Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some names can wait and wait and wait

A man at a gun portal in the back of the last armored vehicle began shooting an automatic weapon into the hood and windshield of car. Then another guard leaned out of a door and did the same, police said.
Between them, they fired about 30 times, said Hamed Ali, an Iraqi policeman who was manning a checkpoint at the shooting site. The car was about 75 yards from the armored vehicles when the shooting started, he said as he showed journalists the skid marks.
"There was no reason at all to shoot at these women," he said.
Killed were the driver, Geneva Jalal Antranik, about 30, an employee in a church, and Marani Awanis Manouik, about 48.
The women suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Antranik was also hit in the chest, said officers at a nearby police station where their car was moved after the shootings.
A boy riding in the back seat of the white sedan suffered only minor injuries, but panicked and ran after the shooting, and police couldn't find him.
Unity Resources Group often escorts staff of RTI, a North Carolina-based contractor to the U.S. Agency for International Development, but no RTI personnel were in the vehicles, the company said.

The above is from Jay Price and Mohammed Al Dulaimy's "Security contractor, this time from Dubai, kills 2 Iraqi civilians" (McClatchy Newspapers). AP also notes the victims:

The woman driving the car tried to stop but was killed along with the passenger when two guards in the convoy opened fire, Majid said, adding the convoy then raced away and Iraqi police came to collect the bodies and tow the car, with blood still splattered on its white door, to the local police station. The victims were identified by relatives and police as Marou Awanis, born in 1959, as Geneva Jalal, born in 1977.

In an overly long article (takes a lot of paragraphs to say "nothing to see here"), entitled "2 Iraqi Women Killed in Shooting by Security Convoy" Andrew E. Kramer and James Glanz (New York Times) wait until the three paragraphs from the end to identify the victims. For those who haven't seen the article, it's 28 paragraphs long and it's the 26th paragraph when the two women are finally named. From Tina Susman and Christian Berthelsen's "Private security guards kill 2 in Iraq" (Los Angeles Times):

Unity Resources, which is run by former Australian army personnel, was investigated last year in connection with the shooting of a 72-year-old agriculture professor at the University of Baghdad, according to Australian media. The Australian Foreign Ministry at the time said the professor, Kays Juma, was shot because his vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint in the capital.Some witnesses confirmed that a flare was fired, but at least two said guards fired into the vehicle after it had been partially disabled by warning shots. One witness said the vehicle, which carried at least three women and one child, had rolled to a halt when the women inside were shot.

If two women were shot dead in the United States and the press noted it, do you really think reports would either not name the women or wait paragraph after paragraph before doing so?
That wouldn't happen. It would be: Who, what, where, when. It would open with "____ and ____ were shot dead yesterday . . ." So all these years after the illegal war began, why is it that Iraqis are still rendered invisible?

Non-Iraq topic, but also invisible, labor in this country. As Union Network International notes, protests in San Francisco last week saw 23 demonstrators arrested in an action where security guards were calling attention to their low wages, lack of affordable health care and training. The demonstration was part of an ongoing action. Labor reporter David Bacon has a report of it online -- photos and text. Communities Without Borders and The Children of NAFTA are two books on the topic of labor (by Bacon) that you can also check out.