Human misery and suffering courtesy of US/UK/Aust
By Uzma Bashir, Baghdad
We visited the Yarmouk Hospital this morning. A woman, who had been wounded in the bombing of the Sha'ab district in North Baghdad, was lying in a ward weeping uncontrollably. When I first saw her she looked up at me, and her tearful eyes told of a terrible story. She broke down in paroxysms of grief, her loud wailing bringing tears to our eyes.
There was not a dry eye among any of us as she told the horrible story of the bombing in which her three sons were killed, "A missile hit the Sha'ab district yesterday morning, as people were going about their business. This is a civilian residential area with small shops and markets. Why was it bombed?"
In another ward, an old man, also wounded in the bombing of the Sha'ab district, told me that all his ten children had been killed. A young boy of about 12 lay in bed without any movement or expression, except complete bewilderment. He had lost his mother who had been killed by the blast.
Another man, blood oozing from his face as he lay on his hospital bed, told his story. He had traveled from Syria by bus, that is, by public transport. As he was nearing Baghdad, he saw three buses fired upon United States Air Force planes. An estimated 70 civilians were killed.
A blind man was walking down the passage, helped by a friend. He was looking for someone who understood English. The man was clearly very angry. He pulled his his shoes off and held them up saying, "This is George Bush! This is Tony Blair!" Throwing his shoes down on the floor in a rage, he stamped on them to show his contempt.
I saw a little boy about ten years old who was in so much pain he could barely stand. He had been wounded in the abdomen and in the crotch.
After we left the hospital, we went to a place about half a kilometre away, where we saw a bomb crater in the middle of five houses. The houses were clearly part of a residential area with a school at the end of the street. Eleven or twelve people were killed in their homes when the missile struck.
One of the survivors of this bombing raid, which occurred two or three days ago, was also in the hospital in great physical and emotional pain. Even though his leg was raised and bandaged up, blood seeped through the layers of bandages. He told us that his house had been destroyed and his family killed in the bombing.
I saw the place in the Sha'ab district where the missile hit. There was a deep crater in the main thoroughfare, which is divided highway with service roads along each side. On both sides of the road there was death and destruction.
A motor mechanic's shop had been hit. Walls had been blown apart and cars had been reduced to twisted wreckages. A radiator grill was bent as if some giant had taken to it with a mallet. Bits of burnt and torn tyres were scattered about. A piece of an exhaust pipe, bits of twisted metal and other debris were scattered where once there was a busy car repair shop.
Walls of residential buildings on both sides of the road were blown apart. On the other side of the road a woman was yelling something in Arabic about George Bush. Her rage boiled over as she burst into tears, still cursing him, and then embraced me sobbing on my shoulder.
Today we saw the 'teeth' of the grief and suffering imposed on civilian Iraqi people, on men, women and children. The horror has just begun. As the missiles keep flying, the innocent keep dying as if the attackers are bereft of all humanity.
Has "democracy" gone mad? Or have the oil warlords taken over the White House and Whitehall too?? Only international civil disobedience and industrial action will stop this madness before the mounting corpses come back to haunt us.
Report from other British Human Shields
As we slowly approached the bombed house, the full horror of what had occurred became dreadfully apparent.
In a densely populated area which was also close to a hospital, a bomb had smashed into two houses. It was a direct hit and had left a large crater surrounded by rubble and the shelled out remains of the house. Our feeling of disbelief and despair that any so-called civilised society could inflict suffering and death on innocent civilian families on this kind of scale, were mixed with outrage and disgust.
We picked our way cautiously across the rubble as various members of our group picked up children's toys, dolls and exercise books. Sadly and with tears welling up a man picked up a forlorn children's shoe. What had been a street with children playing had been reduced to twisted metal, bricks and a testament to the total inhumanity of the US and British forces.
How could this possible be described as an 'accident' or 'collateral damage'? We could find no evidence of military or other targets within or surrounding this residential area. What we had witnessed was a culpable act of aggression on a defenseless group of innocent people.
Our hope on leaving this horror was that it will awaken the world to the realities of this so-called war and help call a halt before more civilians lose their lives for oil, capitalism and USA global domination.