Sunday, April 03, 2011

Editorial: The Children of Iraq

Iraq is a country with a young population, a median age of 20.9 years. That's what happens in a war torn country, in an occupied country, in a country where the war continues. Last September, Azzaman noted, "One in every six Iraqis is an orphan. That is the toll Iraqi children are paying in a country which is supposedly under the occupation and protection of the world's only superpower." In May of 2008, Alive in Baghdad explained:

The number of Iraqi orphans increased in the last few years due to the war. According to official Iraqi government statistics released in December 2007, the number of Iraqi orphans had reached at least five million over the last three years. Many due to the Sunni-Shia conflict. There are several social organizations caring for a small number of these Iraqi orphans, such as Child Aid International. There are approximately 26 orphanages that Alive in Baghdad has been able to locate around Iraq. Eight orphanages are in Baghdad and another 18 are distributed all over Iraq and generally they accept kids between the age of 6 and 18 years old.

One of the biggest scandals that happened in the history of the Iraq conflict is the one that happened in Al-Hanan orphanage. There were many pictures distributed online and by television of Iraqi orphans lying on the floor naked, with no food for weeks, sick and nearly dying. After this the Iraqi government began to show more attention for the orphans, there were many stories being reported regarding Al-Hanan Orphanage, like sexual abuses and bad treatment of the kids living there.

The orphanage story, June 2007 (here for report by Lara Logan for CBS News) found children with "emaciated little bodies tied to cribs". Which points to the other problem, it's not just the US, it's also the puppet government the US installed. That orphanage? Reuters reported, "The orphanage is part of a network belonging to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs." Iraqi brings in billions in oil each year. Their population is between 28 and 30 million. That the puppet government hasn't addressed the problem, hasn't ensured that all Iraqis are taken care of, goes to the goals it shares with the US government and, no, humanitarian goals don't make their to-do list.

children of iraq

The children of Iraq live in squalor (photo above via The Great Iraqi Revolution). In 2007, Bill Van Auken (WSWS) observed, "Indeed, the number of orphans in Iraq has skyrocketed since the war began. While no one has provided a reliable estimate of the numbers, they are so great as to far outstrip the capacity of Iraq's 23 orphanages -- eight of them in the capital -- to provide aid. As a result, the streets of Baghdad and other major cities have become the only home for thousands of children who beg or attempt to sell small items at traffic lights. They are prey to violence, exploitation and sexual assault. All of this is a phenomenon that was unknown before the US invasion."

With all the billions pouring into the country, how does that happen? The same way that none of the basic services have been provided to the Iraqi people -- puppets get rich and the people do without.

Which is among the reasons many Iraqis have taken to the streets in protest. Among those protesting have been some of Iraq's 4.5 million orphans. (Click here for Reuters video.)

The orphans, the protests, have received little attention from the US press. Friday, for example, was the tenth Friday in a row where Diane Rehm (on her self-titled radio program) couldn't find Iraq during the "international hour." The war didn't end. The US media's interest in it did.

And when some media critics start blaming the American people and stating they don't care, they better realize they're hollow attacks reveal their timid spirit. The American people can only be informed of that which the news outlets cover. The people haven't failed, the media has. Repeatedly. And they've failed the children of Iraq.
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