|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
27 Aug. - 2 Sep. 1998
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Truth beneath the rubble
During the 25 years I have worked as a journalist, I have covered two major wars -- the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988, and the Gulf War over Kuwait less than three years later. My generation either experienced directly or witnessed the scourge of the Arab-Israeli wars and the political turmoil that ensued, imprinting in our minds unforgettable images of human suffering. The US air attacks against Sudan on Thursday whisked me back to Baghdad, where I spent 42 days in the winter of 1991 under intensive bombardment of the city -- which happens to be the city of my childhood.
When the news reader on television announced that American warplanes, or Tomahawk missiles as Washington was claiming, had blown up a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, I immediately remembered the attack launched a little over seven years ago on the baby food factory in Baghdad. In both cases, the Americans claimed that they had hit a very dangerous military target -- in Iraq, a biological weapons plant, and in Sudan, a chemical weapons factory; both countries insisted that they were only civilian installations of high importance to their health and food industries.
In times of war, truth is a rare commodity, even more so when it is caught between the cries of the victims and a deluge of (mis)information.
*This week's Soapbox speaker is an Iraqi writer and journalist based in Cairo.