Khan Got Flowers Too
by Bill Onasch
have no doubt that when Genghis Khan rode into what is now Iraq with his
invading army eight hundred years ago there were some who tried to curry favor
with flowers and chants of his name. Unfortunately, the Mongol conqueror had no
embedded media to record such displays.
invaders came from the opposite direction and were able to stage manage eager
youth chanting “Bush” rather than “Khan.” They were undoubtedly just as
sincere as they had been demonstrating for Saddam Hussein just a couple of weeks
troops immediately tried to set a good example for their cheerleaders. An
armored vehicle smashed through the ornate doors of a presidential palace and
left it open and unsecured. In several areas U.S. soldiers used their motorized
equipment to pull down statues of Saddam Hussein.
lumpen elements quickly got the message and went on a rampage of murder, looting
and vandalism that would have pleased the Mongols. Having no more shame than
their new masters they even stripped hospitals bare leaving wounded Iraqis to
suffer in slow death. To top things off they stole or smashed priceless
artifacts dating back to the very beginning of civilization.
occupiers initially secured only two buildings in Baghdad—the main hospital
and the oil ministry.
this is written urgently needed food, water, and medicine cannot be brought in
by relief agencies because of this violent chaos. Thousands, mostly children,
face imminent death due to malnutrition, dehydration, and easily treatable
of Defense Rumsfeld tried to downplay the mobs as just pent up frustration by
the long repressed Iraqi people. But this is not typical behavior for masses
involved in revolution or liberation. The Czar was pretty oppressive too but the
Bolsheviks secured the palaces and churches and later turned most of them into
museums to be viewed and enjoyed by all. The Sandinistas took a similar approach
when Somoza was overthrown in Nicaragua. The people of Paris didn’t welcome
Allied forces by trashing the Louvre.
course there are few Iraqis who are shedding tears for the fallen dictatorship.
But that doesn’t mean that most are filled with joy and optimism. They hate
and fear the thugs running amok as much as they did the disciplined Baath
fascists. Right now they are worried about getting enough to eat, anxious to see
the streets safe for travel. They haven’t yet had much of a chance to figure
out how to deal with the occupiers.
labor movement in the U.S., Britain and Australia needs to develop solidarity
with the working people of Iraq, to assist with material aid and help them form
independent trade unions to defend their interests against bosses and occupiers.
We should warn them that our ruling class is not their friend. That is why we
opposed the war, why we continue to call for bringing the troops home.
Saturday, April 12, 2003