Low Crime Rate in Fallujah
** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
November 30, 2004
Low Crime Rate in Fallujah
Abut Talat and I, snarled in the horrendous daily traffic of Baghdad,
decide to laugh about it. “Maybe we should consider a camel,” he
ponders, “That way we don’t have to feed it benzene!” We both start
laughing while our car hasn’t moved for several minutes.
An Iraqi Police truck races by on the wrong side of the road, sirens
blaring…to do what?
“Plus, a camel is better than a horse because it has 6 stomachs,” he
adds, starting to sound serious about this, “That way it can go for even
longer!” I have tears now from laughing so hard, while Abu Talat holds
his hands up, signaling for me to wait, “Or even better, each car should
have two donkeys to tow it, so we never need benzene again!”
We both lurch forward in our seats with laughter as I bang my hands on
the dash board. It’s either laugh or cry in Iraq. Without our joking, we
would have lost it a long time ago.
While the humanitarian crisis facing families who remain trapped inside
Fallujah grinds on, US-backed interim prime minister Ayad Allawi
announced yesterday that the crime rate in Fallujah was down after the
US siege of the city. Remember that not long ago, Allawi also announced
that every person killed in Fallujah was a fighter, ie-not one civilian
As heavy traffic of Apache helicopters roars incessantly over Baghdad,
fierce clashes continue against the occupation forces while the interim
prime minister is in Jordan, attempting to persuade Iraqis living there
to participate in the upcoming elections.
With at least 134 US soldiers killed in Iraq this month so far, yet
another huge car bomb detonated into a military convoy on the dreaded
airport road. While witnesses reported seeing several bodies lying on
the ground at the scene, the military has yet to announce any casualty
counts. Another car bomb in Beji detonated near a US patrol, killing 4
Iraqis and wounding at least 19, including 2 US soldiers.
Allawi continues to insist that violence in Iraq is decreasing since the
siege of Fallujah.
After picking up some friends, we are snarled in more horrendous traffic
near the airport road on our way to another refugee camp. Razor wire
stretches across the road as helicopters and military hardware are
clustered just up the road. While the military cut most of the trees
along the road to prevent attacks, car bombs are something they can’t stop.
Meanwhile, the military refused to allow yet another aid convoy into
Fallujah. They were turned back because the military personnel told them
the Ministry of Health would be allowed to send a relief convoy in “8 or
There are at least 150 families trapped within the city, and the
military refuses to let any of them out. While a few ambulances were
allowed into one section of the city a few days ago, there are at least
three main neighborhoods that the military is keeping a tight lid on.
Refugees continue to report the use of napalm and phosphorous weapons-of
seeing dead bodies with no bullet holes in them, just scorched patches
More refugees at the Amiryah bomb shelter camp in Baghdad are telling
the same horror stories. A man who fled the city says, “Fallujah is in a
disaster!” He holds his hands out and pleads, “We call on all NGO’s and
aid organizations to help Fallujans! We just want to return to our land;
we know our homes are destroyed, but we’d rather sleep in tents in our
The scene at the nearby Melouki Mosque is chaos. Crowds of men stand
outside gates holding their food ration papers in the air to prove they
are from Fallujah in order to receive small heaters, stoves, foodstuffs
and blankets. Thankfully, an international NGO managed to donate funds
to purchase much of these desperately needed supplies for refugees.
Medicine have also been purchased with the donations for Iraqi doctors to
dispense to the refugees.
Sheikh Hussein who is in charge of the relief effort at the mosque is
struggling to cope with the crisis.
We stand in a small courtyard behind the mosque away from the crowds
talking. I notice a white military surveillance balloon nearby, as
helicopters rumble overhead.
“Some people not even from Fallujah are so desperate they are coming
here to get supplies and pretending to be refugees,” he tells us.
Women and children are crying outside the gates as men grapple for the
small heaters and stoves.
I am reminded of what occurred in Lidice, Czechoslovakia during World
War II. Similar to what the US military has done to Fallujah, the German
Nazis leveled Lidice as payback collective punishment for the death of a
high ranking member of the German security administration, Reinhard
Heydrich, who was killed by Czech patriots in 1942.
Last March, four mercenaries were brutally killed in Fallujah, which led
to the first US siege of the city in April as collective payback for the
attack. Mostly for political reasons that siege was ceased, which set
the stage for the recent attack on the city.
Similarly, Heydrich was assassinated by Czech patriots who were accused
of being aided by the village of Lidice. Thus, Hitler ordered the
village to be erased, and all men in the city over the age of 16 were
Musar, a woman at the mosque standing nearby is weeping. “My 5 cousins
and uncle are trapped there,” she cries, “They are not fighters but the
Americans won’t let them out. And now the soldiers are coming to our
refugee camp and detaining people!”
Musar begins to plead with us, “They took all the doctors out of the
hospitals. My brother is a doctor there and they made him leave his
work.” She stops because she is sobbing, then continues, “We have
nothing! You must help us. I need my cousins and my uncle! Where are
they? I just want to see them. None of them are fighters.”