Sunday, July 12, 2009

WWB: the destruction and murder of Ali's family

WHAT WAR BRINGS: the destruction and murder of Ali’s family

On Saturday evening, August 20, 2005, Ali’s entire family was murdered. He was the only survivor of the attack.

His full name is Ali Nasir Jabur and he was 10 years old. He lived in Tikrit with his mother, father, two brothers and a sister. They were at home that evening – or night – when gunman wearing Iraqi security forces uniforms showed up at their home and proceeded to kill all of them except Ali. He hid under a blanket while the massacre happened. He survived.

The world only knows about this incident because of a couple of pictures taken by Bassim Daham, who worked for the Associated Press at the time. One photo showed a pile of bodies wrapped in blankets in the back of a pick up truck.

Ali is there too sitting on his heels, with his head in his left hand, and a look of utter grief and forlorn hope on his face. Picture on the right.

In the other photo, Ali is burying his face in his hands, while sitting in the truck with his dead family. Picture above.

Here is the photo caption: Ali Nasir Jabur, 10, sits on the back of a truck loaded with the bodies of his family members, outside Tikrit hospital, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2005. Ali's parents, two brothers and sister were killed when unknown gunmen wearing Iraqi security forces uniforms raided their home the previous night, while he was hidden under a blanket. (AP Photo/Bassim Daham)

His world was shattered. He lost everything that August night, and lost it forever.

There were NO stories or news reports on this hideous incident at the time it happened. (A few months later, the NYT ran an article and mentioned Ali, but they had a different age (12) and a different city (Samara) than the original photos. They did say he was living in Kut with relatives at that time. I don’t know how reliable their story is.)

Now, at this point in time we can be pretty sure that those gunmen were not just WEARING Iraqi security forces uniforms, they actually WERE IRAQI SECURITY FORCES.

We may never know what caused them to do this act of cold blooded murder, or what Ali’s family knew or had or were related too that might have inspired this hideous crime. Maybe it was because they belonged to a certain sect, maybe it was because of their father’s involvement with the resistance or maybe he was a criminal too.

Most likely, the father was innocent. Most likely, the mother was innocent too. The children were surely innocent.

We know that these death squads started running around Iraq in Iraqi security forces uniforms, or in Iraqi police uniforms, or in Iraqi army uniforms, shortly after NEGROPONTE showed up. Where NEGROPONTE goes, death squads follow.

In the overwhelming violence sweeping Iraq at this time in 2005, it is unlikely that much was done in the way of justice for Ali and his family. In the extreme violence that followed in 2006 and 2007, I imagine it was swept aside.

And Ali was left to survive as best he could, and hopefully his extended family is taking care of him. (The NYT article mentioned that this happened, but I don’t know for sure if that happened or not.) Someday, I hope to communicate with this child and find out what happened to him since this horrific act of violence against his family.

But I did take some action on Ali’s behalf. I took the single photo from the AP and put it on 100 letters addressed to US Senators. I added my own request that they help this child and that they take some action to stop the escalating sectarian violence going on in Iraq at the time….. to stop it before it spun out of control into a full-fledged civil war. I also did this for the 13 Representatives from North Carolina.

Then I went to DC in September 2005 and hand delivered all these letters.

I could tell from the responses of the staff in the various political offices that the vast majority of them did not give a shit about this child, his losses, or what pain the people of Iraq might be suffering. They just did not give a shit.

There were a few exceptions in the Democratic Senators offices. There was one except in the Republican offices. Rep. Walter Jones office seemed to care. Senator Lautenberg, Senator Sanders, Senator Kennedy and a few more seemed to care.

None of them responded to me. None of them took any action.

I came to the realization (over those two days of hand delivering this child’s story) that we are governed by a bunch of psychopaths.

I went back in May 2006 and handed each of them another appeal. New Congress – same results.

I was not saving photos of Iraqis at that time (but I am now). I have a paper copy of Ali, laminated, sitting on my desk.

How many Ali’s are there that we know nothing about?

Oh, I bet there are thousands in Iraq alone.

If you support the continued occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan, or the bombing of Pakistan, then you support WHAT WAR BRINGS: the destruction and murder of Ali’s family.

1 comment:

dancewater said...

I hope you are not one of those people who complain about paying taxes after going around saying "freedom isn't free".

Having a military and sending them off to occupy countries cost a LOT of money.