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Revenge…or Justice? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It does not make sense for anyone who understands the violence taking place in Iraq to attribute this solely to terrorism, occupation, and politics.

In more than a few cases, such violence is nothing more than examples of cruelty and animosity, and it would be an oversimplification to lump all acts of violence together. If the violence seen in the bloody Baghdad bombings can be considered a political message or an example of sectarian or ideological violence, how can we explain the systematic and increasingly cruel violence that takes place against individuals in Iraq?

It is not beyond the realms of possibility for one to find some Baghdad shops selling DVDs containing real life scenes of killing and slaughter as material for public entertainment. It seems that the culture of violence is one that will remain in Iraq for a long time, particularly since political violence has spawned criminal gangs that are capable of committing, and indeed have begun to commit, the most barbaric crimes imaginable.

In the following article, I will refrain from discussing honor crimes, liquidation, disappearances, torture, as well as the violent campaign against homosexuals for example. Let us restrict this discussion to a phenomenon that can never be disregarded, and one that has become an ordinary aspect of daily violence [in Iraq], namely violence against children. This is now a concern to Iraqis, and particularly the Baghdad residents, who fear that their children could be kidnapped or murdered.

Official figures reveal that 265 children have been abducted in Iraq this year alone, whilst non-governmental organizations put this figure closer to 900. The man who abducted and murdered 11-year old Muntasar al-Musawi last month, before dissolving his body in acid in a horrific and savage crime, is now expected to be publicly executed in Baghdad.

This incident was preceded by several similar ones, although some of these ended happily with the kidnapped children returned to their families, while others had more brutal endings, such as the case of Muntasar al-Musawi. The paradox is that details of this tragedy, and other similar tragedies experienced by Iraqi families have been discussed, but not by the Iraqi media. The most notable report on this was seen in western newspapers, such as The Times, or in the report by the Swedish journalist who went undercover to report on the phenomenon of child abduction and black market organ trading [in Iraq].

The Iraqi media is preoccupied with the recent bombings and the forthcoming general elections – scheduled to take place in two months – and so has not paid this phenomenon [of violence against children] the attention it deserves, and in many cases was content with reporting the reports that appeared in The Times newspaper and other western media, adding only a few quick commentaries.

Apart from discussing the human dimension of this phenomenon of children being abducted and murdered in Iraq, not much attention has been paid to this dangerous phenomenon. The Baghdad municipality attempted to quell the anger of the victim’s family by announcing that the murderer’s execution will be carried out in a public square. This measure – if implemented – will be the first public execution in Iraq since the execution of Saddam Hussein.

It is true that human beings are not by nature meek beings, and that civilization tends to quell, control, and subdue violence and implement discipline; however it is also true that violence creeps in everywhere, and a public execution such as those carried out during the reign of Saddam Hussein seems a vengeful tribal ceremony, rather than justice for the victim.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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