed people shot in their
beds.
* There is ample evidence we used cluster bombs, napalm, mustard
gas, sarin. A dead woman with her blouse melted on her face and a man
with no other wounds on his body except the pox marks on his skin—which
the journalist was told was similar to bodies of Kurds who were gassed
on order of Saddam Hussein. The 300,000 refugees can't go home as there
is no food or water. Disease is rampant, very little running water in
the camps, no electricity.
* As far as the so-called Jan. 30 election: There were 7,000
anonymous candidates on the ballots. Misrepresentations in our press
(1)Turnout 60-70%. Actually, about 40%; (2) The purple fingers shown were
mainly from Shia voters in only 4 polling stations that day.
* Why did they vote? This journalist talked to many. They voted
against the occupation. They voted for jobs (65% unemployment), food,
gasoline, security. 85% of Iraqis are against the American occupation.
* A chilling story about Mike Manning, a filmmaker from California
who went to Fallujah for two weeks to see for himself what was
happening. Within 12 hours after he arrived back in the US, all of his film
and cameras were stolen from his hotel room. He was then called by
someone who said "you'll never know, you're in a crowd, and a shot will be
fired..." A few days later, after he stopped answering his cell phone
due to the threatening calls, he was telephoned at his mother's home,
where he had not been in two years. See more:
http://www.independent.com/cover/Cover956.htm
* 12 independent journalists have been killed trying to report
independently of the corporate media. This, despite the protestations
recently regarding the Italian journalist and the Italian government’s
refusal to accept the results of the U.S. military’s investigation
(absolving the soldiers who fired on the vehicle). Anyone who reports the
horrible truth gets the three pronged attack: discredit, dispute, destroy.
GE owns 3 major news networks, and is directly profiting from this war.
* We are sitting on their oil, and we control its dispensation:
Exxon's profits up 27% last year. It's doubtful we're in a hurry to
start pumping.
* 100 Bremer Orders violate international law by changing the
economic laws of an occupied country. Plans to privatize Iraq. Recent
cutting of food rations, baby milk, for example. People must buy it at the
market. Foreign ownership is allowed. Iraq is our neo-con petri dish
for privitization. There are now 14 US military bases in Iraq, and we
have NO PLANS TO LEAVE.
* The Nuremburg Charter on the Media: not incite the public to
violence. Our government has violated this tenet. Another detail:
"insurgent" is the wrong word; it presumes a legitimate government in place.
The word should be "Iraqi resistance."

All in all, a sobering evening, a sad evening, reminiscent of all we
didn't learn in Vietnam. A country hurtling towards its own demise
(ours)-- killing its own soul by denial, indifference, ignorance.

eve.lyman (at) bostonmobilization.org
See also:
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/

This work is in the public domain
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Comments

Yep
27 Apr 2005
Its nice to see MOBE on the IMC -cooperation, diversification, and dialogue are vey much needed.
Furthermore, we all need to work on playing well with others.
Re: Dahr Jamail, Freelance Journalist, Speaks at Arlington Church after Returning from Fallujah
28 Apr 2005
I CAN'T BELIEVE ANARCHISTS WENT TO THIS!
THAT GUY ISN'T EVEN AN ANARCHIST!!!
Re: Dahr Jamail, Freelance Journalist, Speaks at Arlington Church after Returning from Fallujah
29 Apr 2005
Fuck you, Starbuck.

I'm an anarchist and I went to see Dar's talk. And a damned good talk it was with good photos and so forth. you should have gone, moron, maybe you'd have learned something.

What was not good, however, was the fact that BostonMobe evidently decided that the event needed "balance" and brought in the pro-occupation William Rivers Pitt to talk also. Not only did he explicitly support the occupation in his remarks ( big surprise there, duh) he also read a press release from a Democratic Party group word for word. Evidently he has gone from being an unpaid shill for the Democrats to being a paid shill.

Needless to say, the anti-occupation, anti-war crowd did not react well to the presence of pro-occupation, Democratic Party scum like Pitt. The above story left it out, though it certainly was the highlight of the night, but at various times members of the audience booed Pitt, hissed at the mention of his name, and threw paper wads at him while he was on the stage.

Now, you can saw what you want about the way in which people responded to the presence of scum like Pitt at this event, but you've got to seriously wonder what the fuck Mobe had in mind when they invited Pitt to an event in which 99% of everyone there would be extremely hostile to his pro-war, pro-occupation party line.

Oh, and here's the real kicker. When a Mobe rep made (another) plea for money, someone from the crowd asked who would get the money. Turns out Mobe actually gave part of the money from donations of people who attended to William Rivers Pitt after telling them at the door that it was going to Dar Jamail. That pretty much answered my question about why they'd invite scum like Pitt to the event. Birds of a feather and so forth.
Re: Dahr Jamail Freelance Journalist at Arlington St. Church
30 Apr 2005
Hmm...
"at various times members of the audience booed Pitt, hissed at the mention of his name, and threw paper wads at him while he was on the stage"
Well, I was there, and saw it all.
TWO dudes in the third row (you can guess who they were) did the "brave & radical action" of throwing ONE paperwad at some suit dude we really didnt care about - we were all busy respectfully waiting for Dahr to speak. =)

Seriously folks, Dahr's presentation was so damn good, who gives a flying hoo- hoo- about the sadly stiff, reading from a script, uncomfortable suited dude?

Refocus:
I'm greatful for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING more real-life than the plastic crap the networks feed us. Let's unite to work for peace and freedom and liberation, as human beings and brothers & sisters... wouldnt that be a great idea...

gee, sounds kinda Revolutionary.

Dahr was awesome. frikkin awe-inspiringly humble and straightforward. So I'll tell ya I dont care WHO the heck brings him into my area to speak, I'll pay attention - and go if I can.

We were crying, moved to a near-spiritual antiwar fervor, and folk sitting around me felt that the words he spoke were some of the only truth in these times.

He told us of the enormious numbers of Iraqui dead. Of how US national guardsmen & women are being screwed and turned into murdering psychopathic head cases, working 40+ hours at checkpoints. How the ambulances were being bombed and shot up, our snipers killing and maiming folks who stirred outside for water or food- !-
He also bore witness to how health workers, children, women, and old men are being (after being massmurdered & shot in their beds) refused medical supplys ...

He told us that the "rebuilding" is a joke, that it isnt actually occuring, dispite the money having been given to US contractors a while back...


Thats what I'll remember for quite a while,
as well as the incredible images and rare footage of Fallujah... not some asshole in a suit... or two jerks booing like spoiled children in a church full of librials & some few (A)'s too.

Thank you for your work,
brother Dahr Jamail.
Speaking truth to power,
being quietly determined to make a difference... and find proof to back up your points,

That's radical.
That's bravery.