is anyone listening?
Of course they don't. To let exiled Iraqis speak would be to shoot a million holes in the theory that the anti-war crowd cares about the Iraqi people and the marches, rallies and battle cries are all about freedom.
The Iraqis had come with placards reading "Freedom for Iraq" and "American rule, a hundred thousand times better than Takriti tyranny!"
But the tough guys who supervised the march would have none of that. Only official placards, manufactured in thousands and distributed among the "spontaneous" marchers, were allowed. These read "Bush and Blair, baby-killers," " Not in my name," "Freedom for Palestine," and "Indict Bush and Sharon."
Not one placard demanded that Saddam should disarm to avoid war.
The goons also confiscated photographs showing the tragedy of Halabja, the Kurdish town where Saddam's forces gassed 5,000 people to death in 1988.
That is Amir Taheri, writing about the day he spent with the protesters, trying to get the voice of Iraqi people heard. Instead, the voices were stifled.
Salima Kazim, an Iraqi grandmother, managed to attract the reverend's attention and told him how Saddam Hussein had murdered her three sons because they had been dissidents in the Baath Party; and how one of her grandsons had died in the war Saddam had launched against Kuwait in 1990.
"Could I have the microphone for one minute to tell the people about my life?" 78-year-old Salima demanded.
The reverend was not pleased.
"Today is not about Saddam Hussein," he snapped. "Today is about Bush and Blair and the massacre they plan in Iraq." Salima had to beat a retreat, with all of us following, as the reverend's gorillas closed in to protect his holiness.
Mr. Taheri and his Iraqi friends will never be allowed to say what they want during an anti-war rally for one simple reason - those protests are not about war at all. They are not about Saddam Hussein or liberating the Iraqi people. The Iraqi cause is just a cover for what the leftist movement is really about: America is bad. Bush is bad. Blair is bad. It's about the economy and the enivornment and class warfare; those are all noble causes, and I would not mind hearing the views of those rallying around such issues in the proper venue.
The women and children of Iraq are being used by the anti-globalization, Jew-hating, anti-leather/meat crowd to further their pet causes. They go naked for peace and hold up signs saying No War, but the real point of these marches is to bring down capitalism and rail against George Bush.
The Iraqis would had much to tell the "antiwar" marchers, had they had a chance to speak. Fadel Sultani, president of the National Association of Iraqi authors, would have told the marchers that their action would encourage Saddam to intensify his repression.
"I had a few questions for the marchers," Sultani said. "Did they not realize that oppression, torture and massacre of innocent civilians are also forms of war? Are the antiwar marchers only against a war that would liberate Iraq, or do they also oppose the war Saddam has been waging against our people for a generation?"
Sultani could have told the peaceniks how Saddam's henchmen killed dissident poets and writers by pushing page after page of forbidden books down their throats until they choked.
Yet if Ashcroft even talks about taking away a civil liberty in his sleep, there will be a dozen protesters standing outside his bedroom door in the morning calling him Hitler. Hey, I'm all for civil liberties, I don't want them taken away either. I'm just curious why nobody is protesting the lack of civil liberties in Iraq. I'm wondering why all these poets and artists and authors who signed the Not In Our Name petition aren't crying out against Saddam Hussein for killing the poets and artists and authors of Iraq.
Because it doesn't matter, that's why. These people care as much about the citizens of Iraq as they do about Ted Nugent. That is to say, not at all.
The hallmark of a far left liberal is the need to feel good about themselves. The notches they mark in the belts are those of intentions, not deeds. If it made them feel good to carry a sign that says "Bush is a Baby Killer," then that's all that matters.
They lay naked in the grass, spelling out peace and love and happiness, their bodies entwined in a Twister-like spelling bee acted out in a language only those leaning over the left edge of the fence can understand. They go home feeling accomplished, smug and self-satisfied because their intentions were noble and worthy.
Little does it matter to them that the citizens of Iraq want to be liberated. They want America to come and free them. They don't know that because they will not let the Iraqi people speak. They do not want to hear that their cause is not just, that this ruse of marching for peace is going to unfold before their eyes if they let just one person tell of the torture and death inside the borders of Iraq.
They will just keep those blinders on, keep marching with their anti-Bush and anti-America signs, keep rallying around Mumia, keep listening to Chomsky, keep voting for people like Cynthia McKinney, keep on keeping on while the rest of us listen to the right people and do the right thing. Not because it makes us feel good; because it is going to make the people of Iraq feel good.
As Amire Taheri says at the end of the linked article:
Let us hope that when Iraq is liberated, as it soon will be, the world will remember that it was not done in the name of Rev. Jackson, Charles Kennedy, Glenda Jackson, Tony Benn, and their companions in a march of shame.