As Junior Wipes Out a Generation of Academics

Iraq’s Lost Generation: impact and implications – IK Jalili
15 June 2007


Problems facing the intelligentsia of Iraq have been neglected in the scale of that country’s ongoing tragedy. Since 2003, the new phenomenon of targeted and systematic assassinations, kidnappings and threats to professionals and academics has surfaced. These are escalating.

Over 830 assassinations have been documented, victims killed along with their families. Numbers includes: 380 university academics and doctors, 210 lawyers and judges, and 243 journalists/media workers but not other experts, school teachers or students; neither professionals displaced internally and externally. All aspects of life are affected.

The victims are often highly qualified, PhD or equivalent. Assassinations are not specific to sect or gender but victims are predominantly Arab.

Hundreds of legal workers have left Iraq in addition to those already killed and injured, thereby denying thousands of Iraqis their legal rights. Working lawyers numbers have decreased by at least 40% in the past year alone and hundreds of cases shelved.

Neither has sports escaped; the President and 36 member National Iraqi Olympic Committee were kidnapped in July 2006; the majority are thought to be dead. These were the only democratically elected Olympic representatives in the region.

The reported incidents are only the tip of an iceberg; many cases go unreported. This is in addition to the huge exodus to neighbouring countries and, for the lucky few, to Europe.

Unless urgent action is taken to redress this situation, it will be too late to save Iraq’s intelligentsia for the immediate and foreseeable future; a disastrous situation for Iraq.

Read the entire report here (PDF).

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