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imperialism & war

Fatima, the Virgin of Abu Ghraib

I've just finished a painting with accompanying article about a story that is one of the most powerful modern myths to emerge out of the war in Iraq.
Fatima, the Virgin of Abu Ghraib
Fatima, the Virgin of Abu Ghraib
Title: Fatima, the Virgin of Abu Ghraib
Artist: Kim Alphandary
Materials: Oil Painting
Dimensions: 44'' by 44''

This painting is dedicated to Fatima, an Iraqi woman who was held in Abu Ghraib Prison*.

Fatima was arrested sometime in 2004 and managed to smuggle a letter out to her family. Here is an excerpt from her heart-wrenching letter:

"... I am your sister in God (Fatima). They raped me on one day more than nine times. Can you comprehend? Imagine one of your sisters being raped. Why can't you all imagine it, as I am your sister. With me are 13 girls, all unmarried. All have been raped before the eyes and ears of everyone... Brothers, I tell you again, fear God! Kill us with them so that we might be at peace. Help! Help! Help!"

Fatima's elder brother organized a hundred men and launched an attack on the prison; Fatima was struck fatally in the head during the bombardment and died on December 21, 2004.

The case of Fatima is not unique; many Iraqi women have sent messages begging loved ones to 'please kill us all.' U.S. guards are perpetrating systemic abuse and torture against Iraqi women who are held in indefinite detention without charge; this is happening not just at Abu Ghraib but all across Iraq.

In my opinion, the rape of Fatima was one universal rape of all women of this world that cuts across all races, colors, ideologies and creeds.

Join me in this one simple demand to the U.S. Senate and Congress:

Release the hundreds of photographs and videotapes from Abu Ghraib that have been shown to members of the Senate but remain classified. Let the American people see and hear men being tortured, children being sodomized and women being raped by their US guards and interrogators, and then decide for themselves whether these methods are consistent with a democracy.


* Abu Ghraib prison is located in Iraq and came to the notice of the world when the New Yorker article by Seymour M. Hersh of April 30, 2004 publicized several graphic photos of prisoner abuse by personnel of the U.S. armed forces, CIA officers and contractors involved in the occupation of Iraq.

better photo 07.Jul.2005 23:38

kim

better photo

Fatima 09.Jul.2005 09:01

tuckett

Thank you for that.
jt

A Poignantly Beautiful Picture 09.Jul.2005 09:28

Tom

Sorry, Kim to comment on your beautiful painting so late, but the subject itself is difficult, it torments the Soul of even a hardened and sometimes cynical blogger as myself. Your painting very well depicts this young woman's pain and loneliness but also her dignity and inner beauty which her tormentors are attempted to destroy.

The question which is crying into our face is;
How our accoladed Western Civilisation with America at its lead could lower itself to such a moral depth? What this woman did to us, to deserve such an unspeakable attack upon her dignity and womanhood? Where our high esteemed Judeo-Christian values were hiding while this had taken place? Was it hiding in our politicians' bombastic speeches? To be discharged into the thin air with the other well sounding terms, like "Freedom, Liberty and Democracy"?
Without actions dignifying these terms, (indeed, with actions in opposition with the meaning of these terms.) they have just popped open, like empty bubbles, revealing our own emptyness.
The white dove of course represents Peace and Hope ever since, the grand master of modern painters Picasso first utilized it for that purpose. Man can not live without Hope for long and the Hope in this case is that somehow we will learn a lesson here, about actions and words and our victim's humanity.
Your painting is poignantly captures and bring to us this young woman's plight and humanity and this way, it directly confront us, with the result of our own (however reluctant) complicity.
Thanks for the good work!

beautiful work, Kim 09.Jul.2005 10:47

spArkle

thanks for posting this to indymedia

Yes 12.Jul.2005 12:36

Working Class Mama

Thank you very much for posting this here. Surprisingly I hadn't yet heard Fatima's story. It breaks my heart.
Hopefully someday soon women everywhere can take up arms and avenge the many female victims of this united states!

historical hysteria 14.Jul.2005 10:47

bible.org

by bible.org thursday July 14, 2005 at 12:04 PM

ERECH - e'-rek, er'-ek ('erekh; Orech): ancient Uruk, modern Warka, one of the most ancient civilizations, was located southeast of Babylon

The second of the cities founded by Nimrod, the others being Babel, Accad and Calneh (Gen 10:10), a ziggurat was discovered at Erech, a place in Nimrod's kingdom.
about 3,000 B.C., a valiant warrior, Nimrod,formed his kingdom by force. In the primitive days of Mesopotamia, as also in Palestine, wild animals were so numerous that they became a menace to life and property (Ex 23:29; Lev 26:22); therefore the king as benefactor and protector of his people hunted these wild beasts.
Babylon is mentioned 260 times in Scripture, and is second in importance only to Jerusalem. Much of what one finds in Rome can be traced back to Babylon's uniting all religions together into a world-wide, universal church governed and controlled by Rome. "Christianity" was given to the pagan Babylon religion with but a few necessary changes: The statues and festivals were given new names, but it was the same system. Only the names were changed. It is the old idolatry coming to us under Christian names.
Ancient records indicate that The religious system which began in Babel (or Babylon), was the first attempt at a man-made world unity by means of force.

Media Censorship 16.Dec.2005 10:32

Sik iortizi@yahoo.com

just another thing that is censored from the us becouse we are more interested in shit like Micheal Jackson being broke.


Is it true? 27.Dec.2005 12:07

MJ

If this story is true, of course, it is an unspeakable horror. However, how is this proven to be true? Many US citizens reading this do not beleive this really happened. I don't know, I am just asking?

sadly its not surprising 28.Jan.2006 19:04

anonymous

sadley fatima's story is not surprising, it happens everyday, while we sip from our cool drinks and eat our exotic foods my brothers and sisters are being subjected to unimaginable torment.
May God give us the strength and faith to rid them of our land, and may the broken hearts of the many men, women and children be healed and comforted. And may mr bush be given what he deserves.

sadly its not surprising 28.Jan.2006 19:10

anonymous

sadley fatima's story is not surprising, it happens everyday, while we sip from our cool drinks and eat our exotic foods my brothers and sisters are being subjected to unimaginable torment.
May God give us the strength and faith to rid them of our land, and may the broken hearts of the many men, women and children be healed and comforted. And may mr bush be given what he deserves.

Do you really want to know whether it is true? 15.Feb.2006 16:27

anon

Do you really care whether this story is true ir not? It may upset your comfortable democratic way of life, nourished by the blood of innocents.

it will be dsaster 01.Feb.2007 19:08

someone

wt happen is true .......all wt i can say that this will make generation born hate each other and the bloody circle will never stop ...........even if we try.........we hv to try in the rigth time or as it was said before and as i guess i will be WARRRRRRRRRRR