I have often travelled to Great Britain, or traveled to America (notice difference in spelling) and I had good opportunity to ask my friends over there what they thought of the 2003 Iraqi invasion by America and its allies.
Over time I’ve made some condemning artworks on this sad theme. See www.willemboshoff.com: FLAG I and FLAG II (2003); WAR AND PEACE (2004); WHAT IS OUR OIL DOING UNDER THEIR SAND (2004); SAU AUS USA (2011); CRUSADE (2011).
When I first started making these works in 2003, there was keen support for the Iraqi invasion (2003) and I did not have much approval for my efforts. Now, however, after so many lies have been exposed, many of the former supporters are speaking in utter disgust of the war effort, of those who had instigated it, and in particular of British prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, and, of course, George W. Bush, former President of the United States of America.
Some countries, like Indonesia, were so upset by George W. Bush’s charade that they held their own war crime tribunals and found him and others guilty (in absentia) of gross violation of human rights and war crimes. My own contention is that George W. Bush, Tony Blair and their former members of staff should be held accountable for their declaration of war on Iraq and for the mess that it has left in Iraq.
I believe Saddam Hussein, so-called evil dictator, had committed war crime atrocities long before the 2003 war. These well-publicised brutalities were keenly supported by America at the time with military and other aid. Ironically, at his trial, Saddam’s old transgressions were held against him by his own people under coercion of his former ally, America. Please see a number of enlightening YouTube entries for the full coverage – Saddam Hussein execution (or hanging).
I am a pacifist and therefore against capital punishment. When Saddam Hussein was executed, I was shocked by the gross unfairness of it all and it occurred to me that they were hanging the wrong man.
I once offered a prominent South African politician a thousand rand from my own earnings if she would only bring me the name of any ‘terrorist’ who worked under Saddam Hussein. So far I have not received any names and I still have my money. Strange, that in a country now overrun by ‘terrorists’ there were previously none. Saddam Hussein, unlike the leaders of so many other countries in the region, did not tolerate terrorism. Since the American occupation and withdrawal, Iraq has experienced daily suicide bombings, with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and scores of other insurgents gaining a stronghold, followed by ever-increasing religious faction fighting.
The work AMBUSH was conceived while cutting and pruning the ‘bush’ around my home. I used to sit for days on end next to my pile of garden refuse, making sure that what was once unkempt ‘bush’ would be reduced to buckets full of small sticks. All this time I was thinking of how one might bring a sense of fairness to the Bush debacle and to a country that has needlessly been reduced to ruin and rubble. Added to this is my surname – Boshoff – loosely translated from the Dutch it means ‘bush, law court’.
The artwork AMBUSH is intended to plead for a fair trial in which George W. Bush and others will face their accusers.