Wednesday, March 31, 2004

These people are desperately angry

Following up on my post this morning (Shades of Somalia)...

This time it happened in the tumultuous hotbed Iraqi city of Fallujah, in what is being often referred to as the "Sunni Triangle." An enraged mob shot and killed four foreign reconstruction workers Wednesday, hacked the corpses to pieces and then suspended body parts from a nearby bridge. A group of men dragged one of the corpses into the street and ripped it apart, according to one report. Someone else then tied a chunk of flesh to a rock and tossed it over a telephone wire.

Meanwhile, less than 15 miles away, in the same area of the increasingly violent Sunni Triangle an explosive charge blew up near a U.S. military patrol, killing five U.S. troops. One year after the fall of Saddam Hussein and 11 months after President George W. Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq over, U.S. military officials say there is now an average of 26 attacks against coalition troops every day.

...The steadily deteriorating security situation in the Fallujah area, west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has become so dangerous that no American soldier or Iraqi security staff responded to the murderous attack against the ill-fated contractors.

There are a number of police stations in Fallujah and a base of more than 4,000 Marines nearby. But even while the two vehicles burned, sending plumes of thick, black smoke over the shuttered shops of the city, there were no ambulances, fire engines or security dispatched to try and rescue the victims of Wednesday's attack.
  United Press International article

Is this really a world better off without Hussein?

And just in case we want to get caught up in Arab-bashing (or Somali-bashing), Billmon reminds us that this kind of thing is not limited to "savage" foreigners.

Barbarous Savages

However, it shouldn't be necessary -- but apparently is -- to point out that the destruction and, yes, savage mutilation of other human beings isn't a uniquely Iraqi, or Arab or Islamic spectator sport. And we don't need to visit the killing fields of Bosnia or El Salvador to find the proof. It's tucked away in the attic of our own national memory. And it isn't all that dusty, either:

Now to my eyes, at least, the participants in this particular public atrocity don't appear to be either Arab or Muslim. Interestingly enough, they're not even white Southerners. This 1919 snapshot was snapped in Duluth, Minnesota -- peaceful, tolerant, Scandinavian Minnesota. And somebody liked the picture so much they turned into a postcard.

...This is fitting, in a way, since murdering people with dark skins -- plus the occasional Jew or labor union organizer -- remained a popular form of American light entertainment deep into the 20th century:
At its height at the turn of the century, two to three people, mostly southern blacks, were lynched every week.

Railroads ran special excursion trains to lynching sites, and thousands gathered to watch the beating, hanging, and burning of human beings. Spectators brought cameras and vendors printed photographs on the spot, minting a small fortune by turning the prints into souvenir postcards.

Some of those photographs are now part of a new exhibit at the New York Historical Society, and what they show is the shameless, festive carnival of lynching: Women with parasols, children lifted onto shoulders for the view, and large groups of men, all expectant and exultant.
You can find more memorabilia from that not-so-distant era at the online version of the same exhibit, Without Sanctuary. But be warned: Some of the photos are every bit as graphic as anything you'll find on Yahoo News from today's massacre in Fallujah.

The rest of his post is here.

Shades of Somalia

A crowd of cheering Iraqis have dragged charred and mutilated bodies through the streets of the town of Falluja after an ambush on two vehicles that witnesses said killed at least three foreigners. In a separate attack five American soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb was detonated beside their convoy west of Baghdad, the U.S. army said.

  Reuters article