Bush claims victory, he gets shoes

 

* The 50,000 Signatures Campaign for Muntataha Zaidi: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/iwffomuntatharalzaidi/

*Read also: A lantern, a red rag and a pair of shoes (Dirk Adriaensens, member of the BRussells Tribunal, 19 Dec 2008)

*Read also:  "The Story of My Shoe". Munthadar Al-Zaidi's speech on his recent release (15 Sept 2009)

[FRANCAIS]

 

Demand for the immediate release of Muntadhar Al-Zaidi

Statement by The BRussells Tribunal Committee (15 December 2008)

 

In one magnificent act, Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Al-Baghdadiya television, epitomized the truth of the defeat of the United States in Iraq and lifted the spirit of resistance within the hearts of all Arabs, matching that of the Iraqi people who continue to resist imperialism and colonialism and who refuse humiliation.

 

It is Bush who is humiliated, and from it he cannot recover. He had snuck into Iraq, unannounced, to sign an illegal treaty with his puppet stooge aimed at institutionalizing the US occupation. Two flying shoes destroyed the façade upon which he and his cronies claim victory in Iraq.

 

For the orphans and widows

 

The greatest expression of contempt in Arab culture is wielding a shoe to an adversary. Bush and his criminal cronies deserve contempt. Bush claims not to know what Al-Zaidi’s “cause” is. Al-Zaidi made it clear: the shoes he threw at Bush were for the orphans and widows of Bush’s imperial war that to date has killed more than 1.2 million Iraqis and displaced six million more.

 

The shoes were thrown equally in the direction of Bush’s local puppets proof that no government under occupation can be legitimate or gain legitimacy, that resistance expresses the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, exposing the Bush-Maliki agreement as worthless and devoid of legality. Two flying shoes expressed the paradise that is resistance in comparison to the ignominy of submission. Iraq is unbreakable, its people proven proud and invincible.

 

Al-Zaidi needs protection

 

Following five and a half years of relentless destruction and killing, it is clear that Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, in daring to challenge the imperial United States, took a step into that grey zone between the human right to life and the permanent threat of death wielded by imperialism. Given the Maliki government’s eagerness in summarily executing its political opponents including their lawyers and as he is reportedly in the direct custody of Maliki’s own security guards, we have firm reason to believe that Al-Zaidi is in immediate danger of being tortured and/or assassinated.

 

We remind all that Muntadhar Al-Zaidi is a protected person under international humanitarian law, which governs the US occupation, and has guaranteed rights under international human rights law.[1] International humanitarian and human rights law outlaws torture and summary execution, incommunicado detention, the ill treatment of detainees, or denial of access to legal counsel. The US occupation is directly responsible for Al-Zaidi’s welfare and must guarantee his security. As a journalist, he must be afforded extra protection.

 

Appeal for action

 

Following Al-Zaidi’s action, thousands have taken to the street in his support and countless statements are being written in his defence. We salute his courage, demand to know his exact location, and join millions in demanding his immediate release.

 

We join all patriotic Arabs and the Iraqi people who today celebrate their dignity, visually announced and reaffirmed in the public humiliation of a disgraced American president.

 

We call upon all human rights organizations and bodies, including responsible organs of the United Nations, along with journalists’ syndicates and associations, to defend the right to security and life of Muntadhar Al-Zaidi and work to ensure his immediate release. 

 

The BRussells Tribunal Committee

15 December 2008

 

Please circulate this appeal widely.  

 

* Bush gets shoes: http://www.youtube.com/v/OM3Z_Kskl_U

 

* Hel Laila Hilwa Hussein Al-A’dhami: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHasAMLQByk

 

[1] See Articles 6-7 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Articles 113 and 116 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.


Bush clame la victoire, il obtient des chaussures

  Demande de la libération immédiate de Muntather Al-Zaidi 

 Déclaration et appel du BRussells Tribunal, 15 Decembre 2008.

En un magnifique acte, Muntather Al-Zaidi, un journaliste iraquien d'Al-Baghdadiya télévision, a incarné la réalité de la défaite des Etats-Unis en Irak et a soulevé l'esprit de résistance dans le cœur de tous les Arabes, à la même hauteur que celui du peuple iraquien, peuple qui continue à résister à l'impérialisme et au colonialisme et qui refuse l'humiliation.  

C'est Bush qui est humilié, et de cela il ne peut se relever. Il s'était introduit en Iraq, sans etre annoncé, pour signer un traité illégal avec son comparse marionnette, visant à institutionnaliser l'occupation américaine. Deux chaussures en vol ont détruit la façade sur laquelle lui et ses comparses criaient victoire en Irak.  

Pour les orphelins et les veuves  

La plus grande expression de mépris dans la culture arabe est de brandir une chaussure envers un adversaire. Bush et ses amis criminels méritent le mépris. Bush affirme ne pas savoir ce qu'est la "cause" de Al- Zaidi. Al-Zaidi l'a précisée: les chaussures qu'il a jetées à Bush l'ont été pour les orphelins et les veuves  de la guerre impériale de Bush laquelle à ce jour a tué plus de 1,2 millions d'Iraquiens et déplacé six millions d’autres.  

Les chaussures ont été lancées également dans la direction de la marionnette locale de Bush - la preuve qu' aucun gouvernement sous occupation ne peut être légitime ou gagner en légitimité, que la résistance exprime la souveraineté du peuple iraquien et que l'accord de Bush-Maliki est inutile et dépourvu de légalité. Deux chaussures en vol ont exprimé le paradis qu'est la résistance par rapport à l'ignominie de la soumission. L'Iraq est incassable, son peuple a prouvé qu’il est fier et invincible.  

Al-Zaidi a besoin de protection  

Après cinq ans et demi de destruction et de meurtres impitoyables, il est clair que Muntather Al-Zaidi, en osant contester les États-Unis impériaux, a fait un pas dans cette zone trouble entre le droit de l'homme à la vie et la menace permanente de mort brandie par l'impérialisme. Étant donné la volonté du gouvernement Maliki d'exécuter sommairement ses opposants politiques - y compris leurs avocats - et que Al Zaidi est aux mains des propres gardes de sécurité de Maliki, nous avons des raisons fermes de croire que Al-Zaidi est en danger immédiat d' être torturé et / ou assassiné.  

Nous rappelons à tous que Muntather Al-Zaidi est une personne protégée par le droit international humanitaire qui régit l'occupation américaine, et que Muntather a des droits garantis en vertu des instruments internationaux des droits de l'homme[1]. Le droit humanitaire international et des droits de l'homme interdit la torture et les exécutions sommaires, les détentions secrètes, le mauvais traitement des détenus, le refus d'accès à un avocat. L'occupation américaine est directement responsable du bien-être de Al Zaidi et doit garantir sa sécurité. En tant que journaliste il doit avoir accès à une protection supplémentaire.  

Appel à l'action  

Après l'acte de Al-Zaidi, des milliers de personnes sont descendues dans la rue en sa faveur et d'innombrables déclarations sont écrites en sa défense. Nous saluons son courage, nous demandons à connaître son emplacement exact et nous nous associons aux millions qui exigent sa libération immédiate.  

Nous nous associons à tous les Arabes patriotes et au peuple irakien qui, aujourd'hui, célèbrent leur dignité,  annoncée par image et réaffirmée dans l'humiliation publique d'un président américain disgracié.  

Nous demandons à tous les organismes et associations des droits de l'homme, y compris les responsables des organes des Nations Unies, ainsi qu'aux syndicats et associations de journalistes , de défendre le droit à la sécurité et à la vie de Muntather Al-Zaidi et de travailler pour assurer sa libération immédiate.   

Le Comité BRussells Tribunal  

15 Décembre 2008  

S'il vous plaît circuler largement cet appel. 

Bush reçois des chaussures: http://www.youtube.com/v/OM3Z_Kskl_U

Hel Laila Hilwa Hussein Al-A’dhami: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHasAMLQByk

 

[1] Voir Articles 6-7 and 14 du International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights et Articles 113 and 116 de la Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.


A lantern, a red rag and a pair of shoes

 Dirk Adriaensens (member of the BRussells Tribunal, 19 Dec 2008)

Foreword by Manuel Talens, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee, member of the web collectives Cubadebate, Rebelión and Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity: About heroes, fake heroes and the decline of capitalist mythology (Is there anything in the world that money can’t buy?)

2008, the year that is coming to an end will be remembered for many things: George Bush, the most sanguinary tyrant in recent history, gave way to Barack Obama, the first Black Usamerican president. Several Latin American countries followed their anti-imperialist path and consolidated their popular and democratic victories. The resistant fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan kept their occupiers busy and in the defensive while the whole African continent continued to die a little bit more, a victim of multinationals, arm traffickers and middle-sized post-colonial powers. But above all these events 2008 will be remembered for the beginning of the worst financial crisis in history, a crisis that not only mirrors in many ways the one of 1929 but is succeeding on its relentless destruction of all previously considered inviolable myths of capitalism. Let’s review some of them:

For the first time in the not so long history of our “democratic” bourgeois democracies the unthinkable has happened: a Western state ― Iceland ― went bankrupt and I have no doubt that others will follow. A second myth that is now something of the past is the supposed economic solidity of multinational giants like American Motors, Chrysler or big megabanks all over the world. They were hard as a rock but now have proven to have feet of clay. Who will trust them again if people have lost their faith and faith was their “only” real asset?

On the political front the crisis has been devastating for our former socialist parties, nowadays reconverted to social democracy. Capitalism has never allowed a true left wing party to control power through the vote. This axiom should have alerted left-wing voters to distrust the easiness with which social democratic parties were permitted to govern in our Western hemisphere. But the political scam was not even there: it was instead on the left-wing rhetoric social democrats used to lure possible voters and to keep alive the marvellous fiction of being able to choose between right and left. There was not ever such a choice: all social democrats are on the right. Now the crisis has burst open this left-right myth as these so-called socialists on government (i.e. Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Hungary, the UK, etc.) are financing the rich thieves with public money in order to save the failing capitalist economy they have always supported.

Even one of the last bastions of decorum is now under suspicion. The Nobel Prize of Medicine, the ultimate honour of science, apparently can also be bought! Is there anything in the world that money can’t buy?

And last but not least the current financial crisis has destroyed the myth of capitalist heroes. Who were they? Millionaire sport stars, decadent singers, Hollywood famous faces with six digit salaries, soldiers of imperialist armies honoured when they return home after having raped girls from poor countries and having killed babies and innocent people… as well as Wall Street brokers like Bernie Maldoff, who used to give big sums to charities and was revered for it until the financial crisis left him naked and showed the real face of capitalism. Is it possible to be a loving, affectionate human being when the thirst of power and accumulation of capital are the main targets in life? I repeat: is there anything in the world that money can’t buy?

My answer is yes: money can’t buy dignity. Dear reader, the article you are about to read deals with examples of just the opposite to these fake capitalist heroes. Dirk Adriaensens presents them as they are: simple human beings who did great actions risking their lives and they did it for the sake of dignity and love. There was no money involved on it. They even didn’t pretend to be heroic and this is precisely why they are heroes. Their flesh is not papier-mâché like the flesh of capitalist heroes. Greed is not their business. They are just left-wingers.― Manuel Talens

This Prologue published on http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=6627&lg=en

************************

 

Small actions from ordinary people can have maximum impact in times of manifest injustice. Man can do extraordinary things out of love for his fellow-man, out of love for justice and freedom, out of indignation over useless killings and destruction. One man can reflect the feelings and aspirations of a whole nation and become a hero. One such person is Munthadhar Al-Zaidi.

 

Sami Ramadani writes in the Guardian: the 28-year-old TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi made history not by merely throwing a pair of shoes, the highest expression of insult in Iraqi culture, at the US president, but by what he said while doing so. Strip the words away, and his and the Iraqi people's cry of deep pain, anger and defiance would amount to no more than a shoe-throwing insult. But the words were heard. "This is the farewell kiss, you dog," he shouted as he threw the first shoe. The crucial line followed the second shoe: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." Once those words were heard, the impact of a pair of shoes became electrifying. A young journalist has put aside the demands of his profession, preferring to act as the loudest cry of his long-suffering people. If one considers the torture and killings in Iraqi and US jails that Muntadhar often mentioned in his reports for al-Baghdadia satellite TV station, he was certainly aware he risked being badly hurt.  

 

When Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, shouted, "This is the farewell kiss, you dog" to Bush and threw him his shoes during a news conference in Baghdad, the curtain of hypocrisy fell and the ugly emperor stood naked in front of the world, writes Gabriele Zamparini on his blog

 

In one magnificent act, Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Al-Baghdadiya television, epitomized the truth of the defeat of the United States in Iraq and lifted the spirit of resistance within the hearts of all Arabs, matching that of the Iraqi people who continue to resist imperialism and colonialism and who refuse humiliation, comments the statement of the BRussells Tribunal. The greatest expression of contempt in Arab culture is wielding a shoe to an adversary. Bush and his criminal cronies deserve contempt. Bush claims not to know what Al-Zaidi’s “cause” is. Al-Zaidi made it clear: the shoes he threw at Bush were for the orphans and widows of Bush’s imperial war that to date has killed more than 1.2 million Iraqis and displaced six million more. 

 

While the uprisings of Falluja, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad against the occupation will always remain as landmarks of a people resisting occupation, these incredible seconds have united Iraqis in the most dramatic fashion

 

Sami Ramadani continues: Muntadhar is a secular socialist whose hero happens to be Che Guevara. He became a prominent leftwing student leader immediately after the occupation, while at Baghdad University's media college. He reported for al-Baghdadia on the poor and downtrodden victims of the US war. He was first on the scene in Sadr City and wherever people suffered violence or severe deprivation. He not only followed US Apache helicopters' trails of death and destruction, but he was also among the first to report every "sectarian" atrocity and the bombing of popular market places. He let the victims talk first. 

 

Resistance actions should be remembered. 

 

Resistance to foreign occupation didn’t start with the illegal invasion of Iraq. It also happened in occupied Europe in WW2. And as in Iraq, the resistance fighters were labelled as “terrorists” by the German occupiers and the Quisling government. Al-Zaidi threw his shoes for the widows and orphans killed in Iraq by the US nazis, Robert Maistriau saved more than 200 jews of a certain death by the hands of the German nazis.

 

On Friday 29th of September 2008 Robert Maistriau died aged 87. He was 22 when he and two friends hijacked a train deporting over 1,600 Jews from Belgium to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.  

 

On the night of April 19, 1943, the trio Maistriau, Youra Livchitz (25) and Jean Franklemon (25) bicycled from their Brussels homes some 40 kilometers to Boortmeerbeek in Flanders.

There they wrapped their lantern in a red rag and laid it on the eastbound railway track as an impromptu stop sign. Lying in the darkness, they watched as the train ground to a halt. 

Maistriau then crept out and ran to the train, forcing a carriage door open with his wire cutters.

Seventeen deportees jumped out of the wagon and fled as guards opened fire. While Livchitz fired, Maistriau and Franklemon broke open a second wagon, urging the prisoners to run for their lives. 200 more managed to flee. The unlucky 1,400 left on the train reached their destination: Auschwitz. Few lived to tell the tale.

As the guards closed in, the trio took to their bicycles, racing back to Brussels.

 

It was the only time in occupied Europe that resistance fighters liberated a deportation train. 

 

Maistriau was bored with his desk job in a metals company, impulsive, and prepared to fight the Germans, still hated for their atrocities in 1914. "I wasn't crazy, but I was very easily carried away," he explains. "And I was ready to take risks."

Livchitz, slightly older, was a charismatic figure still remembered vividly by contemporaries. He was caught months after the attack and executed as a "communist terrorist", refusing to wear a blindfold as he faced the firing squad. The third member of the group was Jean Franklemon, an art student and communist, who was sent to a concentration camp but lived.

 

Extract from a rare interview with Maistriau

 

We used our bikes to travel to the place of the attack. My bag was filled with the hurricane lamp and those tongs. In fact, we were badly organised and prepared. I felt a mixture of a hunger for adventure and the will to inflict the Germans as much damage as possible. At that stage, nobody could have stopped me.

 

Around 9h45 pm, we took our position besides the railway tracks in-between Haacht and Boortmeerbeek. We heard the whistle of the locomotive. Sounds were ringing in that quiet night … only after a few seconds, the train headed for the hurricane lamp. Because the lamp was on the railway tracks, at the end of a curve, the train driver saw the red signal only at the last moment. The driver slowed down the pace immediately, but the first wagons ran over the lamp. Finally, the train stopped.

 

I completely froze. Then I headed for the first wagon I’d met. In my left-hand, I held a little torch and with my right-hand, I used the tongs. I was very excited and I thought it took ages before I finally succeeded in cutting the wire that was used to secure the sliding door. Finally I could open the heavy door of the cattle wagon. I used my torch to illuminate the carriage. Pale and frightened faces stared at me. “Get out, get out”, I shouted and I urged them “schnell, schnell, fliehen sie!” (quick, quick, get out of here).

 

After a while, all became quiet and the train continued his trip. When I saw the red taillights disappear, I got up. I gave seven people a note of 50 francs. I urged them to disperse themselves. One woman embraced me with passion and she said she didn’t know how she could thank me. Somebody else asked me for my name and address, so they could send me a gift, after the war. I thought that was pretty naive. Names and addresses, that was the first lesson you learned as a young member of the resistance, were taboo. 

 

Robert Maistriau became a member of the resistance “Group G”, after his ‘baptising’ with the XXth convoy. Later he went into hiding, in the Ardennes. He was arrested during a meeting of Group G and was taken into custody, as a political prisoner, in the camp of Breendonk. After he was deported towards Buchenwald, he did penal servitude in the Dora-camp. He survived the concentration camps. He was freed by the Americans in Bergen-Belsen.

 

Franklemon died in 1977. 

 

Maistriau’s death went almost unnoticed by the mainstream media. A report about his death can be read in Haaretz. The Jews remember those who tried to stop their genocide. But why did they not learn from their own history and inflict similar atrocities on their Palestinian fellow human beings? 

 

If Robert Maistriau were young and still alive today, he would protest the Zionist wall and apartheid politics, the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Christians, the brutal occupation of Palestine. If Robert Maistriau were still alive and living in Iraq, he would be a resistance fighter against the illegal occupation of that country, he would try to stop the genocide against the Iraqi people. Maybe he would also have thrown his shoes at G.W. Bush. We won’t know, he died.

 

Resistance to foreign occupation is noble, the right thing to do. Robert Maistriau should be remembered. He didn’t aim for glory, he followed his conscience. He only wanted justice.  

Injustice has to be opposed, by all possible means. That is the lesson to be learned. And the UN charter gives oppressed and occupied people the right to liberate themselves from foreign occupation. 

 

Resistance is the strongest sign of dignity. Al-Zaidi is a hero, resisting foreign occupation while throwing 2 shoes at the president who is destroying his country. 

Robert Maistriau saved more than 200 Jews. He is a hero, resisting foreign occupation with a lantern and a red rag.  

 

Rights have always been won, never given. Rosa Parks, who refused to go to the back of the bus. The countless Nicaraguans who spent all their nights building barricades or cooking for those who did.  Too many to mention, but who should all be remembered.

 

Later the stories of courageous Iraqi resistance fighters will be told. They are the heroes of the modern era, the saviours of humanity. 

 

History should not be remembered through the biographies of presidents. History should be remembered through stories of a lantern, a red rag and a pair of shoes.


My Flower to Bush, the Occupier

The Story of My Shoe

By MUNTADHAR al-ZAIDI (15 Sept 2009)

 

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw his shoe at George Bush gave this speech on his recent release. 

 

In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful.

 

Here I am, free. But my country is still a prisoner of war.

 

Firstly, I give my thanks and my regards to everyone who stood beside me, whether inside my country, in the Islamic world, in the free world. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act.

 

But, simply, I answer: What compelled me to confront is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

 

And how it wanted to crush the skulls of (the homeland's) sons under its boots, whether sheikhs, women, children or men. And during the past few years, more than a million martyrs fell by the bullets of the occupation and the country is now filled with more than 5 million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. And many millions of homeless because of displacement inside and outside the country.

 

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shiite would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ, may peace be upon him. And despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than 10 years, for more than a decade.

 

Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. Until we were invaded by the illusion of liberation that some had. (The occupation) divided one brother from another, one neighbor from another, and the son from his uncle. It turned our homes into never-ending funeral tents. And our graveyards spread into parks and roadsides. It is a plague. It is the occupation that is killing us, that is violating the houses of worship and the sanctity of our homes and that is throwing thousands daily into makeshift prisons.

 

I am not a hero, and I admit that. But I have a point of view and I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated. And to see my Baghdad burned. And my people being killed. Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, and this weighs on me every day and pushes me toward the righteous path, the path of confrontation, the path of rejecting injustice, deceit and duplicity. It deprived me of a good night's sleep.

 

Dozens, no, hundreds, of images of massacres that would turn the hair of a newborn white used to bring tears to my eyes and wound me. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Fallujah, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. In the past years, I traveled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and hear with my own ears the screams of the bereaved and the orphans. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.

 

And as soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies of the Iraqis, and while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the traces of the blood of victims that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.

 

The opportunity came, and I took it.

 

I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.

 

I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

 

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

 

After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.

 

Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after.

 

I wanted to defend the honor of my profession and suppressed patriotism on the day the country was violated and its high honor lost. Some say: Why didn't he ask Bush an embarrassing question at the press conference, to shame him? And now I will answer you, journalists. How can I ask Bush when we were ordered to ask no questions before the press conference began, but only to cover the event. It was prohibited for any person to question Bush.

And in regard to professionalism: The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism were to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

 

I take this opportunity: If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I wish to apologize to you for any embarrassment I may have caused those establishments. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day.

 

History mentions many stories where professionalism was also compromised at the hands of American policymakers, whether in the assassination attempt against Fidel Castro by booby-trapping a TV camera that CIA agents posing as journalists from Cuban TV were carrying, or what they did in the Iraqi war by deceiving the general public about what was happening. And there are many other examples that I won't get into here.

 

But what I would like to call your attention to is that these suspicious agencies -- the American intelligence and its other agencies and those that follow them -- will not spare any effort to track me down (because I am) a rebel opposed to their occupation. They will try to kill me or neutralize me, and I call the attention of those who are close to me to the traps that these agencies will set up to capture or kill me in various ways, physically, socially or professionally.

 

And at the time that the Iraqi prime minister came out on satellite channels to say that he didn't sleep until he had checked in on my safety, and that I had found a bed and a blanket, even as he spoke I was being tortured with the most horrific methods: electric shocks, getting hit with cables, getting hit with metal rods, and all this in the backyard of the place where the press conference was held. And the conference was still going on and I could hear the voices of the people in it. And maybe they, too, could hear my screams and moans.

 

In the morning, I was left in the cold of winter, tied up after they soaked me in water at dawn. And I apologize for Mr. Maliki for keeping the truth from the people. I will speak later, giving names of the people who were involved in torturing me, and some of them were high-ranking officials in the government and in the army.

 

I didn't do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country, and that is a legitimate cause confirmed by international laws and divine rights. I wanted to defend a country, an ancient civilization that has been desecrated, and I am sure that history -- especially in America -- will state how the American occupation was able to subjugate Iraq and Iraqis, until its submission.

 

They will boast about the deceit and the means they used in order to gain their objective. It is not strange, not much different from what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of colonialists. Here I say to them (the occupiers) and to all who follow their steps, and all those who support them and spoke up for their cause: Never.

Because we are a people who would rather die than face humiliation.

 

And, lastly, I say that I am independent. I am not a member of any politicalparty, something that was said during torture -- one time that I'm far-right, another that I'm a leftist. I am independent of any political party, and my future efforts will be in civil service to my people and to any who need it, without waging any political wars, as some said that I would.


My efforts will be toward providing care for widows and orphans, and all those whose lives were damaged by the occupation. I pray for mercy upon the souls of the martyrs who fell in wounded Iraq, and for shame upon those who occupied Iraq and everyone who assisted them in their abominable acts. And I pray for peace upon those who are in their graves, and those who are oppressed with the chains of imprisonment. And peace be upon you who are patient and looking to God for release.

 

And to my beloved country I say: If the night of injustice is prolonged, it will not stop the rising of a sun and it will be the sun of freedom.

 

One last word. I say to the government: It is a trust that I carry from my fellow detainees. They said, 'Muntadhar, if you get out, tell of our plight to the omnipotent powers' -- I know that only God is omnipotent and I pray to Him -- 'remind them that there are dozens, hundreds, of victims rotting in prisons because of an informant's word.'

They have been there for years, they have not been charged or tried.

 

They've only been snatched up from the streets and put into these prisons. And now, in front of you, and in the presence of God, I hope they can hear me or see me. I have now made good on my promise of reminding the government and the officials and the politicians to look into what's happening inside the prisons. The injustice that's caused by the delay in the judicial system.

 

Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.

 

The translation is by McClatchy’s special correspondent, Sahar Issa.