Iraqi oil workers against occupation

This video from the USA is called Labor Beat: Iraq Oil Workers Leader: “Troops Out Yesterday”.

By Iraqi oil workers’ trade union leader Hassan Juma’a, in British daily The Guardian:

In resistance we are united

Basra’s occupiers depart defeated. Our message to belligerent British leaders? Good riddance

Saturday 18 April 2009

Six years after US and British tanks rolled into Basra, the scene is one of devastation, with the blood of the innocent spread across the city and Iraq’s tortured land. Not even schools and hospitals were spared. On a pretext of lies, history’s greatest empire launched the 2003 war to occupy Mesopotamia, inflicting untold damage on the cradle of civilisation. It was an aggression instigated by a small minority of warmongers.

It is my firm conviction that the chaotic conditions endured today were caused by the occupying powers, who pulverised the innocent with half-ton bombs, depleted uranium and white phosphorus. The US-led intervention extended to the political process, saddling Iraq with divisive laws enacted by the appointed ruler Paul Bremer.

Despite propaganda to the contrary, the American and British forces have done nothing positive. Aside from bombing the people, they have enabled the looting of Iraqi resources, the theft of people’s possessions under the guise of search operations, the entrenchment of corruption, the destruction of museums and libraries, and the re-enactment of Saddam’s anti trade union decrees. That is why Basrawis and all Iraqis will regard the departure in defeat of the invaders as their greatest festival. They will celebrate in the knowledge that their willpower is stronger than the mightiest military forces on earth, and that our streets and alleyways are not made to throw flowers at invaders and war criminals.

Amid the pain and suffering, there is also the indelible memory of the brave souls who resisted the aggressors at Um Qasr, the southern gate of Basra and Iraq. Despite being very lightly armed they challenged overwhelming firepower for seven days. They were the new martyrs of a city that had legions of its sons and daughters martyred during Saddam’s tyranny.

Their resistance was the unmistakable signal that the Iraqi people would not lie down and accept occupation. They reminded the “shock and awe” aggressors that Iraq was not the cakewalk they dreamed of. It was only natural for the Iraqi people, who had long fought against Saddam’s oppression, to echo the Basrawis’ stand – a stand that forced British forces to abandon Basra city and take cover in their bases.

The war on Iraq has been lost, because it tried the impossible: to control and stifle a people’s longing for liberty. It has utterly failed – despite its firepower and nurturing of terrorism – to sow division and destroy Iraq’s unity. The occupation’s divisive plans were thwarted by deeper roots of unity.

I am convinced that expelling the occupiers is the desire of the people – whatever their religion, sect or ethnicity. Let the US and its allies be in no doubt that Iraqis will reject injustice and hold accountable those who smashed their country and robbed it of its resources. The imperial designs will fail no matter what. The hated invaders must leave our country. We are fully capable of its reconstruction and development.

History will not look kindly at the British government for supporting the US war on Iraq, and yet the US will treat its junior ally with contempt – the master will no doubt seek to establish sole control of Iraq and its resources.

I call on supporters of freedom across the world to stand by the Iraqi people. And to the British anti-war movement I say thank you, but my final message to the British warmongers is: “good riddance”. The curse of your Iraqi victims will always be with you, for you killed innocent people and you tortured captives. Go to the dustbin of history, and never forget heroic Basra and the great struggle of the Iraqi people.

• Hassan Juma’a is president of the Iraqi Oil Workers Federation, based in Basra

Iraq: the forgotten war: here.

The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum: here.

Iraqi Labor Leader: We Will Defend Our Oil. An Iraqi union leader may be the biggest obstacle blocking U.S. efforts to privatize oil and other industries in Iraq: here.

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