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Dear "Terrorist" Child: Life Under Empire's Claws

By       Message Manuel Valenzuela     Permalink
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Living at the periphery of society, growing up on the streets, without education, with no chance at opportunity, no future job to take, many children like you become casualties of the American Leviathan and its puppet leaders, forced, due to your plight, to attend a madrassah, where you are indoctrinated in fundamentalist Islam, though at least they clothe and feed you, taking over where the state has failed you, offering you love and support. It is here where you might come to know who is responsible for your poverty and your inability to escape the chains placed at your feet from birth. It is here where many of your fellow students learn what the state refuses to teach.

With authoritarian rule and a strong police state, both prevalent among America's Middle East allies, any random uprising can easily be squashed, any demonstration quieted. Through the use of intimidation activists are silenced. Through threat of death, torture or disappearance a movement can be made to vanish. With a controlled state media the masses never see or hear or are informed about the truth facing their lives. Through censorship and control over all forms of media the state maintains control and order. This is the reason "freedom and democracy" will never exist among the Empire's client states, for both America and her puppets fear the power of the People, preferring to offer a charade of freedom and democracy, yet in reality forced to increase authoritarian rule as well as a police state mentality as the level of poverty increases, the bitterness of the citizenry against the state rises and the overall frustrations of the people expands.

It is authoritarian rule, and not "freedom and democracy," that America and its corporatist Establishment wants to maintain in the Middle East. It is obedience to American hegemony that must be preserved. The will of the People is and will always be trumped by the pursuit of the Almighty dollar. In an area of such vital strategic and geopolitical significance to the interests of the Empire as is the Middle East, with the supply of petroleum dwindling, with the demand for oil increasing exponentially, with its lands vital for pipelines and energy infrastructure, with its global location of such importance, you can be assured, young one, that you will never see America pursue the "freedom and democracy" it so valiantly, and hypocritically, hails in its quest to introduce the "birth pangs" of a new Middle East.

Only after the oil and gas cease to flow, only after America is sure it has nothing left to exploit, only then might you free yourself of the massive tentacles of a most voracious and gluttonous Empire. Perhaps after the oil stops flowing from under your feet, when America has no more need for despots and royalty or for your inhospitable land, will you have the possibility of ridding yourself of dictators and kings, finally establishing the "freedom and democracy" you have heard so much about.

So feared is the introduction of fair, honest and just elections in the Middle East by America that in the case of Palestinian elections, where the population, under decades of brutal occupation and apartheid by Israel, elected Hamas to power in the hopes that it would succeed where others only failed, even after America and Israel gave the opposition party millions of dollars in funds to help it win the election. America and Israel immediately began a campaign of collective punishment on the Palestinian people for having the temerity to democratically elect a party not chosen or wanted by both nations. Tens of millions of dollars in funds that flow to Palestine from the American government were frozen, never to see Palestinian soil. Vital tax revenues from the occupied territories were kept by Israel, purposefully withheld due to Palestinian democracy. Israel, with American political, financial and military support, began a series of campaigns aimed at destroying, or at least severely damaging, key infrastructure in the Territories. Water was siphoned away form Gaza, sewer service was interrupted, electrical plants were bombed. Food and medicine became scarce in Gaza, leading to malnourishment and a plethora of medical problems.

Without water, electricity, tax revenues to pay government workers and the food and medicine needed for children to survive, the Palestinian people suffered horribly. To add insult to injury, dozens of democratically elected Palestinian officials were kidnapped and imprisoned, including high level Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament. The clear intent by Israel, and by consequence America, was to teach the Palestinian people a lesson in Middle East democracy. Collective punishment was imposed on the population of the occupied territories for the simple act of democratically voting and electing a party not of Tel Aviv's or Washington's choosing. Thus, Hamas, elected because it stood with the Palestinian people in their great cause for freedom from apartheid, occupation, imprisonment and tyranny, was hamstrung from the very beginning by two foreign powers, its hands cut off by actions detrimental to the interests of millions of Palestinians. "You will have democracy," America and Israel seemed to say, "but only if you vote for whomever we tell you to vote for." Thus through the Palestine example can we see the idea of "freedom and democracy," American style.

Life inside Occupation, Violence and Destruction

In Iraq and, most recently in Lebanon, can we observe the devastating war America is waging against the Arab world, especially Arab children. Iraq has been transformed into a land ruled by violence and anarchy, creating a hornet's nest of hatred and internecine fighting that did not previously exist. With no threat to the American people, incapable even of inflicting damage to its immediate neighbors, Iraq was invaded and subsequently occupied by American forces, creating the greatest strategic disaster in American history and sending Iraq spiraling down into the gates of Hades. The American occupation has created the birth pangs of sectarian civil war, with ethnic cleansing of entire neighborhoods now the rule, not the exception.
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The occupation has succeeding in introducing a level of violence unheard of in Iraq and the Middle East. Every month, for example, more than 3,000 people lose their life in a country being torn apart at its western-imposed seams. Just in July 2006, a little bit more than 3,400 Iraqis lost their life. How many of these, are we to wonder, were children? How many more have been injured, maimed, or otherwise mentally and psychologically traumatized? How many children have been forced to confront a world their young, innocent minds simply cannot comprehend? Every month, the equivalent of one 9/11 is taking place in Iraq, all thanks to America's arrogant blunder into Mesopotamia. After America's 9/11, millions of children suffered nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder for weeks and even months, forced to experience and relive in their minds the devastating controlled demolition of the Twin Towers. How can Iraq's children be expected to react to the level of violence and death and destruction currently afflicting their own nation?

Prior to the invasion of Iraq by America, it must be remembered, genocidal sanctions were supported, placed and enforced on Iraq by America, beginning in the early 1990's, that lasted until George W. Bush's disastrous foray into the Middle East. It is estimated that anywhere from 500,000 to one million children died in the decade long economic genocide of an entire generation of Iraqi children. Denied vital food and medicines, hundreds of thousands of innocent children died of malnutrition or from disease. As hospitals rotted from within, due to lack of supplies, all denied by sanctions, entire extended families perished, their children unable to withstand the lack of nutrition or the absence of vital medicines.

Untold thousands also died as a result of the weapon of mass destruction, also known as America's version of the dirty bomb, depleted uranium munitions, used during Gulf War One in the early 1990's. Hundreds of tons of bombs, artillery, shells, missiles and bullets coated with depleted uranium were released into Iraq's environment, cities and atmosphere, each containing radioactive material embedded inside its coating. The results have been disastrous. Cancers, childhood leukemia and diseases once unheard of in Iraq began to spike in large numbers not long after the war ended, affecting tens of thousands of people, many of them children. Birth deformities and fetus mutations never before seen began to appear after the end of many pregnancies.

With an additional hundreds of tons of depleted uranium also dropped and dispersed on Iraq during George W. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq, in much higher quantities than in the first Gulf War, Iraq has become a virtual radioactive desert, a land full of WMD, delivered by America onto the people of Iraq. For generations to come Iraqis will be forced to confront the premature death of their children due to cancers and disease, not to mention having to give birth to babies whose deformities and mutations the world has never been witness to. America's dirty bomb had unleashed its invisible yet destructive forces aura upon the population of Iraq. Who would have believed that it would be America, and not Iraq, who possessed and even used WMD during the course of war?

What must it be like to have your home searched, rummaged and eventually destroyed? What must occupation be like for the young, who are forced to confront death, destruction and violence on a daily basis? What must it be like to have your family humiliated, dehumanized, robbed of its few possessions and amounts of money, your room ransacked in the middle of the night by American patrols designed to intimidate and scare more than anything else? To be an Iraqi child during this most criminal and malevolent act of premeditated aggression is to be condemned to live life in hell on Earth, with destruction and death all around, bullets whizzing by and improvised explosive devices booming in the distance, with buildings you once recognized now turned to rubble and a normal life you once knew suddenly turned upside down, an unrecognizable nightmare that you cannot wake from, no matter how hard you try to escape the reality of what you are witness to.
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Friends you once knew and loved are either dead or missing, ethnically cleansed from your neighborhood because they are Sunni or Shia, forced to leave rather than die at the hands of death squads. You visit cousins in the hospital, their limbs shredded and/or torn off thanks to American ordnance or cannon fire, their eyes having become a vacuum of darkness, a vastness of nothingness inside their pupils, unable to comprehend how a game of football could lead to broken arms and amputated feet. The empty void of rage you must feel inside knowing that your older sister has been raped by American soldiers, humiliated in front of her parents, now castigated and banished from what was once a normal life, her life apparently over.

You see the valiant resistance waging guerilla war against the Americans, they with tanks and fighter jets, the resistance with IEDs and mortar fire. You most likely know members of the resistance, some might be friends of the family, others might be relatives, still others your father or older brothers. They are waging a relentless battle with the weapons they have, slowly bleeding the American military, knowing the city better than anyone, blending into buildings, hiding amongst shadows, becoming experts at guerilla warfare and at placing IED's throughout the city streets.

They are fighting for your freedom and for Iraqi independence, freedom fighters destined to proclaim victory, if not soon then after patient determination, for morality and justice are with them, as is the population and the parameters of guerilla warfare. They fight occupation and the pillaging of Iraq's resources by the Empire; they fight to expel the American military from your land, knowing full well that if not forced to leave by the resistance the armies of the Empire will never depart; they fight both to make right and bring a sense of justice to the myriad American war crimes, torture, murder, dehumanization, false imprisonment, destruction and the taunts the American military, ignorant of history or of alien cultures, has imported into Iraq. They fight for vengeance, for honor, for Iraq, becoming a valid resistance against illegal occupation.

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Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com as well as at other alternative (more...)

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