Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Iraq's Unknown Casulties

Restoring Names to Iraq War’s Unknown Casualties

Plastic roses adorn an unmarked grave in the Cemetery of the Martyrs, built the day after Saddam Hussein’s fall on a park along the Tigris.

30 August 2010 - In a pastel-colored room at the Baghdad morgue known simply as the Missing, where faces of the thousands of unidentified dead of this war are projected onto four screens, Hamid Jassem came on a Sunday searching for answers.

In a blue plastic chair, he sat under harsh fluorescent lights and a clock that read 8:58 and 44 seconds, no longer keeping time. With deference and patience, he stared at the screen, each corpse bearing four digits and the word “majhoul,” or unknown:

No. 5060 passed, with a bullet to the right temple; 5061, with a bruised and bloated face; 5062 bore a tattoo that read, “Mother, where is happiness?” The eyes of 5071 were open, as if remembering what had happened to him.

“Go back,” Hamid asked the projectionist. No. 5061 returned to the screen. “That’s him,” he said, nodding grimly.

His mother followed him into the room, her weathered face framed in a black veil. “Show me my son!” she cried. {read more

A 5-Year Journey to Unknown Grave 5061

Thousands of Iraqis travel each year to view pictures of their dead relatives at the morgue in Baghdad.

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