Video - Baghdad/Adhamiya, Iraq - November 23rd, 2006 was the second deadliest coordinated attack against civilians to date. The media covered the death toll and impact on property with graphic imagery. Unfortunately as with every previous attack, the impact on civilian survivors has not only been ineffectively covered, it appears to have been covered not at all. A Google search for “carbomb survivors” nets only one story on the survivors of a car bombing that is easy to find. That is Alive in Baghdad’s story Car Bomb Survivors, No Longer Statistics, on November 26th, 2006, just 4 days after the carbombing discussed this week.
Approximately 250 civilians are believed to have been wounded, but still alive, on November 25th, 2006. According to Reuters, via ABC News Online, “Doctors say many of the wounded have serious injuries and are unlikely to survive.” Three of these wounded include Shams, her mother, and her older brother Ghaith. Shams was just a year old when her family was driving through the Al-Hay Market on November 23rd. Her mother moved to protect her from the blast, her brother Ghaith was wounded with shrapnel to his back. Although Shams was saved, her mother wasn’t so lucky. She died from burns all over her body soon after reaching the hospital. Shams lived, but has been disfigured and has lost her sight. Her family has traveled to Iran, Jordan, and Syria seeking answers to her condition. Shams is luckier than most, as her family could afford this. However, she was not lucky enough to find an answer.
Shams story, although perhaps particularly poignant, is one of many untold stories of daily life in Baghdad. Human Rights Watch produced a list of “major” terrorist attacks on civilians from 2003 to September 2005, this documents a short list of the attacks, but doesn’t tell what happened to the survivors. They describe the various victims of these attacks as well in their full report. Like most attacks, the information reported on the November 23rd triple bombing was disconnected and even contradictory. The death toll reporter ranged from 138 people killed, to 161 reported by MSNBC, to the confusing report of the Independent, which listed 140 dead in the title, but claimed 145 killed in the first sentence. The final accepted toll, was reported by the BBC as a much higher 202, but still 13 shy of the 215 eventually claimed as the correct number.
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