The Account of Jehad and Comrades in the Fight Against Imperialism in Iraq
First of all, I wish to greet you all, comrades, for having taken the initiative of inviting me to this Camp, and I hope this get together of people fighting against imperialism around the world will be of benefit, in the sense of sharing experience and extending solidarity.
Now, to move on to my experience in Iraq. The all-out American aggression against Iraq was an event which left its mark on the history of the Arab masses. And so was the rapid "defeat" of the Iraqi "regime", if I may call it such.
For the first time, the Arabs, or the new generation of Arabs, got to know what direct colonialism means, apart from the historic struggle against the Zionist entity, which has become more of an everyday event for the people and activists alike. They also got to know for the first time what it means to have the US as a direct invader, and not just as a supporter of the Zionist entity.
Therefore, many of my generation felt an urge to confront and resist the US imperialist aggression on Iraq. Arriving from many backgrounds, Islamist, nationalist, leftist or even plain patriotism, the Arab fida`in were unified in their goal of confronting the US project.
The Arab fida`in came from many countries to defend the Arab land, symbolized by Iraq. They came from Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Palestine. They were received the al-Sudair hotel. They would stay there usually for one night, and were then distributed among the fighting camps all around Baghdad and Iraq.
As students in different levels and branches in Iraqi universities, I and ten of my friends stayed in the al-Qadisiyya neighbourhood, which is where we were already living.
The first days of war, everything was normal, regardless of the air strikes and missiles. On April 3rd, my brother, Ramiz, decided to go to one of the military training camps located in the al-Baladiyyat neighbourhood. On that day, I lost personal contact with him. All I knew about him later on was from messengers he sent me, and I was unable to reach him.
Ramiz was a leftist activist and a member of the PFLP. He knew who the enemies of humanity were, and it was for the principles of justice and freedom that he went to fight against "Operation Iraqi Freedom", which was in reality "Operation Iraqi Oppression", an operation to oppress the Arab nation and mankind.
As leftist Arabs, we had a motto that says, "Same enemy, different names": it was an illustration of the interconnected struggle against the Zionist entity and the imperialist USA.
Ramiz fought against the same enemy that targets humankind, whether in Palestine or Iraq, North Korea or Colombia, Venezuela or Nepal. The ugly smell of imperialist US intervention fills the atmosphere. Ramiz and many others decided to say, "enough".
Ramiz and his brothers-in-arms moved from camp to camp, until they stabilized in Nafaq al-Shurta, the "Police tunnel", where some of the fiercest battles that started on April 6th. He fought to the last second of his life. He was martyred on April 9th, together with around thirty fida`in. On the following day, April 10th, I and my friends were detained by the US army.
They broke into our home and took us to prison. We then spent seven days, moving from Baghdad to Umm Qasr in the south. They took us from our house to the Hasan al-Baqir palace in Baghdad, where we slept in the tennis court on the wet ground, handcuffed, without food, water, blankets or anything. On the following morning, they moved us to the airport together with some sixty prisoners. Some of these were old men, children and minors. Some were mentally retarded or psychotic patients. It did not matter to them. At the airport, they put us in three small rooms, measuring just three by three metres. There were twenty prisoners per room. They gave us two meals per day. Two days later, they moved us to Jurf al-Sakhr, south of Baghdad, where we stayed for two days without shelter or blankets, and with insufficient food and medical care. We slept on the sand, under the sky, with scorpions and snakes... very romantic! Anyway, it did not matter to them. They prevented us from lighting a fire, knowing that we could not sleep from the cold.
The next day, we were transferred to al-Imam Ali airbase. We stayed there for three days, then we were moved to Umm Qasr. We spent the first day under the open sky, again with scorpions, snakes and all kinds of insects.
The next day, they moved us after taking photos of us, to a camp compound they called Holding Area One. This was divided into fifteen zones, and in each zone, there were two huge tents, with around 800 to 1,000 captives held in each. There was no medical care except for emergencies. Food was provided twice a day.
Nine days later, we were transferred to the main compound, called Bucca Compound. We had to set up our own tents, each of which housed fifteen prisoners. A field medical care unit was provided.
We stayed there until May 28th, the day I and my friend were released, after being presented to a military tribunal in this form of "justice". The judge was a military colonel called Sapatino. His two consultants were eating potato chips and drinking Coca Cola.
A psychiatrist was part of this tribunal, together with military D.A. The file case submitted by the D.A. was simply the information we had given him, and nothing more. It was circus justice.
The treason and the resulting collapse of the Iraqi army was a blow to us all. But we have a saying in Arabic: the blow that doesn`t kill you makes you stronger. The Iraqi resistance is proving this every day, and it will not take long for the Arab masses to realise where the main contradiction now lies. They will move against oppression and oppressors.
And we can count on our international comrades for support.