A Criminal Act

Unsigned editorial, Al-Zaman (independent) Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 19, 2004.

An Iraqi man wounded at the Jan. 18 bombing in Baghdad leaves the scene of the attack
An Iraqi man wounded in the Jan. 18 bombing in Baghdad leaves the scene of the attack (Photo: Mauricio Lima/AFP-Getty Images).
One cannot describe what happened yesterday at the main gate of Karadat Mariam in Baghdad [the seat of the U.S. military in Baghdad] other than to say that it was a criminal act. The suicide attack felled 25 victims, all of whom were Iraqis, meaning that whoever did this targeted Iraqis—whatever their ethnicity, beliefs, and whatever their religion. He made no exceptions on the basis of color or language. In doing this, he strove to increase Iraqis’ pain. He left misery at the loss of a relative or the injury of a beloved weighing on their chests.

Our anger grows when we remember that the operation was timed for the early hours, when citizens make their way to work to earn an honest crust of bread, or to go to school in order to gain knowledge and battle with the darkness of ignorance. Among the victims were daily commuters travelling from the east of Baghdad to the west and from its workshops to its docks.

Whatever the reasons and the motivations [for the attack], and however much Iraqis disagree, they agree on describing it as a crime that placed fear in the innocent souls of men and women and that terrified children. Any act of this nature must be condemned, and tarred with the brush of terrorism, whatever your point of view.

The bombing is one episode in an ongoing series of operations targeting the Iraqi police and the civil infrastructure that ensures the basis of a dignified life after many years of want, hunger, and thwarted hope.

As long as this is the case, denouncing operations of this nature, revealing their motivations, exposing those involved, and causing the deluded to back away from such acts are noble aims of service to society. They provide opportunities to re-examine society with the aim of overcoming its problems, and choosing solutions to free it from the straits in which Iraq finds itself. In light of this, crimes like the one we saw yesterday morning in no way serve the people’s need for security, stability, and a new era when they can put away the agonies of the past and search for hope—for hope always rises from the ruins and the pain.

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