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memri
July 1, 2003 No.
533

Editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Condemns Arab Governments for their Silence on Saddam's Mass Graves

In an article titled "The Silence of Arab Parliaments," Abd Al-Rahman Al Rashed, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, criticized the Arab regimes for their silence in face of the Iraqi mass graves. The following are excerpts from the article:

" Mohamad Jasem Al-Saqer, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Kuwaiti People's Council, made a surprising comment recently. He said that the Arab parliamentarians at their meeting in Beirut refused to condemn the mass graves found in Iraq. Is it possible that the representatives of the Arab nations refuse to abide by even the most basic duties of their profession - representing their people? Is it possible that they fail to utter a single word of sympathy for the thousands of victims of the Arab dictator?"

"Women and children, young and old fill the graves - it was punishment without limits."

"If the Arab parliamentarians really refused to condemn these mass graves, that is a mark of shame in their history and in the history of Arab politics, which in any case is subject to world ridicule. At every conference these parliamentarians fail to express a single word of regret for what happened to the Iraqi people - many of whom were lost in graves dug around mosques, schools, and prisons. A word of sympathy is not a lot to ask for Iraqis agonized by the sight of the mountains of bones that were the thousands of citizens killed and buried in their clothes."

"… They [the parliamentarians] are supposed to be the voice and conscience of the people. They are supposed to scrutinize the work of their governments. Moreover, they have been chosen to rein in despotism, to stand up to potential crimes. If they refuse to express sympathy, then we can only say that they are sham parliamentarians, and it is the people's right to know the true face of their representatives. They cannot claim they are doing it because they are unwilling to embarrass their leaders, for there is no longer room for such sentiment - the regime that committed these heinous acts has disappeared. Nor can they claim that to lament the Iraqi people's lot under Saddam may be regarded as support for the American invader - the difference between the two is clear."

"Arab parliamentarians limit their condemnation to the Zionists and the foreign invasion and have purposefully forgotten the crimes committed under our noses. Would these Arab parliamentarians dare to hold the gaze of an Iraqi woman sitting at the grave of her murdered children? We have seen thousands of people gathering the remains of their relatives in plastic bags."

"The colleagues that Al-Saqer mentioned spent comfortable nights in luxurious hotels in Beirut, refusing to utter a word of sympathy for the victims of the mass graves, these marks of shame on our history. What kind of parliamentarians are they, and what parliaments do they belong to?" [1]


[1] Arab View , June 25, 2003.