Hawija: Chronicle of an Announced Mass Murder
|Victim of the brutal attack on a peaceful demonstration in Hawija, 23 April 2013|
The B38 protesters (some reports say 50) were killed and hundreds injured when Maliki’s security forces stormed an anti-government protest camp in Hawija near Kirkuk on Tuesday 23 April and turned a peaceful demonstration into a slaughterhouse.s Tribunal is appalled to hear the news that at least
This attack was imminent and announced. It started around 5:00 am (0200 GMT) when security forces entered an open area near Hawijah, west of Kirkuk, where demonstrations have been held since January.
On 21 April the Bthe following communication:s Tribunal received and published
SAVE THE 4000 PEACEFUL PROTESTORS IN HAWIJA NOW!
URGENT ………. URGENT
4,000 Peaceful Protestors in Hawija are now surrounded by government army troops and are about to be attacked.
They have been surrounded by these troops for the past 3 days without water, food and medical aid.
FRIDAY Protestors were attacked, one killed and 4 injured. Medical treatment was with-held.
SATURDAY, government troops stormed the field of protest and destroyed all the kitchen facilities as well as medical facilities.
Roads leading to field were cut off.
SAVE THE PEACEFUL IRAQI REVOLUTION – SAVE THE 4,000 MEN AND CHILDREN IN HAWIJA.
PLEASE PUT AN END TO THE MASSACRE.
In our newsletter of 23 April we mentioned that:
General Ali Ghaidan Majid, the Iraqi Land Forces Commander openly threatened all protesters anywhere in Iraq that he is authorized and determined to take serious actions against the demonstrators on the pretexts that they are Terrorists, Ba'athists…
He claimed that his troops are protecting the demonstrators while the demonstrators themselves are suffering from the unacceptable repression by the armed forces.
Our newsletter came too late. At least 38 lives are lost.
Will the world finally start listening to the Iraqi people?
For more than 120 days now the protesters have made urgent appeals to the international media to do a fair coverage of the nationwide anti-sectarian demonstrations and to see for themselves what the main demands are: “no to the partition of the country”, “no to sectarianism” and “abolishing the divisive constitution”.
For more than 120 days the international media have misrepresented the demonstrations by labelling them “sectarian” and “sunni” protests against a “shia majority” government.
For more than 120 days the international mainstream media have paid no attention to the just demands of millions of Iraqi citizens. Torture and rape of women, men and children in regular and secret prisons? Unlawful arrests? Poor public services? Corruption? They never heard of any of the human rights violations that forced millions of the Iraqi people to demonstrate into the streets and squares, day after day, after day, nationwide. The media only report about the demonstrations when protesters are being killed.
How much longer are the mainstream media going to keep silent, ignore the truth and spread the lies which Nouri Al-Maliki, the butcher of Hawija, orders them to write.
For 4 months now the BExecuting people in batches like this is obscene. It is like processing animals in a slaughterhouse. The criminal justice system in Iraq is still not functioning adequately, with numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards.”s Tribunal and the International Anti-Occupation Network are trying to reach out to the media, appeal to politicians and the international community. There is little indignation about the open-air prison, that is Iraq. They could have intervened in different international forums, if they had taken the reports of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others seriously. They could have condemned the current sectarian Iraqi government like the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, did when she said: “
This mass murder has sent shock waves through the communities across the land. Near Hawija, reports emerged that claimed some armed tribesman had taken control of government checkpoints.
“The peaceful demonstrations are over due to what happened today,” said Saddoun al-Obaidi, a tribal leader in Hawija who was a leader of the protest movement. “Now we are going to carry weapons. We have all the weapons we need, and we are getting support from other provinces. This will not pass easily. Something bad will happen soon.”
Elsewhere, the reaction from other protest areas was swift. In Falluja, where clashes between the army and protesters in January killed at least seven protesters, thousands of citizens took to the streets demanding the international community stop what they described as the “massacres of the government.”
Protest leaders, tribal chiefs and local Muslim scholars are meeting to consider a response.
In Baghdad, leaders of Iraqiya, the biggest political party, announced they were suspending participation in Parliament. In Mosul, in the north, which has hosted continuing protests, a spokesman for the Sunni movement there, Salim al-Jabouri, said, “the demonstrators in Mosul left the sit-in area to take up arms in support of the demonstrators in Hawija and take revenge for them.”
If protesters respond violently to the Iraqi government's raid, it could set off a chain reaction that could envelope the entire region. Sunni religious leaders who have counseled peaceful protests for months are calling on their followers to take up arms against the Baghdad government.
"We were always telling the protesters not to carry a gun or start attacking the armed forces because we wanted the peaceful demanding to go on," said Abdul Malik Al Sa'adi.
"Now self-defense has become a religious and legal duty, so defend yourselves and he who will be killed defending his money, family or country will be considered a martyr."
Meanwhile Martin Kobler, the United Nations’ representative in Iraq, made a very weak statement “I encourage the Iraqi security forces to exercise the utmost self-restraint in maintaining law and order and the demonstrators to continue to preserve the peaceful character of the demonstrations”. This answer of a UN representative will only spark more anger. Why is there no strong condemnation?
Hawija: a wake-up call?
We hope that the Hawija massacre will be a wake-up call for the International Community. We appeal to all human rights organisation and peace movements to intensify their support for the Iraqi protest movement.
We also hope that the Iraqi people will achieve their goals: stop the human rights violations, reclaim their resources, live in a peaceful and united, non-sectarian country, governed by the Iraqi people and not by a puppet government in the American Green Zone.
Reports about this massacre: