jeudi 27 décembre 2007

'U.S. Special Forces' = 'Black and Tans'

Picture from the film "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" about the struggle in the early 20's to free IRELAND from British rule

The following interesting post is by 'Left i on the news':
Body count, Iraq

Not to be confused with Iraq Body Count, with its "media and politician-friendly" undercount of Iraqi fatalities, requiring "confirmation" by publication in two different English-language sources.
Leila Fadel reports on one of those uncounted deaths, a report which as far as I can determine appears only on her blog despite the fact that she is the Baghdad bureau chief for a major newspaper chain:

Suheila Hammad held her daughter in her arms before dawn on Tuesday. Outside she heard the U.S. Special Forces and the Iraqi Army in her area just south of Fallujah. First they raided a home two doors down, blew the doors out and went in looking for their target.
The soldiers pulled the family out of the home and the second floor was destroyed, the family said. A picture shows a burned out room and shattered glass.The soldiers progressed to the second house, searching for their target, an Al Qaida in Iraq member who was believed responsible for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.
At the second house in this place, once an Al Qaida bastion, they blew the doors off and pulled the residents from the house. The Iraqi soldiers toyed with them, telling them to raise their arms up, drop their arms and raise them again.
A few soldiers walked away speaking a language the families didn't understand. It was then that a bullet pierced the window where Suheila held her daughter Hadil. The bullet pierced Hadil's neck and passed through her, embedding in the wall of the room. No one came into the house and Suheila was too afraid to call out for help, she said.
Hadil bled to death in her mother’s arms. Three men were detained, two were later released. The U.S. military said the man detained is an Al Qaida in Iraq member. There were no reports of Hadil's death, they said.

Having just watched (see post below) "Black and Tans" performing exactly the same kind of brutal assault on civilians in "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," the picture painted by Fadel of this raid was all too vivid in my mind.

Left I at the Movies: "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"

Last night I got to watch a movie that has been touted in progressive circles - "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," about the struggle in the early 20's to free Ireland from British rule, a subject about which I acknowledge only rudimentary knowledge. The film was difficult to watch, not because it was poorly made, but because of the opposite - because it was so well made, a seemingly realistic portrayal of the very harsh reality of a brutal war.

What is particularly interesting about the movie, and, from reading some reviews, of other movies by director Ken Loach, is its overt thought-provoking nature regarding questions facing all those who struggle for revolutionary change - when to fight and when not, when is a compromise the "best you can get" and when is it a "sell out," is it possible to fight to end an occupation without fighting to institute a new social order at the same time, what do you do when the struggle changes stages and those who were previously on the same side find themselves on opposite sides?
To me, without trying to force the parallel, the Irish struggle in this film, and particularly the struggle within the revolutionary forces, is the struggle between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine, the fight between those in Iraq who have now taken American money to fight for the Americans and those who still fight against the Americans, and no doubt many other examples as well.

Curiously enough, none of the reviews I read (post-viewing) mentioned this timely relevance of the movie, but in one quite interesting review, I found the director himself making the point:

"There is a pattern you see again and again - this kind of manipulation by the ruling power, how different interests will unite in the face of a common oppressor and then ultimately how those contradictions inevitably have to work their way out. I’m sure you can see it in places like Iraq now, where the opposition to the US and Britain brings together a lot of people who will find that they have different interests when the US and the British are finally forced out."

I'm pretty sure that was written by Loach before the creation of the "Awakening Councils" in Iraq, which makes the parallels with the movie even more striking.
Two thumbs (all I've got) up.

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