Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baghdad Residents Protest Against Dividing Wall

Hundreds of Iraqis marched on Wednesday in a non-sectarian protest against the building of a concrete wall separating their Baghdad neighborhoods.

AFP reports:
Hundreds of Shiites and Sunnis marched on Wednesday in protest at the building by US troops of a tall concrete wall separating their northwest Baghdad neighbourhoods, an AFP photographer said.

The protesters complained that the wall would promote sectarianism and demanded its removal.

Residents said that US forces last week began building the two-kilometre (1.25 mile) wall along the border of the mainly Shiite al-Shuala and adjoining Sunni-majority al-Ghazaliyah neighbourhoods without consulting them.

The demonstrators -- tribal leaders, clerics and local residents -- marched from one neighbourhood to the other carrying banners reading "No to the dividing wall" and "The wall is US terrorism."
Perhaps it's not "terrorism" in the sense we are used to seeing the word. It's not Muslim extremists with box-cutters and hydrogen peroxide. But the wall imposes extreme difficulties on innocent people who have had more than enough imposed on them already.
The protesters demanded in a statement that the government intervene to halt the wall and ensure that the section already completed is demolished.

"The wall is in accordance with Al-Qaeda's plans," the statement said, adding that the barrier was being built to "separate family from family."

"The wall is dividing small neighbourhoods and will lead to the partitioning of Iraq," said Hassan al-Taii, a leader of the large Taii Sunni tribe.

He demanded that the Baghdad government destroy the wall and act against those "planting division and sectarianism among Iraqis."
Unfortunately the only thing propping up the government is the military force planting division and sectarianism among Iraqis -- in accordance with Al-Qaeda's plans!

It's eerie how often George Bush's plans and Al-Qaeda's plans coincide.
Since early this year, US and Iraqi forces have been erecting walls around or between some Baghdad neighbourhoods in what their commanders call a "concrete caterpillar" designed to protect residents from sectarian violence.

In April the military came under flak when it began constructing a ring of six-tonne (14,000 pounds) concrete blocks around the Sunni Adhamiyah neighbourhood to prevent it from being mortared from the nearby Shiite areas.
This is, a preposterous excuse if there ever was one: are we supposed to believe nobody has artillery that can lob shells over the wall?

No, we're probably not supposed to believe that. We're not supposed to think about it at all.
Many Iraqis argue that the barricades will only heighten tensions between Sunnis and Shiites by segregating the once mixed city.
This is indeed part of the plan -- a plan of divide-and-conquer which the president and his courtiers are pleased to call "democracy".

This is the democracy we are bringing to the Middle East. This is the noble cause for which more than 3700 Americans have now died. This is the grand scheme for which more than a million Iraqis have been murdered, and millions more have been made homeless -- and stateless!

Do the millions of dispossessed Iraqis count for nothing? Or is their plight what General Petraeus refers to when he talks of "progress"?
During Wednesday's protest, demonstrators carried Iarqi flags and chanted, "No, no to terrorism", and "Yes, yes to unity."

"This wall does not provide security and stability," said Shiite cleric Abdul Baqir al-Subaihawi.

"The government must maintain security in Baghdad rather than separate its neighbourhoods," he added.
What are they doing? They're painting the wall.
Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr has urged artists to paint the concrete barriers springing up around Baghdad with murals showing what he dubbed the "ugly face" of the US military in Iraq.

The Baghdad council has employed professional artists to paint the walls with calming landscapes and scenes depicting Iraq's natural beauty, but Sadr -- a firebrand preacher and militia leader -- had something more dramatic in mind.

"I call on you to draw magnificent tableaux that depict the ugliness and terrorist nature of the occupier, and the sedition, car bombings, blood and the like he has brought upon Iraqis," he said.
And what are we doing? Anything?

For more background, please see these two excellent pieces from Chris Floyd:

In the Ghetto: Bush Begins Forced Ethnic Partition of Baghdad

Ghetto Blaster: Bush Accelerates Concrete Cage Plan for Baghdad