By Khojasteh Mirza Bagheri, hunger striker in Camp Liberty
“Free the seven hostages!”
“US and UN must intervene to protect Camp Liberty”
These are the sentences that are being cried out across the world on twitter and other websites today.
A couple of weeks ago, while Barack Obama was meeting with Nouri Al-Maliki, reporters were giving coverage to the protests that were ongoing outside the White House. The demonstrators were wearing red costumes in remembrance of the 52 victims who were slaughtered by Maliki’s forces in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, on September 1st. They were calling on Obama to make Maliki release the seven hostages that Maliki’s forces had abducted from Ashraf. They were asking Obama to stay true to his promises to the residents of Camp Ashraf and Liberty.
One might ask, “What has the US government done to cause such outrage across the world?”
To answer that question, we need to take a look back. Ten years ago, when the US invaded Iraq, the US Government promised to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf based on the Fourth Geneva Convention. But unfortunately, when President Obama came into office, he handed over the security of the camp to the Iraqi government – which was obviously in league with the Iranian regime.
Since then, the residents of Ashraf have been subject to all sorts of torment and persecution by the Iraqi forces, including a medical siege that has claimed the lives of 15 people and five massacres that have left 112 dead and thousands wounded. In all cases, the US government just stood by and satisfied itself by condemning and advising the Iraqi government.
But the story reached its climax on September 1st, when the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Special Forces stormed Camp Ashraf and killed 52 of the hundred residents that remained there. They were handcuffed and executed in the most brutal way. Seven others were abducted by the attackers. This crime against humanity caused a wave of outrage across the world and all awakened consciences raised their voices in protest and condemnation to this barbaric atrocity. Again, President Obama stood by and did nothing for the release of the hostages, or the security of the remaining residents who are now in a prison-like camp called “Liberty.”
This continued betrayal left us in Camp Liberty with no other option than to go on hunger strike to bring attention to our plight and emphasize the US government’s responsibility. The silence of the US government has put the lives of the hostages in peril, and the continued inaction of President Obama will pave the way for Maliki to extradite them to Iran, where they will be tortured and executed.
The rest of us in Camp Liberty have no security either, and are under the constant threat of attacks by Iraqi forces. Will President Obama do anything?
If not for the sake of the hostages’ lives, then President Obama must at least take action for his country’s reputation and put pressure on the Iraqi government to release them. Too many innocent lives have been taken. The history of betrayal and treachery must end now.
“Free the seven hostages now!”
- President Obama, Seven Hostages must be freed now! (freethe7.wordpress.com)
- Fact or fiction? (freethe7.wordpress.com)