Crusaders humiliating Iraqi Civilians

  • From: "mislim-news.net" <muslim_affairs@xxxxxxxxx>
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  • Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 19:49:14 +0100

Suddenly, Hamad's face turned almost red and he became visibly agitated, as
Al Jazeera, the Qatari satellite news channel, showed footage of British
soldiers searching a couple of Iraqis at a checkpoint somewhere Al Zubair, a
small town in the south of Iraq.

"Look, look at what they are doing," the 23-old-year Qatari university
student said as we sat at one of the many coffee shops in the ultra modern
Doha City Centre shopping mall. He didn't want his last name mentioned.

It was a humiliating scene all right. The soldier, unnecessarily hostile,
was grabbing an Iraqi man, appeared to be in his 40s, by his collar and
pushing him hard to the ground.

The man complained. "Why are doing this to me; I am not a soldier or a
(Baath) party fighter," he was clearly heard as saying in Arabic. "Shut up,"
shouted the soldier, ordering the man to lie face down on the ground.

He then started to examine the man's belongings; they were scattered on the
ground. A few ID cards were there, so was a pack of Viceroy cigarettes,
which was unexplainably thrown away by the aggressive soldier.

The soldier began to tie the man's hands behind his back with what appeared
to be a plastic cord. The same type is used by Israeli soldiers in the
Palestinian occupied territories.

The scene was over. But Hamad's voice was rising. "Is this the liberation
the Americans have been talking about?" he asked angrily. "This is
humiliation."

The Anglo-American forces are not only "humiliating the Iraqis", Hamad
claimed, his finger pointing at the TV screen, "They are humiliating all of
us, the Arabs."

The U.S. maintains it has nothing against the Iraqi people. The war is being
launched, U.S. officials say, to set the people free from "the oppressive
boots of the Saddam Hussain regime. The citizens of Iraq are coming to know
what kind of people we have sent to liberate them.

"American forces and our allies are treating innocent civilians with
kindness and showing proper respect to soldiers who surrender," President
George Bush said on April 3, the day U.S. army said its forces had seized
Saddam International Airport.

"Bush is liar; Saddam is liar; all of them lie," an angry Iraqi old man told
an Al Jazeera reporter in the southern city of Al Nasiriya, in a report
shown Friday night.

"We don't need water; we don't need food. We need (the U.S. soldiers) to
respect our dignity. They are forcing our women to take off their clothes at
the checkpoint," he said. Embarrassed, the man tried to hide his tears.

Others, interviewed by the reporter, said the American soldiers were
humiliating them at checkpoints. "We don't want them here, we don't want
Saddam. Please tell them to leave us alone," another angry man said.

The U.S. military admitted its soldiers, especially those at the
checkpoints, have been overzealous since a suicide attack killed four
soldiers at a checkpoint in Najaf on March 30.

A day later, the nervous soldiers shot to death at least seven women and
children, who were riding in a jeep that approached another checkpoint in
Najaf. The U.S. military claimed the vehicle had "presented a threat" to the
troops, who "did the right thing."

For thousands of years, the Iraqis have taught humanity how to write; how to
grow corps; how to live, said Yaqoub, a 26-year-old Turkish barber, who has
been living here for five years. "They are educated, intelligent and, most
importantly, very very proud people," he said. "The Americans should not
treat them like this."

Iraq's history goes back to more than 7,000 years. Known as the cradle of
civilisation, it was called in ancient times as Mesopotamia, the land
between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates. It was the birthplace of the
varied civilisations that moved from prehistory to history. An advanced
civilisation flourished in this region long before those of Egypt, Greece,
and Rome.

In the First millennium BC the Sumerians became the first inhabitants of
modern Iraq. In the seventh century BC, it was conquered by the Persians and
in the third century by Alexander the Great.

In the 2nd century BC Partha and Rome fought over Iraq, and in 2nd century
AD it became a part of the Persian Empire. In 637 AD Muslim armies defeated
the Persians and Iraq became a Muslim country.

The Mongol hordes almost destroyed the Caliphate in the 13th century. In the
16th century Iraq was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and remained under its
rule until the end of World War I.

At the beginning of the 20th century a national independence movement
emerged and was encouraged by the British. In 1920 Iraq was made a British
mandate.

In 1932 the mandate was terminated and Iraq entered the League of Nations as
an independent state.

Many Iraqis don't like Saddam but they may take up arms against the U.S.-led
invaders to "defend their honour," Hamad said. "If someone comes to your
house, the least you expect is that he shows you and your family some
respect."

Apparently wary of possible reactions from the Iraqis to the harsh treatment
they have been receiving at the hands of the invading forces, the British
army has told its forces to preserve the dignity of the Iraqis and respect
their tradition.

In an interview with Gulf News in Kuwait on Thursday, British army spokesman
Colonel Chris Vernon said: "We are trying to demonstrate our friendship to
the Iraqi people. We understand and respect their culture and traditions,
that is why our soldiers are asked to talk to men not to women. Of course
they can talk to women if women talk to them. But don't worry about the
British army, we have experience in this region and its various cultures."

But as the scene on Al Jazeera clearly showed, the soldiers apparently don't
share the same view. "Or maybe they just don't care," said Yacoub, the
barber. 

Source:  Gulf News

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