Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Slideshow and story of Iraq mass graves.

Layla Abdulhussein, 30, and her 33-year-old sister Mariam come here every week to find out about their only brother, Fuad, who disappeared in 1981 at the age of 25.

"He was a university student majoring in law and one of the top students in his class," says Layla.

"One day he went to a mosque and never came back. Three years later the secret police came to our house and told us we should not give him a funeral. We were not allowed to ask any questions.

"I don't believe my brother is still alive," she admits ruefully.

"I just want to know what happened to him and hope to recover his remains so that we can bury him in Najaf," she says, referring to the central Iraqi pilgrimage city where Shiite Muslims traditionally inter their dead.

Iyad Uday, a jobless 40-year-old Shiite, managed to track down the name of his father Sayed, who was taken by the secret police in 1980.

"When the police came to our house, my father told me to take care of his shops' keys," Uday said, adding his father was a member of the Dawa party, the first Shiite group to dare to take on Saddam's regime.

"My father was a merchant and our neighbors loved him. He helped poor people. I just want to give him a very nice funeral," he says.

Muhsen Jalub, a 63-year-old Shiite, recalls the horror of losing his two sons.

"My boys were 15 and 17. The elder one disappeared in 1992, the younger one two years later. Baath party members came to my house three years afterwards to take all my sons' belongings.

"I still don't know what happened to them and I've been crying all these years.

"If I were able to see my sons now, I would tell them we are no longer living under terror and that Saddam is gone," says Jalub.

After a one-hour wait, the Abdulhussein sisters finally learn their brother's fate -- he was executed in 1982.

"I had a slight hope that my brother was alive somewhere. But that is totally gone now," said Mariam, her eyes welling with tears.

"I just wish I could hug him and hold his hand one more time. I thank him for teaching us the principles of life such as having faith in God and being good to people," the elder sister says.

"He will always be living in our hearts."

Stories like this won't make the front page of the NY Times, and will not lead off the night on ABC, BBC, CBS, NBC. But a few dozen missing artifacts (and I have my degree in Archaeology) and they wail and scream and denounce and resign. 170,000 thousand artifacts are falsely reported to be missing from the museum in Baghdad and it makes the front page of every major paper, news programs devote hours of coverage, pundits denounce the Administration and those who support them in this war, government officials quit in uninformed disgust. Dozens of mass graves filled with at least 290,000 dead Iraqi men, women and children are being uncovered every day and the Media figures this isn't a major story that deserves front page or top of the show coverage. What is wrong with us? Weapons of Mass Destruction? At what point do these hundreds of thousands of graves become "Mass Destruction"?

< email | 6/11/2003 03:25:00 PM | link

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