clap clap blog: we have moved
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Few Americans will get teary for Tariq Aziz, faithful servant to the Butcher of Baghdad. But consider the case of Rafet Kamal, a 27-year-old shop clerk who went out for cigarettes one night two weeks ago and never returned home. Kamal’s father, named Kamal Sayit, an unemployed laborer with no connections and no English, went from prison to police station to hospital looking for him. At Camp Cropper, he was simply turned away at gunpoint. Finally, after 10 days of fruitless searching, Sayit visited Baghdad’s morgue last Tuesday. He suspected the worst by this point, if only because his son had taken a pistol out with him. It was for personal protection, Sayit says, but he knew Coalition troops forbade it. Attendants ushered the father to one of five refrigerated rooms, where bodies lay piled two or three deep, nearly all of them young men with gunshot wounds. There he found his son lying on top, his body riddled with bullets. Sayit beat his own head with both fists and cried, “I just want to know: was he killed by American soldiers?”
He will never know for certain, because no one will ever investigate. That’s partly because there is no codified system of justice in occupied Iraq.
I hope we can all agree, who's to blame aside, that this is a bad thing. Maybe Rafet took a shot at some troops; maybe he got killed by brigands. But either way, his father should not have to go digging through anonymous bodies in order to find out if he's dead or not. This is not civilization.