photo: Eddy van Wessel


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Life goes on in Baghdad mindless of government and bombing threats

The world hardly notices it anymore, but daily bombs still explode in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Only when the number of casualties is high the attack gets mentioned; like the three explosions that recently caused over a hundred deaths in different parts of the city.

Not only has the international media gotten used to the violence in Iraq, Iraqis themselves too leave their homes daily and go about their business, almost as if they want to block out the reality of the dangers that engulf them.

While in Europe every bomb attack shakes a whole nation, and even those around it, leading to people making monuments with flowers and toys for the victims, in Baghdad traders and civilians go back to the targeted market as soon as the blood is washed away.

In Europe the media give the victims names and faces, while in Baghdad only the exceptional ones get some attention. Even though they are labelled as martyrs, and should therefore be revered, most are soon forgotten in the news of the next attack.

When I was in Baghdad recently people complained about this, as they expected the government not only to do more to remember their beloved ones, but also to prevent the attacks.
Read on...

What’s a sofa, compared to the real damage done?

Pictures of people looking worriedly at sofas have been going viral on the Internet in Iraq. A man looking at an orange three-seater, a girl at a brown canapĂ© – all poking fun at the pictures that Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi posted after demonstrators stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad.

About 100,000 people breached the walls around Baghdad’s most secured area which houses the national parliament, Prime Minister Abadi’s office, foreign embassies, the homes of high officials and some hotels.

The protesters demanded that the parliament would finally make the change possible they had been calling to combat corruption and nepotism, and approve a cabinet of technocrats.

But members of parliament were not in favour of the change, as it would decrease the power of the parties and the flow of money into their pockets.
Read on...

Holocaust remembered in Kurdistan for the first time

In a historic ceremony in the Kurdistan capital Erbil, Kurds with Jewish roots together with Kurdish officials and foreign dignitaries remembered for the first time in the Kurdistan Region the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

The first Jewish Remembrance Day for Victims of the Holocaust in Kurdistan was organised by the Jewish representative in the Kurdistan Ministry of Religion, Sherzad Mamsani, who also led the ceremony.

The event ended with the lighting of six candles, one for every million Jews killed by the Nazi regime in the 30s and 40s of the last century. A minute of silence was also observed.
Read on...

Dutch MPs visiting Kurdistan assess Netherlands’ part in ISIS war

A Dutch parliamentary delegation visited Erbil, the Kurdish capital this week where they saw the Netherland’s contribution to the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) through helping the Peshmerga forces and whether to decide later this year to extend the mission.

“It is great to see how Dutch military are contributing directly to the fight of the Peshmerga against ISIS,” said Social Democrat parliamentarian Michiel Servaes. “We know that explosives cause most of the victims, so it’s great that in this way you can literally save lives.”

The Netherlands has trained Peshmerga troops and supplied equipment such as radios, bomb disposal equipment, helmets and vests.

Currently Dutch military trainers are training a group of female Kurdish combatants who impressed the MPs on their visit.

Part of the training includes first aid administration. “Again we contribute to save lives, as we hear that too many die for lack of knowledge how to treat the wounded,” Servaes said.
Read on...