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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

  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008


The Week in Iraq

The Usual Deaths

by Lily Hamourtziadou

10 Sep 2006

'We should never get used to deaths in Iraq', writes Gordon Gilbert in the Star Tribune. He continues, 'I found myself paging past Wednesday's headline, "3 Americans reported killed in Iraq", thinking "same old news." But it's not, of course -it's the deaths of three more young men, an occurrence we should never get used to.'

... Much more often than Gordon Gilbert, every day in fact, I read the 'same old news' about dead Iraqi civilians. Just as in the case of the 3 American soldiers, I and everyone else should not get used to these deaths, these daily killings, not just of 3 but usually over 30, sometimes nearly 100 a day. Perhaps it is easier to forget the killings of so many, because the vast majority of them are not even named by the media, unlike the few US or British soldiers.

Monday 4 September was just another day where the deaths of around 35 civilians made the same old news. Bullet riddled bodies were once again found in the streets of Baghdad and Kut, while US and Iraqi forces raid the house of an Imam in Baquba and kill 5 members of his family, including a 2-month-old baby.

Another child, a 6-year-old, was killed by bombs on Tuesday 5 September, and more Shia pilgrims were shot dead on their way to Karbala.

The killings continued on Wednesday 6 September, when 34 bodies were found, all showing the usual signs of torture. In Baquba a barber and a grocer were shot dead, and another child, a 2-year-old, died a violent death.

On Thursday 7 September the Iraqi government shuts down the Al-Arabiya offices in Baghdad, and the TV station's broadcasting is stopped for a month, for inciting sectarianism. The US hands over army control to Iraq, and at least 44 die in violent incidents. One of the victims was a father driving his teenage daughter to school for an exam.

Around 30 people were killed on Friday 8 September, including a 10-year-old boy killed in his home by gunmen, a mother and child killed by a roadside bomb in the centre of Baghdad, and 3 more pilgrims.

Saturday 9 September was the day of the religious festival the pilgrims were attending. 'The festival ended today without any incident' the Minister of State for National Security stated. But there is no day without violent incidents in Iraq: on Saturday 23 bodies were found (one of them was not actually a body -just a head), and 17 people were reported killed, including 6 grocers found shot dead by the side of the road in Al-Hurriyah market. Another barber was shot dead, and another child was killed in Balad. 2 more children were killed by bombs in Kirkuk.

The week ended with around 30 reported deaths on Sunday 10 September. Among the dead were 4 oil refinery employees on their way home from work. Just like the grocers, the market traders, the police officers, the bakers, the barbers, and all the others killed while trying to earn a living in today's Iraq, those oil refinery workers should not simply become 'same old news'. And we must never get used to their deaths.