The UC Irvine club Students for Peace and Justice held a screening of the Japanese documentary ‘Fallujah, April 2004’ last Thursday night. Students crowded into a room in the Humanities Hall, watching in horror.
The documentary showed the travesties that occurred in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
According to the film almost 3,000 Iraqis died and even more were wounded in the 40-day offensive.
‘My house was bombed on Thursday and again on Friday,’ an Iraqi man said in the film. The film also suggested that mosques were prime targets.
The film showed families mourning over dead and wounded children. A mother told the audience about holding her dead son in her lap and looking into his barren skull. She said that she prays to Allah for her son everyday.
Many specific locations and events are shown in the documentary. One scene shows multiple Iraqis saying that they watched two children being sniped by a U.S. solider. They all stood in the spot where the children were killed, and pointed to the rooftop on which the soldier was posted.
‘From this direction and that, the missiles flew,’ explained the leader of a house, saying that he was the only survivor of 33 innocents. He continued by explaining that he ‘had to identify their bodies by their hair and their clothes,’ since their faces were embedded with shrapnel fragments.
The documentary showed bombed houses in the middle of vast fields. A survivor said, ‘There were no Iraqi fighters here.’ The same survivor then pulled a piece of charred skin off of a half-destroyed wall, explaining that it was the skin of a two-year-old boy named Ibrahim. The man explained that the U.S. forces came and apologized. Then he asked, ‘What does sorry mean now?’
In the film, a soccer field in Fallujah was turned into a mass grave for more than 500 bodies. A man cried on film as he attempted to speak of a man whose sons were both killed.
The film explained that U.S. forces took over the Fallujah General Hospital. Iraqis created an improvised hospital, which is shown to be a run-down office building close to the size of an average American home. A member of the medical staff said, ‘We couldn’t count the number of injured, as we had so many patients. … Most of the patients were women, children and old men.’
A picture of a man who was obviously mutilated by human hands was shown.
‘We found him shot and maimed by knives,’ a man explained.
The documentary showed an ambulance with windows perforated by bullet holes and a young boy in a vegetative state. A doctor showed his X-ray and explained that there were pieces of shrapnel in his brain.
The film showed another young boy who had lost his genitals. In a stark and emotional scene, tears welled in his eyes. By his hospital bed, a man explained that the boy had been shot on May 4, 2004 by a U.S. sniper. This was after the truce with U.S. forces was made.
Fallujah’s men explained that it was not Al Qaeda who fought against U.S. forces in Fallujah, but rather the locals defending their territory.
The man at the soccer field reappeared pleading to the camera, repeating, ‘Where is the democracy? Where is the democracy?’
Because UCI’s students too often hear self-censored media reports about much of what is happening on the other side of the world, they become numb to the reality of war.
It is important for UCI’s campus to be exposed to images that are more explicit; it allows us to realize that the war we are in now is more than just another world event.