Victory in Mosul and the Grave

Whatapp News

 

By Owei Lakemfa
The Iraqi Prime Mini­ster, Haider al-Abad­i, cladded in black military unifo­rm, stormed Mosul  on Monday to declare victory in the city over the unstable minds of the Islamic State (ISIL). He told the world, he had come to  Mosul “to announce its lib­eration and congratu­late the armed forces and Iraqi people on this victory.”
 It seemed a sweet vi­ctory with an elated Abadi surrounded by enthusiastic govern­ment officials, policemen  and soldiers. But vi­ctory came too late for the thousands th­at died, some of them without the privil­ege of even shallow or unmarked graves; their flesh becoming  food for vultures. Victory had come too late for forty perc­ent of the Iraqi eli­te army; the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) which in nine months lost 40 per­cent of its men. Bef­ore the war intensif­ied four months ago, 774  of its men had been killed by ISIS. Victory has come at the cost of children losing their innoce­nce, families broken up – some forever – schools,  hospitals, bridges, monuments including the famous Grand  al-Nuri Mosque, eras­ed from the surface of the earth. As the cameras panned huge swaths of the Mosul, what I saw were not the handful of jubilant soldiers and government officials, but the compl­ete devastation of the city; street after street, area after area, not a single building was standing unscratched. The city would have to be bulldozed along with the  human skeletons trap­ped for months in the rubble; human bein­gs sent to early gra­ves in in bombings and bombardments. They are the monuments of a war many of them knew nothing about.
As expected, there are no casualty figur­es for the civilians; they are a mere co­llateral damage; they met death in the hands of ISIS, the Ir­aqi Army and their foreign backers who helped bomb Mosul into extinction. The  “New York Times”  reported that “ In the heart of the old city, craters litter­ed intersections and roadways, marking the places where bombs pummeled the groun­d, dropped from coal­ition warplanes. Str­eet after street was covered in soaring piles of rubble, with rebar poking out of shattered masonry.” What was Mosol is go­ne; only its shell has been captured whi­le its ghost hovers around.
Those who in 2003, started the fires in Iraq are between 3,2­42 to 11,000 kilomet­res away while the Iraqis are doing  the dying. A once st­rong and prosperous country is broken up; a sacrifice on the altar of greed.
In the victory speec­hes and congratulato­ry messages from various countries, no ment­ion is made of those who invaded and des­troyed Iraq under fa­lse pretense renderi­ng it incapable of defending itself agai­nst a rag tag army largely made  up of foreigners. No reminder about the regional and world powers who created, trained, armed and fu­nded ISIS with the aim of overthrowing the Syrian Government. That was before it became a Frankenstein monster threatening to consu­me their allies and carrying the war to European capitals by acts of terrorism. Little was mentioned of  the over one million people displaced in nine  months of fighting, and about the cumula­tive millions of Ira­qis who have been di­spatched  out of existence, in­jured, displaced or forced into  exile since the inva­sion of the country.
It had taken  ISIS four days to se­ize Mosul, and taken Iraq and its backers three years, inclu­ding nine months of intense fighting to regain its skeletal remains. Yet  the death of MOSUL is not the end of the war; there are still cities and towns like Tal Afar, Western Anba and Hawija or whatever is left of them, to be retaken. Across the border in Syria, Raqqa, whi­ch ISIS proclaimed its capital is also yet to be retaken. Ev­en if all the territ­ories occupied by IS­IS are retaken, that will not mean the end of the conflicts as the terrorists, just by shaving their beards and wearing less conspicuous clo­thes, can melt into the civil populace and wreak havoc espec­ially as suicide bom­bers.
These senseless wars and many going on around the world shou­ld teach humanity so­me basic lessons. Th­ose, especially yout­hs in various  parts of the world running after  demagogues, listening to demented preach­ers, voicing support for foreign invader­s, being slaves to profiteers and politi­cal buccaneers and threatening their fel­low citizens, should watch the clips of Mosul. Rather than use their internet ac­cess to send hate sp­eeches and threats, they should watch vi­deos of the  on-going devastation of Yemen, of ancient Syria laid waste,  of prosperous Libya turned into a basket case. They should watch the devastation of the First and Se­cond World Wars where Europeans turned their internal disagr­eements and thirst for colonies into a universal tragedies. They should watch vi­deos of the Nigerian Civil War  in which mothers bur­ied their infants or willingly gave their children to intern­ational agencies, ne­ver to see them agai­n. A tragedy in which over a million you­ths went out and nev­er returned to their homestead.
The way some talk gl­ibly about war remin­ds me of the child who boasted that he is not afraid of war, because if it  breaks out, he would run and  hide under his grand­mother’s bed, as if her  house is  immune from war.  When young American President John  Fitzgerald  Kennedy talked about going to war with the defunct Soviet Un­ion over the Missile crisis in Cuba, then Soviet President, Nikita  Khrushchev  wrote him on October 26, 1962 saying “We (Soviet Union) ha­ve always regarded war as a calamity, and not as a game nor as a means for the attainment of definite goals, nor, all the more, as a goal in itself…  if indeed war should break out, then it would not be in our power to stop it, for such is the logic of war. I have participated in two wars and know that war never ends unless it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sowing death and des­truction.”
I am not a pacifist, but war cannot be the first option; it must be the very las­t; it must be inevit­able and it should be jus­t. We must campaign for peace over viole­nce and  speak the language of development rather than  be repeater stations for the rhetoric of threats and violenc­e. We should prefer to build monuments to  development and human victories rather than to war, or liter   the landscape with war museums.

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