Muhsen al-Khafaji, a prolific and creative short-story writer, languishes in a U.S.-run jail in Iraq. He has been behind bars for over two years.
Khafaji is just one of a long list of prisoners of consciounce held in Iraq. They, among them this brilliant writer, should all be immediately released unless found guilty by an independent court.
But his creativity, which once filled the pages of literary magazines throughout the Arab World, is no longer pursing his craft, given the tragedy that has befallen him since U.S. troops had him arrested shortly after invading Iraq.
Khafaji is target of psychological warfare from his jailers, and is subject to very harsh conditions, according to eyewitness detainees that have since been released.
The eyewitnesses say that his only crime was that he provided false information to two Japanese journalists at the start of the U.S. invasion.
Therefore, in U.S. eyes, jailing Khafaji is reasonable because he failed to tell the truth to two journalists. He is said simply to have exaggerated U.S. losses.
What a great accusation! Two and half years into this reckless invasion, and almost everyone on earth knows who should be charged for not telling the truth.
And what truth are the Americans seeking? What truth would they have preferred that Khafaji pass to the Japanese?
Was it Khafaji that exaggerated the story of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Did he tell the world that American troops hadn’t come to liberate the country, as they originally claimed, but rather to invade and destroy? Was it he that told the Japanese about the scandal at Abu Ghraib prison?
If he is responsible for these things, then Khafaji was absolutely right and should be honored for it. The entire story that the U.S. has peddled has been nothing but a pack of lies.
In fact, Washington and its Iraqi supporters are apparently good at nothing but lying. They lied to us when they spoke of liberation, freedom, prosperity, welfare, clean water, employment and a reliable power supply.
Why is it that no one making these tremendous lies is under arrest? Poor Khafaji! He languishes in a U.S. jail for allegedly giving false information.
The arrest of this Iraqi writer, who is part of the creative conscience of this country, is tantamount to a war crime.
Set Khafaji and all other prisoners of conscious free from your horrible jails in Iraq.
He can give you, before his release, a pledge not to write about the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners he witnessed during his long jail term, since thousands of Iraqi detainees have already had the chance to tell the story.
And once free, he will no longer need to tell any more ‘lies’ because we already know that there is no truth in the stories that are told of today’s Iraq.