Nick Broomfield’s latest cinematic offering dramatises a particular brutal and harrowing chapter in the five year history of the U.S occupation of Iraq.
The first two weeks of March saw dozens of shootings, roadside bombs, car bombs and discoveries of mass graves in Iraq. Five years into the war, the country remains torn apart by sectarian violence, which marks its toll not only in bodies but also in destroyed basic infrastructure, power and supplies shortages and a grave lack of hospital beds.
AWL members, supporters and friends collected money for the campaign to free the jailed socialist students in Iran on the Stop The War demonstration in London on 15 March.
The brief Turkish invasion of the autonomous Kurdish north on Iraq at the end of February is evidence, above all, of how far Iraq is from a liveable political settlement five years after the US/UK invasion of the country.
Turkey has some 15 million Kurds, mostly living in the south and east of the country, near the borders with Iraq and Iran. Although repression of the Kurds in Turkey has slackened recently, Turkey has a longstanding hostility to Kurdish self-assertion, and especially to Turkish-Kurdish guerrillas who base themselves in remote mountain areas of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iraqi LGBT have recently obtained new video evidence highlighting the brutality of the Badr Corps and police treatment of LGBT people in Iraq. It shows LGBT people being arrested, held in custody and having their heads shaved and taunted with songs of hate and revenge.
The first video shows two gay men celebrating a wedding ceremony when they are stopped at a checking point between Al-Kut and Baghdad and violently pulled out of their car.
Hezbollah were among the organisations represented at the “World Against War” rally in Friends’ Meeting House, London on 25 February, with the Stop the War Coalition seeing fit to give a platform to the clerical fascist Lebanese militia.
The minority argue that the only principled line on the conflict, and only chance to build independent working-class forces, is to stand sharply opposed to US-UK intervention in the region as well as Islamism. In contrast, the majority argue that we should acquiesce to the occupation of Iraq, since if we demanded that the troops leave and they did, Islamist militias would win out and crush democratic space in Iraq.
The left devotes much of its efforts to campaigning against imperialism, which is no surprise given the present foreign policy of the American and British governments.
A footnote to Pat Longman’s review of The Shock Doctrine (Solidarity 3-126). Capitalism has always been full of “hard-faced men who did well out of the war” — or out of whatever recent disaster may have thrown society off balance.
Already hailed as a masterpiece, this film is one of the bookies’ favourite for the Oscars, particularly for Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of oil man Daniel Plainview. His performance certainly dominates the film — he is central to all but two scenes in the film — and it is as subtle and understated as it is masterful.