Voices of Iraq

Highly Recommended. A beautiful film. It seems all we see in our news reporting on Iraq is the negative biased coverage of the press. Pick your prejudice, right or left, American or European, it’s all coming from an outsider’s view of the war. What do the Iraqi people actually think? What do they say, now that they actually can say anything without fear of being tortured for their opinion. Here is the premise of the film listed on imdb.com: “Filmed and directed by the Iraqis themselves — thousands of them, from all walks of life, all over their country. The producers, who distributed more than 150 digital video cameras across the country, condensed more than 400 hours of footage into an unprecedented, and startling, look at life in a war zone.” And what they found is incredible, inspiring and full of hope. The producers show the goofy warped US newspaper headlines during various key times over the last year or two, while showing the true Iraqi conditions. Here are some of my favorite moments: A newspaper headline about the “scandal of naked prisoners at Abu Grahaib” then we see a torture victim of Sadaam Hussein tell us, “I wish I was a prisoner being tortured by the Americans. I would love to have my clothes taken off by a woman who then plays with my penis.” A bit profane, but powerful in revealing how ludicrous they see our “scandal” to be. Yeah, Arabs and Baathists chop off fingers, rape, mutilate, put living people through plastic shredders, drag bodies through the streets and light them on fire. But those Americans, now they are REALLY EVIL, they humiliate and mock their captives. Oooookay. And then another Iraqi is shocked. He says with admiration, “I have never seen a powerful country apologize” like the US did about Abu Grahaib. Another headline from the ludicrous NY Times: “Iraq is alive, but the dream is dead.” Meanwhile we see a graduation at Baghdad University that occurred at this same time and we see the students partying and expressing their hopes for the country now that Sadaam is gone, and how they want to become doctors, lawyers and engineers to rebuild their country. We see the agenda driven headline “Quagmire in Iraq” obviously trying to make this look like another Vietnam (What, do they think we are that stupid?). And we see pictures of the people at that time expressing their hope for a new Iraq because of the American liberation. We see people expressing their contempt for the insurgent terrorists and many of them explain that the insurgents are NOT Iraqis, but Arabs and others who are terrorizing because they do not want democracy, while the Iraqis do want it. Another Iraqi tells us “That’s why these countries are sending terrorists into Iraq, because democracy will make it a better place. We will question our leaders and have a voice.” A startling revelation not reported on in the Media. Another startling revelation that is shown in a casual matter-of-fact way by an Iraqi citizen that Sadaam helped provide houses for Al Qaeda terrorists. We see the horrifying photographs and physical remains being dug up of the murder of 182,000 Kurds in Anfal in 1988 by Sadaam’s chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Yeah, you heard me, I said “WMD,” you know, those WMDs that aren’t supposed to exist anywhere. EVEN THOUGH HE USED THEM ON HIS OWN PEOPLE for the whole world to see! Recent estimates from different human rights organizations put the murder toll by Sadaam to be as high as 6 MILLION. And I was listening to a Hollywood actor the other day claiming that an alleged 100,000 civilian casualties in Iraq may be more than Sadaam killed. Yeah, real close to that paltry 6 million. And of course, they don’t tell you that most of the civilian casualties are from the insurgent terrorists. A line that made me cry: “It was the Americans that freed us.” A poetic line that made me cry: “Sadaam stole our lives. He stole love and beauty.” Another tortured Iraqi tells us, “There are animal rights organizations in France that protest animal rights. How come they don’t protest for our rights?” We hear about the Iraq soccer team being tortured by the vile demonic Uday if they lost a game. We see only snippets of terrorist recruiting films and Sadaam’s torture films. In fact, that is my one complaint about the film. They should have shown FAR MORE of Sadaam’s torture films. The world needs to see this stuff. Covering it up just hides the truth, all because we have weak stomachs and don’t want to be grossed out by such “violent imagery.” Yeah, well, what do you think etched the evil of the Holocaust into our minds, but the myriads of films showing the concentration camp casualties and tortures. Another preposterous A.P. News headline: “Muslims fear Christian War against Islam” while we see the people themselves actually expressing connection with and gratitude for Christians. I was at a screening where the producers answered questions and they claimed that the movie is a representative sampling of their footage that accurately reflects the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people themselves. I respect these guys. When accused of being biased and not telling the “whole story” which should include conspiracy theories about Bush and oil, they responded by explaining, “Look, we know there are other perspectives out there, and other issues important to the whole picture. But we are filmmakers, not politicians and we were just trying to get the one viewpoint out that has NOT been shown, the Iraqi people themselves! We may not agree with everything these people say, or even be able to confirm it all, but it represents THEIR view, and that’s the point.” The producer told a great story that captures the truth of bias. He said that when they saw a news reporter out on the streets, they were all covered with body armor and flanked by an armed security team, sticking this microphone into the face of some quivering Iraqi. Well of course, the Iraqi is not going to be himself. But this movie places the camera in the hands of the people away from outside influences intruding in on them. It is their most natural responses. Of course, having a camera does add some unnaturalness to it, but the point is that it is more truly what THEY really think in their own environment. The film DOES show some negative footage of Iraqis who are not happy. But the dominant part of them expressed an understanding that seems to elude most Americans, namely that the problems that they have now ARE NOTHING compared to what they’ve had for years and years, and that they understand that it TAKES TIME to work their way into a democracy. They thank God America saved them from Sadaam. They plead for us not to leave until they can get their democracy in place. That we shouldn’t leave them to be overrun by terrorists like we did in after the first Gulf War. Amen.

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