On a week like this, when 55 persons in Baghdad has been killed by bombs in a vegetable market; outside a mosque and in residential areas, I feel with the Iraqis, and I feel with the families of the assassinated civilian people that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The 55 persons of yesterday were not the only ones: last month almost 1.000 people were killed all over Iraq.
And I’m relieved that I’m not working for an Iraq mission as I have in the past, even though safely tucked away in the comfort of Kuwait or Iraqi Kurdistan. Relieved because I don’t have to work Skype and the phone to make sure none of my Iraqi colleagues are among the murdered. Because what would happen if they were?
No one would be hunted down by the local police and tried in front of the justice system, where they would get their rightful punishment, that in turn would discourage others from committing the same crime. No office or NGO would close for the day or a minute of silence be demanded in order to respect the dead. No debriefing would be given to the other staff to help them cope with the loss. Work would carry on as normal and the organization would send their condolences to the family while starting the recruitment process for someone new. Years back in an Iraq mission, my expat colleague whose team member was taken from his own house under gunpoint by one of the many militias, and tortured for hours before being killed, was left on her own to choke back tears in front of her laptop after the murder. Because who cares about a dead Iraqi anyways?
The colleague of ours was actually a person, a real human being. He happened to be friendly and everyone in the office liked him. He had a family that loved him, a mother and a father, sisters and brothers that missed him deeply when he was gone. But in the eyes of many he was a nobody, just another dead Iraqi. I rest quite assured things remain the same for the Iraqis whose lives are lost today.