21 Nov. 2007

Hell On Earth

Welcome to Fallujah:
The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues. Although military actions are down to the minimum inside the city, local and US authorities do not seem to be thinking of ending the agonies of the over 400,000 residents of Fallujah.

"You, people of the media, say things in Fallujah are good," Mohammad Sammy, an aid worker for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Fallujah, told Inter Press Service (IPS). "Then why don't you come and live in this paradise with us? It is so easy to say things for you, isn't it?"

His anger is due to the fact that the embattled city is still completely closed and surrounded by military checkpoints... Since the November 2004 US-led attack on the city, named Operation Phantom Fury, which left approximately 70% of the city destroyed, the US military has required residents to undergo retina scans and finger-printing to gain a bar-code for identification...

All of the residents interviewed by IPS were extremely angry with the media for recent reports that the situation in the city is good. Many refused to be quoted for different reasons.

"Fallujah is probably the city that has had the most media coverage in the history of the occupation," Hatam Jawad, a school headmaster in Fallujah, told IPS. "People are tired of shouting and appearing on TV to complain, without feeling any change in their sorrowful living situation. Some of them are afraid of police revenge for telling the truth."

Many residents told IPS that US-backed Iraqi police and army personnel have detained people who have spoken to the media.

"I am not going to tell you whether it is good or bad to be a Fallujah resident," 55-year-old lawyer, Shakir Naji, told IPS. "Why don't you just ask what the prices of essential materials are and judge for yourself?"
As I've said before, Iraq is a war of SPIN, and Falluja is stranded on the Front Line.

But what is the plan here? The longer this injustice persists, the more the occupiers are hated, the worse conditions get, the more spin is needed.... Where does it end?