Thursday, March 30, 2023

Eli Cook again

Tim Barker of Dissent replies, "Amazing!"

"Yesterday, at his request...—See? They're not all terrorists." Some are appropriately servile.

The occupation is not going to end. It's been a single state for decades. And the two state solution always meant the Palestinian citizens of Israel would have a home in the neighborhood... when they left the Jewish state.

Sinan Antoon,  "A million lives later, I cannot forgive what American terrorism did to my country, Iraq"

Many of us who had stood against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and his regime wrote and spoke against the planned invasion for what were already obvious reasons. We challenged the false narrative of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). After 700 inspections, Hans Blix, the head of the UN’s weapons inspectors, and his teams had found no weapons in Iraq. The “mushroom cloud over Manhattan” that Condoleezza Rice warned about was a propaganda cloud to intensify hysteria. George Bush, after all, had reportedly decided to strike Iraq the week after 9/11.

The corporate mediascape in the US was an echo chamber for state propaganda. It wasn’t just the Manichaean worldview of post-9/11 national security hysteria, but a deep-seated colonial mentality – variations on the white man’s burden. An analysis of US TV news in the few weeks preceding the invasion found that sources expressing scepticism of the war were massively underrepresented. The media performed its function quite well in manufacturing consent and parroting official propaganda. In March 2003, 72% of American citizens supported the war. We should never forget this. (Up until 2018, 43% of Americans still thought it was the right decision.)

In Cairo, I watched as the US began its “shock and awe” campaign – a terrifying rain of death and destruction on Baghdad. Poetry was my refuge and the only space through which I could translate the visceral pain of watching the violence visited on Iraq and seeing my hometown fall to an occupying army. Some of the lines I wrote in the early days of the invasion crystallise my melancholy:

    The wind is a blind mother
    over the corpses
    no shrouds
    save the clouds
    but the dogs
    are far quicker
    The moon is a graveyard
    for light
    the stars are women
    Tired from carrying the coffins
    the wind leaned
    against a palm tree
    A satellite inquired:
    Whereto now?
    The silence
    in the wind’s cane murmured:
    and the palm tree caught fire.
I had always hoped to see the end of Saddam’s dictatorship at the hands of the Iraqi people, not courtesy of a neocolonial project that would dismantle what had remained of the Iraqi state and replace it with a regime based on ethno-sectarian dynamics, plunging the country into violent chaos and civil wars.

Four months after the invasion I returned to Baghdad as part of a team to film About Baghdad, a documentary about the war and its aftermath. The chaos was already evident....

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