Go to contents

[Opinion] Fallujah, City of Resistance

Posted November. 15, 2004 23:11,   


“Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.” General Sir Stanley Maude of the British Army spoke these words as he stood on the grounds of Fallujah, Iraq on March 1917. This was when the British Army invaded the Ottoman Empire, which is now Iraq, during World War I. He also proclaimed, “Until now you must have suffered in pain under the suppression of tyrant rule, deprived of your possessions, but the king and people wish you to prosper.” However the victorious General Maude became a sacrifice of his success. Faced with strong resistance, he died from drinking poisoned milk before the end of that year. An alarmed British Army started to retreat from then on. General Maude is now buried in one corner of Baghdad.

Fallujah is a historic city that has been in existence from the ancient times of Babylon. It became a major city as the oil dollars rolled in after the liberation of Iraq, and under Saddam Hussein’s rule, became a core area supporting the Ba’ath Party. The Sunnis, who make up most of the population, is a minority in Iraq, consisting of only 20 percent of the total population, but enjoyed a ruling class status from the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps this was why was Fallujah was one the cities that had the highest civilian casualties during the Gulf War.

Could it be because Fallujah comes from the Syrian word Pallugtha, meaning division, boundary, and difference? As the demonstrations and deaths of civilians, beheadings of hostages and employees of military purveyance companies, and acts of terrorism by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi continued, Fallujah took firm root as the symbol of Islamic resistance. As soon as he was re-elected, President George W. Bush succeeded in attacking Fallujah, as if to declare the tough diplomatic line of his second term. Noise boomed from loudspeakers in a mosque beautiful enough for the city to be called “city of mosques.” BBC reported that the U.S. forces turned on noisy heavy metal music in response.

The United Stated explains this attack is for the democratic proceeding of the general elections that are scheduled for next January. Resistance is spreading, however. “The Janin Scenario,” or the rumor that this is all a scheme of the United States, is being mentioned. As Israel caused anger in 2002 by attacking a Palestinian refugee camp in Janin, this is the conspiracy theory that the United States is aiming to seize Syria and Iran as well by allowing the spread of insurgency in the Middle East. Even the United States, when it first attacked Iraq, said, “We have come not as conquerors but liberators.”

Kim Sun-duk, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com