Friday, February 27, 2009

Al Amiriya Shelter

A couple of days ago, Iraqis recalled one of the darkest moments in their country's history when two GBU-27 laser-guided bombs were dropped by stealth fighter planes on Al Amiriya shelter in Baghdad, at about 4 a.m. on Feb. 13, 1991. This resulted in more than 400 men, women and children burned to death. It has been said that the children were asked by their parents to keep on watching cartoons so they won't be afraid.

The first missile cut through ten feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded. Minutes later the second bomb followed the path cut by the first bomb.The explosion inside the bunker pressed the bodies against walls and ceiling, caused a very high temperature., thus carbonizing both flesh and walls. When rescue began, there were bodies found pressed against walls, which were less carbonized. One clearly recognises shapes of bodies, faces, mothers holding children.

According to the U.S. officials at that time, it has been thought that the shelter was a command center. Some rumors were circulating at that time that Saddam Hussain himself and his commanders were hiding in that bunker. The White House, though, in a report titled Apparatus of Lies: Crafting Tragedy, stated then that US intelligence sources reported the blockhouse was being used for military command purposes. The report goes on to accuse the Iraqi government of deliberately keeping "select civilians" in a military facility at Amiriyah. However, Jeremy Bowen, a BBC correspondent, was one of the first television reporters on the scene after the blast. Bowen was given access to the site and confirmed that no evidence of military use (report aired the next day on BBC1).

The shelter now is considered as a shrine where pictures of the dead babies, women and children hanging can be seen. However, many of the traces of that massacare can be seen in different spots.

Many things have been written on Al Amiriya Shelter, such as the article written by Ali Asadullah in 2000, or Ibrahim Alloush's article in 2002, or how Ramzy Baroud's called it the chamber of horror in his article in 2003. However, there is a exclusive blog (in Arabic and English) on the tragedy, can found here to commemorate the victims of Al Amiriya Shelter. It is by a blogger under the name Sahab, who also created another blog about the children from al Hanan orphanage. It contains many pictures and videos, in addition to eye witnesses and interviews with people concerning this genocide. In addition, in 2001 a research center has been established in Madrid, Spain named after the doomed site i.e. Al Amiriya Center for Documentation and International Initiatives, that deals with the autrocities committed by U.S. forces during that war (they seems to fail to foresee the future and the events followed 2003 and until now).

God bless the souls of Al Amiriya Shelter vicitims, and may they rest in peace, forever and ever.

Below is a video filmed in 2003 of the shelter

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kurdish Embassy In The Netherlands

I felt that it was some kind of sarcastic joke when he said that the Iraqi Embassy in the Hague, the Netherlands, is not a representative entity of Iraqi state rather an embassy of the Kurd. The website of the embassy is nothing but a immature attempt by some immature person who decided to play around with some Java scripts, cropping GIF and JPG images, and fiddling with some HTML codes - I don't remember when but I am certain that I talked before about this website, yet, this is not the core purpose for this post, but it looks like that those who are responsible for authorizing any article on the website do not even have the courtesy to check anything before publishing. Worse than that, there is some emphasize which to me is done on purpose to put forward anything related to Kurdish language to the front as if Iraq as a country consists of Kurdish majority and "other ethnic groups" minorities, including Arabs. The majority of the downloaded documents for official ratification are Kurdish, I am talking about 99% of available to be downloaded PDF files.

I managed to get Arabic language forms of some of these available, and I could see the shameful grammatical mistakes in Arabic on many of what has been published. The method used to write anything on the website is rubbish, any Arabic speaking person would be disgusted and frustrated to the highest level.

Why Do You Kill, Zaid?

Below is a video of an interview with DR. Juergen Todenhoefer, a former German politician and an author who spent time in Iraq, specifically in Ramady province. He tells the story of Zaid, an Iraqi young man's path into joining the ressistance in Iraq against the US occupation, and gives an insight to the reasons behind such a decision for an ordinary Iraqi who rejected war and violence in the begining.

With English Subtitles

With Arabic subtitles

Special thanks to those who did the great effort of translating this interview to both languages.

The official link to the book is here

Friday, February 6, 2009

Oldest Photos of Baghdad

I am posting in this post a batch of photos, which is considered as the oldest photos of Baghdad ever made. According to the website I nicked the photos from, it is between 1910 and 1939