Outrage Spreads in Arab World

Sunday, 30 March 2003 19:31 by: Anonymous

Editor's Note:  Understand this passage for what it is, and for what it means to you and your family and your country:  "Mr. Bush has lost us. We are gone. Enough. That's the end," said Diaa Rashwan, head of the comparative politics unit at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "If America starts winning tomorrow, there will be suicide bombing that will start in America the next day. It is a whole new level now."

By Emily Wax
Washington Post

Sunday 30 March 2003

Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Market Called a 'Massacre'

CAIRO -- A shuddering sense of outrage at President Bush and the United States fell over the Arab world today as television networks and newspapers reported a U.S. air assault that Iraqi officials said killed 58 people at a vegetable market in Baghdad.

"Monstrous martyrdom in Baghdad," said a huge headline in al-Dustur, a newspaper in Amman, Jordan.

"Dreadful massacre in Baghdad," read a banner headline in Egypt's mass circulation Akhbar al-Yawm newspaper. Photos of two young victims of the blast covered half its front page.

"Yet another massacre by the coalition of invaders," read the main headline in Saudi Arabia's popular al-Riyadh daily.

"Mr. Bush has lost us. We are gone. Enough. That's the end," said Diaa Rashwan, head of the comparative politics unit at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "If America starts winning tomorrow, there will be suicide bombing that will start in America the next day. It is a whole new level now."

The anger was a clear sign that U.S.-Arab relations, despite the Bush administration's campaign to win hearts and minds, was at a low point.

"Bush is an occupier and terrorist. He thought he was playing a video game," said George Elnaber, 36, a Arab Christian and the owner of a supermarket in Amman. "We hate Americans more than we hate Saddam now," he said, referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The popular al-Jazeera satellite television network broadcast the funerals of those killed at the market. It repeatedly showed pictures of severed body parts and wounded toddlers bandaged and crying in hospital beds.

"Those pictures have showed that America's war is not only against the Iraqi regime and the Iraqi army, but also against the Iraqi children and elderly. How can we trust them now?" said Mahmoud Sahiouny, 19, a Syrian computer science student who lives in Beirut.

The United States has said it is investigating whether its forces caused the market blast Friday in a mainly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. But many Arabs said the bloodshed was clearly the fault of the United States.

A group of women using computers at an Internet cafe in Cairo displayed some of their e-mails containing pictures of funerals, wailing women, mourning men and the bodies of children in cradle-sized coffins.

"This is a media war, and America will realize sooner or later that we Arabs have a million alternatives now," Rana Khoury, 20, a political science student at the American University of Beirut. "What really hurts is when I turned to American stations, they were talking about the humanitarian aid that the allies are providing for the Iraqi people. They didn't even mention those who were massacred."

The outrage was also felt in Syria, which suffered war casualties when a U.S. missile accidentally hit a busload of civilians Monday in Iraq about 100 miles from the Syrian border.

"I was watching what was happening and I found myself cursing for the first time in my life," a 17-year-old student named Lama told the Reuters news agency. "I felt I wanted to kill, not only curse."

In Cairo, some residents with long ties to the United States said that the bombing of civilians made them lose all hope that relations could return to normal.

"It is as if you are watching a horror movie," said Summer Said, a journalist for the Cairo Times, an English-language newsmagazine. "I thought, at first, okay, maybe it isn't a war for oil. Maybe America does want to help. Now, it's genocide to me. Is the American government trying to exterminate Arabs?"

"This war is affecting civilians primarily. I did not expect to see civilians bombed and I feel exceedingly angry," wrote Ezzat El Kamhawy, a respected Egyptian novelist. "This war can only harm the future of democracy in the area. . . . What is happening now does not implicate the future of the Arabs alone but the future of America herself."

Some of the people interviewed said that they had hated leaders like Osama bin Laden but that now they were ready to fight and believed that attacks on the United States would be justified.

"For every man they kill, there will be four or five people who want revenge for this person's life. They can't just kill people and have it be forgotten," said Ali Sabry, 43, a building attendant in Cairo. "America is our enemy now. They have millions of Muslims praying against them every day."

Go to Original

Following the Bombs
By Doug Johnson

Thursday 27 March 2003

I m overwhelmed and tired.  For three days now I ve concentrated on visiting injured civilians in hospitals and seeing bombed sites.

This morning I accompanied April to the Al Kindi Hospital where we interviewed an extended family of 25 that had been living in six houses together on one farm just outside of Baghdad.  At 6:00 PM yesterday, B-52s dropped cluster bombs on their farm, destroying all six houses, killing four and severely injuring many others.  Even the farm animals were killed.  We were told that yellow cylinders landed in their yard, and when they and the animals crept closer to investigate, the bombs detonated.  The father of one of these families, Saaed Shalish, age 36 a farmer, lost two sons but he has not yet been told.  Doctors tell me that he s in critical condition.
I also met Ali Jasem, age 8, whose farm house was destroyed by a missile and whose father was killed from decapitation.  Ali received surgery to remove shrapnel from his head.
Later, April and I met Ishmel Shakir Kareem, age 60, who is a low income day worker who was a passenger in a car that was knocked over while driving through the Shallal Market area of the Al Sha ab District of Baghdad.  The bombing occurred at 1:30 PM yesterday, and I have just returned from the bombing site.  This is an impoverished area of houses and small shops far removed from any military targets.  The bomb struck the median between the parkway, breaking nearly every window on the street, demolishing and burning a ramshackle auto repair shop, gutting a small diner and destroying the apartments above it.  Sitting next to the bomb s crater in the median are a number of car remains. Crunched, mangled, and scorched car frames give testimony to the bomb s indiscriminate destruction.  At the hospital April and I were told that 5 people died in that attack.  On the street, however, people insist the deaths reach 15 or 16. 
I also met Hasem Hamid Shakir, age 26, who was injured in another bombing in the same district of Al Sha ab.  He sustained injuries to his left leg from quarter-size shrapnel that penetrated his car as he was driving.  He claimed to have witnessed a whole family burn to death inside their car, and claimed that a school had been damaged by bombs.  Today I witnessed that site as well, and I can verify Hasem s story as true.  A bomb was apparently detonated above a residential home next to a school, tearing apart the house s top floor with shrapnel and breaking most of the school s windows.  I m told that the US media is claiming that Iraq is bombing their own people to frame the US, but I don t buy it. Bombs are dropping on Baghdad as I write this, and I m willing to wager they re not Iraqi bombs.  Let s get this straight. The US is waging war on Iraq and has been for the last 12 and a half years. US bombs are dropping everywhere.  They have even broken windows in my hotel.  These bombs are not that smart.
Earlier today I also met a number of Syrians who claimed to have been bombed by Apache helicopters while riding in a caravan of three busses from Syria to Baghdad.  The attack, they say, occurred at the 160 K Station next to a bridge.  Allegedly a helicopter bombed the bridge, causing the vehicles to stop suddenly and collide with one another.  As they scrambled to exit the vehicles, the buses were bombed.

As they waited to be rescued, their buses were bombed again. According to Abdul Malik Tutangi, age 45, 16 civilians were killed and 19 injured in the attack.
Yesterday I visited another home destroyed by a US bomb in a residential area.  The home was a half block from a school and about three blocks from the hospital.  Because of the weather, visiting this site was like walking on another planet.  After the intense sand storm the day before, white powder seemed to linger in the air and settle in places almost like snow.  Breathing became difficult.  Visibility became null.  My clothes stained from white specks. Windshields became blurry and smeared.  The sky took on colors I ve never seen before in my 43 years. Every Iraqi I ve talked to says they ve never seen anything like it.  The sky was yellow on one horizon and orange on the other.  Street lights radiated a fuzzy, phosphorescent green.  I kept looking around, thinking what is this?  What s going on?   April and I speculated that the US may be experimenting with a new weapon or messing with the atmosphere, and although this may sound outlandish, after enduring US bombing for a week and then seeing surreal colors in the sky, it s easy to imagine the two are connected.
Now that the sky is clear, bombing has intensified.  Several large explosions have just shaken the building.  It s funny, but you actually get used to it.  The only affect it has on the Iraqis is that it pisses them off and they can t wait for the US soldiers to arrive on the ground so that they can put up the fight of their lives.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Last modified on Monday, 21 April 2008 13:37