July 5, 2011

The Silence of Dying Sparrows...

Iraq - a bad place for children.

Before you accuse me of propaganda, this is not my title, this is the title of a UNICEF report which states : "Decades of war and international sanctions have turned Iraq into one of the worst places for children in the Middle East and North Africa, with around 3.5 million living in poverty, 1.5 million under the age of five undernourished and 100 infants dying every day, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warns " (bear in mind that UN data is based on conservative estimates, politics oblige)

The report then goes on to say : " To achieve the MDGs, (millennium development goals) over 400,000 undernourished Iraqi children would have to receive adequate food, while nearly 700,000 would have to be enrolled in schools. Child mortality would also have to be reduced by 100,000, while about three million others need decent sanitation...."

“These are not just statistics, behind every figure there is a child suffering in silence. Achieving these goals is possible if Iraq manages to focus on the over four million most deprived children.”

Add to the above, the exploitation of children for war purposes and the report gives as an example the following : " the (Shia) Mahdi Army has recruited and used children as soldiers since the beginning of the conflict. In 2008, some 376 children were killed and 1,594 wounded, while in 2009, 362 children were killed and 1,044 wounded. In 2010, at least 194 children were killed and 232 wounded in the conflict, primarily in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa governorates."

And if the above is not enough, the report warns of "another threat to children identified -explosive remnants of war, which claim lives and cause injury long after combat operations. An estimated 2.66 million cluster bomblets and 20 million landmines remain on Iraqi soil, contaminating 1,700sqkm..."

The report however does NOT mention - the effects of US/UK Depleted Uranium on Children, nor does the report make any mention of Industrial and Nuclear contamination produced by toxic waste - dumping of Iranian waste in the South and in the Anbar. Nor does the report mention, 500'000 totally orphaned children living in the streets of Baghdad alone. Nor does it mention the increasing rates of child labor...nor the trafficking and selling of Iraqi children, their kidnappings on a daily basis, nor the big taboo - the sexual trafficking, exploitation, and slavery of Iraqi children...

Most importantly, the report fails to state that in 1980's, that same UN affirmed that Iraq had made a developmental leap, and that in the areas of medical care and education (by eradicating illiteracy and providing free education up to post graduate levels) it managed to reach the indexes of a developed country.

Last but not least, the report omitted to conclude that the Children of Iraq are suffering in silence, caged sparrows, of Freedom and Liberty.

Sorrow of a Child - Iraqi composer Omar Bashir - dedicated to the children of Iraq. 2010