From an article in the New Statesman, 05/11/2007. Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist and war reporter, visits Yarmouk Hospital searching for information on the atrocities happening in Fallujah. He comes across several children from areas south of Baghdad. One of these is a twelve-year-old girl from Latifiya. Her name is Fatima Harouz.
She lay dazed in a crowded hospital room, limply waving her bruised arm at the flies. Her shins, shattered by bullets from US soldiers when they fired through the front door of her house, were both covered by casts. Small plastic drainage bags filled with red fluid sat upon her abdomen, where she took shrapnel from another bullet. Her mother told us, "They attacked our home, and there weren't even any resistance fighters in our area."
Fatima's uncle was shot and killed, his wife had been wounded, and their home was ransacked by soldiers. "Before they left, they killed all our chickens." A doctor who was with us looked at me and asked, "This is the freedom. In their Disneyland are there kids just like this?"
Jamail goes on to describe another young woman with a chest wound where a bullet had grazed her. That same bullet carried on past to kill her little brother. Both were shot by US soldiers while walking home through Baghdad. And then another boy, Amin, recovering from an operation to remove shrapnel from near his kidney.
[Amin's] father had been killed by what his mother described as "the haphazard shooting of the Americans." The boy, Amin, lay in his bed vacillating between crying with pain and playing with his toy car.
The body count for yesterday, from the Iraq Body Count site, currently stands at 28. If this happened in any number of other countries, it would be international news. For Iraq, that was a good day. Jamail's article in the New Statesman made me angry. Not only with the perpetrators- however indirect- of these deaths, but also with myself. Until reading this article, I hadn't thought about how the articles about Iraq had tailed off recently. To be fair to newspaper editors, an endless death toll isn't exactly the best way to sell papers. Even so, it made me more than a little ashamed.
Four years ago- when I was thirteen, for those of you who are counting- I took part in a huge march protesting the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Now, even then, I accepted that Saddam Hussein was probably untenable as a leader. I accept that I am, for the most part, ignorant of how to liberate a country. I do not accept that between 76,226 and 83,042 civilians had to die as a result of the violent situation in Iraq. I also refuse to allow people to remain ignorant of the facts.