By Hameed Orayzi, hunger striker in Camp Liberty
On September 1st, following the massacre in camp Ashraf by Maliki’s forces, Hameed went on hunger strike along with hundreds of other residents of camp Liberty. During the past 47 days, he’s lost more than 8kgs in weight and his health has deteriorated considerably, but he has made it clear that he will continue his hunger strike until his just demands are met. He has shared his thoughts with “Camp Ashraf Massacre” in the following article.
I am at the main gathering hall in camp Liberty, Iraq, some 47 days since we began our hunger strike, following the massacre that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s forces staged against the residents of camp Ashraf on September 1st. Despite the many weeks that pass from that horrible incident, the wounds to my soul are still fresh; I lost 52 of my dearest friends to the savagery and brutality of the Iraqi forces, and I might very well lose seven others, if seven hostages abducted by the assailants are not rescued.
What happened in Ashraf was a crime against humanity – not the first one of its kind, though by far, the most horrific one. The scenes of my friends, my brothers and sisters, handcuffed and shot in the head and chest still haunt my memories and dreams, their faces and names constantly flashing back in my mind.
I look around and gaze at a banner with the pictures of the 52 victims of the Camp Ashraf massacre. I lock stares with the smiling picture of Rahim, one of the victims, Camp Ashraf’s main interlocutor with the Iraqi forces supposedly in charge of the camp’s protection, who later opened the way and provided the facilities for Maliki’s Special Forces to enter the camp and massacre its residents.
The Iraqi Prime Minister ordered the murder of these 52 innocent people to curry favor with the mullahs ruling Iran, and how pleased the mullahs were to see members of their main opposition, whom they dread more than anyone else in the world, dead and lying in pools of their own blood.
Next to Rahim, I see the picture of Hossein Madani, member of NCRI and Ashraf’s interlocutor with the United States and United Nations’ staff. I had become acquainted with him more than thirty years ago, when we were both young students in the United States. Seeing my old friend sitting against the wall, with a bullet hole in his head and his clothes drenched with his own blood, reminds me of the US and UN’s role in this disaster.
Maliki could not have committed this crime without having first gained confidence that he would not have to fear suffering the consequences of his actions. The idleness of the United States and the United Nations allowed him to constantly persecute and harass the residents of Ashraf for the past year, and finally emboldened him to carry out perhaps one of the worst massacres in the history of mankind.
My stare finds the pictures of the seven hostages, six women and one man still in the hands of Maliki, and I am reminded of their suffering, enduring unimaginable torment at the hands of Maliki’s torturers and facing the threat of being surrendered to the Iranian regime. The continued inaction of the US and UN is also endangering their lives, and while all the facts and reliable documents prove that they are still in Iraq, the United States and United Nations have opted to trust in Maliki’s lies and convince themselves that the hostages are no longer in Iraq and are beyond help.
And finally my gaze passes over my fellow hunger strikers. Most are now bedridden; a few can still manage to stand up or sit down for short periods. Their cheeks have gone gaunt, their eyes sunken. Their faces have turned ghastly pale, lined with weariness and pain. Yet their eyes reflect fierce determination, silently conveying their message: We will continue our hunger strike until our just demands are met.
Had the US and UN stood up to only a fraction of their responsibilities, none of this would have been necessary. But when they chose to neglect their responsibilities and turn their backs on us, to whom they had promised safety and security, we decided to go on hunger strike as a last resort, demanding the immediate release of the seven hostages in Maliki’s custody, and the protection of camp Liberty by UN Blue Helmet forces. This is our only means to change the situation.
The incompetence of US and UN paved the way for the massacre of 52 Ashraf residents. It can very well be the death of the seven hostages, and eventually, the rest of us in camp Liberty. How many more lives will it take for Obama and Ban Ki-moon to wake up and, for once, respond to their duties before the worst comes to pass?
Hamid Orayzi, resident of Camp Liberty, was a student in Louisiana State University (LSU) medical school before deciding to join the PMOI in the struggle for freedom, a choice he made after becoming aware of the suppression and mass executions carried out by the mullahs ruling Iran.