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July 7, 2016

I am Baghdad: Let’s Take a Moment to Remember the Dead & Pray for the Living.

remembering Baghdad screenshot

In recent weeks my newsfeed has been full of anger, indignation and mourning. The topics: Stanford rape, Orlando shooting and Brexit.

At the end of last year, it was Paris.

It’s always something. There is always some god-awful hell breaking out somewhere in the world—but only some of it is prioritised enough by mainstream media to make it into our newsfeeds.

This week, Baghdad is in the news as at least 250 people lost their lives to ISIS.

But Sunday morning’s bombing is just the latest in a string of ISIS attacks in the Iraqi capital this year—attacks that barely made a ripple in world news reports.

Just this year alone, over 600 Iraqis have lost their lives while going about their daily lives in Baghdad:

Last month, on June 9th, at least 30 were killed in two suicide attacks.

Three attacks in May, involving seven car bombs, killed 195.

There were two attacks in March and one in February, with 149 deaths between them.

Were you aware of the extent to which Iraqis are living with this threat to their lives? I wasn’t.

It took the single deadliest attack since 2007, before it starts to make ripples in our news feeds—and it really is just ripples, not the waves that Western-based tragedies generate.

Meanwhile, xenophobia is on the rise and Muslims are being decried as dangerous terrorists. What about our Western government’s role in the creation of all this terror, which has nothing to do with religion?

What is happening in Iraq is clear evidence that ISIS is not representative of Muslims.

In Baghdad, it is Muslims who are being slain.

And their lives matter as much as black lives, gay lives, women’s lives, children’s lives—any lives of any race, creed or gender. They deserve to be remembered and to be prayed for.

So how about doing that for a few minutes?

Imagine living with the constant worry that you may die today, while just going about your day? Let’s briefly step into the shoes of these people—imagine having to live with that real possibility, day in and day out.

This is what the people of Baghdad are living with.

Fathers, mothers, husbands-to-be, artists, doctors, engineers, cooks–-people like you and me.

They are losing their loved ones—prematurely and under horrific circumstances.

Today—or tomorrow or the day after—while shopping, or eating, or praying, they may lose their own lives.

Let’s send some love to Baghdad.

Britain’s Channel 4 has made a short and touching video to commemorate the lives of those who fell victim to this last attack. Similar to the one made in honor of the Orlando victims, it humanizes the dead. No longer nameless, faceless strangers, it helps us to recognize how much they are the same as you and me.

It only depicts a handful of the victims however—the missing are still being sought, and at least 81 bodies recovered so far are beyond recognition and will require DNA testing to identify.

Click here to see these people in their daily lives before this tragedy hit.

And please take a moment to send a blessing to the loved ones they’ve left behind.

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Author: Hilda Carroll

Image: Video still

Editors: Yoli Ramazzina; Travis May

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