by Kathy Kelly
The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘stop!’When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable, the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer. –Bertolt Brecht
Last summer, crimes piled up in Iraq. 3,590 people were killed in July ’06; 3009 in August.
In Baghdad alone, the Coroner’s Office reported 1,600 bodies arrived at the morgue in June and more than 1,800 bodies in July. 90% of the killings were executions.
It seems impossible to count how many people were tortured in Iraq over the past several months. The chief expert on torture for the United Nations, Manfred Nowak, says bluntly that the current situation is “out of control.” The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released a report in September which said that bodies sent to the capital’s morgue “habitually bore signs of severe torture, including acid-induced injuries, burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones, backs, hands and legs, missing eyes and teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails.” The Iraqi authorities confirmed that most of the bodies that were found in the past six months bore serious signs of torture.
Not surprisingly, in the past seven months, a quarter of a million Iraqis are now displaced people after having fled the violence.
UN reports estimate that one out of every four Iraqi children suffers from acute malnourishment. The colloquial word for this condition is “wasting.”
Why are so many Iraqi children hungry and ill? One major cause of illness is impure water. Although an estimated $30 billion to $45 billion of Iraqi and American financing has gone toward reconstruction efforts in Iraq, only about 55% of the planned water projects have been completed.