May 16 was set aside in 2007 as “Mass Graves Day” in Iraq.
Kurdish civilians stand beside scores of coffins that hold the remains of some 500 Iraqi Kurds from the Barzani tribe during a ceremony in Arbil, northern Iraq. The human remains were brought from a mass grave discovered in al-Muthanna province in southern Iraq. Iraqi forces, commanded by former dictator Saddam Hussein are accused of the 1983 massacre of the Kurdish tribe of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, the founding father of Iraqi Kurdistan. Saddam’s regime allegedly rounded up around 8,000 men from the tribe in northern Iraq took them into the desert and executed them. (AFP)
Nibras Kazimi wrote today at the Hudson Institute about the hundreds of mass graves that have been discovered in Iraq and the apathy of the Western media to report this news:
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On May 13, news filtered out from the southern province of Diwaniya that the local authorities there had discovered a mass grave in the eastern end of the province containing what is projected to be 100 corpses. Initial reports, based on items of clothing and the state of decomposition, indicate that the victims, mostly women and children, were Kurds who had been transported from the north of the country and killed and buried there during the genocidal Anfal Campaign (1987-1988).
On Monday, the local bureau of the Ministry of Human Rights in Najaf declared that it will begin to exhume bodies from a single mass grave in the Qadissiya district, in the desert west of Najaf. It is estimated that 3000 victims of the Saddam regime, again mostly Kurds, will be found there, and there are expectations that some of the several hundred still missing Kuwaitis, who were abducted by the regime during its 1990 invasion, may be found in the vicinity too.
The news is not that six years after liberation mass graves containing anywhere from tens to thousands of Saddam’s victims are still being unearthed, but that in the province of Najaf alone there are 48 such sites still waiting exhumation and identification of the bodies.
Overall, some 400 mass graves have been discovered so far across Iraq, and the remains of their dead inhabitants have yet to be returned to their families. In a large number of cases, there are no families waiting for closure by collecting whatever is left of their loved ones since many of these mass graves entomb complete families. There is no one left to give them a decent burial, a name on a tombstone, or to tend the place with tears.
The insurgents, whether of the Al-Qaeda ilk or former Ba’athists, had continued Saddam’s legacy, and ‘new’ mass graves are being discovered all the time, most recently one containing twenty victims in Yusufiyyah, to the south of Baghdad—most likely Shi’a victims of the jihadists.
The inability to provoke international indignation over this legacy is the single greatest political failure of the Americans and the Iraqi government. No museums have been built, and no extensive forensic establishments to catalogue and indentify the victims have been sufficiently funded. The United Nations is nowhere to be found.
But it also the apathy and cynicism of the western media that had effectively prevented the story from being reported; nothing has been published or will be published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post about these latest finds.
There is more at the Hudson Institute.
Hat Tip American Liberty
During the rein of Saddam Hussein, Hundreds of political opponents were executed in prisons; while thousands more, mostly Shiites were buried in mass graves in the south. The terror he created prevented anyone from asking questions when a relative went missing. With the fall of the brutal leader, Iraqis went seaching. They watched as the dead were unearthed by the thousands in the killing fields near Hilla. Those coming to identify loved ones could finally begin to put the past to rest. In the town of Mussaib, over 400 bodies recovered from mass graves are brought to the Isamic Youth Center, where families walk among the dead in search of their missing relatives. (POY)
In July 2007 Barack Obama said that “not even genocide” was a good enough reason to keep US troops in Iraq.