Friday, December 20, 2013

The ongoing protests hit the one year mark

As Iraqi Spring MC notes, the people turned out in Falluja.

For what?

To protest.

And not just any protest, today's efforts mark a full year of continuous protests.

December 21, 2012, this wave of protests kicked off.  Nothing has stopped them.  The flooding in Iraq didn't stop them.  The violence in Iraq didn't stop them.  Being targeted with threats and violence didn't stop them. Not even the Tuesday, April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija when Nouri's federal forces stormed in stopped the protests.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. AFP reported the death toll rose to 53. UNICEF informed the world that 8 of the dead were children and twelve more children were left injured.

Did the world care?

A number outside of Iraq did.  But it would have been more if the press had bothered to report the protests. A year long protest got very little coverage from the foreign media.

Iraqi Spring MC reports protests also took place in Ramadi, Samarra, Jalawla, Tikrit, among other places.

A year long protest.  And the western media couldn't show interest.  Even when they 'report' on (mention in passing) Hawija, they fail to note what UNICEF found.

8 children killed by Nouri's forces.

And the western media works overtime to cover and lie for Nouri.

While so many others were silent, the BRussells Tribunal carried a translation of one activist who was an eye-witness to what went down:


I am Thamer Hussein Mousa from the village of Mansuriya in the district of Hawija. I am disabled. My left arm was amputated from the shoulder and my left leg amputated from the hip, my right leg is paralyzed due to a sciatic nerve injury, and I have lost sight in my left eye.
I have five daughters and one son. My son’s name is Mohammed Thamer. I am no different to any other Iraqi citizen. I love what is good for my people and would like to see an end to the injustice in my country.

When we heard about the peaceful protests in Al-Hawija, taking place at ‘dignity and honor square’, I began attending with my son to reclaim our usurped rights. We attended the protests every day, but last Friday the area of protest was besieged before my son and I could leave; just like all the other protestors there.

Food and drink were forbidden to be brought into the area….

On the day of the massacre (Tuesday 23 April 2013) we were caught by surprise when Al-Maliki forces started to raid the area. They began by spraying boiling water on the protestors, followed by heavy helicopter shelling. My little son stood beside me. We were both injured due to the shelling.

My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.

Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

That was 8 months ago.  No one has been held responsible.  The western press won't even pressure Nouri to announce results from his supposed 'investigation' into the matter.

The brave Iraqi people suffer while the western press indulges their fascination with nonsense and their pretense that their own lives have meaning via trivia and escapism.

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda (responding to charges at The Smoking Gun), Tavis Smiley, Pacifica Evening News  and -- updated:

  • Bonnie reminds Kat's "Kat's Korner: Beyonce -- the fake ass feminist who sells violence against women"
     went up yesterday -- calling out Beyonce selling violence against women as sexy.  In other news of violence against women, late last night, Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               CONTACT: Murray Press Office (202) 224-2834
    Thursday, December 19, 2013                                                    Ayotte Press Office (202) 224-3324
    MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT: Final Defense Bill Includes Murray-Ayotte Reform to Better Protect Victims
    Murray-Ayotte provision would provide trained military lawyers to victims of sexual assault in all service branches
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) released the following statements after the United States Senate approved the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes their bipartisan legislation to provide victims of sexual assault in all military branches with a Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) – a trained and certified military lawyer to assist victims throughout the legal process. The defense bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 84-15, also includes dozens of major reforms to protect and support victims of sexual assault, boost prosecutions, and hold military commanders accountable. 
    Today we have taken a major, unprecedented step toward finally eliminating the plague of sexual assault in our nation’s military,” said Senator Murray. “Thanks to the voices of countless victims, the work of thousands of advocates, and the bipartisan cooperation of my colleagues, we have shone a light on an issue that for too long has left so many of our nation’s heroes in the shadows. I’d especially like to thank Senator Ayotte for her partnership as we worked to enact this reform, which truly gets at the heart of effectively addressing the tragic epidemic facing our men and women in uniform. I look forward to President Obama’s signature on this legislation and in the coming months will work closely with Secretary Hagel and the incoming Director of the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, Major General Jeffrey Snow, to ensure swift implementation of our legislation.”
    “Providing sexual assault victims with their own military lawyer takes a major step toward empowering victims and making sure they get the guidance they need,” said Senator Ayotte. “The special victims’ counsel provision will help encourage victims to come forward to seek justice, and it will help ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes. I appreciated the opportunity to work with Senator Murray on this bipartisan measure, which is part of a broad package of reforms to address sexual assault in our military.”
    In August, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed immediate implementation of several measures to “gain greater consistency of effort and enhance oversight, investigative quality, pretrial investigations and victim support” in cases of military sexual assault. Among other measures, the directive includes implementation of a special victims’ advocacy program to assist sexual assault victims in all branches through the legal process, similar to the legislation introduced by Senators Murray and Ayotte.
    Senators Murray and Ayotte have worked for much of the year to advance legislation to prevent sexual assaults in the militaryLast month, Senators Murray and Ayotte  joined a bipartisan group of female Senators on the floor to speak out against sexual assault in the military and call on their colleagues to support some of the historic changes being made to prevent this scourge.

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