‘We are the resistance’

There is a long interview with Iraqi trade union leader Abdullah Muhsin on the American website Alternet. It is well worth reading in full but a couple of snippets.

On the shameful behaviour of the US military towards Iraqi trade unionists:

The American forces attacked our offices in Baghdad on Dec. 6, 2003. They ransacked the place, threw black paint on the name of our federation and even tore down posters in Arabic that condemned terrorism and called for building a genuine democracy in Iraq.

So we were left with absolutely no resources to work with, including the offices they raided. So it was very hard for us. But it was also viewed very badly by the people. They saw how Saddam Hussein brutalized the labor movement. Then they saw the American forces come under the slogan of liberation and terrorize [the movement] and not give a reason why.

They arrested eight of our leaders, including the current president of the Transport and Communication Workers Union, and took them to an undisclosed location. They put them in December in freezing conditions in a tent, left them overnight without food or anything, even as they were under continuous interrogation.

To this date, we still don’t know why they were arrested.

On the ‘resistance’:

It’s not, I tell you. It’s not legitimate resistance.

We are the resistance. We are resisting the occupation. We want Iraq to be sovereign. We want a democratic Iraq. And we will not give up on this right because this is what we’ve been struggling for all our lives.

How do you explain the killing of ordinary railway workers traveling between Mosul and Baghdad – carrying consumer goods for Iraqis, not armaments or supplies for the occupation. They were tortured, shot and then their bodies burned. Another time, a railway worker was beheaded and his head placed in his stomach and displayed prominently for other people to see. Why? This is resistance? Resistance to what? Resistance to trade unionism?

He has plenty to say about the economy and the western ‘peace’ movement as well. Check it out.