By Majeed Mohades, Camp Liberty
A contingent of government forces break into a refugee camp with automatic rifles, handcuff and murder half its residents, abduct seven others, and explode millions of dollars’ worth of property. The government denies having taken part in the attack, keeps the hostages in its secret prisons, and lays the blame on the residents of the camp itself.
The international community remains silent and refrains from taking action to save the lives of the hostages, which triggers an immense wave of outrage across the world, and hundreds of people go on hunger strike in protest to this injustice.
The story quickly turns into an international political scandal and a humanitarian crisis, with the lives of the hostages and the hunger strikers hanging in the balance.
This is not an excerpt from John Grisham’s newest bestseller. Neither is it the script for the next academy-award-winning movie. This is reality.
Welcome to Camp Ashraf.
On September 1st, Iraqi forces attacked Camp Ashraf for the third time, killing 52 of its hundred residents and abducting seven others, including six women. The residents, Iranian dissidents living residing in Camp Ashraf for 26 years, were all recognized by the US as “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and by the UN as “Persons of Concern” and “in need of international protection.”
Yet none of those titles earned them the protection they needed when the armed Iraqi forces were upon them. The US and UN turned their backs on the residents when they were most needed. Instead of holding Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki accountable for this horrible crime against humanity, the US and UN called on the Iraqi government to investigate into its own atrocity.
The results were quite predictable. The Iraqi government laid the blame on the residents themselves, claiming that the survivors of the massacre were the ones who had murdered the 52 victims, and the seven hostages had fled the camp. Countless documents, evidence, reports and testimonies by witnesses were presented, all proving that the Iraqi government was fully responsible for the massacre and had the hostages in its custody.
But the US and UN preferred to listen to Maliki’s version of the story in order to justify their idleness.
In protest to this injustice and the continued silence and inaction of the US and UN, hundreds of Camp Liberty residents (former residents of Ashraf relocated to this camp in 2012) and Iranians across the world went on hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of the hostages and the protection of Camp Liberty residents, who are under the threat of attacks similar to the September 1 massacre.
After more 70 days, the hostages have not yet been released. The continued passiveness of the US and UN is endangering the lives of the hostages and those of the hunger strikers, who, despite their critical health conditions, are still calling on the US and UN to listen to their demands.
President Obama has the power and authority to put an end to this crisis, and he is both legally and morally responsible for the safety and security of the hostages and the residents of Camp Liberty. He will be accountable for anything that befalls the hostages or the hunger strikers.
- President Obama, Seven Hostages must be freed now! (freethe7.wordpress.com)
- Who is responsible for the Fate of Seven Hostages? (campashrafmassacre.wordpress.com)