Monday, January 29, 2007

Where Were You?

Dear Dr. X,

I had the misfortune of reading the terrible letter that you sent to Ann Clwyd. Let me begin by saying that whilst I do not by any means condone the terrible present situation in Iraq, and whilst I criticise the governments of the USA and the UK for allowing the situation to get out of hand, and for not having an exit strategy, I still believe that it is possible to bring this chaotic situation under control after crushing the remnants of the defeated Saddam’s party and his henchmen, albeit at a greater cost to all parties concerned.

Like you, I am also a Christian doctor from Iraq who has been working in this country for the last 26 years.

Unlike you, however, I and my family, have not only watched but also sensed and experienced bitterly and in person, the physical and the psychological torture and the terror that we were subjected to, at the hands of Saddam’s thugs and secret service criminals.

I am not here trying to compare your family’s situation with mine, but if your family was perhaps fortunate enough for 35 years, to enjoy the privileges of Saddam’s tyrannical and brutal reign, my family and relatives, had to escape the intimidation and the imminent danger to their lives...They fled the country in 1991 leaving behind very good jobs and homes and their livelihoods.

In doing that, we lost a member of the family. We were the lucky ones; many lost more than one member and some could not make it at all and were killed under torture or disappeared completely.

You say that all this time, you have been active in human rights...But I and many other political prisoners and detainees...have not even heard of you...Other human rights personnel, in this country and abroad, were very active in condemning the brutality of the criminal Saddam and his regime, in various publications and in mass gatherings and meetings, but we never saw you in any of those meetings nor did we hear any condemnation like that from you. So where were you all that time?

Where were you...when Saddam and his regime were arresting, torturing and killing thousands of Communists and Shia in the late 70s, 80s and 90s? Or did not that matter to you?

Where were you when he, his sons and his thugs were inventing new methods of torture, like dangling the bodies of their victims in acid baths, starting from the perineum, and pulling them in and out, so that they would die a slow and painful death; or pumping the rectum with petrol and then shooting them, so that they would burst into a ball of fire?

As a doctor, working in a human rights organisation and claiming to be one of the founders of the medical group "within that organisation" wasn't that something that stirred at least some repulsion in you to prompt you to campaign for the human rights of those people?

And what about some of Uday’s crimes? Have you written or spoken about them? Have you ever denounced him publicly, when he and his thugs, used to behead young decent women from respectable families, who would refuse to surrender to his lust, after raping them, and then throw their severed heads in front of the doors of their parents’ homes, with a message ‘whore’ displayed on their heads?

Where were you, when Saddam first used chemical weapons in 1983, during the war with Iran, and then again in 1987 and in 1988, in Halabja, or haven’t you heard of it? And where was your human rights campaign when Ali Kimyawi supervised the throwing of whole families from helicopters in Kurdistan and the throwing of shackled Shia victims, from the roofs of tall buildings in the south of the country? Wasn’t the condemning of that savagery an essential part of your human rights job?

I have not heard, or seen you, condemning Saddam’s regime, when his torturers...rape the wives, mothers and sisters, of the detained members of the Communist party, the Shia political parties and Shia religious leaders, in front of their eyes, in order to obtain forced and false confessions from them!

Didn't that incite some anger in you similar to the one that you expressed in your letter to Ann Clwyd?!

The mass graves are yet another example of the recent additions to that reign of terror. Did you do, or write, anything about that?

You say that you are a Christian doctor, where were you when Dr Habib Almalih, a Christian doctor from Ainkawa and many others were virtually cut into pieces and put in black sacks and thrown at the doorstep of their parents’ houses, forbidding them even to hold any funeral service for them?

And again, being a Christian doctor, where were you, when Saddam gave the order to wipe out and flatten to the ground, 65 Christian villages of the Assyrian community in Kurdistan and hanged four young leaders of the Assyrian democratic movement and left them, hung and strapped on the electricity poles for days, for everybody to see?

It will take several books, to write about the crimes against humanity, the vicious torture and violations of human rights, the mass murders and extra-judicial killing and the genocide that have been committed by that fascist and repressive regime, which I haven’t seen you denouncing!

Finally, in stark contrast to your shameful silence in condemning these atrocities of the criminal Saddam and his regime, in the UK and internationally, Ann Clwyd, and for the last two decades, has been one of the torch-bearers”— I include in that my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn)—

“in the fight against the violations of human rights by that repressive regime.
I have therefore inevitably arrived at a conclusion that it should be you that must reconsider your position in the human rights organisation and not Ann Clwyd.”

The letter is signed Leonard H. Jacob, physician from Sheffield.

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