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by Kim Alphandary
Saturday, Jul. 16, 2005 at 2:09 AM
I've just finished a painting with accompanying article about a story that is one of the most powerful modern myths to emerge out of the war in Iraq.
dibujo_small.jpeg, image/jpeg, 538x532
Title: Fatima, the Virgin of Abu Ghraib
Artist: Kim Alphandary
Materials: Oil Painting
Dimensions: 44'' by 44''
This painting is dedicated to Fatima, an Iraqi woman who was held in Abu Ghraib Prison*.
Fatima was arrested sometime in 2004 and managed to smuggle a letter out to her family. Here is an excerpt from her heart-wrenching letter:
"... I am your sister in God (Fatima). They raped me on one day more than nine times. Can you comprehend? Imagine one of your sisters being raped. Why can't you all imagine it, as I am your sister. With me are 13 girls, all unmarried. All have been raped before the eyes and ears of everyone... Brothers, I tell you again, fear God! Kill us with them so that we might be at peace. Help! Help! Help!"
Fatima's elder brother organized a hundred men and launched an attack on the prison; Fatima was struck fatally in the head during the bombardment and died on December 21, 2004.
The case of Fatima is not unique; many Iraqi women have sent messages begging loved ones to 'please kill us all.' U.S. guards are perpetrating systemic abuse and torture against Iraqi women who are held in indefinite detention without charge; this is happening not just at Abu Ghraib but all across Iraq.
In my opinion, the rape of Fatima was one universal rape of all women of this world that cuts across all races, colors, ideologies and creeds.
Join me in this one simple demand to the U.S. Senate and Congress:
Release the hundreds of photographs and videotapes from Abu Ghraib that have been shown to members of the Senate but remain classified. Let the American people see and hear men being tortured, children being sodomized and women being raped by their US guards and interrogators, and then decide for themselves whether these methods are consistent with a democracy.
* Abu Ghraib prison is located in Iraq and came to the notice of the world when the New Yorker article by Seymour M. Hersh of April 30, 2004 publicized several graphic photos of prisoner abuse by personnel of the U.S. armed forces, CIA officers and contractors involved in the occupation of Iraq.
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