Thursday, June 10, 2004

hi, this is Raed,

I would like to thank my great American friend, Michael Richardson, a writer and graphic designer from Northampton, MA, USA, for his great effort, and for the time he spent designing the IRAQI CIVILIAN WAR CASUALTIES website. Michael emailed me some weeks ago offering to help me complete this great humanitarian job that started one year ago.

I was the country director of the first (and maybe only) door-to-door civilian casualties survey. Marla Ruzika was my American partner, the fund raiser, and the general director of CIVIC. Unfortunately, she didn't have the chance to publish the final results until now.

I decided to publish my copy of the final results of the Iraqi civilian casualties in Baghdad and the south of Iraq on the 9th of this month in respect to the big effort of the 150 volunteers who worked with me and spent weeks of hard work under the hot sun of the summer, in respect for Majid my brother who spent weeks arranging the data entry process, and in respect to the innocent souls of those who died because of irresponsible political decisions.

Thousands were killed and injured.

Each one of these thousands has a life, memories, hopes. Each one had his moments of sadness, moments of joy and moments of love.

In respect to their sacred memory, I would appreciate it if you could spend some minutes reading the database file when I publish them, read their names, and their personal details, and think about them as human beings, friends, and relatives -- not mere figures and numbers.

I led the volunteers in their work in Baghdad, and the nine cities of the south: Karbala, Hilla, Najaf, Diwanyya, Simawa, Nasryya, Basra, Kut and Amara through my weekly visits. I went to the north for a couple of times, and arranged some smaller-scale surveys.

The survey teams were from the local areas: I made sure to create homogenous groups that reflected the ethnical, religious and gender ratios of the targeted regions. And I designed the survey form, all of which relied on my scientific background I gained from my M.Sc. researches, and relied on the very cooperative spirits of the volunteers and of the Iraqi families. We preferred not to include the military casualties to give our survey a civilian perspective.
Civilian: everyone killed outside the battlefield, even if his original job was military (e.g. a soldier killed in his house is a civilian). Military: everyone killed while fighting in a battle, even if his original job was a civic one (e.g. an engineer killed while fighting as a Fidaee) We had primitive and simple tools of research, yet I believe our survey is creditable and accountable.

Thank you again Michael, it wouldn’t be possible to announce this survey without your magnificent work.

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