By Karlos Zurutuza
April 15, 2012 "Information Clearing House" --- FALLUJAH, Iraq, Apr 13, 2012 (IPS) - At Fallujah hospital they cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects – there are just too many. Parents don’t want to talk. "Families bury their newborn babies after they die without telling anyone," says hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi. "It’s all too shameful for them."
"We recorded 672 cases in January but we know there were many more," says Hadidi. He projects pictures on to a wall at his office: children born with no brain, no eyes, or with the intestines out of their body.
Facing a frozen image of a child born without limbs, Hadidi says parents’ feelings usually range between shame and guilt. "They think it’s their fault, that there’s something wrong with them. And it doesn’t help at all when some elder tells them it’s been ‘god’s punishment’."
The pictures are difficult to look at. And, those responsible for all this have closed their eyes.
"In 2004 the Americans tested all kinds of chemicals and explosive devices on us: thermobaric weapons, white phosphorous, depleted uranium...we have all been laboratory mice for them," says Hadidi, turning off the projector.
The months that followed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 saw persistent demonstrations against the occupation forces. But it wasn’t until 2004 when this city by the Euphrates river to the west of Baghdad saw its worst.
On Mar. 31 of that year, images of the dismembered bodies of four mercenaries from the U.S. group Blackwater hanging from a bridge circulated around the world. Al-Qaeda claimed the brutal action - and the local population paid the price for Operation Phantom Fury that followed. According to the Pentagon, this was the biggest urban battle since Hue (Vietnam, 1968).