Fatih Abdulsalam / Azzaman & Kareem Abed Zair / Azzaman – 2008-08-28 22:50:19
BAGHDAD (August 24, 2008) — Who would believe the U.S. and the Iraqi government’s claims that they care about the well being of Iraqi children? Concern over the fate of Iraqi children is perhaps the biggest lie the U.S. has tried to spread after the notorious fallacy of weapons of mass destruction.
Iraqi politicians and leaders of the ruling factions, who owe their existence and survival to the presence of U.S. occupation troops, are the biggest hypocrites when expressing concern over the fate of Iraqi children.
Almost all senior Iraqi officials have their families and children abroad where they receive the best education and health services possible. And all Americans residing in Iraq, whether administrators or military have no children in the country.
Let us examine what has happened to Iraqi children since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
The children of internally displaced Iraqis, estimated at about two million people, have no access to any of the basic public amenities like education and health.
The children of the nearly four million others who have fled the upsurge in violence find it extremely hard to make ends meet in neighboring countries. They may be a bit better off than many of their counterparts still remaining at home – but thanks go to the governments of the host countries.
If Iraqi children are not refugees or internally displaced, they are mainly orphans or have fathers and occasionally mothers behind bars.
There are nearly 100,000 Iraqis languishing in U.S. and Iraqi jails without trial. Surveys show that most of their children are dropouts, either begging on the streets or working in extremely tough child labor conditions.
What will happen to millions of Iraqi children in such conditions?
Children who were, for example, seven years old when the U.S. invaders came, are now nearly 12 years old, old enough to carry a gun in a lawless country like Iraq.
And still there are no plans on how to rehabilitate and accommodate millions of Iraqi children who I believe have already turned into a ticking bomb.
But Iraqi politicians have no horizon and no future generation plans. Their wives and children are not and will not be involved if this ticking bomb goes off.
Baghdad Gets Half its Needs of Drinking Water, Official Says
Kareem Abed Zair / Azzaman
BAGHDAD (August 26, 2008) — Baghdad’s nearly six million people have access to half their needs of drinking water, said Sadeq al-Shammari head of Baghdad’s Water Authority. Shammari said practically more than three million people in Baghdad have no access to running water.
The shortage comes amid soaring temperatures which at this time of the year may brush 50 degrees centigrade.
The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has criticized the Iraqi authorities for spending too little on public amenities at a time government coffers are brimming with hard cash from oil sales.
“They (the government) have the resources but they are slow in investing them,” said a UNICEF official who did not want his name be revealed.
Shammari described the shortage as critical, saying that conditions of Baghdad’s sewage system and heavy water treatment plants were even worse. “A few-minute interruption in power supply causes at least a three-hour interruption in drinking water,” said Shammari.
Public amenities like water facilities, sewage systems and hospitals are not supposed to be covered by outages which may continue for up to 20 hours in Baghdad.
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