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I Imagine What It Must Have Been Like

excerpts from a report by Riverbend. November 17, 2005

Few Iraqis ever doubted the American use of chemical weapons in Falloojeh. We’ve been hearing the terrifying stories of people burnt to the bone for well over a year now. I just didn’t want it confirmed.

I didn’t want it confirmed because confirming the atrocities that occurred in Falloojeh means verifying how really lost we are as Iraqis under American occupation and how incredibly useless the world is in general -- the UN, Kofi Annan, humanitarian organizations, clerics, the Pope, journalists… You name it, we’ve lost faith in it.

I finally worked up enough courage to watch it and it has lived up to my worst fears. Watching it was almost an invasive experience, because I felt like someone had crawled into my mind and brought my nightmares to life. Image after image of men, women and children so burnt and scarred that the only way you could tell the males apart from the females, and the children apart from the adults, was by the clothes they are wearing… the clothes which were eerily intact -- like each corpse had been burnt to the bone, and then dressed up lovingly in their everyday attire -- the polka dot nightgown with a lace collar… the baby girl in her cotton pajamas, little earrings dangling from little ears.

Some of them look like they died almost peacefully, in their sleep… others look like they suffered a great deal: skin burnt completely black and falling away from scorched bones.

I imagine what it must have been like for some of them. They were probably huddled in their houses; some of them -- tens of thousands of them -- couldn’t leave the city. They didn’t have transport or they simply didn’t have a place to go. They sat in their homes, hoping that what people said about Americans was actually true -- that in spite of their huge machines and endless weapons, they were human too.

You have been reading excerpts from "Conventional Terror..." by Riverbend. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/76cma. Many thanks to Riverbend. We visit Baghdad Burning at riverbendblog.blogspot.com often and we hope you will too.

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