Death in a Garbage Dump
Maysan: Five People Die Amongst Them A Teenager and Two Children Die Scavenging For Copper
Five people were killed today by exploding ordinance from previous wars in two separate incidents.
In the first incident in West Amarah three brothers Hussein Sabri Matanch (Aged 18) and Rafael Qasim (Aged 12) and Jasim (Aged 9) were trying to dismantle a mortar shell to get at the copper inside it so that they could sell it to scrap dealers. Here’s how eyewitnesses to their deaths describe what happened:
“they were trying to dismantle a mortar shell to get at the copper to sell it to scrap dealers when it exploded in their hands and they died on the spot”
In the second incident this one 45 Km west of Amarah two people were killed extracting the contents of a mortar shell again to sell the copper inside to scrap dealers. It exploded. They died. Source: Aswat al Iraq [Arabic]
I started to translate the news from Arabic late this afternoon – I do have other things to do, and this was the first report to hit my screen. Increasingly frequently I want to scream as I do this and I’m not publishing anything else tonight I’m simply too revolted.
The report on Aswat al Iraq concludes by pointing out that there are many such incidents in Maysan every year. This is because it borders Iran and there’s lots and lots of unexploded ordinance littering the landscape just waiting for poverty stricken desperate people to try their luck at earning a few cents from scrap dealers.
Iraqi children scavenging for food: I get reports like this every week from Iraq, sometimes I get several reports a day. Most often they come from the border provinces. Erdla and myself have written here and published photographs like the one you see now time and time and again. We’ve written about the desperate plight of the people of Iraq. We’ve written repeatedly about children living in garbage dumps scavenging for food. Every time I go to Iraq I see children risk their lives by doing what as a former felix I can tell you is one of the most difficult and dangerous things you can do – defuse, by hand, corroded ordinance. That’s why you mostly don’t try to do it by hand. You get a sharpshooter, like Declan or Anto or Smurph to shoot the damned thing from a very safe distance and explode it that way. Only if that can’t be done do you go in and try to defuse it by hand.
Every time I’ve been to Iraq since the Americans invaded I’ve seen something I never saw before – children scavenging in garbage dumps for food. There is now a thriving trade of children being kidnapped, sold, and exported to paedophile brothels. My last few trips I’ve seen something that I’ve never ever ever seen before in Iraq. Children with the tell-tale red rash around their mouths. That’s not even the worst of it.
Once they arrive in her camp Maryam routinely now has to lock up some of the kids that Ali manages to talk off the streets and into one of her refugee convoys. She locks them in the Mosque basement while they undergo withdrawal symptoms. Several of them have died in convulsions because they’re simply too weakened to survive cold turkey.
I find it impossible to describe how I feel getting mails from Maryam telling me about that. I find it impossible to describe what goes through my mind and through my heart when I see a child pick up a piece of rotted food in a garbage dump and eat it. I simply have no words for how I feel when I see that.
Please read the rest of the article here.