The profoundly tragic events at Virginia Tech yesterday have produced sorrow and grief across the country. While this massacre deserves the nation’s attention, it is also worth noting that such grief rips apart Iraqi lives nearly every day in the same manner.
University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole pointed out last night on PBS’s Newshour:
Remember that we’re all concerned, as we should be, about these events at Virginia Tech today. In Iraq this is a daily event. Imagine how horrible it would be if this kind of massacre were occurring every single day. And the people of Iraq feel that either the Americans are not stopping it or they’re actually causing it.
Echoing Cole, Iraq Slogger published a post today recounting the brutal scenes of violence that Iraq’s universities have witnessed in recent months:
On Monday, the same day as the Virginia Tech mass shooting, two separate shooting incidents struck Mosul University, one killing Dr. Talal Younis al-Jelili, the dean of the college of Political Science as he walked through the university gate, and another killing Dr. Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor from the Faculty of Arts at the school, who was targeted in front of his home in the al-Kifaat area, according to Aswat al-Iraq.
In January, Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University sufferred a double suicide bombing in January that killed at least 70 people, including students, faculty, and staff. A month later, another suicide bomber struck at Mustansiriya, killing 40.
Kidnappings of students and faculty are another all-too-common occurrence on Iraq’s campuses. Members of the univerisity community have been abducted and murdered for sectarian reasons, or simply held for ransom. [...]
In January, students reported that violent events had threatened students that attendance rates at Baghdad University had dropped to six percent.
Earlier this month, the Dr. Qais Jawad al-Azzawi, head of the Geneva-based Committee International Committee of Solidarity with Iraqi Professors said that 232 university professors were killed and 56 were reported missing in Iraq, while more than 3,000 others had left the country after the 2003 invasion.