Discussion of the Iraq War on all sides downplayed the violence to everyday people. Let us now mourn Iraqi civilian casualties, estimated (conservatively) to be 6,058 to 7,711 dead (as of mid-July). Here are stories of some who died.
March 26: Faris El Baur made cushions for car seats, working in his shop in Al Shaab market in north Baghdad. Because schools were closed for the war, his 11-year-old son Saif was helping him. When two rockets struck the market, father and son were crushed and burned. More than 20 other people died, including a mother and three small children, incinerated in their flipped-over car, and a young man named Tajir, decapitated in a water-heater shop.
March 29: Failing to realize that their village was inside a 'kill box,' a free-fire zone designated by the U.S. military, cousins 12-year-old Ibrahim and 17-year-old Jala walked to their neighbor's house for lunch. A U.S. pilot bombed and killed them.
March 30: With two friends, 14-year-old Arkan Daif was digging a trench in front of his Baghdad house to protect his family from bombing. A bomb tore off the back of his head. He was a boy 'like a flower,' his father said.
April 1: Razek al-Khataj was driving north with 15 members of his family to escape fierce fighting in Nasiriyah, south of Baghdad. A rocket from an Apache helicopter blew their truck apart. Razek lost his wife, six children, his father and mother, his three brothers, and their wives.
April 2: Eight-year-old Aisha Ahmed was playing in the garden when a missile struck her family's farm in Radwaniyeh, near Baghdad airport. Her 4-year-old brother died. Her mother, father, older brother, and sisters were critically injured. Aisha lost an eye; her face and body were peppered with shrapnel. She kept asking, 'Mommy! Where is my mommy?'
April 5: Abid Hamoodi invited his three grown children and their families to stay with him in his strong concrete house in Basra. Anglo-American forces bombed and the wall collapsed, killing Abid's wife and nine other family members. He saved a daughter and two of her children.
April 6: Nadia Khalaf, 33, had just finished her psychology Ph.D. She and her sister were at home in Baghdad, talking and laughing, when a missile came through their window and drove Nadia's heart out through her chest.
April 8: In Baladiyat, Baghdad's eastern edge, a U.S. plane fired at the home of Wael Sabah, her 12-year-old daughter Noor, and her 4-year-old son Abdel. They died in Kindi hospital while another son, stunned, sat on the floor beside his mother in a puddle of her blood. Nearby, in the hospital, 2-year-old Ali Najour lay soaked in blood with a tube in his nose. Both her parents had been killed. And 11-year-old Safa Karim died slowly, bleeding internally from a bomb fragment in her stomach and writhing in pain.
April 9: Children were playing in an olive tree grove near the remote northern village of Fathlia. When bombs fell, 6-year-old Hansa Omar was decapitated, her sister Jasim also died, and their friend, 10-year-old Ali Ramzi, was crushed against a tree. Abu Salam Gafur, a 16-year-old shepherd, was killed with his sheep.
Reprinted from Eat the State! (April 23, 2003). Distributed free biweekly in western Washington, Eat the State! is a forum for 'anti-authoritarian political opinion, research, and humor.' The seven-year-old tabloid consistently crackles with energy, passion, and contention. Subscriptions: $24/yr. (25 issues) from Box 85541, Seattle, WA 98145; eatthestate.org