Monday, January 24, 2005

George Galloway

Labour Friends of Iraq have a splendid piece by Alan Johnson on George Galloway and Iraq. He mentions watching GG on Newsnight last week.
John Harris: "Do you think there is a moral equivalence between Hitler's Nazi occupation of Europe and the British and American Occupation of Iraq?"

George Galloway: "…There is no difference at all."

George Galloway offers a Brechtian solution to the agony of Iraq. Support the resistance, he says, for the resistance 'does not target its own civilians'. Notice how odd Galloway's formulation is – 'its own civilians'. Orwell would have loved that. Galloway is not claiming that the 'resistance' does not target civilians. He is claiming that the 'resistance' does not target 'its own' civilians. Only those 'working for the occupation' are 'fought' (ie killed, AJ). But who is 'working for the occupation' according to the resistance? Ah, there's the rub. It turns out to be the vast majority of Iraqi people.

First, the Shia are 'working for the occupation'. The Shia support the election and the UN-backed political process. The Shia have representatives in the Interim Government. As such they are 'working for the occupation' and are legitimate targets. The 'resistance' has massacred the Shia since the first days of the war. The Shia, it seems, are not 'its own' civilians. They may constitute 60% of the Iraqi people but that will not save them. They are not 'the Iraqi people'.

Second, the Kurds are 'working for the occupation'. The Kurds weigh in at around 18% of the Iraqi people but this does them no good as – supporting the elections - they too are not part of 'the Iraqi people'. Kurds don't qualify as 'their own' civilians.

Third, all democrats – Sunni included - and all who would participate in the UN-backed elections and political process are 'working for the occupation'. Men like Hadi Saleh, the trade union leader who on January 4 was tortured and murdered by the 'resistance' because he seeks a sovereign Iraq via the route of elections, politics and building the workers movement. For this crime he had his face beaten to a pulp, was tied to a radiator and strangled.

This third group - the democrats - is large indeed. Heroic election workers helping Iraqi to their first poll in thirty years are 'working for the occupation' (I think those election workers are the glory of democracy and should have trees planted in their name after the election, stretching along a boulevard leading to the Transitional Assembly building). Members of the Iraqi Communist Party who fight for social justice and Iraqi sovereignty by political means not suicide bombings are 'working for the occupation'. Men and women who work in schools that are to be used as polling stations are 'working for the occupation'.

Polls reported on Al Jezeera show an average of 81% of Iraqis support the elections and 19% oppose the elections. No matter, the 81% are 'working for the occupation'.

Don't forget the humanitarian aid workers who are 'working for the occupation'. Nor the engineers and the brickies rebuilding the electricity substation, the rail workers taking consumer goods to Mosul, the guard protecting the oil pipeline, and the labourer rebuilding the water-treatment plant and the hospital. Each and every one of them, 'working for the occupation'. And anyone seeking to join the Iraqi police force and protect the Iraqi people from the small minority who murder define themselves them by that very act as enemies of the Iraqi 'People'. As for the burned-out Christian churches, do these targeted Christians not count for the 'resistance' as 'its own' civilians?
Go on. Read the whole piece.

Apologies for quoting so much of the piece but I think it is worth reading and distributing far and wide.

(Hat Tip: SIAW)

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