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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 06:42 GMT 07:42 UK
My day in Iraq: Falluja resident
On Friday, 7 April, the BBC News website is asking people across Iraq how they live their lives.

Here, Abu Ali (not his real name) talks about the situation in the city of Falluja, which has been a hotbed of resistance to the US-led occupation.

So much of the rights and aspirations and the work of the Iraqi people has gone to waste from day one of the fall of Baghdad.

Iraqi citizens watch every day as their civilisation is destroyed and their institutions robbed, right under the nose of the occupation.

Immense tragedy awaits our country. This is what we and all lovers of our civilisation feel, regardless of people's opinion of the former regime.

From day one of the occupation, there has been a feeling of the loss of our homeland. We in Falluja feel for Baghdad, in all her suffering and future and great spirit. We feel for her acutely.

No Iraqi can ever accept his country being robbed and destroyed, regardless of political orientation.

Falluja has paid a huge price for the position it took. And this position is well worth the price we paid. We chose to defend our country.

The first four US armoured vehicles entered Falluja at precisely 1215 on 23 April 2003. I was there, and it was one of the most difficult moments in my entire life. I tried to look away.

They came in quietly, but four days later the first demonstration against the occupation broke out.

It marched to the headquarters of the US forces, was blocked by the Americans, and 17 demonstrators were martyred. This was the first real confrontation with the occupation in Falluja.

On the second day, demonstrators protested about what had happened the day before, and again US troops opened fire and three demonstrators were martyred.

Preparation for confrontation began.

I was a member of the Falluja local assembly, formed after the fall of Baghdad. I was one of 25 senior personalities in the assembly which managed things until October or November of 2003.

We warned the occupation not to go too far in their mistakes. We said the reaction would get bigger. Stop your mistakes, we told them.

They only heard the sound of bullets.

'Under siege'

The people of Falluja have the honour of leading the national resistance against the occupation, and this goes on today.

Falluja is now under siege. Entering it is very difficult. You need documents from the Americans to the effect that you are from Falluja, and it could take two hours just to get in.

Electricity is on for two or three hours a day. There is no political life. Demonstrations are not allowed. You need the approval of the Americans and the government for any meeting or conference or public meeting.

There is a daily military confrontation. I feel threatened only by the occupation and Iraqi security forces, not by the resistance.

I have five children. I used to work in trade. Ours is a well-off family, historically. Now, because of the bad situation, I'm working as a school teacher again.

Any minute, they might raid our homes. The whole house would be asleep, and they'd shout: "Inspection", and just break down the doors.


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