One in every eight children will not reach the age of five in Iraq.
There are no oxygen masks, no medicines for such basic afflictions as diarrhea. There are no doctors in Iraq because the security situation under occupation is such that ALL doctors have been targeted by militia, foreign terrorists and the US military.
"According to the report, Iraqĺs child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 percent since 1990. Some 122,000 Iraqi children died in 2005 before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were among newborn babies in the first month of life," says a report published by the US-based SAVE THE CHILDREN Organization.
Consider Iraq's future when you weigh the above statistics to the fact that 60 percent of Iraq's population is comprised of children.
The plight of Iraq's children began well before the March 2003 invasion. If you raise your head a tad and look at the intro to this blog, you will see Albright's famous statements that killing half a million Iraqi children is insignificant when compared to the zealous pursuit of foreign policy.
That was more than 10 years ago and today the statement still holds true.
Iraq's children not only suffer from malnutrition but have also exhibited severe trauma-based disorders because of the daily violence that has gripped the country since the great war of liberation and democracy.
During the war of liberation, thousands of Iraqi children were killed, heads severed, limbs amputated, disfigured, burned thanks to the precision bombing of US forces.
"Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq, describes what happened in Hilla as "a horror, dozens of severed bodies and scattered limbs". Initially, Murtada Abbas, the director of Hilla hospital, was questioned about the bombing only by Iraqi journalists - and only Arab cameramen working for Reuters and Associated Press were allowed on site. What they filmed is horror itself - the first images shot by Western news agencies of what is also happening on the Iraqi frontlines: babies cut in half, amputated limbs, kids with their faces a web of deep cuts caused by American shellfire and cluster bombs. Nobody in the West will ever see these images because they were censored by editors in Baghdad: only a "soft" version made it to worldwide TV distribution," reported ASIA TIMES in April 2003.
See my previous post on war propaganda.
Today throughout Iraq, children play in raw sewage. Water is cut and many families are forced to draw polluted and tainted well water. So desperate is the situation that this video from YouTube highlights how clean water is becoming a commodity as valuable as gold in some Iraqi districts.
There is nothing but cruelty in the asinine banter and laughter of the US soldier who taunts Iraq's children this way. What have they done other than be born Iraqi - once again, a stark reminder of how war propaganda renders the Iraqi person inhuman.
Notice the street, it is strewn with garbage and sewage.
This is the new Iraq, this is the Iraq of the liberator, and this is the face of the liberator which some Iraqis are begging to remain in Iraq and protect the people.
Dahr Jamail, who has written extensively about Iraq, filed this report from there several months ago:
Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressing their repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
More can be found here, but I also thought these to be pertinent:
"Children are the most affected by the tragic events," Dr. Khalil al-Kubaissi, a psychotherapist in Fallujah told IPS. "Their fragile personalities cannot face the loss of a parent or the family house along with all the horror that surrounds them. The result is catastrophic, and Iraqi children are in serious danger of lapsing into loneliness or violence."
The difficulties of children have become particularly noticeable this year. "The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.
The report warned that "children in Iraq are seriously suffering psychologically with all the insecurity, especially with the fear of kidnapping and explosions."
The literature on Iraq's debilitated and destroyed children is overwhelming and heartbreaking. An article in the Christian Science Monitor in August 2004 said:
A report run on the German TV program Report Mainz (video) in July on the same topic included an interview with US Sgt. Samuel Provance. Sgt. Provance was one of the original whistleblowers who said US troops were abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Provance has since been transferred to Germany. He says he was ordered by his superiors not to talk to the media any more. In May, Provance said he was told by Army officials that he may be prosecuted because his statements were " not in the national interest."
Provance, however, did talk to the German TV crew about the treatment of children at Abu Ghraib. He alleges that children were sometimes abused in order to force their parents to give information to coalition authorities. Provance spoke about one incident in which he says he witnessed this happening with a 16 year-old boy.
He was full of fear, very alone. He had the thinnest little arms that I have ever seen. His whole body shook. His wrists were so thin that we could not put handcuffs on him. As soon as I saw him for the first time and led him to the interrogation, I felt sorry for him. The interrogation specialists doused him with water and put him in a truck. Then they drove with him throughout the night, and at that time it was very, very cold. Then they smeared him with mud and showed him to his likewise imprisoned father. With him [the father] they had tried out other interrogation methods. But they had not succeeded in making him talk. The interrogation specialists told me that after the father had seen his son in that condition, it broke his heart. He wept and promised to tell them what they wanted to know.
Finally, a word to other Iraqi bloggers. Write, speak out - raise awareness of the horror chamber your country has become. Languishing in Amman or Los Angeles or writing petitions does not absolve you of the terrible burden you are entrusted with as English-speaking Iraqis.
There are those who come to this blog or email me calling me a Baathist and an Al-Qaeda sympathizer. I have no love for either. I have never been either.
There are others who call me a Nazi because I speak the truth no one wants to. I write of the conditions in my country because the ONLY way things can improve is when the world community wake up, when conscientious Americans wake up, when beguiled Iraqis wake up and are made aware of the problems, mistakes and crimes committed in Iraq.
Only when they understand the depth of the problem can they begin to find solutions.
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