These are the stories that will continue to emerge
from the rubble of Fallujah for years. No, for generations
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the doctor sits with me in a hotel room
in Amman, where he is now a refugee. He'd spoken in the UK about what he saw
in Fallujah, and he is now under threat by the U.S. military if he returns to
"I started speaking about what happened in Fallujah during both sieges
in order to raise awareness, and the Americans raided my house three times,"
he says, talking so fast I can barely keep up. He is driven to tell what he's
witnessed, and as a doctor working inside Fallujah, he has video and photographic
proof of all that he tells me.
"I entered Fallujah with a British medical and humanitarian convoy at
the end of December, and stayed until the end of January," he explains.
"But I was in Fallujah before that to work with people and see what their
needs were, so I was in there since the beginning of December."
When I ask him to explain what he saw when he first entered Fallujah in December,
he says it was like a tsunami struck the city.
"Fallujah is surrounded by refugee camps where people are living in tents
and old cars," he explains. "It reminded me of Palestinian refugees.
I saw children coughing because of the cold, and there are no medicines. Most
everyone left their houses with nothing and no money, so how can they live depending
only on humanitarian aid?"
The doctors says that in one refugee camp in the northern area of Fallujah
there were 1,200 students living in seven tents.
"The disaster caused by this siege is so much worse than the first one,
which I witnessed firsthand," he says, then tells me he'll use one story
as an example.
"One story is of a young girl who is 16 years old," he says of one
of the testimonies he video taped recently. "She stayed for three days
with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers
entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12-year-old brother and
two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father
directly, without saying anything."
The girl managed to hide behind the refrigerator with her brother and witnessed
the war crimes firsthand.
"They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head," he says.
After this, her enraged brother ran at the soldiers while shouting at them,
so they shot him dead.
"She continued hiding after the soldiers left, and [she] stayed with her
sisters because they were bleeding, but still alive. She was too afraid to call
for help because she feared the soldiers would come back and kill her as well.
She stayed for three days, with no water and no food. Eventually one of the
American snipers saw her and took her to the hospital," he adds, before
reminding me again that he has all of her testimony documented on film.
He briefly tells me of another story he documented of a mother who was in her
home during the siege.
"On the fifth day of the siege, her home was bombed, and the roof fell
on her son, cutting his legs off," he says while using his hands to make
cutting motions on his legs. "For hours she couldn't go outside because
they announced that anyone going in the street would be shot. So all she could
do was wrap his legs and watch him die before her eyes."
He pauses for a few deep breaths, then continues, "All I can say is that
Fallujah is like it was struck by a tsunami. There weren't many families in
there after the siege, but they had absolutely nothing. The suffering was beyond
what you can imagine. When the Americans finally let us in, people were fighting
just for a blanket."
"One of my colleagues, Dr. Saleh Alsawi, he was speaking so angrily about
them. He was in the main hospital when they raided it at the beginning of the
siege. They entered the theater room when they were working on a patient
he was there because he's an anesthesiologist. They entered with their boots
on, [then they] beat the doctors and took them out, leaving the patient on the
table to die."
This story has already been reported in the Arab media.
The doctor tells me of the bombing of the Hay Nazal clinic during the first
week of the siege.
"This contained all the foreign aid and medical instruments we had. All
the U.S. military commanders knew this, because we told them about it so they
wouldn't bomb it. But this was one of the clinics bombed, and in the first week
of the siege they bombed it two times."
He adds, "Of course, they targeted all our ambulances and doctors. Everyone
The doctor tells me he and some other doctors are trying to sue the U.S. military
for the following incident, for which he has the testimonial evidence on tape.
It is a story I was also told by several refugees in Baghdad at the end of
last November while the siege was still in progress.
"During the second week of the siege, they entered and announced that
all the families have to leave their homes and meet at an intersection in the
street while carrying a white flag. They gave them 72 hours to leave and after
that they would be considered an enemy," he says.
"We documented this story with video a family of 12, including
a relative and his oldest child, who was 7 years old. They heard this instruction,
so they left with all their food and money they could carry, and white flags.
When they reached the intersection where the families were accumulating, they
heard someone shouting 'Now!' in English, and shooting started everywhere."
The family was carrying white flags, as instructed, according to the young
man who gave his testimony. Yet he watched his mother and father shot by snipers
his mother in the head and his father shot in the heart. His two aunts
were shot, then his brother was shot in the neck. The man stated that when he
raised himself from the ground to shout for help, he was shot in the side.
"After some hours, he raised his arm for help, and they shot his arm,"
continues the doctor. "So after awhile, he raised his hand, and they shot
A 6-year-old boy of the family was standing over the bodies of his parents,
crying, and he too was then shot.
"Anyone who rose up was shot," adds the doctor, noting again that
he has photographs of the dead as well as photos of the gunshot wounds of the
"Once it grew dark, some of them, along with this man who spoke with me,
with his child and sister-in-law and sister, managed to crawl away after it
got dark. They crawled to a building and stayed for eight days. They had one
cup of water and gave it to the child. They used cooking oil to put on their
wounds, which were of course infected, and [they] found some roots and dates
He stops here. His eyes look around the room as cars pass by outside on wet
water hissing under their tires.
He left Fallujah at the end of January, so I ask him what it was like then.
"Now, maybe 25 percent of the people have returned, but there are still
no doctors. The hatred now of Fallujans against every American is incredible,
and you cannot blame them. The humiliation at the checkpoints is only making
people even angrier," he tells me.
"I've been there, and I saw that anyone who even turns their head is threatened
and hit by both American and Iraqi soldiers alike
one man did this, and
when the Iraqi soldier tried to humiliate him, the man took a gun of a nearby
soldier and killed two ING, so then, of course, he was shot."
The doctor tells me the soldiers keep people in the line for several hours
at a time, even as the U.S. military makes propaganda films of the situation.
"And I've seen them use the media on January 2nd at the north checkpoint
in the north part of Fallujah, they were giving people $200 per family to return
to Fallujah so they can film them in the line
when actually, at that
time, nobody was returning to Fallujah," he says. It reminds me of the
story my colleague told me of what he saw in January. At that time, a CNN crew
was escorted in by the military to film street cleaners who were brought in
as props, and soldiers handing out candy to children.
"You must understand the hatred that has been caused
it has gotten
more difficult for Iraqis, including myself, to make the distinction between
the American government and the American people," he tells me.
His story is like countless others.
"My cousin was a poor man in Fallujah," he explains. "He walked
from his house to work and back, while living with his wife and five daughters.
In July of 2003, American soldiers entered his house and woke them all up. They
drug them into the main room of the house and executed my cousin in front of
his family. Then they simply left."
He pauses, holds up his hands, and asks, "Now, how are these people going
to feel about Americans?"