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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

Another sad count

by Lily Hamourtziadou

30 Nov 2008

This week another 138 civilians lost their lives.
November ended with another sad count: 482.
31 of them children. A lot of children to die in violence in one month.

I sat down and traced the deaths of children in 2008, and I counted 406 murdered Iraqi children.

January: 37
February: 55
March: 48
April: 66
May: 41
June: 28
July: 25
August: 11
September: 31
October: 33
November: 31

How many children will die in December? It is such a sad question. Not a question of ‘will they…?’ but rather ‘how many….?’ Children are being killed steadily, every month, every week. Mostly in acts of terrorism, by unknown gunmen and bombers. But also by ‘our’ guys; 72 children have so far been killed by US soldiers this year. In the line of duty.

Sad figures. Sad lives. Another sad story this week in the Guardian:

‘Authorities in the southern Iraqi city of Basra have admitted they are powerless to prevent 'honour killings' in the city following a 70 per cent increase in religious murders during the past year.

There has been no improvement in conviction rates for these killings. So far this year, 81 women in the city have been murdered for allegedly bringing shame on their families. Only five people have been convicted.

During 2007 the Basra security committee recorded 47 'honour killings' and three convictions. One lawyer in the city described how police were actively protecting perpetrators and said that a woman in Basra could now be murdered by hired hitmen for as little as $100 (£65).’ (Guardian, 30 November)

Cheap lives, cheap deaths… a tragedy for them and for us. A tragic mistake we have made, that they have been paying for with their blood.

As another sad year is coming to an end, the death toll is nearing 9,000 –not as high as in previous years perhaps, but who would tolerate the deaths of 9,000 of his or her compatriots? Who would tolerate the murders of their children? And who would forgive them?