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River to America: “You Lost” — American Troops, Iraqi Security Forces Raping Iraqi Women


River who lives in Baghdad and whose blog is Baghdad Burning has posted this week.

She might just be the bravest Iraqi woman ever. Everyone knows American forces and Iraqi security forces are raping women (and men), but this is possibly the first woman who publicly comes out and tells about it using her actual name. Hearing her tell her story physically makes my heart ache. Some people will call her a liar. Others (including pro-war Iraqis) will call her a prostitute- shame on you in advance.

I wonder what excuse they used when they took her. It’s most likely she’s one of the thousands of people they round up under the general headline of ‘terrorist suspect’. She might have been one of those subtitles you read on CNN or BBC or Arabiya, “13 insurgents captured by Iraqi security forces.” The men who raped her are those same security forces Bush and Condi are so proud of- you know- the ones the Americans trained. It’s a chapter right out of the book that documents American occupation in Iraq: the chapter that will tell the story of 14-year-old Abeer who was raped, killed and burned with her little sister and parents.

They abducted her from her house in an area in southern Baghdad called Hai Al Amil. No- it wasn’t a gang. It was Iraqi peace keeping or security forces- the ones trained by Americans? You know them. She was brutally gang-raped and is now telling the story. Half her face is covered for security reasons or reasons of privacy. I translated what she said below.

“I told him, ‘I don’t have anything [I did not do anything].’ He said, ‘You don’t have anything?’ One of them threw me on the ground and my head hit the tiles. He did what he did- I mean he raped me. The second one came and raped me. The third one also raped me. [Pause- sobbing] I begged them and cried, and one of them covered my mouth. [Unclear, crying] Another one of them came and said, ‘Are you finished? We also want our turn.’ So they answered, ‘No, an American committee came.’ They took me to the judge.

Anchorwoman: Sabrine Al Janabi said that one of the security forces videotaped/photographed her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the rape. Another officer raped her after she saw the investigative judge.

Sabrine continuing:
“One of them, he said… I told him, ‘Please- by your father and mother- let me go.’ He said, ‘No, no- by my mother’s soul I’ll let you go- but on one condition, you give me one single thing.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘[I want] to rape you.’ I told him, ‘No- I can’t.’ So he took me to a room with a weapon… It had a weapon, a Klashnikov, a small bed [Unclear], he sat me on it. So [the officer came] and told him, ‘Leave her to me.’ I swore to him on the Quran, I told him, ‘By the light of the Prophet I don’t do such things…’ He said, ‘You don’t do such things?’ I said, ‘Yes’.

[Crying] He picked up a black hose, like a pipe. He hit me on the thigh. [Crying] I told him, ‘What do you want from me? Do you want me to tell you rape me? But I can’t… I’m not one of those ***** [Prostitutes] I don’t do such things.’ So he said to me, ‘We take what we want and what we don’t want we kill. That’s that.’ [Sobbing] I can’t anymore… please, I can’t finish.”

…Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.

Thanks to Gaia’s Muse, who alerted me to River’s latest post.




10 thoughts on “River to America: “You Lost” — American Troops, Iraqi Security Forces Raping Iraqi Women

  1. Horrible story, fantastic writer, and we sure lost, she’s right.

    Posted by profacero | February 23, 2007, 1:28 am
  2. There’s also this lovely tidbit, quoted on a lefty blog from, I assume, some military person’s site or other–warning, EXTREMELY triggering for the casual dehumanization of the young woman involved.
    click for story

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 23, 2007, 3:09 am
  3. I’m so glad River is back! I was worried. What a mess we (the U.S.) have created: rape and other atrocities part of daily life now for people in the historic city of Baghdad since we’ve “liberated” them. Even Iraqis I know who hated Saddam wish all this had never happened.

    I’m not one to say “I’m sorry” or waste energy on guilt for things done by a government that I didn’t elect in a war I’ve tried like hell to stop. So I guess all I can do now is mourn, organize, fight…and cry bitter tears for the suffering of my sisters and brothers in Iraq.

    Today I was trying to think of concrete ways that Americans could show solidarity with people in Iraq, in addition to the marches and anti-war actions that many of us have been engaged in for years now. I thought about trying to get generators to hospitals and schools, but I wondered if anything would actually get anywhere with so much disorder.

    Thank you for posting River. I missed your important voice. Stay safe and know that many hearts are with you.

    Posted by roamaround | February 23, 2007, 3:57 am
  4. One would think nothing could make this disaster worthwhile. While that may seem self-evident, some people still profess to believe victory is just around the corner, or that the situation can be salvaged somehow with a change of course. I think such people are denying the obvious because of conflicts of interest. In this culture that values money and power over so highly, what do consequences matter as long as there is money to be made and power to be grabbed? This is how I understand why the powers that be are so stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the obvious, that this war was doomed to fail from the start and is making things worse every day it goes on.

    Posted by Aletha | February 23, 2007, 7:56 am
  5. Oh, Heart, bless you for blogging about this. I woke up this morning thinking about this poor woman again, and *raging* that I have heard nothing in the MSM since Maliki dismissed the charges.

    Another woman came forward yesterday with a similar story, only this time they’re prosecuting the 4 men who did this to her.(4!! the mind reels! Goddess bless her.)

    Apparently, and according to Riverbend, it happens much more than we think.

    I try to read Aljazeera every week or so–it’s very eye opening to say the least.

    Posted by Gaias Muse | February 23, 2007, 11:28 pm
  6. PS–also disturbing is that BOTH ATTACKS WERE VIDEO TAPED by the participants. How can anyone claim that graphic, hard core porn doesn’t have serious real world consequences?

    Posted by Gaias Muse | February 23, 2007, 11:32 pm
  7. The worst part, outside of the atrocity itself, is that it doesn’t surprise me. Even if news of rape and sexual abuse weren’t getting out, I would still know it was happening. The military (and not just the American military, of course – most militaries) allows and even encourages specific abuses of this nature, because, as long as their soldiers are ‘doing their job’, they don’t care what hell they inflict upon others.

    Plus, you see the mindset of the soldiers – Iraqi citizens aren’t people. It doesn’t matter what you do to them. They should be paying for what someone else did to America, to their fellow Americans. I remember a girl once told me we should nuke the entire Middle East and get it over with. In earnest.

    Sadly I don’t think this will change the minds of any of the brainwashed people who still “support the war”. I don’t think anything would. They’re so far beyond the grasp of reality. I wouldn’t blame any of those women for hating Americans, given what experience they’ve had with them. Once again, women worldwide are the ones targeted in these circumstances – the ignored casualties and “costs” of war. We’re all expendable under the right circumstances.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 23, 2007, 11:33 pm
  8. Did you notice the most frightening part? Both of these rape victims–Abeer Hassan Qasim al-Janabi and Sabrine al-Janabi—–are from the same tribe. Tell me that’s a coincidence.

    Posted by ginmar | March 4, 2007, 11:37 pm
  9. Whoa, ginmar– I didn’t notice that! Omg.

    Posted by womensspace | March 5, 2007, 2:45 am
  10. omg… this is so so sad… why? I just dont understand WHY? It angers me… you can see the pain in her eyes… you can feel her anguish and shame in her words… WHY? WHAT would posess someone to think this was acceptable? She didnt just “take it” silently… why????

    this world fuckin sucks….

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 14, 2007, 5:09 am

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