BRUSSELLS TRIBUNAL

Uday Al Zaidi represents the suffering, strength, tenacity, pride, dignity and the will of the Iraqi people, who are still struggling to regain their full sovereignty.

UDAY AL-ZAIDIPHOTOSBACK TO THE PRESS RELEASE

UDAY AL-ZAIDI and his Brother Muntadher Al-Zaidi

The 28-year-old TV reporter Muntadher al-Zaidi made history by throwing a pair of shoes, the highest expression of insult in Iraqi culture, at US president George Bush, and shouted as he threw the first shoe: “This is the farewell kiss, you dog”. When throwing the second shoe, he added: “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” The impact of a pair of shoes became electrifying. A young journalist had put aside the demands of his profession, preferring to act as the loudest cry of his long-suffering people.

Munthader spoke after his release from prison, on 15 September 2009: “My efforts will be toward providing care for widows and orphans, and all those whose lives were damaged by the occupation. I pray for mercy upon the souls of the martyrs who fell in wounded Iraq, and for shame upon those who occupied Iraq and everyone who assisted them in their abominable acts. And I pray for peace upon those who are in their graves, and those who are oppressed with the chains of imprisonment.” 

Munthader’s brother Uday al-Zaidi is the president of The Popular Movement to Save Iraq and one of the organizers of the protests against the occupation that have been taking place for the past years in almost all of the 18 provinces in Iraq.

On 31 December 2011, the Popular Movement to Save Iraq, released a statement that called for celebration, vigilance, and a new front “to resist the second face of the occupation.” It goes: “The youth will remain in the streets calling for the departure of every last American soldier, under whatever terms or form that the occupation government might adopt.” The statement further called on the Iraqi people “to prepare to open up a new front to resist the second face of the occupation represented by its sectarian government and its divisive constitution…”

Uday Al Zaidi represents the suffering, strength, tenacity, pride, dignity and the will of the Iraqi people, who are still struggling to regain their full sovereignty. That is why the BRussells Tribunal decides to give its 2013 Peace Award to Uday Al Zaidi, as a representative of the Iraqi people in resistance against 10 years of inhuman and illegal occupation.

Periodismo Humano spoke with him in Madrid, where he was invited by the Spanish “State Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI)”.

He showed dozens of photographs of victims of the military occupation and the war. “Look: killing of children, raping of women and men, secret prisons, daily humiliations, families assassinated by U.S bombs. An image is worth a thousand words. These images show what the occupation has done for us.”

“Since 2003, there have been more than a million deaths and four million orphans. And the big joke is that Iraq is a wealthy country. But its people, us, have to dig in the garbage to try and survive.”

Uday al-Zaidi’s wife and 3 children have been living outside Iraq for the past years.

“My brother has been prohibited from entering Iraq. They have marked him with an X, him, me – all of us. I worked as an employee for the Ministry of Culture, but they fired me when Muntadher threw shoes at Bush. From that moment on, my whole family started to suffer terrible harassment. They spied on our home and watched us. So I decided to send my family abroad for safety reasons. We see each other once a month. I don’t want to abandon the fight for the independence of my country.”

“We have been protesting this occupation since 2003, but the protests gained strength after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt started. If they can bring down a dictatorship of more than 30 years, then we can kick out the occupation. So we organized a protest on 25 February 2011, and got a great response from cities like Mosul, Basra, Bagdad, Suleymaniya and Diwaniya. Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Turkmen participated. They are not sectarian protests. Sectarianism does not exist in the population, only in the minds of Iraqi politicians. For example, I am a Shiite but I protest along with many Sunnis against the government that is dominated by Shiites.”

“It is possible that these protests will grow in number of participants and that the movement of civil disobedience that started in Mosul will grow, with coordination and support of colleges, of professionals, of doctors, lawyers, engineers.”

“The repression of the Iraqi Authorities was harsh. In some cities they’ve dispersed the protestors with tear gas and even live bullets that have caused at least 50 deaths and hundreds of injuries. I myself was attacked and arrested on February 25th. I was in jail for 5 days, where I received electric shocks. They broke my collarbone and dislocated my wrist, and they broke my left leg. The U.S armed forces have given their support to the Iraqi army in this repression against peaceful demonstrations. In fact, low-flying U.S helicopters often monitored the protests, and have even thrown garbage at us.”

“Of course our main concern is to end this dreadful occupation. It is impossible for the rest of our demands to be met as long as we’re occupied. We ask for an end of the sectarian quota system established after the invasion. This system requires, among other things, that the Prime Minister be Shiite, the Speaker of the Parliament be Sunni and the president of the Republic be Kurdish. We also demand the release of the thousands upon thousands innocent people that have been detained, tortured, raped and sodomised: men and women who do not know what they are being accused of. But our priority is to live in dignity, in freedom, in an independent country. Only then can we ask for other things, like jobs, electricity, an end to corruption and a better living standard.”

“Our only support comes from the thousands of protestors. Up till now, we have refused aid from countries, including political parties, so that we cannot be accused of working for some foreign actors. We only work for the Iraqi people.”

“We share an equal objective with the Iraqi armed resistance: to throw out the occupiers, but we resist peacefully, through protests. The armed resistance supports our peaceful alternative. That support has been used against us by the Iraqi government, which accuses us of having links to terrorists, when we are citizens marching on foot with no weapons other than our voices. We are simply people who do not want to stay home with our arms crossed.”

“After the occupation of Iraq, Iran managed to gain control of a large part of our country. I am Shiite, the main religious group in Iran. Even so, I maintain that the role Iran plays is the same or worse than the one played by the U.S. Pro-Iranian groups exercise systemic repression. The Iranian militias have harmed this country and have infiltrated even the Iraqi government through the pro-Iran parties, such as the The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the al-Dawa party to which the prime minister Nouri al-Maliki belongs, and the Sadr Movement, of cleric Muqdata al-Sadr, whose armed wing is the Mahdi army. In all the provinces there are Iranian militias and even secret prisons controlled by these militias.”

“The Awakening Councils are part of the American industry. Some of its members have become part of the Iraqi Armed Forces, but a large portion of them have been fooled and abandoned. Prime Minister Maliki does not trust them because they are Sunni and he does not want a Sunni majority in the army. So some of them have returned to the resistance, while others have left the country and still others have come back home disappointed. These councils are an example of the U.S tactic; it’s divide and conquer. The occupation took advantage of the innocence of the people, and promoted sectarianism. It manipulated [them.] Since 2007 though, Iraqis have become conscious of this. Now sectarianism does not exist among the population, only in the green zone, where the Prime Minister and the rest of the government are.”

Read more about the Iraqi uprisings in Serene Assir’s article Iraq: The Forgotten Uprising Lives On

Read more about the current Iraqi uprisings, the Iraqi Thawra (revolution): SUPPORT IRAQI PROTESTS AGAINST THE SECOND FACE OF THE OCCUPATION , “Friday No Deception”. Protesters to Maliki: Stop Cheating and Go Away , Iraqi protests defy the Maliki regime and inspire hope , The Great Iraqi Revolution. An appeal by Uday Al Zaidi to the people in Southern Iraq

Notes:

http://warresisters.wordpress.com/iraq-reports-analysis-and-interviews-on-movement-building-now/“we-will-protest-until-the-occupiers-leave-”-an-interview-with-uday-al-zaidi/

http://warresisters.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-friday-of-occupations-defeat-celebration-vigilance-and-a-new-front/

 


 

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