Ya Basta caravan in the Middle East
An official communication from the Ya BAsta caravan in the middle east
A Caravan in No Man's Land
We arrived in Amman the 30th of June: 42 women and men, representatives of local administrations, universities, associations for the globalization of rights, or simply single individuals determined to disobey the logic of the permanent global war.
Our intent was to reach Iraq, the mother land of civilization, devastated, humiliated, plundered by the fire of a shameful war incited by the powerful of the earth.
We wanted to see Baghdad with our video cameras, our means of communication, to then lend our eyes to those who still do not understand what it means to live under bombs, to fall asleep with machinegun fire, to walk the streets of a dead city.
We wanted to meet, giving visibility and voice, the thousand different fragments into which the Iraqi civil society was shattered after the war. A society exhausted from years of dictatorship and embargo.
We wanted to construct projects of solidarity and grassroots cooperation with hospitals, schools, artists and intellectuals; projects not polluted by the guilty hands of the governments of the west.
But like always the powerful of the land have forcefully retained that which we wanted. First bureaucratic quibbles, and then with pointed guns, they impeded us from entering into the "liberated" Iraq.
On the 31st of May, we crossed for the first time the Jordanian desert of dust and rocks, but we were blocked by the American marines at the Iraqi frontier of Al Karama: NO BUISNESS, NO ENTRY. Without official permission and as normal citizens we could not cross the confine.
Everyone can pass: oil tankers by the hundreds, semi-trucks of global merchandise, traffic of every type with improvised modes of transport, business men, bodies of volunteers of every sort.
But the soldiers push us from our jeeps and repel us from 'no man's land', the earthly bind of some kilometer that divides Iraq from Jordan.
There we wait hours, prisoners of the burning sun and of the dust, in the same way that the thousands of Palestinian, Kurdish, Sudani, and Beduni refugees live, confined to live here on the outskirts of the conflict without roots nor rights.
We, citizens of the world, hostage of the American divisions; like us, more than us, thousands of men and women escaping the terror of war, hostage in no man's land, invisible souls humiliated by misery and by the arrogance of the Empire.
In the liberated Iraq there is not a place for them; they are considered undesirable by the government of Jordan, a government in compliance with those who wanted the war and that now rule with arms their life that is to survive.
For second time on the 2nd of June we arrive at the Iraqi confines with the official notification from the American military command in Baghdad, obtained the day before after hours of occupying the Italian embassy in Amman.
But again, another time, we cannot enter Iraq. Armed soldiers, military jeeps and American tanks surround us and prohibit our entry. The official permission that we had obtained must be controlled.
We wait an entire day in the desert and after 10 hours a response arrives: in a quarter of an hour we must leave these ten meters of Iraqi soil that we had crossed, otherwise they will fire on us.
We are determined not to leave this boundary, nonexistent for goods, but impassable for the citizens of the world.
Again another time our bodies are our only weapon with which we oppose this armed peace: we remain seated on the earth.
The marines advanced towards us and lift us violently to throw us out of Iraq: two of us are injured and four bruised.
After running around for two days, we finally discover what the problem is: we are an anti-globalization organization; the new bosses of Iraq don't want free people walking and asking, discussing and listening, to the voices of the Iraqi society.
They have fear of those who see with their own eyes the 'liberty' that they bring.
They have fear of those who disobey.
But we will not stop, determined to arrive in Baghdad, determined to arrive in Ramallah, determined to fight together with every woman and every man who's rights are trampled.
Rivers of disobedient caravans will flood this dry land and will not stop before those who impose with arms their perverse liberty.
We are the voice of those who are no one, of those who are invisible prisoners in refugee camps where rights do not exist.
Amman, June 4th 2003
Ya Basta Caravan to Baghdad
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