Iraqis observe a moment of silence to mark Mass Graves Day
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
BAGHDAD: Traffic stopped in Baghdad's main streets and squares Wednesday as Iraqis observed a moment of silence to mark a new national day of remembrance for the victim's of Saddam Hussein's regime who were buried in mass graves.
The Iraqi government declared May 16 as Mass Grave Day to commemorate the day when the first such grave was uncovered near the Shiite town of Mahaweel, about 56 kilometers (35 miles) south of Baghdad.
Human rights organizations estimate that more than 300,000 people, mainly Kurds and Shiite Muslims, were killed and buried in mass graves before Saddam was overthrown by U.S. forces in 2003.
"It is a lesson that we will never forget," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said. "We want to build a civilized society in which humanity is respected."
Cars and pedestrians stopped in place at noon, while policemen and Iraqi soldiers conducted a military salute.
During a conference held to commemorate the somber day, al-Maliki described the graves as one of "the ugly crimes" of Saddam's regime and drew a parallel with the current daily attacks against Iraqis.
"The criminals are the same. In the past, they created the mass graves. Today, they explode, kill and behead innocent people," he said.
Al-Maliki, accompanied by several Cabinet ministers, also stepped out of the building housing his office Wednesday to observe a minute of silence and offer a prayer.
In the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, however, the day was not commemorated because the Kurds there were not notified, said Hutiyar Nouri, the deputy governor of the city of Sulaimaniyah, 260 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Kurds annually mark the anniversary of the March 16, 1988 chemical attack on the northern Kurdish town of Halabja, which killed 5,000.
One thing that particularly annoys me is when people claim that Iraq was "better off" under Saddam. This is such complete garbage and it shows intellectual laziness on the part of those who make this argument. Thanks to the US military and our coalition Allies, Saddam will not be filling anymore mass graves. Yes, Iraq is far from being "back to normal" and there are many obstacles to overcome, but no one can make the argument that anyone would ever be better off under a tryannical dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and dumped them in to mass graves.
Cox And Forkum for those who need an explanation..