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Iraqi Association Comment


Iraqi Association Comment

Iraq Five Years Later

As the Iraqi conflict enters its tragic sixth year, it's becoming hard to imagine a time when refugees and displaced people can go home without fear. Over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003, with nearly 2 million Iraqi civilians fleeing to neighbouring countries, and over 2 million displaced internally within Iraq. Despite promises of speedy reconstruction, economic recovery looks a similarly distant prospect. The reconstruction has been exceedingly slow, partly due to the violence but also because of poor planning, shortages of qualified and experienced personnel, and widespread corruption.

There is no such thing as a simple war, but war is about death and destruction. However, most emerging post war governments requires a prosperous economy, a secure society and sufficient compromises to allow everyday interaction among different ethnic and religious groups in workplaces, schools, hospitals, the army and the police. The democratic process is about protecting the symbols of a common and proud diversity, coupled with the maturity of the thinking of its political leaders. Political immaturity deters the healing process. The losers are the victims of yesterday's tyranny, and today's venom of militias' crimes. Political immaturity is becoming the building blocks of our civil society.

Thousands of civilian lives were lost when militia armed groups deliberately targeted civilians through suicide bombings, car bombs and other attacks, while making no distinction between civilians and combatants. Such systematic or widespread attacks against a civilian population are tantamount to crimes against humanity and violate the laws of war, and their perpetrators should be prosecuted. Sectarian division has torn apart families and neighbourhoods that once lived together in harmony.

However, sectarianism is not ingrained in poverty stricken communities of Baghdad but fostered by the politics of bigotry and intimidation. It is not the result of 'community division' that we hear everyday from Iraq and media commentators. The emphasis should not be on accommodating or compromising with the demands of sectarian intimidation and extremists. But the economic and social inequalities has given this division a vicious edge to continue with the carnage, and fuelled by extremists and freedom haters. Despite the lower incidence of violent attacks in the latter half of 2007, targeted attacks against middle class professional groups, officials and others by armed militia continued to be perpetrated in many parts of the country. Among the victims were members of the legal, medical and academic professions, media workers, government employees, religious figures, and employees of state institutions. While some were killed in the context of the general ongoing violence, many others were deliberately targeted for assassination or were abducted and subsequently killed. Scores of others were wounded in attacks or escaped attempts on their lives.

What is more devastating is that we hardly hear positive news from Iraq. This antagonistic approach by some sectors of the media would harm ordinary people of Iraq. A proud example is the efforts of some local non governmental organisations, which they risk their lives to save people and provide vital help to poor and needy population. It was even more of a surprise to watch that the U.S. and Britain fail, to come to grips with creating effective aid and development programme, political accommodation and deterring militias' curb on women's rights. For example in Basra alone, more than 150 women have been murdered in the last 12 months. While countless lives are threatened every day by poverty, cuts to power and water supplies, food and medical shortages, and rising violence against women and girls.

Iraqi children are becoming the most vulnerable people. Many of them have been exposed to violence and have witnessed gruesome events: murders, bomb blasts, break-ins, and beatings. Children who are victims of kidnapping bear a particularly heavy psychological burden. Some stay at home instead of attending school. The psychological challenge experienced by many Iraqi children needs immediate attention. Yet without adequate resources, little is being done to meet the needs. IraqChild is one of Iraqi Association projects, which offers help and support to children in Iraq, those who have been injured or affected by the war.

For so many of them life has become an endless battle of survival. Imagine being in the middle of a war that has nothing to do with you. Your home has been burned and your family is missing dead. Now imagine a little boy of seven being blind folded and abducted for ransom, or forced to fight alongside the very men who murdered his father.

Even if they survive, these children bear severe physical and psychological injuries. But perhaps the ultimate price that they pay is the theft and destruction of their childhood. Page 1 of 2 We operate a non sectarian clinic in Baghdad to help children from all backgrounds, the doctors and nurses of the clinic are ready to help. It treats an average of 12 children every day of age range 4-15, often they suffer from constant fear and phobia. Beside that, the clinic sees injured children and those who require immediate treatment. The clinic is making a huge difference to the lives of so many sick and injured youngsters. There are a staggering numbers of abandoned orphans in the poor stricken areas of Baghdad - children who've been brutalized by war and left alone to fend for themselves. Their suffering is deep, but they have been spared the unimaginable brutality that children in Iraq suffer.

In Baghdad and other war torn regions of Iraq, there are children with missing arms and legs, cut off by bombings and shrapnel. Others have been traumatised, by the sectarian violence, and loss of parents. Too many children are growing up today in Iraq without ever understanding what it means to share the joy of life. They are deprived form their childhood, the precious time of their lives, and perhaps an even more terrifying is the damaging proportions and impact the normal psychological growth of the children in an environment that is dominated by violence and divisions Salwan is 9 he has suffered more than most of us will in our lifetime. He has no family, except for Zaynab, his grandmother, whom he loves dearly. Now, the desperate situation of orphaned children in Baghdad, where they live, are putting both their lives at risk. They need food and care. You can send a donation to IraqChild, Freepost NAT 21599, London W6 9BR or use our secure online donation http://www.iraqiassociation.org/iraqchild/page3.html Too many children are growing up today in Iraq without ever understanding what it means to share the joy of life. They are deprived form their childhood, the precious time of their lives, and perhaps an even more terrifying is the damaging proportions and impact the normal psychological growth of the children in an environment that is dominated by violence and divisions. They are without hope and often without parents.

March 2008

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