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Iraq: Let the Numbers Speak for Themselves


I pride myself in being a scientist and a researcher. I built my academic career on theories and numbers. As a teacher, I teach my students that everything is based in science – everything has reason. For this reason, I am always frustrated with myself when I find I am overwhelmed with feelings on specific topics.

One such topic is the occupation of my country, Iraq. On this subject I find that I cannot always be dispassionate. I cannot be the researcher and observer and discuss it without feeling or emotion as I am sometimes expected to do. I find myself doing research on the damages caused by the war and occupation, and my head buzzes with anger, my eyes burn with tears of desperation at the state of my country.

Six years after the attack and the pain is as fresh and cutting as it was in March 2003. This year, I decided, I would view it as a scientist. I would not attack the subject with emotion. I would let the numbers speak for themselves. This year I will sit back and play the part of the analyst- the researcher- on this topic that is closest to my heart.

Six years into the occupation…

– 72 months of destruction
– $607 Billions spent on the war
– 2 Million Barrels of oil being sold per day
– 2 Million Displaced Iraqis inside of Iraq
– 3 Million Iraqis forced to leave the country
– 2615 professors, scientists, and doctors killed in cold blood
– 338 dead journalists
– $13 Billion misplaced by the current Iraqi government
– $400 Billion required to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure
– 3 hours average of electricity daily
– 24 car bombs per month
– 7 major mafias running the country
– 4260 Americans dead
– 10,000 cases of cholera per year
– 50 of my friends dead
– 22 of my relatives dead
– 15 abductions of close relatives and people I know and love
– At least 1.3 million Iraqis dead since 2003.

Six years into the occupation and somehow, the numbers are not looking better. Year after dismal year, the numbers of dead and displaced grow as we continue to reap the rewards of an American occupation on our country.

So the numbers speak for themselves. Six. Six months is what it took for most Iraqis to realize no good could come of this war and occupation. Six years is what it has taken the rest of the world. Six years, six million Iraqis displaced inside and outside of Iraq- well over a million Iraqis dead or dying inside of the country.

As a scientist, as a researcher- it is a disaster that will never be sufficiently documented with numbers or words. As a researcher, the numbers are so astounding that we go back and recalculate to make sure they are real. As an Iraqi, it is enraging. The numbers and statistics fill me with a rage and shame that make my heart throb and my blood boil. It’s a rage towards all who are silent and uncaring, and a shame at the little we all are doing.

Dr. SOUAD N. AL-AZZAWI is an Associate Professor in Baghdad and a member of the Bertrand Russell  Tribunal Advisory Committee.


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