Iraq enters 2011 – the year in which American forces are supposed to finally leave – with all too many wounds from our occupation. While we hear little here in the US about the effects of our war and occupation, Iraqis live with the results daily.
Take for example, the continuing level of violence. Western media keep reminding us that the casualty count is lower than at the height of the war – but for 2010, conservative estimates, from Iraqi government sources, place the dead and injured from violence at unbearable numbers:
“The statistics carried out during the periiod from 01/1/2010 and 31/12/2010, the violence acts, including killings, assassinations, along with unknown dead bodies and victims of the security forces in Iraq has registered 4,561 killings and 12,749 injuries,” the report, copy of which landed in Aswat al-Iraq news agency, said.
Attacks and threats against Iraqi Christians have been escalating:
Fifteen bombs were placed at different Christian homes late on Thursday, an interior ministry official said yesterday.
“Two Christians were killed and 16 wounded” by the 11 bombs that went off, …Fawzi Ibrahim, 80, and his wife Janet in Al Ghadir in central Baghdad, where a number of Christians reside.
The couple had lived in the house with another family of Chaldean Catholics, said a neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“At about 7pm, they found a bag placed at the gate. One of the residents of the house thought it belonged to Mrs Ibrahim, but when she opened it with her husband, a bomb hidden inside exploded,” said the neighbour.
The explosion killed the couple and wounded three other Ibrahim family members.
“The couple had lived here for 40 years, and all the residents of the area loved them,” the neighbour said.
Older bombs also continue to kill. A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (full text can be found here ) and a forthcoming WHO study report on the escalating damage to babies in Fallujah from US munitions.
In May of 2010 alone, 15 per cent of the 547 babies born had defects, while 14 per cent were spontaneous abortions and 11 per cent were born at less than 30 weeks…
Total deformities are said to be around 11 times the world average, and are rising. The report, the first carried out on births during 2010, said they were now at “unprecedented levels”, suggesting that the longer adults are exposed to the residual contamination the more defective children will be born.
Other wounds are harder to see but no less real:
“I spent four months of my life under humiliation and suffering in Puka Prison, under a charge I had no relationship with, being a policeman and father of five children, serving my country with faithfulness and devotion,” says Abu-Yousif, remembering his suffering in the American Puka Prison, west of southern Iraq’s city of Basra. [Puka is a transliteration for Camp Bucca]
Abu-Yousif, 44, an inhabitant of east Baghdad’s Sadr City, told Aswat al Iraq: “I can’t forget those painful days in that horrible prison and I shall never forget that horrible day, when the American forces arrested me while on duty in my police center, due to an erroneous charge that my innocence had been proven from.”
Alaa al-Duleimy, 28, an citizen of southern Baghdad’s Daura district, had spent one year in Puka Prison, describing it as “the worst in his whole life,” and demanding the American forces and the Iraqi government to compensate him for the losses he suffered during his imprisonment.
And these are only 2 of the over 15,000 who were held in the US run Puka Prison. The UK’s Channel 4 documentary (see below) on the information found in the Wikileaks files note that 1 out of every 50 adult males in Iraq were detained in these prisons at some time during our war and occupation.
While the US occupation may be winding down, the price paid by the Iraqi people continues.
As “Father Nadhir Dakko, a priest at St. George Chaldean Church, who performed the funeral service for” Fawzi and Janet Ibrahim said:
“Iraq is bleeding every day.”
The video above is from UK’s Channel 4 report on the Wikileaks release of American Iraqi war files. As our government and media distract us with accusations against Manning and Assange, it’s all to easy to overlook the important information contained in those files – information that documents the actions of our military against Iraqi civilians, actions we must not overlook or forget.
Don’t miss the latest installment of the Introduction to Islam at MyFDL – this week the GorillasGuides team discusses the Hajj with us.