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. Contributors Belal Alani
Human Rights in Iraq (1)

Belal Alani, Iraq, 10th of May, 2005.
With the recent events in Al `Ubaydi, Belal suggests what the violence in Iraq is not about.
My age is 45 years and I've lived in Iraq all this time. Human rights breaches in Iraq are notorious but with more diversity than just those usually shown in the light of ridicule.

In the past, the tyrant encroached on human rights by making pupils chant Saddam's praises every morning in the school square. By putting checkpoints in the entrance of the big city. By broadcasting only the activities of the leader every evening on the television.

This small extract of human-rights encroachment is what the mainstream media makes famous. But the anachronism is that the dictator is not alone in getting it wrong. In principle, the democratic regime respected and lauded human rights. His perspective on this was such as to ensure it ranked high in profile. Before I tell you the reality here, I emphasise this fact: "the Iraqi scene is painted with mess and chaos" and we have been losing between opponents to and proponents for those U.S. forces. Each side creates and escalates those events that will prove that their idea is right.

My story happened over the 7th and 8th of May, 2005. After midnight of Saturday the 7th, the calm of early morning atmosphere was broken by the voices of jets that continued 'till dawn. After sunrise fighting started, there was shooting everywhere in all directions and F16 jet airoplane raids for roughly 30 minutes.

They shot at every moving target including ambulance and medical services. The walls of our home were shook by every blast and sometimes we heard the screams of fighters. My family was terrified. At night my family and the families of our relatives, 27 people in all, gathered together in one home to try and comfort each other. Electric power was cut off due to the battle.

Fighting started at 7 o'clock in the morning, continuing without interruption untill 6 o'clock in the evening. Sunset was at 8 o'clock and from 6 to 9 there was a calm perior. After this jet fighters and helicopters started their raids.

The sharp-shooters spread over the roof of the building and got every moving target, including those who tried to make it to hospital. After midnight the situation calmed down and in the morning we found the bodies in the road.

We fled the city by the badly maintained clay roads branching from the city, under the dust spread overhead from the long caravan of drivers racing against time to get to safety.

The fact of battle is there are a group of resistance fighters, so-called Mojahiden inhabitants in residence. US troops, attacking them, killed more than 100 people. 11 of the victims were fighters, more than 90 were civillian women and children. My colleague tried to leave the city through the main road with his family and US troops shoot and killed him and injured the rest of his family . I am now out of the city and the city is still being shelled by the US forces.

That is enough details and so I return to the matter of human rights violations. These breaches are by the tyrant, the western regime and the fighter group, each of whom think (or pretend) that they try to bring freedom to the people. Human rights are just that, and we demand, and try to prevent, any body or regime to use the excuse of human rights as an excuse to satisfy their political goals and justify their criminal activities.

We need to be clear and frank with each other to understand and nurture human rights, and we strongly urge people to talk openly and think seriously about this important matter.

Belal Alani is an husband and father, controls and system engineer, and world citizen concerned with human-rights.

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