By Ebrahim Mir Seyyedi, Camp Liberty resident
As New Year approaches, children steal glances at mothers, wondering about the presents they will be receiving this year. They dream of toys and new clothes, and how they will proudly show their new acquirements to their friends when schools reopen. This is a story that repeats itself at every New Year. New Year is a time of joy, happiness, and reunion.
But this year, New Year will not be the same. This New Year will recite the story of a young woman and man, two freedom fighters in Camp Liberty, Iraq. This camp is under the total control of Maliki’s forces, but instead of protecting the residents, these the Iraqi forces have placed the camp under a total blockade, and are fast busy harassing and persecuting the residents. The Iraqi forces don’t allow the residents to go out of the camp, and prevent friends, family, media and reporters – or anyone else, for that matter – from visiting the camp. These soldiers blindly follow the orders of the Iraqi government, which in turn is under the direct influence of the extremist mullahs who rule Iran and whose purpose is to revive the barbarism of the middle ages in the era of communications.
Camp Liberty is, in fact, a prison.
The story of this young man and woman starts on September 1st, when Iraqi forces stormed Camp Ashraf, where one hundred residents remained. On that fateful day, Maliki’s Special Forces brutally murdered 52 people and abducted seven others, among them six women. Two of the women were the mothers of the same two people in question who are now in Camp Liberty. It is now three and a half months that this young man and woman are awaiting the return of their mothers, the day they will embrace them once more.
But sadly, they have no news of the conditions of their mothers, except that they are under torture in Maliki’s secret prisons. How hard it must be for a child to not know of a mother’s fate. How nightmarish it must be to know that your mother is in the hands of savage forces. During the past hundred days, this son and daughter have written to international organizations, embassies and other relevant parties; they’ve made calls, filed complaints, asked for help; they’ve reported to American authorities, the people who bear the most responsibility in this issue; they’ve met with UN delegations.
But they still haven’t received any answer, and they are still searching for their mothers. What is behind this policy of hiding the whereabouts of the hostages? Despite the fact that many parties, including Amnesty international, different workgroups and independent rapporteurs of the UN, and Catherine Ashton have confirmed that the hostages are in Iraq, still the US government refrains from making any comments about the location of the hostages. Wasn’t Maliki’s government directly responsible for the protection and the security of Ashraf residents? Then why have they all coincidentally remained silent? The representative of the US State Department clearly said in a hearing, “I can’t overtly speak or report about the whereabouts of the hostages.” Why? Why must the lives of the hostages be toyed with in such a manner?
There’s no doubt that Mahnaz and Sedigheh, the mothers of Hanif and Shahabeh, are in the hands of Maliki’s forces, and the key to their freedom lies in the hands of President Obama. You can join the struggle for the freedom of the hostages by raising your voice and condemning this tragic bloodbath, and call on Obama to put pressure on Maliki for the release of the hostages, including two mothers whose children are awaiting their return.
This crisis has already cast its sinister shadow over 2013. Don’t allow it to stretch into 2014.