Nos Morituri Te Salutamus
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 Oct 2014
Salute of Iraqi Citizens to the Coalition of the Willing — Once Again
[Republication of a version from March 2003 — then produced on the occasion of the invasion of Iraq (resulting in Iraqi casualty estimates of up to 1,455,590). The earlier version can be usefully reread, with regard to the currently planned bombing of Iraq (and its extension to Syria), in the light of the insight of George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.]
Hail and Salaam to the Coalition of the Willing, to your Leaders, to your Senators, and to your Citizens!
We, the Citizens of Iraq, are gathered here for your entertainment in the first 21st century media circus, to celebrate once again the tradition inaugurated by your forefathers during the time of the Roman Empire — an empire that your current Leader aspires to emulate.
We who are about to die salute you was the phrase traditionally used by those about to die in the gladiatorial circus arenas of that time. Now millions of you can enjoy the slaughter through the technology with which it is effected. But it remains appropriate that we salute you with those same words — in the language of that now fallen Empire: Nos Morituri Te Salutamus !
We salute you….
- for the skills and training of your impeccable beasts of war — which your civilization is about to unleash upon us in this arena
- for your courage in seeking to ensure that we disarm before unleashing your long intended attack on us — history has few examples of great armies requiring that their opponents lay down their weapons before a battle
- for the conscientious application of your highest moral and ethical values to justify your need to kill us — and for sincerely believing that our deaths will be for the highest cause and that the price will be worth paying
- for praying for guidance so assiduously to the God whom as yet you know not how to share with ours — may your God truly bless you for your sacrificial use of us to increase your understanding
- for your God-given trust, and lack of doubt, that you have a historical mission to safeguard civilization — including our own, even though it is so distant from yours in many ways
- for endangering your own souls in the higher scheme of things by taking into your hands an understanding of God’s will, guided by your Leader’s spiritual advisors — in dying we pray that you have made the right choice
- for the sacrifice of your own soldiers abroad in ensuring our salvation — especially given the probability that most will die from friendly fire or suffer for years from radiation-related illnesses associated with the use of the depleted uranium missiles you intend to use
- for the honour you do us in selecting us as a living sacrifice to your God — we hope that shedding our heart’s blood will nourish new insights for humanity’s future as believed by cultures of the past.
- for your principled rejection of any need to understand our culture, our communities and our language, and your conviction that you can export your democratic values to displace ours — and that we desire this wholeheartedly to affirm our cultural identity
- for your uncanny ability to recognize our country and our Leader as embodying the greatest evil in our region — when our paltry weapons and skills are acknowledged to be insignificant in comparison with some of our neighbours, whose ability to systematically abuse their minorities, flaunting the will of the international community, exceeds ours by far
- for your diplomatic ability to assemble a “Coalition of the Willing” — we trust that they will be paid off as promised, now that they can no longer confidently appeal any contractual breach within the framework of the international law that you have undermined in order to kill us
- for your superior insight in recognizing the desirability of moulding our cultures and institutions in your image — even whilst you are forced by the importance of your mission to neglect the many intractable challenges that are becoming so powerfully evident in your own way of life.
- for your respectful observance of historical pattern in engaging once again in the heroic endeavour in which your forefathers engaged over several centuries long ago — recognizing that neither of our peoples seem to have learned much of consequence since then
- for your undeclared efforts as Christians to reform and modernize our Muslim societies and culture — although we wonder at the relevance of these efforts given the increasing difficulties you have in sustaining the qualities of life and authenticity in your modern cultures.
- for mobilizing an honourable core group of former Christian crusading nations to lead a new crusade to liberate and occupy our Muslim region as did your forefathers — the Franks — in the time of the earlier crusades
- for the historically profound symbolic gesture in appointing a General Franks to conquer and subsequently rule our country on this occasion
- for the conviction of your expert advisors in the efficacy of direct action in killing us — and avoiding any wasteful investment in the futile hope that those holding radically opposed views could ever dialogue fruitfully, other than on your terms
- for the wisdom of your advisors, in their networks of excellence and think tanks, in choosing such a simple method to resolve a complex problem of humanity — having learned so well from their past failures in effectively addressing the issues of poverty, injustice, unemployment, arms proliferation, shelter, disease, and pollution around the world
- for valuing our arid land and its resources above those of our neighbours — condemning them to continuing abuse by their leaders, in the absence of your humanitarian intervention, in order to privilege the salvation of our people
- for your consideration in killing us stealthily and from so far away, so that we can never fully recognize how honourable an antagonist you are — and then discretely to relieve any personal discomfort arising from your stressful slaughter with pool-side relaxation and video war games.
- for your unquestioning confidence in the technology that will enable you to kill us with such great precision — and your fatalistic acceptance that if your weapons unfortunately go astray, any level of collateral damage will be as Allah willed it
- for the manner in which you clean and cover up the messy effects of your deliverance of death, with unmarked mass graves of unnamed people, filled by bulldozers with industrial efficiency — in such curious contrast to the sorrowful memorialized religious celebration of any deaths amongst your own soldiers
- for giving some of us the possibility to live after your liberation — whether traumatized, bereft of family, maimed, burnt, blinded, incurably affected by “toxics”, or suffering from the radioactive effects of depleted uranium shells that will empower some of us to pass genetic abhorrent defects on to our children
- for the considerable resources discretely allocated by you over recent years in developing a more suitable governance structure for our peoples — although we wonder at your preference for associates who have been indicted or convicted for a variety of offences
- for your efforts to engage in nation-building to provide structures to receive your gift of democracy to our culture — despite the modesty of your success on previous occasions
- for making such wonderful promises to us through your propaganda tracts and broadcasts — even though you have had to suffer embarrassment in keeping such promises on other occasions
- for demonstrating to us and the world, through the UN Security Council, that the democracy you seek to bring to our country really only works through tying votes to collateral aid and trade — those of us who survive will endeavour to apply these lessons more assiduously, although the approach is long familiar to our people
- for the loyal support you have given so effectively, as an ally and as a trading partner, to our Leader — who has acted so repressively with your knowledge for so long
- for the chemical and other factories you built for our Leader — to enable him to manufacture weapons to attack and slaughter the minorities in our country
- for the weapons you sold to our Leader in the past that enabled him to attack and slaughter our neighbours — and allowed us to be slaughtered in return
- for bringing weapons of mass destruction (“daisy cutters”, “toxics” and depleted uranium shells) to our country so we can be reminded what they look like — since your inspectors have been unable to find traces of those you sold to our Leader or enabled him to make
- for the sanctions that you have applied to our country for so many years to teach us the basic humanity we have been so slow in learning — depriving us of essential medical and food supplies, clearly a necessary punishment even though it has unfortunately resulted in the death of so many
- for the inspired European colonial administration which created and governed our country in its early years and established the educational and civil frameworks that gave rise to those who rule us — and of whom you would now rid us
- for the inspired European leadership, notably in the person of Winston Churchill, regarding the use of gas on Kurds and Iraqis in the 1920s as a “scientific expedient” not to be prevented “by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly”: “I do not understand this squeamishness… I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes” — leaving us perplexed by the righteous insistence of your Leader (known to model himself on Churchill) to remove our Leader who so assiduously followed this prescription in years past.
- for the amazing power you demonstrate so simply and dramatically through your instruments of war — a power that contrasts so significantly with your total impotence in response to the more complex problems of the billions around the world whose condition you neglect, exemplified by your continuing need to increase the numbers that you incarcerate.
- for your conviction that the level of guilt of our brutal Leader justifies the disruption that you plan to cause to our region — in the absence of evidence (now that you seem to have mislaid the receipts) other than your secret and highly sensitive knowledge of what you and your agents have supplied to our Leader
- for your conviction that after our deaths you will find additional evidence to justify the acts you undertake against us — we sincerely hope that you will not subsequently be discredited if you are obliged to secretly fabricate and plant such evidence of our Leader’s misdeeds in order to fully justify our deaths to the world
- for honouring our people by elevating our Leader to be the most wanted man in the history of mankind, as measured by the unprecedented resources the Coalition of the Willing is devoting to his removal — we trust that you will in future continue to devote a significant proportion of such resources to the conditions of people in need around the world
- for granting us the opportunity to sacrifice ourselves in celebration of the values and vision you claim to be universal — without questioning the possibility that we might have preferred to live with values of which you may have no understanding
- for the courage of your leadership in secretly abandoning the many interwoven values that have sustained your society in favour of the blatant pursuit of naked power in our region and elsewhere — we hope that the resulting moral vacuum in your leadership will bring you to fruitful learnings for the future and avoid making your culture as arid as our lands
- for the risks you take in relying increasingly on methods developed in totalitarian societies you formerly claimed to deplore, although emulated by our Leader — in dying we wonder at the possibility that unknowingly your society may become essentially indistinguishable from theirs
- for your Leader’s mobilization of the world to avenge a failure of his father — a degree of familial devotion and tribal loyalty that we also admire in our culture, although never having practiced it to such a degree
- for your method of honouring history through seeking to bomb the region which gave birth to your civilization and culture thousands of years ago — we wonder whether you will ensure that any remnants of that glorious past period of our culture have been carefully added to your target list to demean us further
- for the strict censorship that you will ensure on media coverage of your method of killing us in order not to offend your audience worldwide and spoil their appreciation of the skills of the precision bombing of your heroic pilots — who are all family men
As we die on your TV programmes, kindly brought to you by CNN and its sponsors, we will try to think of you entertained in your homes and bars, eating your popcorn and pizzas with a cool drink — and switching to Star Trek when our agonies offend your sensibilities or become too boring.
Hail and Salaam to the Coalition of the Willing, to your Leaders, to your Senators, and to your Citizens !
About to Die, We — men and women, old and young — of the Iraqi people Salute You
Nos Morituri Te Salutamus !
|Iraq War casualties according to Lancet surveysThe first survey (published on 29 October 2004), estimated 98,000 excess Iraqi deaths (with a range of 8,000 to 194,000) from the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq to that time, or about 50% higher than the death rate prior to the invasion. The authors described this as a conservative estimate, because it excluded the extreme statistical outlier data from Falluja. If the Falluja cluster were included, the mortality estimate would increase to 150% over pre-invasion rates.|
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