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Tigris - a river of corpses
by Adnan Abuzaid, Azzaman
June 22, 2007
For centuries the Tigris River has provided Baghdadis with a rare delicacy: the famous Iraqi Samak mazkouf, a grilled fish.
The Tigris was the main source of the fish, kept alive in a tank and you only needed to pick one for the restaurant owners to grill it for you on open fire.
But a recent fatwa, or religious decree, issued by Muslim scholars in the city, forbids eating fish from the Tigris River. It is not because of pollution as the Tigris was, before the 2003 U.S. invasion, one of the cleanest rivers in the world.
The decaying human corpses dumped into the river, according to the Fatwa, make eating its fish inhuman, unethical and anti-religious.
Thanks to U.S. invasion, the Tigris River has turned into a cemetery of floating bodies. The murderous militias and death squads – which the invaders brought with them and nurtured – see the depths of the Tigris as a perfect place to hide their sectarian killings of innocent Iraqis by dumping the bodies of their victims there.
Fishermen say their nets and hooks sometimes catch more corpses than fish. The former regime, in a bid to purge the river of any garbage, had erected a steel mesh close to the town of Suwaira. The mesh was cleaned every week.
But instead of unwanted materials which the mesh used to catch, it began seizing floating corpses. Scores of families visit the area regularly in the hope of collecting the corpses of loved ones who had gun missing without a trace.
Since 2006, at least 800 bodies have been picked up only at Suwaira, according to Abdulwahid Azzam of the Interior Ministry.
Many of the bodies bore traces of torture, and some were so decayed that it was difficult to recognize their identity.
People of different ages are victims of the sectarian madness which was unknown before the coming of U.S. invaders. Hayder, a fisherman, who would only give his first name for security reasons, said he once snatched a body of a 12-year old boy.
The Euphrates, the other great Mesopotamian river, is no exception. Most bodies there are picked up by farmers downstream.
Police sources say that in the area of Baghdad only they come across an average of 10 corpses a day.
If a body dumped in the river is not found within a few days, it decays and may be lost for ever. Ahmad, another fisherman, says if he comes across a dead body it means that the Almighty "would like me to give the dead person a proper burial."
:: Article nr. 33948 sent on 23-jun-2007 18:14 ECT