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The Week in Iraq is a weekly assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties by IBC's news collector and Recent Events editor Lily Hamourtziadou.

The analyses and opinions presented in these commentaries are personal to the author.

Recent weeks

Healing the wounds of the past
  18 Jan 2009

Happy New Year
  11 Jan 2009

The sad numbers
  31 Dec 2008

Immunity
  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008

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The Week in Iraq

Lost memories, lost lives

by Lily Hamourtziadou

29 Apr 2007

One by one, the old places where Baghdad’s residents loved life are disappearing under violence. Parks, food markets, cafes, where many played as children, browsed bookshelves as students or whiled away afternoons smoking pipes, have been erased, leaving a city many residents say they no longer recognise. As car bombs, concrete barriers and shortages are eating away at people’s lives, Baghdad is becoming a memory. Many Baghdadis speak of their city as if it was a bygone time, or a lost childhood. In the words of a local newspaper, the city has been ‘stripped of its soul’ (Kuwait Times).

This week the dead exceeded 600. Among the week’s attacks, another major one, killing over 50 civilians, bringing the year’s total to 14:

-16 January, 70 mainly students and staff, Mustansiriya University, Baghdad
-22 January, 88 killed by bombs at Baghdad market
-1 February, 73 killed by suicide bombers in Hilla
-3 February, 137 killed by a suicide bomber in a lorry full of explosives, Baghdad
-12 February, 90 killed by explosions in Shorja market, Baghdad
-18 February, 62 killed by bombs at second-hand market, Baghdad
-24 February, 56 killed by truck bomb outside mosque, Habaniya.
-6 March, 120 pilgrims killed by suicide bombers, Hilla
-27 March, 152 killed by truck bomb, Tal Afar
-28 March, 70 shot dead in reprisals, Tal Afar
-29 March, 82 killed by suicide bombers at market in Baghdad
53 killed by car bombs, Khalis
-18 April, 140-195 killed by suicide truck bomber in Sadriya, Baghdad
-28 April, 75 killed by suicide car bomber in Karbala

Over 100 die on Monday 23 April. A suicide bomber kills 7 in a Baghdad restaurant, a car bomb kills 10 policemen in Baquba, 15 are killed by a suicide bomber in Tall Usquf, 15 in a Ramadi restaurant and another 11 at a police checkpoint. Among Monday’s dead, 15 bodies found tortured and bound in Baghdad.

Over 90 die on Tuesday 24 April. The biggest attack is in Ramadi, where a suicide bomber blows up a truck at a police patrol, killing 25 people. Mortars kill 10 in Baghdad, 8 are shot by unknown gunmen in Baquba, and gunmen kill 7 members of the same family (4 children, father and grandparents) in Jaara. Police find 30 bodies in Baghdad, Mosul, Numaniya and Kut.

Over 50 die on Wednesday 25 April, the quietest day of the week. Among the victims, a body-building champion, killed in Mosul, a baker and his apprentice, also shot dead in Mosul, and 14 policemen. A further 22 bodies are found in Baghdad, Hilla, Kirkuk and Kut.

Over 80 die on Thursday 26 April. An American air raid kills 2 civilians, a pregnant woman and an elderly man, in Sadr City, while another American air raid kills 4 more civilians, 2 children and 2 women, west of Taji. A car bomb kills 6 in Jadiriya, Baghdad, while a student loses his life when a bomb inside a bag explodes in a school in Jbela. Another 40 bodies are found in 7 cities.

Nearly 70 die on Friday 27 April. In Hit 15 are blown up by a suicide bomber, US forces shoot dead a driver in Baquba, while unknown gunmen kill a university professor in Falluja. Around 40 bodies are found in 8 locations.

On Saturday 28 April, the most violent day of the week, over 160 lose their lives, including 75 killed by a suicide bomber in Karbala. Among the dead 5 children and 8 people burnt so badly that their age and gender remain undetermined. Three more children lose their lives: a 12-year-old boy is blown up by a roadside bomb in Kut, a 5-year-old girl is killed by mortars in Janaja, and the child of an army officer is killed by gunmen, together with his grandmother, near Baquba. Police find around 50 bodies in Baghdad, Baquba, Mahaweel and Mosul.

On Sunday 29 April 60 die. The biggest attack kills 25 near a restaurant in Basra, while 3 road sweepers are shot dead in Baghdad. The dead also include 3 civilians killed by US troops during clashes with members of the Mahdi Army, an interpreter killed with a US patrol in Baghdad and 5 policemen.

American and Iraqi officials have been taken aback by the ferocity of the opposition to the Adhamiya wall. At a rally on Monday, residents of the Sunni Arab neighbourhood of Adhamiya pledged support for the Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, after his declaration that construction of the wall around their neighbourhood must stop. More than 1,000 residents protested and opposed the wall’s construction. The Adhamiya wall, only partly built so far, has added to the resentment Iraqi feel at the violence and disruption of their daily lives and the misery the 2003 invasion has brought to their country.

Al-Maliki’s decision to speak out against the wall was seen by the crowds as a moment of defiance in the face of the Americans, whom most Iraqis see as an occupying force. Yet despite the Prime Minister’s declaration and order that the construction be halted, there is no change in the plans to build the 5-metre wall, the military has announced.

And the debate over whether the war can be won, or whether it is lost, goes on. Whatever the result is for the US, or for Britain, Iraqis have already lost this war. They lost it long ago. Along with their memories, their cities, their loved ones. Along with their country, as it once was, and will never be again.