Ana Valdés, journalist och författare, berättar från Bagdad
”Jag tillbringade två fruktansvärda dagar i en bunker mitt i Gröna zonen i Bagdad omgiven av amerikanska soldater och peruanska legoknektar. Gröna zonen antas vara det enda säkra området i landet men denna säkra hamn till trots, inträffade en explosion 50 meter från USAs ambassad”
Det är journalisten och författaren Ana Valdés som berättar, nyligen hemkommen från en konferens med irakiska journalister anordnad av Internationella Journalistförbundet. 75 journalister från hela världen deltog.
I Bagdad fick Ana Valdés möjlighet att intervjua familjemedlemmar till journalister som dödats under ockupationen.
Nästan alla hon talar med säger att de ”saknar Saddam”. ”Han var en diktator, men han kunde landet och internationella relationer och under hans administration kunde vi leva. Vad som händer idag är en långsam död. USA fattar inte vilken Pandoras ask de har öppnat”.
De inbjudna gästerna togs till en restaurang vid floden Tigris som serverade fisk. De irakiska översättarna kommenterade: ”om ni visste hur många döda kroppar vi sett flyta nerför floden, skulle ni inte ha mage att äta fisken”.
Sanna, översättare som Ana Valdés träffade i samband med ett möte på det krigsbevakade hotell Rashid i Gröna Zonen, säger att ”tidigare var det aldrig några konflikter mellan våra tolkningar av historien och tron”. Sannas man var shiasmuslim och hon själv är sunni.
Ana Valdés brev från Bagdad Protected democracy in Baghdad
I spent two terrible days in the middle of the green zone, which is
supposedly the only safe area of the country. But even though there
was a safe haven an explosion ocurred 50 meters from the U.S. embassy,
which is huge and will have the dimensions of the Pentagon and it will
have schools and McDonalds, Pizza Huts, cinemas and sports clubs and
churches and banks, such as Americans need in an American city in the
middle of Baghdad. The explosion killed an American truck driver who
was returning to United States after two years of work there.
And the same day that we arrived, 75 journalists from the whole world
an American was found dead at the entrance to the green zone, beheaded
with his hands tied behind his back .
We spent two days in the middle of a bunker surrounded by American
soldiers and Peruvians mercenaries, Peruvians are 2000 men, working as
paramilitaries, who are responsible for the security of the area.
Recruited in Lima and Bogota, and San Salvador and are being taken to
be cannon fodder there, do not know a word of English and live in
dusty barracks in Baghdad on the day off they go to play soccer in the
U.S. embassy the only fun they have.
We met journalists and translators, they told us about a ghost town
deserted and where people who are lucky to have that work run from
home to work and from work to home, without looking anywhere without
talking to anyone. We spoke with relatives of the 295 journalists
killed in the course of 6 years.
Almost all say, "we miss Saddam, he was a dictator, but he knew the
country and the internal relations and under his administration could
we live. What is happening today is the slow death. The Americans have
no idea of the Pandora's box they have opened. "
We were invited to eat at a restaurant on the banks of the Tigris
River and the dinner was fish from the river, the translators told us,
"if they knew the number of deaths we've seen down the river you
should not have the stomach of eating fish out of there."
My colleague the Valencian television journalist and writer Lola
Banon, member of the Platform for Artists against Gender Violence and
I refused to go, we did not want to enjoy the safety of food for a
hundred armed soldiers guarded when the Iraqis are not dare to set
foot in any of those restaurants.
The conference was an attempt to normalization, we met the families of
journalists killed, 295 in 6 years. And to show the world that you can
now go to Iraq. But it showed us that it will take years to rebuild
the civil society
When we left the hotel Al Razeed, a colossal 14-story, guarded by
dozens of soldiers patrolling and in front of parliament, a Peruvian
soldier approached me and said, "I'm Alan, can I call to your house
and send to you some email and tell the story of what is really
Just now he called for the first time, I will try to give him a
little voice in this war so full of lies and fabricated reports by the
ministries of lies and disinformation agents, the ones selling to us
the doctored pictures of the statue Saddam on the ground and reports
showing with one hundred percent truth that weapons of mass
destruction were there for grabs.
Sanna is an Iraqui translator. I met her in the meeting held at al
Rasheed hotel, in the middle of Baghdads green zone. She is 42 years
old, divorced and mother to a 16 years old boy. She is a sunni
muslim, her former husband was a shia. She told me “before it was
never a conflict between our two interpretations of our history and
faith. We knew we were both muslims, it was the most important thing.”
Her brother, a civil servant, was killed by sectary violence in the
middle of the street two years ago. He was killed because he was a
sunni muslim, not because he did something. And that’s it what is more
striking with all the tales the people tell us, the randomness of the
killings, the violence generated by the war and by the lack of a
Sannas head is covered by a scarf, I wonder if she uses it to show her
faith. She laugh warm: “in this country we have never been constricted
by stern Islamic laws, it’s maybe because we were arabized and
Islamized but we had our own culture. Have you heard of our goddess
Ishtar, did you read the story of Gilgamesh when you were in school,
do you know about Babylon and Ninive?”
She uses the scarf because she is afraid, she don’t smoke on public
places either, her sole concern is to keep her alive. She want to go
abroad to be able to make her PhD in languages, but she can’t until
her son is 18 years old.
She refuses to eat the fish it’s served on our buffé, she tell us: “if
you knew the amount of dead people we have seen floating in the Tigris
all these years you should never eat this fish. It tastes death”
Fängslad irakisk fotograf
I september 2008 rusade amerikanska och irakiska styrkor in i Reutersfotografen Ibrahim Jassams hem i Mahmodiya i södra Bagdad. Fotografen sitter fortfarande fängslad. Inga anklagelser har framförts. En irakisk domstol har beordrat hans frigivning i brist på bevis.
Enligt USAs talesman för ”frågor rörande fångar” major Neal Fisher är "han en allvarlig säkerhetsrisk”.