Sept 20 2010

One in every six Iraqis is an orphan. That is the toll Iraqi children are paying in a country which is supposedly under the occupation and protection of the world’s only superpower.

Not all the orphans are the result of the violence that swept the country in the aftermath of the 2003-U.S. invasion.

But the invasion has caused untold miseries for Iraqis, surpassing those inflicted on them by their former tormentors, the clique that ruled Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

There were unconfirmed reports that Iraq has turned into a country of orphans. But the exact figure only became a reality recently, when the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs made public its own statistics.

The statistics points to dangerous demographics with grave social, health and economic consequences for a country which still lacks basic infrastructure.

These are the voiceless Iraqis. Their U.S. occupiers have almost cut and run and their Iraqi rulers are not so much concerned about their livelihood and well-being.

In a violent country like Iraq, where U.S. marines with bullet-proof jackets and thick armor, cannot feel safe, there is not so much room for an orphan.

Hundreds of thousands of them live on the street. There is no social security system to look after them.

As for who killed their parents, that is a totally different question.

They could be victims of random or deliberate fire and shelling by U.S. marines, their security guards or the multifarious militia groups which the U.S. helped prosper and mushroom.

If we consider the numbers of Iraqi orphans in terms of U.S. population of 308 million, the five million Iraqi orphans would be the equivalent of nearly 50 million U.S. orphans. Imagine major U.S. cities such as New York, L.A., Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia all populated completely by orphans.

There are so many stories in Iraq which its occupiers and rulers, and unfortunately the international media, would like to keep under wraps.

But to give lip service to this massive number of orphans, more than 16 percent of Iraqi population, and nearly half its children, is really devastating to hear.