Saturday, March 29
Horror Chamber: Inside the Al-Amiriya Shelter
Ramzy Baroud, Counterpunch, March 29, 2003
Living most of my life in a refugee camp in Gaza, where the murder of innocent people at the hands of Israeli troops is routine, I was little hesitant to walk into al-Amiriya. I was not braced for what I would witness. I already knew that hundreds of people had wasted there, during the Gulf War, in 1991, when an American 'smart' bomb shattered the giant compound. But that's all I knew. [...]
When the American bomb fell, the shelter's doors shut down, automatically. The doors were designed to do so, since the attack was never expected to target the shelter itself, but nearby areas.
Those who didn't immediately die as a result of the massive explosion pounded at the door and screamed for help.
American officials at the time assured us that that the place was used for military purposes; as they always do, when innocent people are "mistakenly" killed.
The powerful explosion penetrated to the bottom floor where giant water tanks were stored. On that floor, families cooked and washed. Some of these tanks boiled with water. Seconds later, the tanks exploded and the boiling water rose to over three feet.
You could still see the mark of where the water rose, as well as the impression of the human flesh that melted to the wall due to the intense heat of the water.
"These are the marks of a woman's skin still holding her child," an Iraqi woman, who lost her entire family in al-Amiriya said. [...]
Over a week ago, the United States and its British allies began yet another war against Iraq, killing and maiming hundreds thus far, with the aim of "liberating Iraq", and "freeing the Iraqi people."
It's appalling how such twisted logic can hold for such a long time.
An MSNBC commentator explained the reason why the first day of bombings in Iraq, was so concentrated and not widespread. "We have to keep in mind that in a few days, we will own this country," he said.
We need not examine such statements however, nor the provocative comments made by top US army officials, nor the desecration of an Iraqi flag and the offensive replacement of an American one, after the Umm al-Qasr battle. If this eagerness to invade Iraq was for the sake of the Iraqi people, why have we tortured and starved an entire generation of them for so long?
We can disagree on the reasons behind the war; whether it was for strategic control, the oil or Israel. But rational people should have no illusions, that saving the Iraqi people is not one of the reasons we are investing over $100 billion to finance this indefensible war. If you wish to have further proof, pay a visit to al-Amiriya shelter. Despite everything, it is still standing.