The Courage of Their Evictions

Iraqi squatters in Baghdad get thrown off public property. U.S. squatters in Baghdad live in palaces.

Help yourself: A young Iraqi (above) protests her homeless family's eviction from public property by the Bush regime and its puppet government. But it's no picnic for other squatters. In fact, it's a feeding-and-inner-tube frenzy for U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez (below, right) during a pool party at a palace in which Americans are luxuriously squatting. (IRIN [© 2005] and DOD photos)

WE INTERRUPT THOSE Easter Week telecasts of child protesters in Florida who are pawns of their Schiavo-obsessed parents to bring you a story about child protesters in Baghdad who are pawns of an oil-obsessed U.S. government.

The Iraqi kids are members of families whose homes were pulverized by the U.S. invasion and whose still-homeless clans were squatting in government buildings in Baghdad's Green Zone. Now, those families have been kicked out of the humorously named "Freedom Complex" buildings.

Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers and officials are still living in the Iraqi people's government buildings, including Saddam Hussein's former palaces, where Americans dine under chandeliers and splash around in the ex-dictator's swimming pools.

What a mess: Evicted Iraqi families (above) are homeless and fed up, while U.S. officials and soldiers (below) are, well, fed in one of Saddam's palaces

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You enjoy the fine dining scene pictured directly above? The one with the chandeliers and waiters in one of Saddam's former palaces? Well, here's a factoid that wouldn't even register with the Iraqi squatters who are being evicted but might gall some of you readers:

This particular shot is from the official Web site of former Florida election official (and now congresswoman) Katherine Harris. (I knew that would piss you off.) The picture was snapped during Harris's 2003 junket to Baghdad. See it in context in her photo gallery.

Speaking of Florida, which protest would Jesus have attended this past week, the squatters' rally in Baghdad or the Schiavo spectacle in Tampa? I'd say the one in Baghdad, and my boss is a Jewish carpenter (actually it was my dad who was Jewish, and he was a veterinarian).

But as Easter neared, the squatter families in Baghdad had little hope for resurrection. The deadline for their eviction was this weekend. Earlier in the week, they mounted a protest to try to draw attention—that real news didn't get much notice in the U.S., what with the GOP's cynically manipulated 24/7 reality-show death watch on Terri Schiavo.

The U.N.'s IRIN news service, which plays events strictly down the middle, reported:

    Over 300 people demonstrated on Tuesday at the gates of the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, calling on the government to allow them to stay in government buildings as they have no homes following the conflict in 2003.

    Nearly 200 Iraqi families have been ordered to leave the buildings in a government complex, called the Freedom Complex district, by the end of this week. There are approximately 2,000 people and some families have up to 10 members.

So we invaded Iraq to "liberate" its people? I guess that's why L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer seized one of Saddam's most well-appointed palaces and converted it into headquarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority. In fact, we've seized most, if not all, of the palaces. It's tough work keeping all that gold and glass gleaming.

Here in the U.S., our right-wing religious zealots are crusading to keep poor Schiavo living as a symbolic vegetable—against her and her husband's wishes.

Overseas, our right-wing religious zealots, like Marine Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Brandl love to play shoot-'em-up with Satan. Thousands of kids and women have been killed in the process.

Jesus wept.

And of course, Americans are still squatting in the Iraqi people's "liberated" buildings. Squatting in style, too.

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