Iraq Body Count urgently needs your support to keep track of casualties - help us with a donation now


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

Let’s not forget the blood

by Lily Hamourtziadou

19 Oct 2008

Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday to protest against the security agreement between the Iraqi and the US government. Some 50,000 people chanted anti-occupation slogans and waved banners opposing the Status of Forces Agreement, which would keep US forces in Iraq until at least 2011 (longer, if the Iraqi government wishes it) and gives immunity to US troops committing crimes against Iraqis – unless those are committed when they are off duty.

Though Sadr was not at the rally, he addressed the crowd in a statement read by Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammadawi:

‘Peace be upon the Iraqi people, who reject the occupier and its agreements. Peace be upon Iraq's Shi'i and Sunni. Peace be upon Iraq's Christians and other minorities. I am with every Sunni, every Shi'i and every Christian against this agreement. I disapprove, condemn, denounce, reject, and disown those attacking Iraq's Sunnis, Shi'is, Christians and minorities under any name, be it terrorism, the occupation, or militias in all their forms. I also reject, denounce and condemn the continued presence of the occupation forces and their bases in my beloved land.’

He continued:

‘The Iraqi government has abandoned its responsibility in front of God and its people.’

‘Beware of betraying the people… and let’s not forget the blood of the parliament's martyrs, the blood of the resistance's martyrs and the blood of the Iraqi people.’ (excerpts found in Al-Alam TV, Tehran, in Arabic 0705 gmt 18 Oct 08).

By the end of this week, the deaths of another 94 civilians were confirmed, among them 7 children. People whose blood must not be forgotten. People whose untimely deaths are added to tens of thousands of others.

Those deaths we try to forget, as we want to ‘move on’ or to ‘look forward’ to a safer Iraq. Yet those deaths will be followed by others – hundreds, thousands even – as the occupation continues, as the terrorism continues, as the government’s contempt for its own people continues. Terrorists will feel justified in spilling innocent blood; American soldiers will feel free to bomb homes and shoot civilians ‘in the line of duty’; the Iraqi government will feel entitled to sign agreements and to welcome an occupying army that has already killed thousands of its citizens.

The betrayal… the blood… the sons and daughters of Iraq… we must remember those unfortunates killed ‘in our name’ and for ‘our values,’ those values we hold more dear, more sacred than human life. Or pretend to at least.