Sunday, January 16, 2005

Falluja on Film: "City of Ghosts"

Guardian Films and Channel 4 News produced a film on Falluja. You can watch the film and read its transcript at the websites of Channel 4 and Journeyman Pictures:
The film follows an Iraqi doctor Ali Fadhil, as he interviews Fallujans in refugee camps and inside Falluja itself. It opens with a tragicomic episode:
Fallujah has been closed as a city for two months. Nahida is one of the first Fallujans to go back since the the Americans occupied the city.

She wanted to show me what had been left behind.

"Look at it ! Furniture, clothes thrown everywhere! They smashed up the cupboards, and they wrote something bad on the dressing-table mirror." -- Nahida Kham

She doesn’t speak English so I explained to her what the words mean: "FUCK IRAQ AND EVERY IRAQI IN IT!"

"I knew it. I knew these words were insulting." -- Nahida Kham (emphasis added, January 11, 2005)
Once inside the city, Fadhil "could smell bodies beneath the rubble" (January 11, 2005). Rotting corpses have been "eaten by hungry dogs," the source of "a serious outbreak of rabies" (January 11, 2005). Falluja, once "the City of Mosques," is now "the City of Rubble," where "over 300,000 people have lost their homes" (January 11, 2005) and every Fallujan is required to obtain an ID card from the US military to enter his own city: "They took prints of all my fingers, two pictures of my face in profile, and then photographed my iris. I was now eligible to go into Falluja, just like any other Fallujan" (Ali Fadhil, "City of Ghosts," The Guardian, January 11, 2005).

We have heard that Double Features, a Universal-based production company, will produce a feature film about Falluja "from the perspective of US marines" ("Harrison Ford Signs for Iraq War Film," The Guardian, December 16, 2004), based on a "non-fiction" book No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah by Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration who believes that the Vietnam War was a just war that America could have and should have won: "[E]very nation has a breaking point. Three times we had the North Vietnamese on the ropes, and each time it was policy fickleness in Washington D.C. which persuaded them to continue" (Bing West, "Vietnam War Was Honorable," Providence Journal, July 14, 2004). While Bing West (as well as his son Owen West) is an intelligent ex-Marine from whom leftists can learn a thing or two about combat, it is predictable what a movie based on his view, starring Harrison Ford no less, will seek to have the audience believe: "Militarily, the battle of Fallujah was an unqualified success" (Bing West, "Fallujah, the Morning After," Slate, December 8, 2004). And politically? "Many of the residents were complicit in the reign of terror. Whether the city returns to its murderous ways depends on the resolve of the Iraqi security forces now moving into the city. Voter turnout in January will be an indictor of how the political winds are blowing" (West, December 8, 2004).

"Hollywood's first feature about the current Iraq war" ("Harrison Ford Signs for Iraq War Film," December 16, 2004) will not have room for what Fadhil Ali saw:
The US military destroyed Falluja, but simply spread the fighters out around the country. They also increased the chance of civil war in Iraq by using their new national guard of Shias to suppress Sunnis. Once, when a foreign journalist, an Irish guy, asked me whether I was Shia or Sunni -- the way the Irish do because they have that thing about the IRA -- I said I was Sushi. My father is Sunni and my mother is Shia. I never cared about these things. Now, after Falluja, it matters. (Fadhil, "City of Ghosts," January 11, 2005)


Anonymous said...

How hard was it to find some Iraqi who hates America? Not too hard I reckon. This same Iraqi.........Fadhil Ali........probably cheered when American bodies were burned in the street then hung on a bridge. Fadhil Ali probably won't have much to say about the Iraqis murdered by the thugs in Fallujah, because they wouldn't fight the Americans.

But there's no room in your blog for that is there

Yoshie said...

Ali Fadhil used to post his commentaries to "Iraq the Model" at Fadhil now has his own blog: "Free Iraqi" at Here's a profile of Fadhil: Sarah Boxer, "Pro-American Iraqi Blog Provokes Intrigue and Vitriol," If you take a look at the above, you'll find that Fadhil is far from the man you imagine him to be.

nope said...


I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

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