Journalists at Crosshair

They are not even sparing the journalists. Three were killed today when “coalition” bombs shattered the hotels the journalists were staying. What form of “liberation” is this? Liberation from a dictator or liberation from truth?

These journalists were covering the war, acting independently, not cloying with the military, were not “in-bedded” as the others apparently are. Perhaps for their reluctance from being bought out outright is the cause of their violent demise?

Regardless of who commits it, Iraqi or the “coalition”, they and their leadership should be held responsible for committing these criminal acts.

Today’s assaults have seen the deaths of Tariq Ayub, an Al Jajeera journalist reporting from Baghdad, Taras Protsyuk a Ukranian cameraman reporting for Reuters and Jose Couso who worked for Spanish Telecinco. The Associated Press reports that there are at least ten journalists have been killed so far in this war.

Not long ago, the “coalition” commanders were boasting in their precision guided weapons, on how effectively marvelous these weapons are getting used, they are not destroying even the surrounding walls while demolishing the enemy compounds, we were told. What happened to their boastfulness?  

Now the bombs are falling indiscriminately over the Iraqi civilians, tank shells are incinerating microbus filled with women and children, entire housing complex full of people are gutted with “precise” missiles living nothing but gaping craters.

Alas! Liberation of Iraq is indeed liberating! Liberation and fumigation of Iraqi civilians, while any questions from the journalists on any specific civilian casualties are answered back, “We are investigating on this report”. One may ask, how much time the “investigation” requires finding out the truth?

It was also ruefully observed that any Iraqi resistance, their fights are reported in the Western mainstream media as “cowardice desperation”, their resistance is termed as the “die hard loyalists” who are fighting to keep the regime alive. Why not acknowledging that there might be thousands of genuine fighters out there who are not fighting to keep Saddam’s regime alive, but to repel an illegal invasion and prospective occupation on their motherland? Surely, the brave Americans and British citizens would have done the same to repel any heinous invaders if they were attacked regardless of their likings or disliking of their “elected” government.

This is the reason no sane and persons with shred of dignity can support any preemptive/preventive war or aggressions. The artists, the writers of all levels, actors/actresses, and people from all walks of life do posses dignity unlike the neo-conservatives and they are solidly against this war. American polls are churning in the background to nuzzle through dubious statistics showing that more than seventy seven percent of Americans are supporting this war. However, they are conveniently forgetting in saying that statistical poll depends on how the questions were asked to the responders and what kind of sampling were utilized in extracting the poll. There are no data easily available to American public whether these questions were asked to the narrow-minded neo-conservatives and their friends. And in the time of war when the nation’s all cable channels and local media are parading behind their commander in chief, heart-wrenching news coverage of American and British military casualties are showered with plenty of twisting analysis from the three or four-star Generals, is their any wonderment that simple hearted folks will be supporting their own neighbor kids who have been sent to Iraq to fight the war of rich?

“Art is important”, said Nicole Kidman in her Oscar speech. Surely it is. Because it is through art the artists try to revolutionize the mass, try to bring sanity and peace in their devastated world. But the neo-conservatives are powerful folks with plenty of dazzling connections, and this is the reason the media is trying its best to block dissenting artists and writers or anyone who are daring raising their voices against war and its ferocity.

Al Jajeera was severely denounced for its coverage of war that was termed in the Western media as completely biased in favor of Iraq. And there might be partial truth in some of these claims. But does it give any authority to bomb the journalists, silence them, maiming them in their attempts to give different perspectives than the American conglomerate media willing to provide?

America is the nation of free speech, and its leaders boast the necessity of freedom of expression around the world. In its recently published Human Rights Report by the State Department rightfully portrayed the rampant Human Rights violation in China and many other nations. While the cluster bombs and missiles are savaging the ultimate human rights a person demand which is his or her life, the terrified looks on little girls’ teary eyes while American troops forcefully kneeling them down pointing the muzzle of gun in their incursion to their privacy of home, what kind of credibility the State Department may attach on their widely publicized report? And now the deaths of journalists who were embracing fully in their heart the American ideal of civil liberty, will it bring more dependability on American claims on liberty and equality mantra?

Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Canada.