Saturday, November 27, 2004


Mayhem in Iraq

[The following is an article written by an Iraqi living in the Britain and published in the Guardian. It gives another glimpse of present-day Iraq.]

Kidnapping and killing is a daily reality in Iraq, but in the west the atrocities go unrecorded and the dead are unnamed

Haifa Zangana
Monday October 25, 2004
The Guardian

The kidnapping of Margaret Hassan is shocking but not surprising. We have come to accept that the same thing might happen to any of our family or friends. In fact, it already has happened to my dearest friend Nada.

Last month, her nephew Baree Ibrahim, an engineer, was kidnapped. I remember Baree very well from the mid-70s. Here is his aunt's account of what happened:

"Dear Haifa,

"My nephew Baree was picked up on September 25 and no ransom was asked. Actually the kidnappers didn't contact his family, and this led us to believe that they mistook him for someone else as he looked so European. He was beheaded on Saturday October 2.

"I had a phone call from his brother to tell me to tune to al-Jazeera. I saw on TV, Baree talking with mute sound and the writing at the bottom of the screen saying that Iraqi engineer Baree Nafee Dawood Ibrahim was beheaded by 'Jamaa ansar assunna' and the detail of the beheading procedure can be seen on one of the Islamic sites. I called my sister immediately. She was unable to answer the phone. They couldn't mourn him traditionally because the body was not found. A couple of days later his brother was in Baghdad. He and his cousins went every day to the hospital's mortuary to look for Baree's body but they couldn't find him. They even went to look for his body in side streets but to no avail.

"My sister and her immediate family are all now in Amman, Jordan and my other brother and sisters and their children are preparing to leave Iraqs for Syria. At the moment there are about 2 million Iraqi in Jordan and the same in Syria and Lebanon. Some 200,000 Christian Iraqis have fled the country in the last couple of months. This is the freedom and democracy promised to the Iraqis. Nada."

This is the daily reality in the new Iraq, especially in Baghdad. An average of 100 Iraqis are killed every day. Kidnapping for profit or revenge is widespread. Young girls are sold to neighbouring countries for prostitution.

Madeline Hadi, a nine-year-old girl, was kidnapped from her father's car in the al-Doura district of Baghdad. Zinah Falih Hassan, a student in al-Warkaa secondary school, also in Baghdad, was kidnapped on her way back from school. Asma, a young engineer, was abducted in Baghdad. She was shopping with her mother, sister and male relative when six armed men kidnapped her. She was repeatedly raped.

Mahnaz Bassam and Raad Ali Abdul Aziz were kidnapped last month along with two Italian aid workers and subsequently released. Unlike the Italians, the two Iraqis did not receive media attention in the west. No one prayed for them.

And aid workers are not the only victims - 250 university professors and scientists have been killed in the past year, according to the Union of University Lecturers, and more than 1,000 academics have left the country

Iraqi journalists are also frequently harassed, threatened and attacked by occupying troops. This year, 12 of the 14 journalists killed were Iraqi, and six Iraqi media workers were also killed. Many journalists have also fled the country.

More than 100 Iraqi doctors and consultants have been killed or kidnapped in the past year. A spokesperson for the Iraqi Medical Society described the kidnappings as "intimidating and forcing them to leave the country". The latest victim was Dr Turki Jabar al Saadi, chair of the Iraqi veterinary society. He was shot in the head on October 21. None of these killings has been investigated. These atrocities go unrecorded. The dead are unnamed.

… Death is covering us like fine dust. …

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