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A Letter From Basrah to the British People

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Iman Al-Saadun

I am sending this letter to the British people and, in particular, to the residents of London.

For a period of hours, you lived through moments of anxiety and horror. In those hours you lost a member of your family or a friend, and we wish to tell you, in total honesty, that we, too, grieve when human lives are lost. I cannot tell you how much we feel hurt when we see desperation and pain on the face of another person, for we have lived through this situation - and we continue to live through it everyday - since your country and the United States formed a coalition and laid plans to attack Iraq.

'Yes, our dead have names too. They have faces and stories and memories.'The prime minister of your country, Tony Blair, said that those who carried out the explosions did so in the name of Islam. The secretary of state of the United States, Condoleezza Rice, described the bombings as an act of barbarism. The United Nations Security Council met and unanimously condemned the event.

I would like to ask you, the free British people, in whose name was our country blockaded for 12 years? In whose name were our cities bombed using internationally prohibited weapons? In whose name did the British army kill Iraqis and torture them? Was that in your name? Or in the name of religion? Or humanity? Or freedom? Or democracy?

What do you call the killing of more than two million children? What do you call the pollution of soil and water with depleted uranium and other lethal substances? What do you call what happened in prisons in Iraq - Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca, and many other prison camps? What do you call the torture of men, women, and children? What do you call tying bombs to prisoners’ bodies and blowing them apart? What do you call the refinement of methods of torture for use in Iraqi prisoners - methods such as pulling off limbs, gouging out eyes, putting out cigarettes on prisoners’ skin, and using cigarette lighters to set fire to the hair on prisoners’ heads? Does the word “barbaric” adequately describe the behavior of your troops in Iraq?

May we ask why the Security Council did not condemn the massacre in Al-Amiriyah and what happened in Al-Fallujah, Tal a`far, Sadr City, and An-Najaf? Why does the world watch as our people are being killed and tortured and not condemn the crimes being committed against us?

Are you human beings and we something less? Do you think that only you can feel pain and we can’t? In fact it is we who are most aware of how intense the pain is of the mother who has lost her child, or the father who has lost his family. We know very well how painful it is to lose those you love.

You don’t know our martyrs, but we know them. You don’t remember them or cry over them, but we do.

Have you heard the name of the little girl Hannan Salih Matrud? Or of the boy Ahmad Jabir Karim? Or Sa`id Shabram?

Yes, our dead have names too. They have faces and stories and memories. There was a time when they were among us, laughing and playing. They had dreams, just as you have. They had a tomorrow awaiting them. But today they sleep among us with no tomorrow on which to wake.

We don’t hate the British people or other peoples of the world. This war was imposed on us, but we are now fighting it in defense of ourselves, because we want to live in our homeland - the free land of Iraq - and to live as we want to live, not as your government and the American government wish.

Let the families of those killed know that the responsibility for the Thursday morning London bombings lies with Tony Blair and his policies. Stop your war against our people! Stop the daily killings that your troops commit! End your occupation of our homeland!

Published Monday, July 18th, 2005 - 03:05pm GMT
Translated article courtesy of Islam Online
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