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[Opinion] “Falluja Shock”

Posted April. 02, 2004 22:37,   


“Falluja Shock”

On April 9 of last year, the U.S. Marines arrived at the Al-Fardus Square located in the center of Baghdad after five days of street battles. Even Al-jazeera, an Arabian TV station that encouraged Iraqis to fight against the invaders to death, had to send out an urgent report about the fall of the capital. Following the report, hundreds of Iraqis brought down the giant statue of Saddam Hussein that stood at the center of the square with the help of the American troops. Some cut off the head of the statue and dragged it around town. It was a shocking scene, never to be forgotten for the people of Iraq. The United States used the removal of the statue as a confirmation to announce the end of the 24-year Hussein regime.

It seems that Iraqis took their turn. The people of Falluja mutilated the bodies of American civilians, driving the Americans into horror. The mutilation of the bodies of U.S. contractors follows the defamation of Hussein’s statue by a year. Also, Falluja is the center of anti-American resistance. This may have been the retaliation of Iraqi resistance forces in their particular way, to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. They may have tried to show that Iraq is still holding strong. However, even for such purpose, to treat the bodies of the dead like slaughtered animals is an unforgivable atrocity.

There are two ways to respond to a terror attack: either to succumb to it or to fight back. Spain is an example of the former as it removed their forces out of Iraq after having a shift in its political power which was influenced by the terror attack right before the general election. The Americans, on the other hand, is facing off with the terrorists ever since starting two wars in the Middle East following the 9/11 terror attack. It is difficult to say that direct confrontation is the shortest way to eradicating terror as Afghanistan and Iraq still burn in flames. However, it does not seem correct to say that Spain was right in succumbing to terror attacks as many feel that it is cowardly to step down from fighting for world peace.

“Falluja Shock” is more frightening to the Americans as the horror of the event is readily comparable to the tragedy in Somalia of 1993. As the former Secretary of the State Madeline Albright has pointed out once, the name of the country, Somalia, reminds Americans of the horrific scene where the bodies of American soldiers were dragged around the streets by the mobs. Americans were scarred with horror upon seeing the dead American soldiers being dragged in the dirt. The horrified public moved the government to withdraw their soldiers from Somalian grounds. We are yet to see how the United States will respond to the mobs of Falluja. Will they hit back or step back? Either ways, world peace still seems to be a thing of dreams.

Editorial Staff Bhang, Hyeong-nahm hnbhang@donga.com