Apart from the invasion of 2003, and the withdrawal of international troops between 2009-11, Iraq has been largely ignored by people, by media outlets, and by governments. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” evidently and catastrophically failed in its mission to bring liberation, democracy, and peace as its proponents had claimed it would. Today, over 10 years since the occupation, Iraq has observed a particularly deadly cycle of violence. In fact, in the rare occasion when Iraq is spoken of, it is only to detail the very sad reality that it has a population of orphans and widows now in the millions, horrific birth defect rates, and daily bomb attacks that engulf entire families. The humanitarian and existential crisis that has been unacknowledged by the mainstream is growing exponentially worse. Yet, death tolls are mentioned only in passing. No one (be they inside Iraq or internationally) seems to have taken extra care in addressing what is exactly is brewing in the country and why, apart from casually brushing off the crisis away from our shores by attributing it to “sectarianism”, which is itself a crime of conscience and complicity.
It is in light of my despair at the fate of Iraq that I stumbled on this: a fascinating and much-needed interactive resource (link above) launched by Russia Today which presents a harrowing account of what one can only describe as the genocide that has been unfolding in Iraq in 2013. It has been organised in the form of a diary, complete with dates, photographs, and a commentary. The figures are astonishing. The consistency of the violence is disturbing. But it is the reality on the ground, and one that we must acknowledge.
It is along this backdrop that one must seriously ask the very pivotal question: to what extent can we observe this calculated destruction and mindless murder and not care enough to act? And if we take that question seriously, a further one ought to be asked of all of us: what exactly does “doing something about it” mean in practice? What tangible steps can we take as citizens in the UK and elsewhere to raise awareness and lend our support? Is the battle too remote? I raise these questions as somebody who does not have the answers, but who is seeking them and I implore anyone who values the life of a human being to join me in this quest. Raising money, publishing articles detailing the crimes taking place, and writing letters to MPs is all good and well, and much-needed, but maybe we have to also be thinking about scaling up our efforts if we seriously seek a more substantial, longer-term solution to a deeply-entrenched crime that has been ravaging Iraq, and in fact the world at large, since the beginning of time. Senseless murder.