By Dahr Jamail
12 February, 2005
are the stories that will continue to emerge from the rubble of Fallujah
for years. No, for generations
Speaking on condition
of anonymity, the doctor sits with me in a hotel room in Amman, where
he is now a refugee. Hed spoken about what he saw in Fallujah
in the UK, and now is under threat by the US military if he returns
speaking about what happened in Fallujah during both sieges in order
to raise awareness, and the Americans raided my house three times,
he says, talking so fast I can barely keep up. He is driven to tell
what hes witnessed, and as a doctor working inside Fallujah, he
has video and photographic proof of all that he tells me.
Fallujah with a British medical and humanitarian convoy at the end of
December, and stayed until the end of January, he explains, But
I was in Fallujah before that to work with people and see what their
needs were, so I was in there since the beginning of December.
When I ask him to
explain what he saw when he first entered Fallujah in December he says
it was like a tsunami struck the city.
surrounded by refugee camps where people are living in tents and old
cars, he explains, It reminded me of Palestinian refugees.
I saw children coughing because of the cold, and there are no medicines.
Most everyone left their houses with nothing, and no money, so how can
they live depending only on humanitarian aid?
The doctors says
that in one refugee camp in the northern area of Fallujah there were
1,200 students living in seven tents.
caused by this siege is so much worse than the first one, which I witnessed
first hand, he says, and then tells me hell use one story
as an example.
is of a young girl who is 16 years old, he says of one of the
testimonies he video taped recently, She stayed for three days
with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the
soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old
brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her
mother and father directly, without saying anything.
The girl managed
to hide behind the refrigerator with her brother and witnessed the war
her two sisters, then shot them in the head, he said. After this
her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them,
so they shot him dead.
hiding after the soldiers left and stayed with her sisters because they
were bleeding, but still alive. She was too afraid to call for help
because she feared the soldiers would come back and kill her as well.
She stayed for three days, with no water and no food. Eventually one
of the American snipers saw her and took her to the hospital,
he added before reminding me again that he had all of her testimony
documented on film.
He briefly told
me of another story he documented of a mother who was in her home during
the siege. On the fifth day of the siege her home was bombed,
and the roof fell on her son, cutting his legs off, he says while
using his hands to make cutting motions on his legs, For hours
she couldnt go outside because they announced that anyone going
in the street would be shot. So all she could do was wrap his legs and
watch him die before her eyes.
He pauses for a
few deep breaths, then continues, All I can say is that Fallujah
is like it was struck by a tsunami. There werent many families
in there after the siege, but they had absolutely nothing. The suffering
was beyond what you can imagine. When the Americans finally let us in
people were fighting just for a blanket.
One of my
colleagues, Dr. Saleh Alsawi, he was speaking so angrily about them.
He was in the main hospital when they raided it at the beginning of
the seige. They entered the theater room when they were working on a
he was there because hes an anesthesiologist. They
entered with their boots on, beat the doctors and took them out, leaving
the patient on the table to die.
This story has already
been reported in the Arab media.
The doctor tells
me of the bombing of the Hay Nazal clinic during the first week of the
all the foreign aid and medical instruments we had. All the US military
commanders knew this, because we told them about it so they wouldnt
bomb it. But this was one of the clinics bombed, and in the first week
of the siege they bombed it two times.
He then adds, Of
course they targeted all our ambulances and doctors. Everyone knows
The doctor tells
me he and some other doctors are trying to sue the US military for the
following incident, for which he has the testimonial evidence on tape.
It is a story I
was told by several refugees in Baghdad as well
at the end of last
November while the siege was still in progress.
second week of the siege they entered and announced that all the families
have to leave their homes and meet at an intersection in the street
while carrying a white flag. They gave them 72 hours to leave and after
that they would be considered an enemy, he says.
this story with video-a family of 12, including a relative and his oldest
child who was 7 years old. They heard this instruction, so they left
with all their food and money they could carry, and white flags. When
they reached the intersection where the families were accumulating,
they heard someone shouting Now! in English, and shooting
The family was all
carrying white flags, as instructed, according to the young man who
gave his testimony. Yet he watched his mother and father shot by snipers-his
mother in the head and his father shot in the heart. His two aunts were
shot, then his brother was shot in the neck. The man stated that when
he raised himself from the ground to shout for help, he was shot in
hours he raised his arm for help and they shot his arm, continues
the doctor, So after awhile he raised his hand and they shot his
A six year-old boy
of the family was standing over the bodies of his parents, crying, and
he too was then shot.
raised up was shot, adds the doctor, then added again that he
had photographs of the dead as well as photos of the gunshot wounds
of the survivors.
Once it grew
dark some of them along with this man who spoke with me, with his child
and sister-in-law and sister managed to crawl away after it got dark.
They crawled to a building and stayed for 8 days. They had one cup of
water and gave it to the child. They used cooking oil to put on their
wounds which were of course infected, and found some roots and dates
He stops here. His
eyes look around the room as cars pass by outside on wet streets
hissing under their tires.
He left Fallujah
at the end of January, so I ask him what it was like when he left recently.
25% of the people have returned, but there are still no doctors. The
hatred now of Fallujans against every American is incredible, and you
cannot blame them. The humiliation at the checkpoints is only making
people even angrier, he tells me.
been there, and I saw that anyone who even turns their head is threatened
and hit by both American and Iraqi soldiers alike
one man did this,
and when the Iraqi soldier tried to humiliate him, the man took a gun
of a nearby soldier and killed two ING, so then of course he was shot.
The doctor tells
me they are keeping people in the line for several hours at a time,
in addition to the US military making propaganda films of the situation.
seen them use the media-and on January 2nd at the north checkpoint in
the north part of Fallujah, they were giving people $200 per family
to return to Fallujah so they can film them in the line
at that time, nobody was returning to Fallujah, he says. It reminds
me of the story my colleague told me of what he saw in January. At that
time a CNN crew was escorted in by the military to film street cleaners
that were brought in as props, and soldiers handing out candy to children.
You must understand
the hatred that has been caused
it has gotten more difficult for
Iraqis, including myself, to make the distinction between the American
government and the American people, he tells me.
His story is like
was a poor man in Fallujah, he explains, He walked from
his house to work and back, while living with his wife and five daughters.
In July of 2003, American soldiers entered his house and woke them all
up. They drug them into the main room of the house, and executed my
cousin in front of his family. Then they simply left.
He pauses then holds
up his hands and asks, Now, how are these people going to feel