Sunday, April 26, 2015

Editorial: Hawija, the forgotten massacre

Even on the second anniversary of the Hawija massacre, no one could be bothered in the US.

In Iraq, they remembered.

Iraqi Spring MC certainly remembered:

Nouri's slaughter.  The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  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 eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

They were peaceful protesters.

The 2010 Iraqi vote was overturned by US President Barack Obama who insisted thug Nouri al-Maliki get a second term despite his political slate coming in second once the votes were counted (and then recounted when Nouri stomped his feet).

The US-brokered Erbil Agreement gave Nouri a second term.

The political leaders signed off on the contract which found them agreeing Nouri would get a second term and found Nouri agreeing, in exchange for that second term, certain things they wanted, like his agreeing to political sharing, agreeing to implement Article 150 of the Iraqi Constitution and his creating an independent national security commission and . . .

You know what?

It doesn't matter.

Because Nouri used the contract to get his second term but refused to honor his promises in it.

And the White House that had said the contract had their full backing?

They dummied up and pretended not to know anything.

So it was left to Iraqi leaders to demand the contract be honored.

Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr joined with Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barazni (among others) to demand in the summer of 2011 that Nouri implement the contract.

He refused.

So as 2011 turned to 2012, the demand became, implement it or we will hold a vote of confidence in Parliament.

They were playing by the rules.

The US wasn't.

Once the signatures were gathered for the no confidence vote, the US pressured spineless Jalal Talabani (then president of Iraq) not to present the petition to Parliament.

And that's when the Iraqi people were stripped of their votes, where their leaders were overruled and when they were left with nothing but protest.

Nouri's response was to attack them.

He called them "terrorists."  He had his forces attack them.  He had his forces intimidate them by following them to their homes.

He did this publicly.

And the world turned a blind eye.

That's how Iraq arrived at its current state.

The Hawija massacre is one of the most important Iraq stories of the last eight years but it's also one that has been ignored by most US outlets.

Also ignored was the lack of an investigation into the assault.

April 24, 2013,   US State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell declared, "I don't have an update from yesterday, other than to say you heard us --  well, the only update is I believe that the Iraqi Government has called for an investigation. So we do want a fair, transparent, timely investigation that has broad participation."

But if they wanted it, they never demanded it.

And the State Dept. never again mentioned the investigation or Hawija.

 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.


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