Journalists at Crosshair

Journalists at Crosshair

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
April 8, 2003

They are not even sparing the journalists. Three were killed
today when “coalition” bombs shattered the hotels the journalists were
staying. What form of “liberation” is this? Liberation from a dictator or
liberation from truth?

These journalists were covering the war, acting
independently, not cloying with the military, were not “in-bedded” as the
others apparently are. Perhaps for their reluctance from being bought out
outright is the cause of their violent demise?

Regardless of who commits it, Iraqi or the “coalition”,
they and their leadership should be held responsible for committing these
criminal acts.

Today’s assaults have seen the deaths of Tariq Ayub, an Al
Jajeera journalist reporting from Baghdad, Taras Protsyuk a Ukranian cameraman
reporting for Reuters and Jose Couso who worked for Spanish Telecinco. The
Associated Press reports that there are at least ten journalists have been
killed so far in this war.

Not long ago, the “coalition”
commanders were boasting in their precision guided weapons, on how effectively
marvelous these weapons are getting used, they are not destroying even the
surrounding walls while demolishing the enemy compounds, we were told. What
happened to their boastfulness?

Now the bombs are falling indiscriminately over the Iraqi
civilians, tank shells are incinerating microbus filled with women and children,
entire housing complex full of people are gutted with “precise” missiles
living nothing but gaping craters.

Alas! Liberation of Iraq is indeed liberating! Liberation
and fumigation of Iraqi civilians, while any questions from the journalists on
any specific civilian casualties are answered back, “We are investigating on
this report”. One may ask, how much time the “investigation” requires
finding out the truth?

It was also ruefully observed that any Iraqi resistance,
their fights are reported in the Western mainstream media as “cowardice
desperation”, their resistance is termed as the “die hard loyalists” who
are fighting to keep the regime alive. Why not acknowledging that there might be
thousands of genuine fighters out there who are not fighting to keep Saddam’s
regime alive, but to repel an illegal invasion and prospective occupation on
their motherland? Surely, the brave Americans and British citizens would have
done the same to repel any heinous invaders if they were attacked regardless of
their likings or disliking of their “elected” government.

This is the reason no sane and persons with shred of
dignity can support any preemptive/preventive war or aggressions. The artists,
the writers of all levels, actors/actresses, and people from all walks of life
do posses dignity unlike the neo-conservatives and they are solidly against this
war. American polls are churning in the background to nuzzle through dubious
statistics showing that more than seventy seven percent of Americans are
supporting this war. However, they are conveniently forgetting in saying that
statistical poll depends on how the questions were asked to the responders and
what kind of sampling were utilized in extracting the poll. There are no data
easily available to American public whether these questions were asked to the
narrow-minded neo-conservatives and their friends. And in the time of war when
the nation’s all cable channels and local media are parading behind their
commander in chief, heart-wrenching news coverage of American and British
military casualties are showered with plenty of twisting analysis from the three
or four-star Generals, is their any wonderment that simple hearted folks will be
supporting their own neighbor kids who have been sent to Iraq to fight the war
of rich?

“Art is important”, said Nicole Kidman in her Oscar
speech. Surely it is. Because it is through art the artists try to revolutionize
the mass, try to bring sanity and peace in their devastated world. But the
neo-conservatives are powerful folks with plenty of dazzling connections, and
this is the reason the media is trying its best to block dissenting artists and
writers or anyone who are daring raising their voices against war and its

Al Jajeera was severely denounced for its coverage of war
that was termed in the Western media as completely biased in favor of Iraq. And
there might be partial truth in some of these claims. But does it give any
authority to bomb the journalists, silence them, maiming them in their attempts
to give different perspectives than the American conglomerate media willing to

America is the nation of free speech, and its leaders boast
the necessity of freedom of expression around the world. In its recently
published Human Rights Report by the State Department rightfully portrayed the
rampant Human Rights violation in China and many other nations. While the
cluster bombs and missiles are savaging the ultimate human rights a person
demand which is his or her life, the terrified looks on little girls’ teary
eyes while American troops forcefully kneeling them down pointing the muzzle of
gun in their incursion to their privacy of home, what kind of credibility the
State Department may attach on their widely publicized report? And now the
deaths of journalists who were embracing fully in their heart the American ideal
of civil liberty, will it bring more dependability on American claims on liberty and equality mantra?

Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. His email address is: