Posted by Sadie from ? (220.127.116.11) on Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 2:19PM :
In Reply to: Revenge posted by Sadie from ? (18.104.22.168) on Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 12:20PM :
Yet another article pointing out how ridiculous it is that Bush thinks he's helping out people in Iraq by bombing the hell out of their homes & then supplying aid they wouldn't need if it weren't for the bombing & sanctions. & the most disgusting thing is that if this stupid "war" continues, there will be a horrible food shortage - 25 million people without food.
How I hate Bush...
March 27, 2003
Jubilation Turns to Hate as Aid Arrives
by Burhan Wazir in Zubayr, Iraq
The young man wearing the brown shawl summed it up succinctly: "We want you to go back home. We do not want your American and British aid," he said, his eyes flashing with anger.
If the British humanitarian taskforce had any doubts as to the legitimacy of his claims, the sudden burst of gunfire from a nearby building left no one in any doubt.
Residents of the southern Iraq town of Zubayr watch as the British Army searches for militia March 26, 2003. Iraq will probably need the biggest humanitarian operation in history to feed its entire population after the U.S.-led invasion, the U.N.'s food aid agency said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
The first attempt to deliver aid to the Iraqi people was, in all respects, a practical and logistical disaster. A convoy of vehicles, including two water tankers and as many Warrior armoured vehicles, had set off from the abandoned Shaiba airfield earlier. The intent was to deliver food and water to win over the hearts and minds of the beleaguered Iraqis.
As the convoy pulled up inside the town, however, a crowd of predominantly young men ran towards it. Fights and skirmishes broke out for bottles of water. Iraqis asked for food and cigarettes. And while a cordon was quickly created, hundreds rushed towards the trucks, overpowering the soldiers.
"We have had no water and no food," said Ali Abdullah, 50. He stood away from the crowd, stroking his beard and surveyed the scene intently as crowds of young men fought over the water.
"For five days now, we have been without electricity. Have you brought some electricity?"
The exercise had been beset with a number of difficulties from the outset. On leaving the nearby Shaiba airfield - a series of abandoned hangars, runways and outbuildings on the road to Basra - there had been innumerable delays as reports of violence filtered back from Zubayr. Earlier, there had been a delay in confirming security in the town.
Inside Zubayr, however, the distribution initially began with good nature. Young men joked with each other, smiled and passed around bottles of water. Within 10 minutes, however, an undercurrent of resentment flowed to the surface. The war, the bombing, sanctions and their cumulative toll all boiled over.
Jalil Ali, 25, the young Iraqi in the brown shawl, asked if any of the humanitarian aid was being provided by Americans.
"Take it back," he yelled, pretending to push it away. "We want the Americans to go back home. We do not need them here. Go back home. I do not need this."
Around him, his friends giggled. Not far away, people rushed out of earthen buildings and raced down a dual carriageway. Ali, however, seemed to realise the irony only too well. "They bomb. And now they want to give water and food. How can they do both? How?" It was then that the gunfire erupted.
Earlier, the soldiers had been optimistic but pensive. After enduring a rainy and windy night in the disused hangar at the Shaiba airfield, the convoy had been well intentioned. It was a curious sight: a line of trucks bearing much-needed humani tarian aid - aid that betrayed all the hallmarks of an occupying force, but aid none the less. The Iraqis, while initially jubilant, were quickly sceptical.
"I need electricity," said Moyed Abdullah, 33. "I need to power my house. See the electricity lines? They are not working; they have not been working for days. Do you bring any electricity?"
Around him, British and US soldiers struggled to control the crowds. Time and again, the Iraqis were pushed back - always, they seemed to slip in under the makeshift rope-line. After a while, it seemed, it was better simply to stand back and wait for the inevitable to happen.
The burst of gunfire from across the road finally stopped all attempts to supply the aid. As soldiers leapt into the jeeps, a Warrior turned round and took out the position the gunfire had come from. And with daylight fast fading, the humanitarian taskforce decided to speed back to its base at Shaibah airfield.
Tomorrow, they will undoubtedly try again to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi civilians. And presumably tomorrow, they will encounter yet more resentment.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
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