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The Iraqis who defy Bush's brutal occupation
The roots of resistance

December 10, 2004 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,
On November 19, U.S. troops and members of the Iraqi National Guard stormed the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad during prayers, killing four worshippers, injuring nine and capturing at least 45.

The mosque lies in the Adhamiya District of Baghdad, a stronghold of resistance in the city. I had the opportunity to visit Baghdad in January and was struck by the people of Adhamiya, which was the last neighborhood to fall under U.S. control during the invasion last year.

Residents I spoke with were proud of their district's defiance of the U.S. invasion and occupation, but they have been punished severely for it. The square that Abu Hanifa mosque overlooks is lined with shops, houses and restaurants--all of which are scarred from machine gun and shell fire.

While there, I met a mother whose son was gunned down by U.S. troops. On his way home from work, he passed a demonstration of Iraqis against the U.S. occupation. U.S. forces opened fire and took his life. His mother showed me a makeshift shrine in remembrance of her son. It included photos and his jacket, which had a hole in the abdomen where the bullet entered. Sitting in their living room, surrounded by the man's crying mother, aunts and sisters, it was very clear to me where resistance to the occupation comes from.

By the time of my visit, resistance fighters had effectively kicked U.S. forces out of Adhamiya. Residents told me with pride that every single patrol by U.S. or Iraqi troops that entered the neighborhood was shot at, so the occupiers rarely patrolled there.

Now, the occupiers are trying to take back Adhamiya, like Falluja, with brutality. They will fail, and they will breed more resistance.

The solidarity of antiwar activists in the U.S. is crucial. Explaining the roots of Iraqi resistance and supporting their struggle is a key challenge for our movement.
Khury Petersen-Smith, Rochester, N.Y.

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